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NFL Draft

Cowboys Fans Prefer Best Player Available At #4

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Fans Prefer Best Player Available At #4

Yesterday the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers punched their tickets to Super Bowl 50.


There’s been a lot of chatter in the three-week-old 2016 Off-Season and it has primarily centered around the 4th Overall Pick that rests on the shelf of the Dallas Cowboys Front Office. Who will it be used on? Well that’s something that we’ve been talking about quite a bit here at Inside The Star.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Fans Prefer Best Player Available At #4 1

My fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin penned quite the piece that suggested the Cowboys slap that baby on a signal-caller (preferably of the Cal variety… Jared Goff to be specific). That’s a fair opinion, as all are, and I’m glad that Sean presented it for discussion.

There are a lot of people that think that’s a great idea – I’m not one of them.

I gave my own plea for how the 4th Overall Pick should be used, in a direction of the non-quarterback variety, right here. The gist of it is that I want to get some impact in 2016 form the 4th Overall Pick, which I guess is a silly thought, and I don’t want the Cowboys to fall behind the eight ball.

Think about this for a second. Every team, literally every team, will draft a player in the first round this year that will, in theory, immediately make them better. By taking a quarterback, considering we currently employ Tony Romo, we are not taking a step forward like the rest of the NFL – we are taking a step laterally. We’re spotting the entire National Football League that head start entering 2016. What a novel idea.

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Just in case my point hadn’t come across crystal clear enough, I whipped up a fun hypothetical. If you had the 4th Overall Pick and the talent pool was all of the players from the 2014 NFL Draft (save Clowney, Robinson, and Bortles)… who would you take? You can read about all of the great talent you’d be passing up on if you felt the need for a quarterback was too high to not use that pick on.

The world, and Twitter, is full of different opinions. Last week I discussed this issue at length with many of the Staff Writers in the Twitterverse and even on the radio waves when I jumped on with Sean at WMSC Radio last Wednesday.

How could I properly demonstrate just how silly this whole “use the 4th Overall Pick on a QB” thing was? Well in a Twitter debate with a great follower named Duane Stephen… while trying to make my point I came up with the way.

I presented a poll to the loyal members of Cowboys Nation.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Who would you choose if you could have only one of these from the 2015 NFL Draft on the Cowboys moving forward?

So let’s break this down for a second. You (Not you silly, the you who voted! Come on!) are telling me that if you could do it over… knowing what you know now… you would still take Byron Jones over Jameis Winston? Even with the shape that the current Dallas Cowboys are in at the quarterback position?

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YouYea man! Byron is amazing! Did you not watch him in 2015? That dude has so much talent and potential. I know that he didn’t get an interception, but he’s going to be so great for us for so long at safety/corner/wherever! I LOVE Byron Jones!

Me: Did you love him when we drafted him? Were you just as pumped on Draft Day 2015?

You: Oh for sure! He was the best player available so we had to take him. I know we needed a running back and pass rusher back then, but we got Randy Gregory and Darren McFadden so it all worked out. It made total sense and look what Byron’s done! I’m so happy!

Me: Oh ok. Cool. I’m right there with ya, You. Byron is a stud and I’m as pumped as anybody that he’s wearing the Star. He was arguably the best thing to come out of 2015. We park our cars in the same garage, You!

Alright now. We know that the overwhelming majority of Dallas Cowboys fans, 61% to be precise, would prefer Byron to either of the quarterbacks taken first and second overall, respectively, a year ago. I had another question though, so I ran a poll in parallel with this one.

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

If you could have any one of these QBs as the future of the Cowboys, who would it be?

Ok wait a minute. Explain yourself, You.

You: It’s so hard to choose! Jameis is maybe the best talent to come out since Andrew Luck, but Jared Goff is so good! They’re about the same, I mean that’s what the poll says. I’d be happy with either one of them leading the ‘Boys for the future. I’m good with them both!

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Fans Prefer Best Player Available At #4 4

Me: So you’re saying that Winston and Goff are essentially interchangeable, right? You’re down with either one? You like them the exact same?

You: Yessir!

Me: So if Jameis Winston and Jared Goff are interchangeable… doesn’t that mean that you significantly prefer Byron Jones, or in your own words the “best player available”, over Goff?

You: Uh… I mean, I don’t know. I love Byron.

Me: And you said that you drastically preferred him over Jameis. 61% for Byron as opposed to essentially half, 31%, for Jameis… which you said was Goff since they’re interchangeable in terms of talent.

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You: Well I never thought about it like that. I want Jared Goff, though. 

Me: But if you could do it all over again you’d take Byron over Jameis. And Jameis is Goff. Because Byron was the best player available and fills a need that we had and will for a very long time. You just said that you’d rather have that over Jameis… who is Goff.

You: Alright that makes sense. I guess I do prefer the “best player available” when it comes down to it. 

This whole thing was presented as a funny conversation (which I actually had out loud… just so you know), but it’s a legitimate way of thinking. If we would really prefer Byron Jones over Jameis Winston by that wide of a margin… why are we going to settle for Jared Goff? Especially with the 4th Overall Pick?!

It should be noted that the host of Cowboys Cast, Bobby Belt, also ran a poll.

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Goff wins this poll and Carson Wentz comes in at second, just barely above Jameis. But do you see how not far behind Jameis is even in this poll? 12%. Take that into consideration and remember that 30% of voters preferred Byron over Jameis.

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The logic remains the same. The best player available is, for all intents and purposes, the preferred route among members of Cowboys Nation that voted (and my sincere thanks goes out to those that did). Even knowing what they know now. The talent there is worth it.

There’s a Byron Jones out there in the 2016 NFL Draft. And with the 4th Overall Pick chances are we’re going to have a good chance at getting him. Do you really want that pick to be a quarterback because he’s a great and talented prospect?

Or do you want a guy who’s the best player available? A guy who you already said you wanted?

The votes are in. Best Player Available is the way to go. Let’s do it.

RJ Ochoa on Fancred

What do you want to do with the 4th Overall Pick? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about “Cowboys Fans Prefer Best Player Available At #4” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!


I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

  • Randy Martin

    What if the BPA is Laremy Tunsil? Then what? At the end of the day, who determines who the BPA is and regardless don't you still ultimately consider your greatest need overlayed with the BPA?

  • Marilyn

    I'm in agreement with Sean on this issue. The Cowboys can still have their cake and eat it, drafting Romo's heir apparent doesn't stop the organization from pursuing the Super Bowl, it only enhance the goal, both short and long term.

  • Blue Star User

    What if the BPA is Laremy Tunsil? Then what? At the end of the day, who determines who the BPA is and regardless don't you still ultimately consider your greatest need overlayed with the BPA?

    easy trade a lineman for a pick or player.

  • Zac Fields User

    What if the BPA is Laremy Tunsil? Then what? At the end of the day, who determines who the BPA is and regardless don't you still ultimately consider your greatest need overlayed with the BPA?

    Well, I've always been of the belief that if you're going to draft scared and pick the safest bet, you always go offensive line anyway. There are busts on the o-line, but I would argue they are substantially less frequent in the top 10 than any other position, and even the busts usually are starting caliber linemen for a decade. Robert Gallery was a huge bust, but still an 8-year starter in the NFL.

    Again, if you're going to scratch names off your list because you're scared to draft them, you'd might as well go all-in on it and just pick the absolute safest guy. Laremy Tunsil as our RT? Sure. At least he'll contribute from Day One, right? (I'm being a little facetious, here). User

    I'm in agreement with Sean on this issue. The Cowboys can still have their cake and eat it, drafting Romo's heir apparent doesn't stop the organization from pursuing the Super Bowl, it only enhance the goal, both short and long term.

    Last year we ended up with three first rounders, essentially, when we drafted Byron Jones and Randy Gregory, while scoring La'el Collins after the draft. We can easily get a 1st round talent at the top of the 2nd round this year (probably more akin to the talent pool we'd have to choose from if Romo/Dez weren't injured all of 2015 anyway).

    I keep going back to this: the opportunity for a good team like the Cowboys to select #4 overall in the draft this year is an extremely rare gift. Do you see a future Hall-of-Famer there at #4 at a position other than quarterback? A true generational, can't-miss talent? If you don't, then why not take this opportunity to get a head start on the future… the next 10-15 years of the Cowboys franchise?

    The Cowboys' Super Bowl hopes are only eliminated when Romo retires if they haven't planned for a future beyond him. There will be a lot of talented players on this team when Romo hangs up his cleats, but they will need a General.

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?

Sean Martin



Cowboys Draft: Time for OL in Round 1 Again?
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.

Chaz Green

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: What's The One Thing That Makes The OL Great? 1

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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: UTSA’s Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: UTSA's Marcus Davenport Fills Pass Rush Need for Cowboys
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

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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

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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

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“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

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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 —

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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Land Small School WR in Latest PFF Mock Draft

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft
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

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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.


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