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Cowboys Draft: Interior Offensive Lineman Prospects & Strategies

Tommy Simon

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Cowboys Headlines - Draft Prospects and Strategies for Interior Offensive Linemen

In previous articles we looked at the running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and tackles. This article will discuss the prospects at guard and center.

With Mackenzy Bernadeau gone and Ronald Leary leaving after next year, the Cowboys are starting to get thin at the guard position. The Cowboys will need to add a guard in this draft and probably in an earlier round than most people expect.

Some of you may be thinking that Chaz Green could back up the guard and tackle slot since he has played both positions. While that is true, remember that Doug Free will be gone in two years as well. So the Cowboys need to draft either a guard or a tackle in this year’s draft and, most likely, they will be drafting another one next year too.

The Cowboys also need a backup center. As the team stands now, the likely scenario is that Zack Martin would be the backup but do you really want to move an all-pro to a new position?

So the Cowboys have a need for backup guard and center. They will most likely draft a player who can perform at both positions. They need someone with starting potential that would benefit from a year or two of growth and practice. However, the player needs to have enough talent that if they have to start at center during the year, they could at least hold their own.

Before we look at the various prospects available in the draft that meet these needs, let’s look at some of the attributes that are important when analyzing the guard position. Typically I look at:

  1. Balance – Do they move with balance? Do they keep their feet under them at all times
  2. Leverage – Do they get under the pads of the DTs and can they move there man backwards
  3. Power – Do they have brute strength, do they have functional strength
  4. Size – the bigger the better
  5. Athleticism – Can they pull, get to the second level, can they handle seed rushers
  6. Technique – Are they polished and understand how to win on technique
  7. Hands – Do they hurt you when they hit you
  8. Meanness – I like mean interior linemen
  9. Intelligence – Do they understand their assignments
  10. Character/Work Ethic – Are they the right kind of guy

Now let’s take a look at some of the prospects that will be available to the Cowboys.

Ryan Kelly

Strengths

  • Just looks the part. He is a big with a strong frame
  • Surprisingly quick for his size
  • Always going forward; rarely do you see him pushed back
  • Quick to get to the second level, can adjust and redirect
  • Can pull effectively
  • Sound technique
  • Physical at point of attack
  • Can pull, will pancake a corner or linebacker
  • Plays with leverage. Good pad level
  • Can twist body to throw defender
  • Smart and well coached
  • Can drop hips and sit down on a bull rush

Weaknesses

  • Does not always sustain his blocks
  • Would like to see him finish more

Summary

    • Should start day one. Best center I have seen in a while
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at center and guard. They will probably not draft him in the first or second and I doubt he will still be around in the third.
    • I have him as a top 30 player

Joshua Garnett

Strengths

  • Big, physical tough inside blocker
  • Long arms, able to keep defensive linemen away from his body
  • Has nastiness to game
  • Can pull; will pancake a corner or linebacker
  • Low center of gravity, good knee bend, plays with leverage
  • Will drive DTs out of the hole
  • Aware, he will come around and cut on a blitz or stunt
  • Understands how to run block. Good techniques
  • Can get to second level and effective when he gets there
  • Can drop hips and sit down on a bull rush

Weaknesses

  • Is a little slow at times
  • A little late off the snap as well

Summary

    • Should be a plug and play guard
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard. However, they will not draft him in the first or second and he will not be there in the third
    • I have him as a top 40 player

Vadal Alexander

Strengths

  • Played tackle and guard in college
  • Big man, hard to move
  • Good athleticisms/size ratio
  • Has good decent footwork for a man his size
  • A fundamentally sound run blocker. Will create space
  • Can drive defenders backwards
  • Can get to second level and is effective when he gets there
  • Plays with power
  • Has a bit of nastiness to his game

Weaknesses

  • Slow footwork at times
  • Can play high and be bull rushed and driven back
  • Needs more punch with his hands
  • Needs to learn to use his big body to turn and redirect

Summary

    • Should start in his first year
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard and possibly tackle. They would not draft him in the first or second and will not be there in the third
    • I have him as a top 60 player

Cody Whitehair

Strengths

  • Versatile, can play guard and tackle. Could also play center in a pinch
  • Fundamentally sound. Plays with good technique.
  • Can handle speed rushers. Can redirect and shield.
  • Good balance. Rarely extends too far.
  • Can block at first level, come off and then block the second level
  • Good vision. Will come off block to pick up free rusher. Picks up blitzes well
  • Good hips, will get low and set
  • Good feet. Easily stays in front to rushers. Smooth, not a lot of wasted motion

Weaknesses

  • Can get beat by bull rush
  • Not very good at cut blocks. Looks awkward going low
  • Gets a few holding penalties
  • Needs to sustain blocks longer. Finish until play is over.
  • Needs to add some more strength

Summary

    • Will play guard in NFL, but if needed could move out to tackle
    • Fundamentally sound with good awareness and vision
    • Chould be a day one starter
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard and tackle. It is hardly likely that the Cowboys will take him in the first or second. If he is still available in the third, the Cowboys should take a look at him there.
    • I have him as a top 60 player

Christian Westerman

Strengths

  • Stocky build with low center of gravity
  • Strong, with heavy hands.
  • Plays like he was a wrestler, can turn defenders with upper body strength
  • Plays with some nastiness
  • Quick feet, can pull
  • Can drive defenders backwards
  • Aware, picks up blitzers and stunts
  • Can set down and drop hips when bull rushed

Weaknesses

    • Will miss in space
    • Is not as effective in the second level
    • Can be driven backwards
    • Not as large as many linemen, size and his arm length could be issue

Summary

    • Should be a starting guard in NFL
    • He plays with attitude and determination
    • Will be all-pro or could be bust
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there. Most likely he will be gone in late second or early third.
    • I have him as a top 75 player

Jack Allen

Strengths

  • Big center who moves well down the line
  • Can really get out on the screen and plays well in space
  • Plays with unbelievable lateral movement
  • Gets good leverage
  • Quick feet, can pull
  • Physical in run game. Create space and drives defenders backwards
  • Plays with some nastiness
  • Aware, picks up blitzers and stunts
  • Has size and technique to prevent bull rush. Rarely is he driven backwards
  • Great motor and sustains blocks until the end
  • Smart
  • Quick off the ball

Weaknesses

    • Will miss in space
    • Smaller body size
    • Has shorter than ideal arm length
    • Is not the most natural athlete

Summary

    • Should be a starting center
    • He plays with attitude, intelligence, quickness, and determination
    • Best suited for a stretch or spread offense
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at center and guard. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there.
    • I have him as a top 90 player

Nick Martin

Strengths

  • Big center who moves well down the line
  • Can really get out on the screen and plays well in space
  • Plays with unbelievable lateral movement
  • Gets good leverage
  • Quick feet, can pull
  • Physical in run game. Create space and drives defenders backwards
  • Plays with some nastiness
  • Aware, picks up blitzers and stunts
  • Has size and technique to prevent bull rush. Rarely is he driven backwards
  • Great motor and sustains blocks until the end
  • Smart
  • Quick off the ball

Weaknesses

    • Will miss in space
    • Smaller body size
    • Has shorter than ideal arm length
    • Is not the most natural athlete

Summary

    • Should be a starting center
    • He plays with attitude, intelligence, quickness, and determination
    • Best suited for a stretch or spread offense
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at center. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there.
    • I have him as a top 90 player

Sebastian Tretola

Strengths

  • Massive road grader
  • Husky, broad shoulders. Wide base keeps him from being moved backwards
  • Good base and decent knee bend for a big man
  • Good awareness, sees stunts and blitzes. Will leave his guy to pick up someone coming free
  • Keeps his feet under him, does not over extend
  • Can move the pile backwards
  • Can get to second level consistently
  • Good pass set, keeps his feet moving and body in front of defender
  • Plays with some aggression

Weaknesses

  • Limited ability to pull
  • Fat, could struggle keeping weight off
  • Struggles against quickness
  • Can play high and lose leverage

Summary

    • Best suited for a straight ahead blocking scheme
    • Can be a starter in the league for a run oriented team
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there.
    • I have him as a top 90 player

Landon Turner

Strengths

  • A massive man. He will move anything in his way
  • Good awareness, keeps head on a swivel looking for someone coming free
  • Good base and decent knee bend for a big man
  • Strong, will rarely go backwards. Tends to drive DTs backwards
  • Can twist his body and redirect the DT. Creates big run lanes
  • Plays with a mean streak. Intimidating. Will flat pancake people in the run game
  • When he gets hands on a blocker, they have a hard time getting free
  • Can pass set effectively

Weaknesses

  • Slow, limited range when pulling or trying to get to second level
  • When he moves, he struggles to keep balance
  • Can get over extended in attempt to drive defenders back
  • Winds up on the ground more than normal
  • Can be stiff
  • Flunked out of school at one point (Why?)

Summary

    • Best suited for a straight ahead blocking scheme
    • Can be a starter in the league for a run oriented team
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there. However, I do not think he fits the Cowboys stretch offense.
    • I have him as a top 90-100 player

Connor McGovern

Strengths

  • A former wrestler, uses leverage and body turn to get movement
  • Strong upper body, benched 33 times
  • Strong lower body
  • Light, quick feet for a big buy
  • Nice pass set, keeps his body in position and locks arms to keep rusher away from his body
  • Can pull effectively
  • He can get to the second level and finish
  • Has awareness. Keeps head on swivel
  • Versatile, has played most positions on the line

Weaknesses

  • Tight hips
  • Bends at the waist more than he should. Gets him off balance at times
  • Can get tall and lose leverage

Summary

    • Best suited for a pulling, stretch or pass oriented offenses
    • Can be a starter in the league for a run oriented team
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard. If he is there at the end of the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there. He would fit their scheme
    • I have him as a top 120 player

Max Tuerk

Strengths

  • A smooth, quick athlete for his size
  • Played every line position in college.
  • Can pull and play in space. Excellent in screen game
  • Can get to second level and take dead aim at opponents
  • Light, quick feet for a 300 pounder
  • Has good foot work and hips
  • Plays with leverage, gets pad level low because of natural leg bend
  • Quick setup. Can jam before defender is ready
  • Can pass rushers off and pick up rusher coming free
  • Has awareness. Keeps head on swivel

Weaknesses

  • Tall and lean, which usually means shorter stockier guys will win leverage position
  • Needs to get stronger
  • Was injured in October and may not be ready for camp
  • Thin frame may be injury prone
  • Has unusually snap style

Summary

    • May have been one of the top two guards/centers in the draft had he not been injured. He would have been a top 60 pick. Will offer good value to team that can sit him for a year or two
    • Talented, fluid athlete but may have difficulty with brute power
    • Best suited for passing, spread or stretch run offenses
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at center/guard/tackle. If he is there in the fourth round, the Cowboys could take him there as he would fit their scheme and be good value
    • I have him as a top 120 player (if healthy, top 60)

Spencer Drango

Strengths

  • Played as a tackle in college.
  • Strong hands and long arms
  • Fundamentally sound, good technique
  • Stays in balance on pass sets and guides rushers past quarterback.
  • Can pull. Tackle feet at guard position
  • Effortlessly gets to the second level
  • Has awareness. Keeps head on swivel
  • Nice kick step, he is a natural pass protector

Weaknesses

  • Can over extend on running plays and is susceptible to swim moves
  • Too often gets in position when pulling, to then miss his target
  • Struggles against quickness to outside
  • Can also be beat with fake speed rush to a quick inside rush
  • Is tall for guard position. Maintaining low pad level will be difficulty
  • Has never really powered block from NFL set

Summary

    • I like him. He may be a steal. He is a high risk/reward pick. Could fail and never make it, could be a solid starter.
    • Can be a starter in the league but it will take time for him to learn how to block in an NFL set. Will need to work on inside blocking techniques.
    • Offers some flex as guard and right tackle
    • For Cowboys he would be a backup at guard and possibly add depth at backup tackle. If he is there when the Cowboys pick their compensatory 4th rounder, it would be a nice pick up. He would fit their stretch scheme.
    • I have him as a top 130 player

Joe Dahl

Summary

  • Played tackle and guard in college
  • Plays with good center an balance
  • Good knee bend
  • A tactician with good technique
  • Strong hands that can shock a rusher
  • Plays angles well
  • Good feet. Stays over toes and keeps balance
  • He is quick
  • Can pick or get to second level
  • Struggles with power
  • Needs more attitude and aggression
  • For Cowboys would add depth and give them someone to groom
  • I have him in the top 135-150

Graham Glasgow

Summary

  • Center guard combo
  • Intelligent player
  • Good awareness
  • Can play on the move
  • Moves with ease
  • Plays with good bend
  • Will struggle with pad level and winning the leverage battle
  • Is just average athletically
  • Would give the Cowboys a center guard backup to groom
  • I have him rated in the 150 -175 range

Joe Thuney

Summary

  • Versatile, played every position on the line
  • Right kind of guy
  • Athletic and Strong
  • Low base, good hips, can sink on a bull rush
  • Plays with a good kick step
  • Can get choppy with feet
  • Weight room strength needs to translate to field
  • Does not always explode off of the line when run blocking
  • Would give the Cowboys a guard to groom
  • I have him rated in the 150 -175 range but others are lower on him. If he is around in the sixth, then he would be a good pick

Evan Boehm

Summary

  • Powerful, ex–wrestler. Uses balance and leverage to man handle DTs
  • Squarely built, great for setting anchor
  • Drives defenders backwards in run game
  • Can get to second level
  • Has good bend and pad levels
  • Is not athletic
  • Struggles when pulling
  • Short arms can allow rusher to get into his body
  • Allows himself to play on his heels too much, susceptible to bull rush
  • Would give the Cowboys a guard/center to groom
  • I have him rated in the 150 -175 range but others are lower on him. If he is around in the sixth, then he would be a good pick

Austin Blythe

Summary

  • Is compactly built with good knee bend. Wins leverage battle
  • Brute strength to drive defenders off the ball
  • Shows good quickness off the snap
  • Plays with nastiness and attitude
  • Is not athletic. Has tightness.
  • Has short arms. Can struggle with DT with long arms
  • Does not have good lateral movement
  • Would give the Cowboys a guard/center to groom
  • I have him rated in the 150 -175 range but others are lower on him. If he is around in the sixth, then he would be a good pick

The Cowboys will have some intriguing options at the center and guard positions. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys take a guard/center in the third or fourth round. They need a backup center now, they will need a backup guard next year, and they may need to replace their starting center in two years.

I would be very surprised if the Cowboys do not try to get a developmental player in this year’s draft, even if it is in the 6th round.

Some of the players I would watch for are:

  • Whitehair - In the third round
  • Westerman – Beginning the fourth
  • Allen – Beginning of the fourth
  • Tuerk – End of fourth
  • Durango – End of fourth
  • Boehm – End of sixth

In my next article, we will take a look at the quarterbacks in the draft.



Tommy Simon is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and sports enthusiast. He is currently CEO of TechBAA, an investor and board member of TPC Technical and CommunitesFIrst, and acting CFO for ALS Communities. In addition to investing and advising companies, Tommy is also a Sales Management coach and is working with companies as a Fractional CMO/CSO. Tommy is a life long football player, coach and Cowboy fan. He currently coaches and sponsors several 7 on 7 teams. He manages/coaches an adult flag football team that is the top team in Florida one of the highest ranked teams in the country. Tommy's hobbies include international travel, fantasy football, reading, and engaging in intelligent political discourse. He is married to a wonderful women for 18 years; which is the best thing he has ever accomplished. He has a dog that is the best dog ever. He also has 9 siblings and roughly 30 nieces and nephews. For more information about tommy, or to request him to speak, please contact him at info@techbaa.com

NFL Draft

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts, a Pass Catching Theme Persists

John Williams

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Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists

The Dallas Cowboys haven't played the 2018 NFL season yet, but that shouldn't stop us from looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft and seeing what players the team will have their eye on this fall.

With the NFL season fast approaching, that means the college football season is as well, and as we look through these mocks, perhaps you get an idea of whom to watch with a Cowboys perspective this fall.

I scoured the internet looking for the best and brightest minds and their "way too early 2019 mocks." As I perused the mocks, one thing was clear. Many of the national writers see the Dallas Cowboys going with an offensive pass catcher in the 2019 NFL Draft. Namely a TE.

TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Noah Fant, from the University of Iowa, will be a junior in his 2019 season and as a sophomore caught 30 passes for 494 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 11 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage may not look all that impressive, but if we think about Iowa's offense in the Big 10, we can understand that he's not going to get many opportunities to catch the ball when the team is running it as often as they do.

In fact, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 10 more times per game than they threw it and their quarterback only completed - on average - 15 passes a game.

Fant accounted for 21% of the receiving yards on the season and 42% of the passing touchdowns. He was only 36 yards away from leading the team in receiving despite catching 21 fewer passes than leader Nick Easley. No other pass catcher for Iowa had more than four receiving touchdowns.

If there's something not to like at the moment about Fant, it's his size.

At the moment, College Football Reference has him listed at 232 pounds. There are running backs that weigh more than Fant does and he'll probably need to add about 10-20 pounds in the NFL to be an effective in-line blocker.

Mocked to the Dallas Cowboys by Dane Brugler of The Draft Show on DallasCowboys.com. In a mock draft he did for Sports Day DFW and the Dallas Morning News, he had this to say.

"It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."

Dane Brugler - Sports Day DFW, Dallas Morning News

Eric Galko of The Sporting News selected the Iowa tight end to the Cowboys as well, seeing him as a special prospect that has the chance to fill the shoes of Jason Witten.

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington also had Noah Fant to the Cowboys, thinking they are in need of a Jason Witten replacement.

DE Austin Bryant, Clemson

Depending on what Dallas can get out of Right Defensive Ends Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Charles Tapper, it could have the Cowboys taking a defensive end in the first round for the second time in three years.

Will Brinson's mock doesn't offer much analysis on Bryant, mostly saying that Clemson is going to be good. But here's what Draftek.com's Brett Clancy, who covers the 49ers, had to say about Bryant:

"Clemson's Austin Bryant is the 4th EDGE off the board in this mock and 2nd from his school, but he's still well worth a mid-round pick. Bryant broke out with 8.5 sacks as a junior last year and many thought he'd go pro. I like Bryant's move to stay in school and refine his game, specifically growing a repertoire of pass rush moves to complement his strong edge-setting ability."

Brett Clancy - Draftek.com

Bryant was amazingly disruptive for the Clemson Tigers as a junior, racking up 50 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. At 6-5 265, he could come in and play right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys on day one.

DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama

We know that the Dallas Cowboys have an affinity for Power 5 prospects and Jason Garrett goes back with Nick Saban.

Despite that relationship, it hasn't led to many Alabama players being selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, that should tell us something.

One other factor that could be in play with Davis is dependent upon who the defensive coordinator is in 2019. We all know that Rod Marinelli doesn't place premium draft value on defensive tackles, but prefers to find diamonds in the rough to develop.

If Kris Richard takes over as the defensive coordinator in 2019, the story could be a bit different. Seattle, with Richard at the defensive helm, selected defensive tackles in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.

If the Dallas Cowboys are going to spend a first on a defensive tackle, this is the guy to do it on.

He was highly productive as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide, racking up 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had one interception that was returned for 19 yards. At 6-7 306 pounds, he has the size and frame to be an immediate impact player on the Dallas Cowboys interior.

If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to resign David Irving in the 2018 offseason and Maliek Collins doesn't take a step forward, then Davis becomes a real possibility.

Here's what Draftek's Cowboys analyst had to say about Raekwon Davis.

"Alabama's Raekwon Davis has played both DT and DE in the Crimson Tide's 3-man line. He can maintain his gaps against the run when needed, but his primary skill set is using his long arms and strong lower body to use a variety of pass rush moves to win with power and speed. 

"One red flag on Davis happened 8/27/17: he was struck in the leg by a stray bullet during the wee hours of Sunday morning at a Tuscaloosa bar (Bar 17) where several shootings have occurred over the past few years. Despite HC Jason Garrett's affinity for Nick Saban coached players, this incident might remove him from the Dallas board."

Long Ball - Dratek.com

Interestingly, Draftek did a second round in this mock and they sent Boston College Safety Lukas Denis to the Dallas Cowboys.

S Jaquan Johnson, Miami

Speaking of safeties, Dan Kadar over at SBNation sent one to the Dallas Cowboys in the form of Jaquan Johnson.

Johnson, from the University of Miami, was very productive in his junior season for the Hurricanes, racking up 96 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and four interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.

Here are Kadar's thoughts on the second team All-ACC player:

"There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."

Dan Kadar - SB Nation

Obviously, this pick will depend on what happens with Earl Thomas over the next nine months and the development of Xavier Woods, but Johnson will be a name to watch for teams that need a safety.

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists 2

Miami Hurricanes WR Ahmmon Richards

WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami

Another Hurricane to have on your NFL Draft radars is Wide Receiver Ahmmon Richard, who is going into his junior season at Miami.

The Dallas Cowboys have begun the process of overhauling their wide receiver corp with the departures of Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the 2018 offseason. In 2019, it's likely that Terrance Williams (contract) and Cole Beasley (age) could be next to go.

That would leave them with Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson as their WR depth chart. It's certainly a solid group, but adding a talent like Richards could help.

The Draft Wire's Luke Easterling believes, "Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."

In two seasons at Miami, Richards has averaged 18.8 yards per reception, and 68.65 yards per game. He's got deep-threat ability which would combine well with Gallup and Hurns.

WR Collin Johnson, Texas

If Richards doesn't do it for you, then lets head a couple of hours south of Dallas to the University of Texas and Wide Receiver Collin Johnson.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Dallas Cowboys going with the junior wide receiver and had this to say:

"The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft—trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early—and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.

"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."

Matt Miller - Bleacher Report

I'll agree with Miller that Johnson will need to increase upon his production. Some believe that the quarterback limitations in Austin have been a factor, but at the moment, I'm leery of taking a wide receiver from the Big 12 that doesn't have excellent production in the first round of the draft.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

It's obvious from these mock drafts that analysts see the Dallas Cowboys continuing to invest in pass catchers for their offense and that is a reasonable thought.

Obviously, a lot will change between now and next April when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock, but this gives us a bit of insight on who to watch in this upcoming college football season.

What names will you be watching in college football this season?



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NFL Draft

Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Sean Martin

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Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Last night, it was reported that Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident comes from a traffic confrontation that took place back in October, where White -- according to his camp -- was justified in drawing his weapon for self-defense.

A promising young player that stuck on the Cowboys practice squad in his rookie season, the sixth round pick doesn't need this case hanging over his head as training camp approaches. When considering the timing up against this week's supplemental draft, and the rare crop of defensive back talent available in it, White could soon be fighting for relevance on the Cowboys roster.

Becoming complacent in building one of the best young secondaries in the league won't be an issue for the Cowboys under new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. The Cowboys were relying on White to be a depth option behind projected starters Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis.

White's spot on the depth chart may very well hold up, but by the end of the week he could also have added competition in Adonis Alexander or Sam Beal.

Respectively, the former Virginia Tech and Western Michigan cornerbacks are two of the most talented supplemental prospects to enter the draft in years -- both likely to be the first players drafted since 2015.

Alexander and Beal are also joined by Mississippi State Safety Brandon Bryant as another backup option for Dallas.

Supplemental Draft: CB Adonis Alexander A Depth Option for Cowboys? 1

A lengthy cornerback with the toughness to play on the boundary, Alexander is a similar player to White, and one that Richard should love for his physical traits. Whether or not this natural skill outweighs some maturity issues that saw Alexander fall from freshman starter to suspended at VT will determine if the Cowboys feel comfortable sending away a 2019 draft pick for his services.

Where Alexander's career leaves his arrow trending downward on the eve of the supplemental draft, Beal is a rising prospect that some are calling the best to ever enter this draft.

An all-conference cornerback as a Junior out of Western Michigan, Beal improved with each passing college season, determined to finish out his degree along the way. However, once Beal's eligibility for his Senior season was called into question, the feisty 6'1" CB decided to turn towards the NFL.

Beal's professional football faith is now in the hands of any team that's done their homework on him. Projected to be taken as early as the third round, teams impressed by Beal's tape could be giving away a premium pick in next year's draft to add him just before training camp.

Should this team be the Cowboys, Beal's presence would put more than just White on notice. The Cowboys are also expecting corners like Duke Thomas and Kam Kelly to fight for roster spots. In a perfect world, say the one the Cowboys were living in yesterday before this White news broke, Thomas or Kelly could replace White on the practice squad as the Florida State product took another jump in Oxnard.

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

As I've written before though, teams must be relentless in their search for talent. The Cowboys have drafted well, but passed on big name free agents in recent years. The result is a young roster full of potential and ready to compete.

If either Adonis Alexander, Sam Beal, or even Brandon Bryant help them do so this year, we could be right here talking about a new Cowboys rookie in the middle of July. Marquez White would be happy to see this talk overshadow his legal situation for the moment.

This won't be the case when he's competing against another player that will likely cost the Cowboys more than the sixth round pick they invested in him two years ago.

Tell us what you think about "Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

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Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.

I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.

Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.

Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:

2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano

You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.

Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.

DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.

Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.

I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?



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