The Dallas Cowboys took a big step towards putting their perceived best five offensive linemen on the field at Wednesday's second day of minicamp, as 2016 free agent acquisition Jonathan Cooper was finally given the start at left guard.
The Cowboys are entering their first season since 2009 without Doug Free as their starting right tackle, which prompted them to move projected LG La'el Collins to Free's RT spot. This has left Chaz Green (once the leading candidate to replace Free and allow Collins to start again at guard), Joe Looney, OT Emmett Cleary, and Jonathan Cooper as Dallas' depth to find an answer at LG.
First-team offensive line on Day 2 of minicamp: LT-Tyron Smith, LG-Jonathan Cooper, C-Travis Frederick, RG-Zack Martin, RT-La'el Collins
Jonathan Cooper is by far the sexiest name on this list, as the former first round pick could resurrect his career by playing in between first round selections and Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.
Cooper has obviously not lived up to his draft status as the Cardinals' seventh overall pick in 2013, breaking his fibula in his first preseason to start his NFL career. Injuries would be the story for Jonathan Cooper with the Cardinals before he was traded to the Patriots and later released.
Most recently, Cooper was seen starting three games for the Browns in 2016 before being released in December and signed the next month by the Cowboys. Our Staff Writer Kevin Brady picked up with evaluating Cooper's tape in Cleveland and found plenty of positives.
There is little doubt that Dallas presents the best chance for Cooper to turn around his pro football career, re-signed this season initially for depth but now working as a starter - a move that feels long overdue at this point in the offseason for Cowboys Nation.
Cleary had his limited flashes at LT in 2016, and Green has reportedly looked solid at a brand new position inside, but Cooper is a natural scheme fit to block in space at LG and propel the Cowboys' running game to an entirely new level with Ezekiel Elliott in 2017.
Bryan Broaddus reviewed Jonathan Cooper in his first minicamp practice at LG - having previously seen him at center during OTAs - and had this to say:
"Jonathan Cooper took the majority of snaps at left guard with the first offense. I didn’t notice any major problems technique-wise..."
Since the Space Cowboys have come together as the consensus best offensive line in the NFL, this current offseason has likely brought the most uncertainty to the unit with changes at two positions. Assuming for a second the Cowboys feel certain about La'el Collins returning to his college position of tackle, Jonathan Cooper should get his shot to be a part of this special group as the Dallas Cowboys' starting left guard - a spot that now belongs to him as of the start of minicamp.
The Cowboys offensive line coming out of this reshuffling as their best ever incarnation for this young and loaded offense to take advantage of? This is a very real possibility, and one that opposing defensive coordinators around the league should already be losing sleep over.
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign Free Agent Safety George Iloka
The Dallas Cowboys have reached a one-year agreement with Safety George Iloka, according to ESPN's Todd Archer. Iloka spent 2018 with the Vikings after six years with the Bengals.
He's started 79 of his 99 career games since being a fifth-round pick by Cincinnati in 2012. Iloka turns 29 years old next week.
The Cowboys have agreed to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka, according to a source. Iloka met with the Cowboys on Friday and was the third safety to meet with the club during the week along with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. The Cowboys have... https://t.co/JB5nJLWepc
This isn't the safety that most Cowboys fans wanted. After over a year of pining for Earl Thomas, sights turned to Eric Berry after his free agent visit in Dallas last week.
However, it makes sense that Iloka would be attractive to the Cowboys. At 6'4" and 225 lbs, he fits the physical mold of what Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard likes in his players. He also is younger than than Berry and Thomas without the same recent injury issues.
Iloka becomes one of many Boise St. products on Dallas' roster, joining Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch, and others. He entered the league with college teammates Crawford and Kellen Moore, the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator, in 2012.
We'll have to wait and see how George Iloka fits into the current mix at safety with Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods. He spent most of 2018 as a backup with Minnesota, but Dallas will likely give him a chance to start.
BREAKING: Cowboys Sign Ex-Packers WR Randall Cobb
According to multiple sources, the Dallas Cowboys have signed former Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year deal to help bolster their depth at the WR position and potentially become Cole Beasley's replacement.
Cowboys are giving former Packers' WR Randall Cobb a one-year, $5 million deal, per source. https://t.co/8KWFPjSP8T
The Dallas Cowboys met with Randall Cobb earlier this week, but he eventually left Dallas without a contract. He must've had a change of heart or just needed time to ponder the Cowboys offer, but regardless of what transpired in that short time he is now part of America's Team.
During his time with the Packers, Cobb accumulated 470 receptions for 5,524 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. The eight-year veteran will now be expected to replace some of Cole Beasley's production out of the slot for the Dallas Cowboys.
After years of watching Beasley as the Cowboys slot WR, it will be really interesting to see Randall Cobb in that role. He's not as quick twitched as No. 11, but can be just as dangerous due to his ability to be more of a down the field receiver. He also brings added value in the return game and could compete with Tavon Austin to become the return specialist.
This could mean the Cowboys forgo drafting a wide receiver early in the 2019 NFL Draft, but I wouldn't put it past them. Regardless of what happens, this is an excellent addition.
Welcome to Cowboys Nation Randall Cobb!
REPORT: Dallas Cowboys Re-sign Long Snapper L.P. Ladouceur
L.P. Ladouceur is returning for his 15th season as the Cowboys' long snapper. The veteran free agent was re-signed by Dalals today to a one-year deal.
Thanks to Jason Witten's one-year sabbatical with Monday Night Football, Ladouceur has now been with the Cowboys for more consecutive seasons than any current player. He just turned 38 last week, but Louis-Philippe remains one of the top long snappers in football.
The Cowboys have signed long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur to a one-year deal worth $1.03 million and $90,000 in bonus money, but he will count $735,000 against the cap. This will be Ladouceur's 15th season with the Cowboys, tying Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Mark... https://t.co/2iDsi6RX7e
Retaining Ladouceur is an underrated move for the Cowboys given their situation at kicker.
Brett Maher was only 80% accurate overall on field goals last year. The team could be considering an upgrade in free agency.
Whether they bring Maher back or try someone new, having a long snapper with Ladouceur's performance perfection will make things much easier for them.
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