The Dallas Cowboys are one step closer to the 2017 season, having completed their OTAs and minicamp from The Star. Throughout these early summer weeks, the Cowboys' rookies have had a chance to get acclimated to America's Team. As has been the case throughout his initial draft process, 28th overall pick DE Taco Charlton has generated little to no buzz - although the pads have yet to come on for physical defenders like him to really shine.
There is little question that Taco Charlton is going to face a learning curve as he tries to take the next step as a pass rusher in the NFL - all young defensive ends do.
However, as expected, Charlton has reportedly made most of his flashes from his natural LDE position after being set up as the "answer at RDE" by Dallas' brass following his selection.
Bryan Broaddus has been doing a terrific job as always of highlighting exactly what he's seen from Taco so far at DallasCowboys.com, having this to say about his positional flexibility:
"Charlton had nice power battles with Tyron Smith on several snaps. Charlton was able to get his hand inside knocking Smith back, but the next play he wasn’t so lucky. Smith punched him with his left hand, which shocked Charlton, knocking him to the ground. When he was moved inside, Charlton’s best move was the spin, which caught the guards by surprise freeing him up on the rush and allowing him to get home." - Bryan Broaddus
I don't think it will be long into training camp - if at all - until we see the Cowboys commit Charlton to the LDE position fully. Yes, there is the fact that any right rusher work he's gotten so far has come against the best LT in the NFL in a healthy Tyron Smith, but upgrading the strong side end position with a talented rookie is far from a worst case scenario for Dallas.
"The last two days at left end, he just looks more natural and comfortable in the way he rushes."
Cowboys Nation may collectively be disappointed at the very fact that the first round pick we all demanded be used on a pass rusher went to a player that will excel in less of a pass rushing spot, but this team is actually set up better than years past when it comes to Rod Marinelli's rotation on the right side - especially if Charlton draws enough attention on the opposite edge.
To start, there is last year's sack leader and second-year player Benson Mayowa. With six sacks in his first season in the silver and blue, Mayowa certainly faced the challenge of adjusting to his new role as he was inactive for three weeks in the middle of the season before finishing strong.
The Cowboys will be looking for Mayowa to be an even bigger part of their DE rotation now, signing him to a three-year deal last season - clearly seeing some long-term development potential with the former Seahawk and Raider.
Of course, Marinelli's patented rotation needs to have more than two capable bodies with fresh legs pressuring the pocket. Red-shirted in his rookie season with a back injury, Charles Tapper is ready to bring his speed and freaky athleticism to the Cowboys' defensive line as well.
Realistically, getting any valuable snaps out of Tapper at RDE to change up the looks opposing left tackles will see in dealing with Dallas pass rushers would be an invaluable addition to this defensive front in 2017.
Damontre Moore is also a new addition at the DE position, an "orphan" that's bounced around the league as the Giants' third round pick of 2013. Moore has fully embraced the opportunity to find a new home and fresh start with the Cowboys so far, fitting right in as a relentless rusher that chases down plays all across the field.
Lastly, there is always DeMarcus Lawrence - although his time could be running out with the Cowboys very soon. To debate whether or not Lawrence fits best at LDE or RDE has become relatively unimportant now, as the Cowboys just need to see Lawrence line up for 16 games and get into form. Toeing the line as another potential second round bust, Lawrence at his best is more than capable of producing off the right edge.
No, the Dallas Cowboys shouldn't force rookie Taco Charlton to play a position where he has little chance of making an impact in his first season. A steady LDE does indeed improve this team's pass rush, even if Charlton was incorrectly sold to us as the commitment at RDE the Cowboys have been - and continue to - put off.
As for actually generating pressure on the quarterback from the right side, the Cowboys seem to have an intriguing core of DEs eager to prove themselves as the RDE position as soon as training camp gets underway in Oxnard. When paired with a strong group of defensive tackles and a first round talent at one DE spot, this scrappy defensive line might not take the world by storm this season but should certainly show noticeable improvements.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
Though Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys’ Offense
When the news broke Monday that veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb was visiting the Dallas Cowboys, most immediately assumed he would be a logical replacement for the departed Cole Beasley.
When you take a look at the film and each of their skillsets, however, you quickly see this is likely not the case.
While Cobb would be able to play in the slot as a receiver for the Cowboys if he signs, his value extends much further than just a slot receiver. Where Beasley makes his mark with precise route running, short area quickness, and 3rd down reliability, Cobb is much more of a threat after the catch. He's not the route runner that Beasley is, and really isn't an upgrade over Beasley as a receiver, but Cobb would be able to help the Cowboys' become more diverse in their offensive schemes.
Similar to Tavon Austin, Randall Cobb can be used in pre snap motion and jet-sweep packages, as well as a traditional running back. A college quarterback, Cobb's versatility is what makes him so attractive to NFL teams. Cobb would actually fit more of the Lance Dunbar "scat back" role of sorts for the Cowboys than that of the Cole Beasley slot receiver role. His versatility, however, allows him to carve out a lane within the offense which they haven't quite had before.
Another area Cobb could help the Cowboys is when the play breaks down. With experience in the Packers offense playing with arguably the greatest improviser we've ever seen in Aaron Rodgers, Cobb would be able to help Dak Prescott down the field when he breaks the pocket and the play is off schedule.
So often last season we talked about how the Cowboys offense is reliant on remaining on schedule, staying in front of the chains and not having to force the ball downfield. Unleashing the Mississippi State version of Dak Prescott, where he can improvise and use his legs to create big plays, tends to be when this offense is at its best, however.
Randall Cobb won't be a Pro Bowler if the Cowboys sign him, and depending on the money he receives, it might not even be a lock that he makes the final roster. But Cobb would be an exciting addition to a Cowboys offense which has lacked "creativity" over the last few seasons, and is looking to reinvent themselves to a certain extent.
A receiving corps headlined by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, with versatile weapons such as Cobb and Tavon Austin behind them, is a pretty good one to head into draft day with.
Signing Cobb would keep the Cowboys from "needing" to take a wide receiver early in the draft, and would allow them to easily shed Allen Hurns if a receiving weapon did fall to them at 58th overall.
Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas?
When it comes to making trades, the Dallas Cowboys are typically the buyer and not the seller. They proved that last season when they acquired Tavon Austin, Jamize Olawale, and Jihad Ward via trade and could be looking do the same once again this offseason. That's why today I want to talk about the Cowboys putting in a call to the San Francisco 49ers to inquire about potentially trading for Solomon Thomas.
New 49ers Defensive Line Coach Kris Kocurek is rumored to be evaluating Solomon Thomas' film in order to determine his fit and future with the organization moving forward. This is no easy task. In his two years in the league they've tried Thomas at DE and DT, but unfortunately the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has yet to find his footing at either position.
Being a man without a position doesn't bode well for Solomon Thomas, especially after the 49ers acquired Defensive End Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs last week via trade. The 49ers are suddenly stacked along the defensive line. That's not all though, things could actually get worse for Thomas.
To further complicate matters, the 49ers could use their second overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft on the either Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. If that's what indeed happens, someone is going to be the odd man out. If you haven't guessed it yet, I think that player could be Solomon Thomas.
As a former high first-round draft pick, Thomas would count $7,678,468 against the salary cap in 2019 and $8,958,213 in 2020. That's probably more than the 49ers want to pay for a rotational/backup defensive lineman. And cutting him this season would create $16.6 million in dead money, so a trade is the logical solution.
With all that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if San Francisco put Solomon Thomas on the trade block any day now. He is only two years into his four-year rookie deal and comes with a fifth-year option as a former first-round draft pick. That means if a team does trade for him they have him under contract for essentially three more years.
If you add all of this up, it makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They need defensive line help and Solomon Thomas needs a fresh start. The Cowboys would get a young versatile defensive lineman and the 49ers get to dump his contract while also receiving some compensation in return. It's a win-win for all parties concerned.
I know what you're thinking though. What would the Cowboys have to give up in the trade? Well, it might not be as much as you think.
Fortunately, Thomas' failure to make an impact his first two years in the NFL favor the buyer, in this case the Dallas Cowboys. He has only four career quarterback sacks, three of which came in his rookie season. Stats of course don't always tell the entire story, but game film does. Unfortunately for Thomas, he can't escape his poor play.
I believe it wouldn't take more than a 2019 fourth-round draft pick to get Solomon Thomas away from the 49ers. Remember, just last season the New England Patriots sent a third-round draft pick to San Francisco and received Offensive Tackle Trent Brown and the fifth-round pick in return. Brown was a more proven player and was in the last year of his contract.
I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of Solomon Thomas in a Dallas Cowboys uniform. If anybody can tap into his potential, Rod Marinelli can. Giving up a 2019 fourth-round pick is well worth the gamble in my opinion.
Do you think the Cowboys should inquire about trading for Solomon Thomas?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Realistic Free Agents Cowboys Should Sign Before the Draft
NFL Draft6 days ago
Hypothetical La’el Collins Trade Could Recoup Cowboys a 2019 1st-Round Pick
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
Cowboys Show Interest in Browns DE Emmanuel Ogbah
Player News6 days ago
Chiefs Release Eric Berry, Should Cowboys Be Interested?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
REPORT: Cowboys Keeping OL Joe Looney, WR Tavon Austin, WR Allen Hurns in 2019
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should the Cowboys Use Their 2020 First Round Pick in 2019?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
7-Round Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Dallas Cowboys6 days ago
BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys Sign DL Christian Covington