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Should Cowboys Take A Chance On This Former 1st-Round Draft Pick?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Take A Chance On This Former 1st-Round Draft Pick?

The Dallas Cowboys top priority this off-season is to improve the defensive side of the ball, especially the talent/depth at the defensive end and cornerback positions. They should leave no stone unturned, which is why I think they should take a chance on former the 1st-round draft pick, Justin Gilbert.

Justin Gilbert was the eighth overall draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has already been tabbed with the dreaded "bust" label, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could show an interest in bringing him aboard regardless of any labels associated with the former standout CB from Oklahoma State.

With Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr's possible departure in free agency this off-season, the Cowboys depth at CB is extremely thin. The position is so thin in fact, that Anthony Brown, Orlando Scandrick, and Leon McFadden would be the starter's if the season were to start today.

As you can see, the CB position absolutely has to be addressed and taking a chance on Justin Gilbert can be one of those low risk high reward situations the Cowboys haven't minded taking the past.

Now, Gilbert's passion for the game and work ethic have been discussed at length as to the reasons why he hasn't been able to live up to his draft status so far. But, at 6'0", 202 and legitimate 4.3 speed, Gilbert is still an intriguing prospect at just 25 years old.

The Dallas Cowboys could be the perfect place for him to resurrect his career and if you continue reading I'll tell you why I think that's the case.

Was The Dallas Cowboys Defensive Line Better Than We Thought?Reason #1: The Rod Marinelli effect

I may be biased, but I don't think there is another defensive coordinator in the NFL that gets more out of his players then what Rod Marinelli does.

Ever since joining Dallas Cowboys, Marinelli has continuously gotten his defense to out perform everyone's expectations, despite the lackluster talent he has had to work with. If anybody can help Justin Gilbert reach his potential, it's Marinelli.

Of course, Rod Marinelli shouldn't be given all the credit. Cowboys cornerback coach, Joe Baker, also deserves to be recognized for the work he did with his CBs last year.

Baker did an outstanding job preparing his cornerbacks week after week despite the injuries that occurred throughout the season. Look no further than what he was able to do with rookie CB, Anthony Brown.

Brown had an outstanding rookie season, despite being the Cowboys sixth round draft pick.  His quick development will likely earn him a starting spot next season.

Just imagine what Rod Marinelli and Joe Baker can do with the talent like Justin Gilbert.

Should Cowboys Take A Chance On This Former 1st-Round Draft Pick? 1Reason #2: A return to The Lone Star State

What better way to rediscover your love for the game you've played nearly your entire life then to return to your home state and reignite the fire that drove you to want to become a professional football player in the first place?

That's right, for those of you that didn't know, Justin Gilbert is from the great state of Texas. He attended Huntsville High School, in Huntsville, Texas, where he was a quarterback and defensive back for the Huntsville Hornets football team.

Returning home to Texas could be the best thing that could possibly happen to Gilbert if he is serious about resurrecting his career. There is just no better feeling than to be surrounded by friends and family in a familiar setting.

After finishing his career at Oklahoma State, which by the way isn't too far from Texas, having to move to Cleveland after being drafted by the Browns must have been a complete culture shock. Not only did Gilbert have to familiarize himself with a new state/city, he also ended up having to play for one of the worst teams in the NFL for the past several seasons.

I don't know about you, but that would kind of make me question my passion for the game as well.

I honestly think that if Justin Gilbert was able to get back to his roots in the Lone Star State, he would rediscover why he fell in love with the game to begin with and start playing like the CB a lot of people thought he was coming out of Oklahoma State.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should take a chance on Justin Gilbert?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.



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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    February 16, 2017 at 8:00 am

    You have to wonder though when he had a chance to resurrect his career in Pittsburgh, where some players have found new life. Joe Thomas, his former teammate at Cleveland had some disparaging remarks about Gilbert, basically implying he doesn’t want to play football. Sounds a little like RoMac, though for possibly different reasons. That being said it has certainly worth bringing him in and sitting down with him to find out where his head is at and work him out. If he passes the sniff test, he could be a cheap signing.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 16, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Randy, I agree with you. In Pittsburgh he didn’t really get a chance to get on the field on defense because he was buried on the depth chart. The only playing time he did receive was returning kicks. I think they cut him because they didn’t want to pay him the money he was making. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to re-sign him to a cheaper contract. I would take a chance on bringing him to camp and see if a return to his home state can reignite his passion for football. I know playing for arguably the worst team in the league (Browns) would kind of make it hard to want to come to work every day. It could be one of those low risk high reward situations.

  2. Jason Waltner

    April 23, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Bring him in. Vet minimum. See if he gets out of camp…

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 23, 2017 at 8:49 am

      I agree, but it will depend on how much they invest in the position in the draft this week. I would definitely take a chance though.

      • Jason Waltner

        April 23, 2017 at 8:53 am

        Do it anyway regardless of draft. Better competition, better players, better depth. We only have 3 CBs right now. If we drafted 2, that’s only 5. Need to bring in about 8-10 for camp

        • Brian Martin

          Brian Martin

          April 23, 2017 at 9:46 am

          They definitely need more depth, but any rookie they bring in needs as many repetitions as possible to get up to speed. There are only so many practices to do that.

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" 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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Star Blog

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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