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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: WR Chris Godwin Would Complement Dez Bryant Perfectly

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft: WR Chris Godwin Would Compliment Dez Bryant Perfectly

You may or may not have known, but this past Saturday some of the top 2017 wide receiver prospects were in Indianapolis, Indiana taking part in the 2017 NFL Scouting combine. The coaches and scouts for the Dallas Cowboys were on hand and with the need to upgrade the wide receiver position, you can bet they were paying close attention. Penn State's WR, Chris Godwin, put on quite a show and could possibly be the Cowboys draft target on Day Two of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think he would be the perfect complement playing opposite Dez Bryant.

Chris Godwin may have been the receiver that helped himself the most this weekend, because he ended up being one of the top performers in several of the combine events. He ran one of the fastest 40 yard dashes (4.42 seconds) and also finished as one of the top performers on the bench press with 19 repetitions. I personally thought his strength and speed showed up on his game tape, but it caught some people by surprise.

Godwin is one of the more complete wide receivers in this draft class and as such would be the perfect complement to play opposite Dez Bryant. He is more than willing to do the dirty work as a blocker, is a strong natural hands catcher, has the speed to gain separation at the next level, and excels at coming down with contested catches.

Let's take a closer look at why I believe Chris Godwin would be the perfect complement to play opposite Dez Bryant and improve the Cowboys passing game. I used his bowl game against USC to reference for this article, because his skill set was on full display.

Willingness to Block

Blocking - Streamable

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In the clip above, you see Chris Godwin not only make his assigned block in the running game, but he did so with authority. I could've gone with a number of different plays where Godwin stocks the defensive back and secures his block, but this one play shows his willingness to do the dirty work.

This was no easy block to make. The safety was crashing down to make a play in the running game, so Godwin had to take the proper angle to make sure that he made his assigned block. Not only does he take out the safety, but it also takes out a defensive lineman who was working his way down the line of scrimmage to make the play.

The Dallas Cowboys place high value on their #2 wide receivers being able to block in the running game and down the field. Chris Godwin has that ability in spades, which means there wouldn't be much of a downgrade from Terrance Williams' departure, who by the way was undervalued in this area.

Let's take a look at his wide catching radius and his ability to catch the ball with his hands.

Wide Catching Radius and Strong Hands

Hands - Streamable

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This was a spectacular play made by Godwin. At the start of the play, you see him give a little stutter step to keep a little bit of separation between himself and the cornerback. You then see him carry his route up the field before giving a head fake to the outside and planting off his outside foot to break to the inside.

There are three defenders in the area, so the quarterback throws the ball behind Godwin, where only he can make the catch. Godwin is able to stop his route and contort his body the opposite direction, all the while reaching out with his left hand and securing the catch.

This was a 3rd and 9 play. Godwin's impressive catch not only picked up the first down, but put Penn State in field goal range.

Now, let's take a look at how he uses that 4.42 speed and one of my favorite attributes of Chris Godwin's, his concentration.

Separation and Concentration

Separation and concentration - Streamable

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The first thing that Chris Godwin and his QB should have noticed on this play is that he is in single coverage. At the snap of the ball, Godwin is able to give a little stutter step to get a clean release to the outside. He uses his speed to gain separation down the sideline and all the QB had to do was drop it over the top for an easy TD.

Unfortunately, the QB wasn't able to get enough on his throw, which led the CB to close the gap and make it a much more difficult catch for Godwin. The CB was able to tip the ball, but Godwin never loses focus and continues to track the ball to complete the reception for the touchdown.

Chris Godwin wasn't used much as a deep threat at Penn State, but this is an area of his game that the Dallas Cowboys could utilize. His speed and concentration to make contested catches is something that opposing defenses will have to account for, which would open things up for Dez Bryant on the opposite side.

Strength and Balance

Strength and balance - Streamable

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Chris Godwin has exceptional strength and balance for a wide receiver, as evidenced by his 19 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine. You can really tell that he has put in the work in the weight room and it shows in the play he was able to make in the clip above.

On this play, Godwin shows his ability to go up and catch the ball at the highest point. The cornerback is right there to make the tackle, but only manages to spin Godwin around. Godwin is able to regain his balance by using the "limp leg" and pick up another five or 6 yards.

The "limp leg" drill is something we used to practice on a regular basis when I was playing. I don't know if that is officially what it's called, but it's purpose is to use your free hand to regain your balance and that is exactly what Chris Godwin does.

Overall, Chris Godwin has all the physical traits that the Dallas Cowboys look for in their #2 or "Y" wide receivers. Before the 2017 NFL combine, I had a third round grade on him, but now I could see him slipping into the second round.

If the Dallas Cowboys want to secure his services, they will likely have to use their second round draft pick (60th overall) on him. Drafting a wide receiver this early certainly is not out of the question, but with such a deep draft class, they could decide to address a position a little later.



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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. David G Siter

    March 6, 2017 at 11:04 am

    He will be an Eagle!!!!

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      March 6, 2017 at 11:15 am

      The
      Eagles could use all the help they can get

  2. James Alipo

    March 6, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I really like this kid as well. Amazing blocker with good size/speed combination which is exactly what Dallas wants on the outside. I think Dallas Will almost have too go DE/CB in rounds 1&2, But if this kid is able to slip into round 3 Dallas will be hard pressed to find a better selection. I know the Cowboys value there board more then any other team but i cant see a way they don’t go DE/CB in Round 1, CB/DE round 2, WR/TE round 3

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      March 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      I
      don’t think the Cowboys necessarily have to go DE and CB in rounds one and two.
      This is a deep draft for both positions and the Cowboys still have quite a few
      other needs that they need to fill. They will stick to the board because when
      you start reaching for certain positions, that’s when you get in trouble.

      • James Alipo

        March 6, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        This draft is sooo Deep in high end talent at DE and CB that it almost protects teams from reaching since even the 10th best Edge rusher will be a tier 1 prospect

  3. Lisa Sweeden

    March 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Well good all we need now in the team …is some awesome defense players cause I’m sorry but my sweet guy Sean lee …my man just can’t do it all y’all….then we will have an awesome Dallas cowboy team and be super bowl champs next one …

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      March 10, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Lisa, you can bet that the Cowboys are going to everything in their power to improve their defense.

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NFL Draft

Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

The Dallas Cowboys have taken a few risks when on the clock in the second round of the NFL Draft in recent years. Randy Gregory and Jaylon Smith, both important starters on defense, were drafted to the Cowboys after they went down on many teams' draft boards. In 2019, they'll have the opportunity to take yet another risk. Recently, one of the best defensive tackles in this year's class, Jeffery Simmons, suffered a torn ACL while going through a drill during his workout in Florida.

Simmons took to Twitter to share the unfortunate news that will drastically affect his draft stock only a couple of months before the Draft.

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

https://t.co/0NAzPv0bvY

Before the injury, Jeffery Simmons was seen as a top draft prospect. Some even envisioned him being drafted in the top 10. As a 21-year old defensive tackle from Mississippi State, Simmons had an impressive career during his time in college football. In three seasons he managed to rack up 157 tackles and seven sacks.

If one thing is clear it's that the Mississippi State product will be an impact player when he gets on the field on Sundays. His quick reaction on the get-off will still interest a lot of teams despite his injury. A sound defender on the running and passing game, he'll pay big dividends for whichever team decides to pull the trigger on him come April.

Due to their recent second round draft history, I can't help but wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will consider him when they're on the clock in the second round. This year though, there will be a big difference. Pick #58 will be the first time the Cowboys will be on the clock in this year's draft after trading away their first rounder for Amari Cooper last year.

It will be tough for them to wait until the third round to pick a player they could actually put on the field for the 2019 season. Specially considering the fact that they're a football team with title aspirations this year. Despite their history and the fact that Simmons will be one hell of a pro, I believe the team will not want to make such a pick in the second without a first round selection.

The team has a big need at DT, although Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins were very serviceable in 2018. We'll see how tempted they are if Jeffery Simmons is still on the board when they're on the clock.

Tell me what you think about "Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?" 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 Draft: Film Notes on Maryland Safety Darnell Savage Jr.

John Williams

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Cowboys Draft: Film Notes on Maryland Safety Darnell Savage Jr.

The Dallas Cowboys defense was one of the better units throughout the season, but it wasn't without its flaws. An area where they struggled was in creating turnovers and at times against the run. As good as they were in 2018, they have positions where they can use upgrades; defensive tackle and safety. Xavier Woods showed a lot of promise in his second season with the Dallas Cowboys and should continue to be a prominent player moving forward, but Jeff Heath's full-time role may have run its course. Today we're going to look at Darnell Savage Jr, safety from Maryland.

Per College Football Reference, Darnell Savage Jr. stands at 5-11 and weighs in right at 200 pounds. In his last three years at Maryland he played in 35 games. He averaged 56.67 tackles, 2.67 interceptions (3.5 per season over his last two seasons and four in his senior season), and three tackles for loss over his final three seasons. He had eight pass deflections as a junior and two more as a senior.

Savage could be a player that's in play for the Dallas Cowboys at number 58 of the second round.

I watched the Texas and Temple Games from 2018.

Darnell Savage Jr. Film Notes

  • Maryland lined him up in two-deep cover two looks a lot and dropped him into different coverages. From his two-deep alignment, he would move into cover-3, cover-4, and man coverages.
  • Temple or Texas looked to avoid him as part of their game plans. The one time the either Texas or Temple through his way, he came down from his 2-deep look into man coverage and jumped a five yard out route and intercepted the pass, taking it to the end zone for a touchdown.
  • He's excellent in diagnosing bubbles screens and swing passes. On several occasions he met the ball carrier five yards behind the line of scrimmage and dropped him for a loss.
  • Savage wraps up in the open field against. Once he diagnoses the play, he gets moving toward the ball in a flash.
  • Willing to take on bigger blockers and receivers with the ball in their hands. Stymied the 6-4 225 pound Lil' Jordan Humphrey from Texas on a bubble screen after Humphrey had broken one tackle. Savage wrapped him up and brought him to the ground.
  • Temple attempted to run a reverse after the hand off and Savage came all the way from across the field to meet the runner for a six yard loss.
  • Plays with excellent speed and aggressiveness when he sees the play. Sometimes Savage gets caught watching the action on his side of the field and doesn't recognize what is happening in the middle or opposite side of the field.
  • Several times on the read-option, it appeared that he didn't recognize that the QB had given the ball away. It could be that he was schemed to take the quarterback, but one time the runner went against the grain to Savage's side of the field and he was unable to get to him before he scored a short touchdown.
  • Maryland had Savage cover tight ends and wide receivers and again, Temple and Texas didn't throw his way much at all.
  • Again, in a two-deep safety look came up from 10 yards deep to make a play on a toss to the running back and tackled him for a four yard loss. It's dangerous to run things to the perimeter with this guy. If he gets to the line of scrimmage unblocked, he's bringing you down.
  • When blocked on runs to the perimeter, he does a good job of stringing the play to the outside. Savage works his blocker and doesn't give up on the play. He fights to get unblocked in order to make a play.
  • When a team runs play action or hands the ball off out of shotgun or pistol formations, Savage is slower to react and diagnose the play. He'll need to get quicker in processing what's happening there at the next level.
  • One of the more impressive plays I saw him make was on a trick play. Temple attempted to run a wide receiver pass to the outside. Everyone bought the wide receiver reverse and even Savage did too, but was able to use his quickness and speed to make up five yards of separation that the Temple receiver had on him to be in good coverage. The Temple receiver wasn't able to come down with the catch and Savage's coverage affected that.

Summary

Darnell Savage Jr. doesn't have a ton of height, but he's an explosive player who can play down in the box and in two deep looks for the Cowboys. He's a guy that would pair well with Xavier Woods as you could use those two interchangeably depending on the matchup you face week-to-week. He's an aggressive player who uses his speed to get into the play and cause disruption. Savage could be around for the Dallas Cowboys at 58 and if they don't sign one of the big name free agent safeties, should be the selection. If he isn't a day one starter, he'd be starting by the end of the season.



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NFL Draft

Pre-Combine Position Rankings: Sorting Out The Tight Ends

Kevin Brady

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Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists

It's pretty much universally agreed that the Dallas Cowboys have a need for a starting tight end, particularly one who can stretch the field as a receiving threat.

Despite not having a first round pick, this class should give the Cowboys an opportunity to add tight end talent to their roster through the NFL Draft.

Will that be TE1 talent, though? Or will it just be another replacement-level tight end on a roster which already seems full of them?

Let's get into my top 5 tight ends of this 2019 class, and see what they could potentially bring to the Cowboys this season and beyond.

1. TJ Hockenson, Iowa

The clear TE1 in this class is TJ Hockenson. The 2018 John Mackey Award winner earned his way to the top of this list with his versatility, lining up in-line and as a slot receiver for Iowa during his college career.

At 6'5" 243 pounds, Hockenson looks like he was made in a tight-end producing lab, and he has the athleticism and ability to maximize his build.

In the run game TJ Hockenson is a good blocker, showcasing excellent effort and competitiveness through his blocks. A technical route runner with good hands, a plus-catch radius, and legitimate yards-after-catch ability, Hockenson has a chance to be the very first offensive skill player off the board this Spring.

2. Noah Fant, Iowa

Hockenson's teammate at Iowa, Noah Fant, comes in at number two on my tight end rankings. While Hockenson is the more well-rounded of the two players, Fant certainly has more athletic upside. I expect him to test better than Hockenson will at the combine, and has the receiving skills to be a real threat at the next level.

Noah Fant fits the bill for a modern NFL tight end, flexing out wide and threatening defenses vertically with his receiving ability. A long player with good route running ability and speed, Fant is able to create separation against defensive backs in a variety of ways.

Fant is far from a one-trick pony, and would be an excellent addition to a Cowboys offense which is yearning for this type of flex-threat from the tight end position.

Unfortunately, he won't last anywhere near 58th overall.

3. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

Cowboys Draft Target: Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr.

Can I interest you in a tight end who averaged 16.3 yards per catch and scored 7 touchdowns last season? If so, meet Alabama's Irv Smith Jr.

Smith is the number three tight end on my board entering the combine, and I really don't expect him to drop whatsoever in the coming months. Smith is an athletic player who runs good routes and offers excellent run blocking ability. He's not as refined as Hockenson nor as athletic/explosive as Fant, but he combines the in-line and flex abilities of the two to a certain extent.

Smith is the first somewhat-plausible target for the Cowboys on this list, though I'd still be surprised if he lasted until 58th overall.

4. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

Jace Sternberger came out of nowhere last season at Texas A&M. Relatively unknown before the 2018 season, Sternberger finished the year with 800+ yards and 10 touchdowns on 48 catches, and earned All-American honors for his production.

Now he has a chance to be a second round pick in the 2019 draft, and is finding himself mocked to the Cowboys by many major draft media outlets. Sternberger fits the prototype of the modern receiving tight end, with better speed and hands than most others in his class. Though he is still raw in many areas, his upside is intriguing, and there's no doubt he's a pretty good player as is.

Like the first three, it's hard to imagine I will move Sternbeger any lower than fourth in this class, and he is a legitimate option for the Cowboys 58th overall.

5. Isaac Nauta, Georgia

While the first four tight ends on this list will make their money with their passing game production, Georgia's Isaac Nauta looks like more of an old-school run blocker. Nauta is right up there with any tight end in this class in terms of blocking, and would be an immediate contributor to the Cowboys' run game in that area.

He's still growing in multiple areas as a receiver, however, such as his route running and yards-after-catch ability. Still, I think Nauta is much better as a receiver than his college production would suggest. He, like others in that talented Georgia offense, got lost in the shuffle a bit, and didn't get the number of targets he could have seen elsewhere.

There's a real possibility Nauta is available at 58 when the Cowboys pick, and I wouldn't be surprised if he were the pick either.



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