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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: North Carolina State WR Jakobi Meyers

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: North Carolina State WR Jakobi Myers

Each and every passing day brings us closer and closer to the most exciting event of the offseason… the 2019 NFL Draft. The time will surely pass slowly between now and then, which is why diving into the draft process and all that it encompasses could be the only thing to occupy our minds during this downtime.

In order to try and help all of us pass the time, I've decided to share with you some of the prospects the Dallas Cowboys could target in this year's draft class. Today, I want to focus on the focus on the wide receiver position.

The East-West Shrine game and the 2019 Senior Bowl have provided a few potential draft targets the Cowboys could be interested in, and they've reportedly met with quite a few wide receivers already. With Cole Beasley's potential departure via free agency it makes sense, so finding his replacement could be a top priority.

Enter Jakobi Meyers, former North Carolina State wide receiver.

Below, I've provided a brief scouting report on Jakobi Meyers' strengths and weaknesses as a WR and his potential fit with the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys met with him at the Senior Bowl, meaning he is at least on their radar.


2019 Senior Bowl Weigh-in

Jakobi Meyers, WR, NC State | HT: 6-1 3/4 | WT: 196 | Age: 22

Measurements - Arm: 32 1/8 | Hand: 9 5/8 | Wing Spin: 76 1/2


Strengths

Jakobi Meyers

NC State WR Jakobi Meyers

Jakobi Meyers played the majority of his snaps at NC State out of the slot. He has tremendous size for a slot WR, but could make the transition to the outside in the NFL.

No red flags that I could find.

He is a solid route runner and shows pretty good separation quickness on tape. He uses his quick feet and varies his pace to lull defenders asleep. Will get even better in this area once he improves his footwork a little with better coaching in the NFL.

Route-running/Separation:

Meyers route running

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The play above was an easy pitch and catch between QB Ryan Finley and WR Jakobi Meyers and shows some of the separation he can create because of his route running ability.

Meyers executes the out route - probably the route he runs best - perfectly for an easy completion. With the CB playing in off coverage he effectively sells the go route, then sticks his outside foot in the ground squaring off his route to the outside.

His best trait though as a WR might be his ball skills. He shows tremendous concentration when the ball is thrown his way. In fact, I didn't see him drop any passes in the games I studied. He also possesses a wide catching radius with the flexibility to adjust and high-point the ball as a down the field receiver, although he wasn't utilized much in this manner in college.

Concentration/Ball Skills:

Jakobi Meyers

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

On this play you can see why I believe Meyers can play on the outside as well as in the slot in the NFL.

He shows tremendous concentration and athletic ability to go up and catch this ball at the highest point. This isn't an easy catch to make. Despite there being a little hand fighting going on with the CB, he was able to use his vice grip like hands to catch the ball and secure it all the way to the ground. It's somewhat surprising he wasn't utilized more down the field at NC State.

Meyers is also unafraid to carry his routes across the middle and shows really good competitive toughness. Doesn't give up on plays. Quickly goes from receiver to blocker when necessary.

Has a really good football IQ. He sees the field really well and quickly finds the open space against zone coverage. Does a really good job of using his big body to shield defenders. Smart blocker as well. Stalk blocks and gets his hands inside on the defenders chest. His size definitely helps him in this area.

Weaknesses

Jakobi Meyers

NC State WR Jakobi Meyers

Most of the weaknesses in Jakobi Meyers' game are due to the fact he is still learning the intricacies it takes to play the wide receiver position. He has only three seasons under his belt at WR after making the transition from quarterback.

The one thing he probably needs to improve the most in his game is his footwork. He has decent quickness, but his footwork isn't where needs to be yet. He often times takes too many steps to try to set up his routes. Wish there was a little more juice when he makes his cuts in order to create max separation.

Footwork:

Jakobi Meyers TD

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Despite scoring a touchdown, the play above is a good example of why Jakobi Meyers needs to improve his footwork. He has a habit of taking too many choppy steps to try to confuse the defender, but lacks the explosion and quickness to create max separation out of his break. Improved footwork will improve his route running.

Not the most explosive athlete. This hurts his ability to pick up yards after the catch, something I didn't see a lot of on tape at NC State. This also means he's not going to be the burner-type WR in the NFL. He has decent long speed, but needs time to build up to hit top gear.

Having played mostly out of the slot at NC State, he will more than likely struggle against press coverage in the NFL. He has the size to do it, just wasn't asked to in college.

Needs to do a better job sinking his hips when coming in and out of his routes. He's never going to be a shifty/change of direction WR due to his size, but learning to sink his hips when getting in and out of his route will help in that area. Also needs to learn to sell his routes vertically better in order to be more efficient with those underneath routes.

Summary

Overall, Jakobi Meyers is an intriguing draft target for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite just having three years under his belt at wide receiver after transitioning from quarterback, you can see he possesses the skill set required to play the position. He's just an unfinished product, but the natural ability is there. His ball skills and natural hands are easily the most impressive part of his game.

He would still likely remain in the slot with the Cowboys. No one's going to confuse him with Cole Beasley, but he could be an adequate replacement nonetheless. His ability to play in the slot and on the outside in time could make the offense more diverse, because he does have the ability to be a down the field receiver.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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NFL Draft

2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.

J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.

But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.



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NFL Draft

Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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