NFL Draft Cowboys Draft: Maliek Collins Adds Needed Depth at DT The Dallas Cowboys finished their 4 win 2015 season with 31 sacks, causing the defensive end position to become a spot that was talked about by writers and fans endlessly leading up to free agency and the draft. Dallas did little to address the pass rush in the off season, signing only defensive tackle Cedric Thornton from the Eagles and restricted free agent defensive end Benson Mayowa from the Raiders. Still, the end position seemed at least somewhat stable, as the Cowboys prepared to bring back Randy Gregory off of injuries in 2016 to rush the passer opposite of breakout 2nd year player DeMarcus Lawrence. Suddenly, Gregory showed us all why the gifted rusher fell to the Cowboys in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft, when his drug issues re-emerged to land him a four game suspension entering 2016. Cowboys Nation turned to DeMarcus Lawrence to emulate his 2015 output in 2016, if not improve on it, before he was hit with a pending four game suspension. Published 2 years ago on April 30, 2016 By Sean Martin Share Tweet The Dallas Cowboys finished their 4 win 2015 season with 31 sacks, causing the defensive end position to become a spot that was talked about by writers and fans endlessly leading up to free agency and the draft. Dallas did little to address the pass rush in the off season, signing only defensive tackle Cedric Thornton from the Eagles and restricted free agent defensive end Benson Mayowa from the Raiders. Still, the end position seemed at least somewhat stable, as the Cowboys prepared to bring back Randy Gregory off of injuries in 2016 to rush the passer opposite of breakout 2nd year player DeMarcus Lawrence. Suddenly, Gregory showed us all why the gifted rusher fell to the Cowboys in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft, when his drug issues re-emerged to land him a four game suspension entering 2016. Cowboys Nation turned to DeMarcus Lawrence to emulate his 2015 output in 2016, if not improve on it, before he was hit with a pending four game suspension. While his suspension is not official yet, the team is preparing for life without the 2014 2nd round pick to start this season. With the draft quickly approaching, the Cowboys depth chart at DE looked something like this: Yet, the Dallas front office held true to their “win-now” mentality. It can take years worth of drafts to completely retool a premium position like defensive end, and the Cowboys simply don’t have that time. //insidethestar.com/gregorylawrence/ What the Cowboys do have along the defensive line was something we saw the makings of in 2015 – a ferocious rotation of defensive tackles. Tyrone Crawford was locked up to a new long-term deal, and David Irving was signed mid-season from the Kansas City Chiefs. Irving and Crawford is a great start, but not nearly enough if Rod Marinelli expects his defensive line to be able to generate and sustain pressure from the middle each and every week. The Thornton signing added yet another layer to this, and the Cowboys added Nebraska DT Maliek Collins last night in the third round. While many fans, including myself, called for the pick to be used on a defensive end rather than a tackle, the addition of Collins makes a lot of sense. We know defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli loves guys with a high-motor that he can mold into a player, and judging by his phone call from the war room to Collins, the Nebraska product fits this description pretty well. In the Cowboys’ first four games of the season, they may very well ask guys like Tyrone Crawford, Jack Crawford, and David Irving to play more snaps at left defensive end. If they do, Maliek Jackson and Cedric Thornton can make them feel much better about the interior of the line along with the newly re-signed Jack Crawford. Building any team will always be about understanding strengths and weaknesses. This is especially true in the NFL, where each team builds to it’s own set of philosophies and concepts. The Cowboys philosophy is to win at all costs, and you need a pass rush to win. Conventional wisdom tells us that this means you need star defensive ends to win. Or, as we may find out very soon, you need Dallas’ potentially lethal rotation of hungry defensive tackles charging at quarterbacks’ faces. So, before you panic over the day 2 that the Cowboys had in the draft, hold off until training camp – when we will get to see this Cowboys’ defensive line get to work against the best offensive line in football. Even more defensive help could be on the way for the Cowboys in rounds 5-7, with the last day of the draft getting started in just a few hours! Once it does, be sure to follow along here at Inside The Star and @CowboysNation for instant analysis on the newest players to join the silver and blue. Tell us what you think about “Cowboys Draft: Maliek Collins Adds Needed Depth at DT” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! ADVERTISEMENT Related Topics:Defensive TackleMaliek Collins Up Next The Dallas Cowboys Select Charles Tapper at #101 Don't Miss The Dallas Cowboys Select Maliek Collins at #67 Sean Martin Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL. Advertisement You may like Cowboys Face Tough Decision with DL Tyrone Crawford RG Zack Martin, DT Maliek Collins Undergo Successful Surgeries NFL Draft: 3 DTs Cowboys Nation Should Know Has The 2017 Season Exposed The Cowboys “True Needs”? Cowboys Vs Redskins: Match Ups Dallas Must Win To Save Season Sean’s Scout: New DL Datone Jones Likely Inside Player With Cowboys Click to comment NFL Draft Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again? Published 7 hours ago on January 21, 2018 By Sean Martin Brad Loper / The Dallas Morning News Four of the five starting offensive linemen for the Dallas Cowboys were first round selections in the NFL Draft. Left Tackle Tyron Smith, Center Travis Frederick, and most recently Right Guard Zack Martin have all done their part in establishing the Cowboys’ identity up front — collectively signaling a culture change in Dallas as the team has thrived with their running game. Considered a bust prior to starting alongside Frederick and (mostly) Smith at left guard for the Cowboys this season, Jonathan Cooper is also a former first-round pick who will now enter free agency. Add in the once projected first-round status of RT La’el Collins, and the Cowboys offensive line is truly a modern football masterpiece — a crafty collection of talent that does well to not handicap the team’s salary cap. Coming off of a 9-7 season defined by who wasn’t on the field through crucial stretches, a serious case could be made that no absence set the Cowboys back more than that of Tyron Smith in 2017. Lingering back issues remaining a concern, Smith missed three games entirely this season, also exiting the Cowboys’ final home loss to the Seahawks after one series. Without Tyron Smith in the lineup, the Cowboys did their best to get franchise QB Dak Prescott killed. In a loss that began with a stretch of three straight in week 10 at Atlanta, Prescott was sacked eight times with Chaz Green unable to hold up at LT. Dallas Cowboys OT Chaz Green Thinking all the way back to training camp in Oxnard, Green was originally the favorite to be the Cowboys’ starter at LG, after Collins made his transition to RT. Starting Cooper allowed the Cowboys to instead keep the injury-prone Green as tackle depth off the field, having Collins as additional insurance inside should the line be forced to reshuffle. Of course, Cooper also did not survive 2017 without injury, departing the Cowboys’ meaningless week-17 win in Philadelphia with a knee injury. All indications are that he should be ready for next season, whether he is with the Cowboys or elsewhere. This sudden uncertainty on the Cowboys’ offensive line warrants this question: Should Dallas use the 19th pick on another offensive lineman? The Cowboys could get maximum value out of this pick by drafting a tackle with the ability to start his career at guard. In a draft class that lacks “star power” at the top, where the best overall player may be Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson, making this safe pick at 19th overall is far from the worst thing the Cowboys could do. In doing so, there is no hiding the fact the Cowboys would have to ignore more pressing needs elsewhere on both sides of the ball. Plugging Jonathan Cooper back in at left guard, and looking for depth behind Smith later in the draft or in free agency could open up the board elsewhere in the first round. If recent history is any indication, this will basically be the Cowboys approach leading up to the draft. The Cowboys don’t like entering the draft pigeonholed at any one position, allowing them to draft the best player available. Last year’s draft also tells us a pure “BPA in round one” approach is far from reality for the Cowboys, as Head Coach Jason Garrett made his winning pitch for Michigan DE Taco Charlton over other highly graded prospects in Dallas. Dallas Cowboys LT Tyron Smith, RG Zack Martin, C Travis Frederick Knowing how well this current front office and scouting staff evaluates offensive line talent, making the greatest strength even stronger feels like one of the most reassuring ways for the Cowboys to return to form in 2018. Expecting 16 games out of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys could be much closer to the 13-win team they were in 2016, or 12-win team of 2014 with a better-than-ever OL and healthy defense. As the Cowboys roster stands currently, there aren’t many positions where immediate starters could be drafted in the first round or beyond. Defensive tackle, linebacker, safety, and wide receiver stand out as four potential areas in need of young talent. Whether or not the team feels like they can wait to continue building their fast-developing defense or add weapons for Prescott until later in the draft — or wait to risk seeing their offensive line actually hold them back again — is going to be a difficult decision that will leave some fans unhappy, no matter the outcome. For a talented team with ten picks in this 2018 NFL Draft, starting the roster build in April by hitting on a potentially needed OL pick at 19th overall feels like a great way to get the Cowboys back on track. Tell us what you think about “Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading NFL Draft Sean’s Scout: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys Published 2 days ago on January 19, 2018 By Sean Martin Daniel Dunn / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images It is not often at all that a team picking 19th overall may be out of range to draft a small school prospect, but this is rightfully the case for the Dallas Cowboys and UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. For scouts who only care about how these prospects can help their NFL teams, Davenport has all of the traits to be an impact defensive end the second he enters the league. Should the Cowboys find themselves in position to draft Marcus Davenport in the first round, he would fill an immediate need as another pure pass rusher to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence. Firmly a first round player on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, let’s take a closer look at Davenport’s potential fit in Dallas. Davenport5 – Streamable Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. What is most exciting about Davenport’s projection to the NFL is that he’s an ideal right defensive end prospect that played mostly on the left side in college. That means Davenport is stout against the run as a powerful player who also displays freakish speed, dip, and balance as a quarterback hunter. “Simply forcing offensive tackles to respect his rare combination of speed and dip allows Marcus Davenport to knock them backwards with hands-above-eyes technique.” Davenport1 – Streamable Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. This quote and accompanying film clip comes from my full scouting report on Marcus Davenport on Slant Sports. There simply aren’t many EDGE prospects at the top of any given draft as complete as Davenport, while still showing elite upside to get even better. Davenport does not exactly have a plan for each of his rushes, but pointing him at the quarterback on every play from the RDE spot in Dallas could do him nothing but good from day one. This is a player who captures the corner with ease, thanks to his burst and length, doing so with the balance to absolutely punish blockers. When Marcus Davenport hits someone, they go backwards. This is a great thing to say about any defensive prospect, particularly a pass rusher who can also bend the corner. Davenport4 – Streamable Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. “There simply aren’t many snaps on which he allows a blocker to work inside of his frame.” The only slight projection that has to be made on Davenport playing defensive end with the Cowboys is his transition from playing mostly in a two-point stance to putting his hand on the ground. This technical change does little to affect a defensive end’s pass rush approach. The strength Marcus Davenport shows in his hands is absolutely stunning, and equally as impressive is his controlled acceleration ability. These two traits alone are more than enough to expect Davenport to be able to beat left tackles at the next level with consistency, attacking them before they can reach this lengthy prospect. “Tapping into Davenport’s full potential could be as simple as getting him in the habit of rushing the half man on every rep, but expecting him to do so right away is a projection.” With Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli notorious for getting the most out of his defensive linemen, there is no question that Dallas is an ideal landing spot for Marcus Davenport to instantly reach his full potential. The key to unleashing Davenport on the NFL will be teaching the mental aspects of the position to a player who dominated with raw traits in college. Davenport3 – Streamable Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. The Cowboys have some numbers to sort out at defensive end before the draft, as the likes of Charles Tapper and Randy Gregory could potentially give them enough of a presence across from Lawrence to warrant looking elsewhere with the 19th overall pick. Of course, Dallas also used last year’s first selection on DE Taco Charlton — who took major strides in his game towards the end of 2017. None of this should deter them from reinforcing their defensive front with another versatile pass rusher. Marcus Davenport has a legitimate case to come off the board within the first 15 picks of the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, making him a great value for the Cowboys, slated to pick 19th. Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter My latest scouting report is UTSA’s Marcus Davenport. Get to know this tenacious EDGE prospect — https://t.co/Fm9FYpNvsT https://t.co/DBcLiQEYhP Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL! ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading NFL Draft Cowboys Land Small School WR in Latest PFF Mock Draft Published 2 days ago on January 19, 2018 By Kevin Brady Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post It’s officially draft season around the NFL, meaning — whether you like it or not — it’s now mock draft season. Pro Football Focus is the latest of the national football media outlets to release a mock draft. Their version of the draft was controversial towards the top, but their pick for the Cowboys was equally intriguing. PFF has the Cowboys taking Colorado State Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, with the 19th overall pick, a player they graded with a 92.1 in 2017. “Dallas could go a number of ways here, but they add another receiving threat in Gallup, who can win with speed down the field and toughness at the catch point. He was the nation’s top-graded receiver in 2017 at 92.1 overall, and he adds another weapon for QB Dak Prescott.” Personally, I’m a huge fan of Michael Gallup. As I stated in my scouting report of Michael Gallup for Slant Sports, I believe he is one of the top-five receivers in the 2018 draft class. Gallup caught 100 passes last season for Colorado State, finishing with 1,413 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. At 6’1″ and about 200 pounds, Michael Gallup is the perfect productive Z receiver that any NFL offense would want. nfldraft2018 michael gallup 2 – Streamable Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop. Gallup is a smart, athletic, and tough wide out, with consistent hands and excellent ball tracking skills. He was incredibly productive in college, and should be able to contribute to an NFL offense right away as a rookie. Drafting Gallup in the first round, however, may not be the best move. I think he’s a fantastic day-two option for the Cowboys. But if they were to pass on Vita Vea and Roquan Smith for Michael Gallup, as they did in this PFF mock draft, I don’t think Cowboys Nation would be too happy. Of course, this is just one of many mock drafts circling around the inter-webs, but Michael Gallup would be a great fit for the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas desperately needs this type of wide out in their offense, but I hope they can get him 50th overall, rather than 19th. ADVERTISEMENT Continue Reading Sportsbook odds for all Dallas Cowboys games Reader Survey Want to help make Inside The Star better? We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device. > Take the survey now Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.). Advertisement Advertisement Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! 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