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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Scouting UDFA Arkansas OL Dan Skipper

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Scouting UDFA Arkansas OL Dan Skipper

After passing on all available offensive linemen during the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys decided to add a few through undrafted free agency. One of the bigger names which was signed to a deal after the draft concluded was Arkansas Razorbacks offensive tackle Dan Skipper.

Standing at 6'10" 309 pounds, it's pretty easy to spot Skipper when turning on the tape. For a tackle, this size and length are certainly attractive to coaching staffs who believe they may be able to fine-tune his technique and blocking skills for the next level.

You can't teach size, although Skipper's height does work against him at times as well.

Strengths

Working in a pro-style offense at Arkansas, Skipper was able to flash the ability to work off combo blocks with guards and get to the second level. Skipper flashed decent athleticism at times as well, especially for his size.

NFLDraft Dan Skipper Positive - Streamable

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Here we see Skipper (left tackle) stone the 3-technique to help out his guard before advancing to the second level and cutting off the linebacker. The Cowboys run a ton of zone-blocking schemes in run game where their tackles are asked to handle similar tasks. Skipper's experience already using these techniques is very valuable.

NFLDraft Dan Skipper Positive 2 - Streamable

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Once again we get an example of Dan Skipper's functional athleticism. With a good get-off, efficient feet, and strong hands, Skipper is able to reach the edge defender (7-technique) and seal the edge for a big run.

Skipper also shows strong hands when run blocking, mauling defenders once getting himself into the right position. I love when offensive linemen play with an edge, and Skipper plays like the "prick" I want all of my big uglies to be. This nastiness is one of my favorite traits of Dan Skipper.

Weaknesses

He does, however, come with his flaws, especially in pass protection.

While his massive size can be seen as plus in many ways, it also puts him at a disadvantage at times. With his chest exposed during his kick-set, power rush moves such as a strong bull rush can knock Skipper off his track. He will need to tighten up his base and strengthen his initial punch/upper body to withstand those bull rushes.

He also must make sure to bend at the knee a bit more, and loosen up his hips.

NFLDraft Dan Skipper Negative - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Skipper also struggles to attain, and maintain leverage on blocks. Stiff in the hips at times, I'd like to see Skipper work his pad level down more often, and drive his hips through blocks. In the NFL, he won't be able to rely so much on being bigger and stronger than the guy across from him, which could expose his spotty technique.

The Verdict

Dan Skipper is a player I found myself to be higher on than most during the draft process. While I had a 5th-6th round grade on him, I certainly considered him draft-able, making his signing as an UDFA a smart move.

Inevitably, it is going to be tough for Skipper to break through this offensive line depth chart. With four almost guaranteed starters already on the roster, and guys like Chaz Green, Emmett Cleary and Jonathan Cooper seemingly assuming roles, it will certainly be an uphill climb for Skipper to make the final 53.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Russ_Te

    May 20, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Can never recall a 6′ 10″ player in the NFL – going back to early 1970’s. Harold Carmichael was a WR for the Eagles in the 70’s, 6′ 8″. Ed “Too Tall” Jones was 6′ 9″

    Skipper does look like he has something in the way of agility on those running plays. I’m sure the reason he fell off draft boards is that the height is a liability in pass block.

    He’s a total project anyway, so after it’s determined he’s too beatable by DE’s in the pass game, you’d like to take a flyer on him at TE. If he can get off the LOS – and it looks like he does as an OT – then you run that hook that Witten runs and you lay it up where only Skipper can get it.

    You’d get him to pare down to about 290 for more quicks, and try to turn him into a mammoth, power TE. He’d figure to be a great run blocker from TE also.

  2. Kevin Black

    May 20, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I did notice that he has an exceptionally long torso, so his hips aren’t that much higher than some of the taller OTs out there, but this also exposes his chest quite a bit. If he doesn’t improve his technique, which we could say about any lineman coming out of college, he will struggle quite a bit in pass protection.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills

Although the Dallas Cowboys won't be on the clock in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, they essentially invested their first pick in Amari Cooper. However, wide receiver remains a need for the team, specially with Cole Beasley heading for free agency. Out of West Virginia, Wide Receiver David Sills is an interesting potential target for Dallas. A quarterback-turned-wide-receiver story, Sills is one of those guys who constantly shows up when you watch his football team play. That's what you want in a receiver.

Let's dive in.

During his time playing for the West Virginia Mountaineers, David Sills was a scoring machine. He scored 35 career touchdowns (15 in 2018, 18 in 2017) and caught over 980 yards in each of his two seasons as a starter. The Big 12 is known for its lack of good defensive backs, which will naturally raise skepticism when discussing how good Sills really is but it shouldn't.

Sills is 6-foot-4 and weighs 210 pounds. His frame is constantly criticized but thanks to his size and his excellent ability to high point the football that shouldn't be an issue. He's one of the best in this draft class when it comes to 50-50 jump balls. He shines the most as a vertical threat, including over the middle of the field, which should be an interesting trait for the Dallas Cowboys. Throughout his career, he was almost indefensible when given the opportunity at deep over the shoulder passes.

Although he doesn't have the best acceleration, Sills' build-up speed can be lethal for opposing defensive backs. Paired with this is his skill to adjust for deep balls, slowing down when necessary to take on defenders.

What I personally like the most about Sills is his play in goal line situations. Whether it's playing inside on a slant or running a fade route, the Mountaineer wide receiver surely made a lot of opposing defenses suffer. Thanks to his background as a quarterback, his understanding of defensive coverages is pretty solid. He manages to find the defense's soft spots and get open constantly.

But why isn't he valued as a top prospect on this year's NFL Draft? Well, unfortunately, there are a few reasons for this.

First off, David Sills had some problems in the "drops" department. He has plenty of body catches that aren't necessary. When balls weren't on target, he often didn't make the play despite counting with a pretty good catch radius. He can greatly improve in his route running abilities and he was challenged by true press cornerbacks, struggling to release early.

For the Dallas Cowboys, Sills could be a solid contributor as a vertical threat and in the red-zone, where the offense struggled so much last season. With the class being quite loaded at wide receiver this year, Sills should be a realistic target even in the fourth round.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Draft: Looking at West Virginia WR David Sills" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Receive 4th-Round Compensatory Pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Jess Haynie

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Why Finishing 8-8 Improves Cowboys' 2018 NFL Draft Position

The Dallas Cowboys will receive an extra fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft after the league awarded compensatory picks today.

The pick will be 136th overall, which is one spot below were Dallas drafted Dak Prescott in 2016.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

And in other news... NFL awarded compensatory draft picks today - Patriots and Rams each received two third-round picks. The full list, per sources:

We have Anthony Hitchens to thank for this extra pick. The former Cowboys linebacker signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the Chiefs last offseason which far surpassed any of the deal that Dallas made with their own free agent acquisitions.

Only free agents whose contracts expired, not those released in the offseason by their previous team, count towards the compensatory pick formula.  Therefore, Allen Hurns' deal was not a mitigating factor.

As mentioned already, the fourth round of the NFL Draft recently gave Dallas its starting quarterback. Other notable fourth-round picks in the modern era have been Hitchens, Doug Free, Marion Barber, and Chris Canty.

Last year, Dallas drafted DE Dorance Armstrong and TE Dalton Schultz with fourth-round picks.

Already short their first and sixth-round picks this year from previous trades, the Cowboys are certainly happy to have this extra selection for April's draft.



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NFL Draft

7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Pre-Combine Edition

Brian Martin

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3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys 2

I thought it would be a good idea to get out another 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft before the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine kicks off next week. Not only will the Combine shakeup a lot of people's big boards and draft rankings, but it will also be the first opportunity a lot of us will get to see some of these players firsthand.

For this Cowboys mock draft I used Matt Miller's big board on Fanspeak.com. I don't necessarily agree with where he has some of these players ranked right now, but that's part of the fun of doing these kind of exercises. With that said, he is still one of my favorite draft analysts.

Without further ado, here is my Pre-Combine 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft.

TE, Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (2nd-round)

*189th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Jace Sternberger

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger (John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports)

First off, I think Matt Miller has Jace Sternberger ranked way too low on his Big Board. I don't think he will make it out of the second round and may not even be available for the Dallas Cowboys when they are on the clock with the 58th overall pick. But if he is, I'm writing his name down on the draft card and not looking back.

The Cowboys have made it pretty clear they want to upgrade their TE position, but in order to do that they're going to have to draft one pretty early in my opinion. Sternberger may be a one-year wonder at Texas A&M, but he is exactly what Quarterback Dak Prescott needs in the passing game. He would change the dynamic of this whole offense.

At 6'4", 250 pounds, Sternberger has the size the Cowboys look for in their starting tight ends. His biggest asset right now is his natural receiving ability and how dangerous he is after the catch. He runs and moves like a big receiver. He's decent as an in-line blocker as well, but it's an area of his game that is still improving.

OT, Bobby Evans, Oklahoma (3rd-round)

*89th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Bobby Evans

Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans

It's a little surprising it hasn't been brought up more this offseason, but with Tyron Smith's continued back problems and La'el Collins entering a contract year, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking into drafting another offensive tackle. I know it may be an unpopular pick in the third-round, but I couldn't pass up on Bobby Evans.

At 6'5", 300 pounds, Bobby Evans has the prototypical size teams look for in their starting offensive tackles. He is a smooth athletically gifted lineman who does his best work in the running game. He projects best in a zone blocking scheme where he can use his athleticism to his advantage. He will struggle a little bit in pass protection until he cleans up his hand technique.

With the Cowboys he could compete with La'el Collins for the starting RT position as a rookie, but at the worst be the teams swing tackle in 2019. Since he has the ability to play either tackle position, he would make a good insurance policy if Tyron Smith has to miss time again because of his back issues. Again it may be an unpopular pick, but a necessary one.

OLB, Christian Miller, Alabama (4th-round)

*161st on Matt Miller's Big Board

Christian Miller

Alabama OLB Christian Miller

With the Dallas Cowboys needing more depth at linebacker and defensive end, I decided to select Christian Miller with their first fourth-round draft pick. He unfortunately hasn't been able to showcase his skill set on a regular basis due to being buried on the depth chart at Alabama and some unfortunate injuries, but he has immense potential.

I think a lot of teams will look to draft him as a outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but I really like the variety of roles he could play in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme. I think he could replace Demian Wilson as their strong side linebacker, provide depth at defensive end, and be a special-teams demon as a rookie.

The Cowboys of course will have to be comfortable with his injury history, but in the fourth-round I don't think that would be a problem. If he can stay healthy he has Pro Bowl potential as a pass rusher because of his size (6'4", 247), athleticism and fluidity to bend and torque his body. This might be my favorite pick in this Cowboys mock draft.

DT, Daylon Mack, Texas A&M (4th-round comp pick)

*178th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Daylon Mack

Texas A&M DT Daylon Mack

The Dallas Cowboys could definitely use some more defensive tackle help, especially after all but washing their hands of David Irving. They currently just have Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins on the DT depth chart, unless you want to count Tyrone Crawford. That's why I returned to Texas A&M for the second time in this Cowboys mock draft and selected Daylon Mack.

Daylon Mack is a former five-star recruit who never really lived up to his billing at Texas A&M. Don't let that fool you though, he has the talent to earn a starting job with the Cowboys as a rookie at either the one or three-technique. He is the kind of prospect Rod Marinelli would love to work with.

At 6'1", 327 pounds, Mack would provide some much-needed beef to the Cowboys defensive front. He has surprising athletic ability for his size and has a devastating first step to be the kind of disruptive DT Marinelli prefers along his DL. I really love his violent hands and raw athletic ability, and I believe he could be an absolute steal in the fourth-round even though Matt Miller has him ranked much lower.

WR, Jalen Hurd, Baylor (5th-round)

*159th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Jalen Hurd

Baylor WR Jalen Hurd

Outside of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, the wide receiver position in Dallas is pretty dreadful. There are some young WRs who show some promise, but they still need more depth regardless. That's why I decided to take Jalen Hurd in the fifth-round in this Cowboys mock draft. He is one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire 2019 draft class.

The most intriguing aspect of Hurd's game is his background as a running back. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and was once considered a top RB prospect during his time in Tennessee before deciding to transfer to Baylor in order to switch to wide receiver.

At 6'4", 227 pounds, he has the prototypical size teams look for in a WR prospect. He reminds me a little bit of Cordarrelle Patterson, but is much more natural catching the ball. His route running is a little raw, but he has the ability to play in the slot or on the outside, something he did at Baylor. I think he could help replace some of Cole Beasley's lost production.

RB, Bruce Anderson, North Dakota State (7th-round)

* 206th on Matt Miller's Big Board

Bruce Anderson

North Dakota State RB Bruce Anderson

I reached a little bit with this pick, but if Bruce Anderson is available this late in the draft I would do everything within my power to bring him aboard if I was the Dallas Cowboys. I really think he could be the lightning to Ezekiel Elliott's thunder in the Cowboys backfield. I personally have him in the 3rd-5th round range, but can understand why he's ranked so low on Miller's Big Board right now.

Unfortunately, the draft process hasn't been very kind to Bruce Anderson so far. He was originally expected to open a lot of eyes in Mobile at this year's Senior Bowl, but unfortunately sustained an injury that kept him from competing. To make matters worse, he was a surprise snub at the Scouting Combine, meaning he only has private workouts and his Pro Day to impress scouts.

I for one am a big fan of Anderson's though. I believe he is exactly the kind of RB the Cowboys need behind Zeke. I personally see a poor man's Alvin Kamara when I watched his game film because of the different ways he can be utilized as both a runner and receiver. But, he can also contribute on special teams as a return specialist.

How do you feel about this 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft?



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