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NFL Draft

Cowboys to Draft Best Player? – Part 1

First thing that comes to mind when I think about him saying that is last years draft … that was the mentality that went into drafting Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, and Martellus Bennett. Maybe Bennett needs to keep his rap career on hold, but a year later and that guy certainly fits the idea of “best player available.” Same goes for any one of those guys.

Bryson Treece

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Just when we think that maybe this team is going to get what it needs this off-season personnel-wise, here goes Jerry Jones flapping away about the ... ready for it? The best player available.

First thing that comes to mind when I think about him saying that is last years draft ... that was the mentality that went into drafting Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, and Martellus Bennett. Maybe Bennett needs to keep his rap career on hold, but a year later and that guy certainly fits the idea of "best player available." Same goes for any one of those guys.

But the second thing that comes to my mind ... and this kind of a big one ... we have needs to be filled this year beyond just taking talent. Our safety corps need help.

Hamlin is really living up to the stereotypical mold of a player just looking for his payday. He came in a short term deal after some issues arose in his career, played well enough to deserve a nice contract, and instead got a huge contract. Talk about adding insult to injury, this guy didn't even earn what should have been a nice contract in 2008, let alone the huge contract he signed.

Roy Williams is gone, and so the Cowboys sign Gerald Sensabaugh. Coming out of Jacksonville to sign a one year deal, he's got a few decent seasons under his belt and looks to be a major upgrade over Roy Williams. He's still no Ed Reed but the guy can still play in a 3-4 though. He's had some off-the-field issues, and while we don't need another one of those, it's hard to say the guy is trouble when you see what his legal issues have been.

He's been charged with reckless driving on his motorcycle, which got him a suspended license that later got him charged with driving with a suspended license. That's two of his three issues right there and they don't worry me at all, aside from wondering if he'll have a wreck at some point during the season anyway. His lone concerning issue was a charge for possession of a firearm. It's not a traffic incident but it's not an outright crime either.

Tank Johnson had similar issues and he turned out okay, yeah he was a total moron after the Philly game shouting about being a free agent heading into the locker room after that beating, but he didn't cause problems for the team on the field, and he stayed out of trouble.

Then you have the likes of Pat Watkins, a guy that can't seem to stay healthy for even half a season; Courtney Brown, who hasn't done much to talk about yet; and Tra Battle, a guy that was signed for depth mid-season and made a noticeable impact on special teams on the opening kickoff of his first game. Three developmental players at best, though Battle seems to have a leg up on the other two.

And now we have talks coming about switching another corner to safety at least part-time. I say another because Anthony Henry was the leading candidate for that change before he was traded to the Lions for Jon Kitna. Henry was a logical choice for the simple reason that he was struggling in the man coverage scheme that Phillips began using religiously by mid-season. Henry had always been a zone type of guy, and his age only seemed to expose that fact even more.

Terrence Newman was the first to bring it up publicly that Orlando Scandrick, the perennial cover guy in the slot in his rookie season, could be switched to safety. I understand the temptation in such times of bad play at safety to take your best corner in the middle of the field and move him to safety, it almost makes sense because the area of the field is largely the same, but Scandrick isn't a safety, and playing safety verses playing corner does not come down to position on the field.

Aside from the media speculation that seemed to pour over Newman's comments, we haven't really heard anything else about that. Instead we're now hearing that Scandrick is likely safe at corner and Alan Ball has taken his place under the speculative guillotine.

Same argument applies to Ball as Scandrick; the only difference is that Ball hasn't been as productive as Scandrick even with the extra time in the league. It doesn't even matter that much that we're lacking depth at corner without Ball in the lineup because we're short even with Ball playing corner because he can't be relied upon to contribute. I say move him to safety and see if he can finally play good enough to justify keeping his spot on the roster, and if not, cut him loose next year.

That's just at safety, folks, and here Jerry Jones is saying we can take the best player available. I know it's get old, but it's still true to say that Jerry need some help getting the General Manager stuff done.

Check out Part 2 of this article at ACowboyNation.com. (Link updated to the right post on Inside the Star. May, 2015)



Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

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9 Comments
  • Tay

    I think you need to calm down a little, it’s not like any NFL team in its right mind would come out and say exactly who it is targeting or what positions before the draft. That would be insane. If gives your opposition a chance to prohibit you from getting the guys you need and want. Let Jerry say all he wants that the team will draft the best available and not for need. The scouting team and coaches know the areas that need fixing and I’m sure they are doing their work. Our last couple of drafts have been really good at filling holes that we have, there is no reason to think this year will be any different.

  • https://insidethestar.com/about/ Bryson Treece

    All I know is that when Jerry has said in the past the thing about drafting the best player on the board, he has stuck with it.

    By the way … when has a team ever taken that chance to prohibit a rival from getting a player? Each team will draft what they need or want for their team. There is some risk of this happening, of course, but it’s more like the risk of having a bus crash into your house.

    Thanks for reading though =P

  • Scorpion

    Bryson…what is the problem with drafting the “best available” player?  You made a case for it with your statement in the second paragraph. Look who was drafted from last year. If we can do the same this year, I would say that would go a long way to helping this team get better.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    I know about the second paragraph … and my point with it was how well it turned out for us. But who was really looking at the roster before the draft last year thinking, “We really need a new RB or TE?”

    Yeah we needed something at RB for depth, here we got two RB’s and both could start for us this year … easily. We got a third tight end that ended up being the second, making the former second expendable, and actually showing up Witten for a period this year.

    We got two cornerbacks and both have started at some point last year, we only took them because they were the best available when it came time to pick.

    This year though, I agree with getting the best players, but there are some very specific needs this season and it’s not just at one or two positions. So we should be looking at the best player available from just a few positions, with DT, LB, CB, and S at the top of the list. Then we can move on to OL, DE, QB, and maybe even WR.

    I felt the statement was far too general for the roster condition this year. Wouldn’t you agree?

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    With Henry being released, Pacman packing his shit up, and the rumors of Scandrick to safety, you can damn sure bet we will draft a CB with one of our first two picks. Bet on it. Value or not, we will.

    Jerry isn’t the best in the world at evaluating talent, and even worse at running a football team. Unless he listens to people that know what they’re talking about, we will go CB high.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    CB and S are two of our more pressing needs, the other being NT, I’d be fine with that.

  • http://www.cowboysfanrebellion.com Craig Cotton

    IMHO, we are fine at CB. We have Scandrick, Newman, and Jenkins with Alan Ball to back them up.

    We need a safety, and we don’t need to move Scandrick over to compensate. This hole has been a glaring one for years now. Really every since Woodson. Let’s just finally solidify it and move on.

    No more CB’s high in the draft. Please.

    http://www.CowboysFanRebellion.com

  • https://insidethestar.com/ BTreece

    Well, last word was to leave Scandrick at corner, and move Ball to safety. I like the move simply because Ball is on his last chance by now at corner, he needs to develop into something worth keeping, and he’s not a good corner.

    But I agree, CB’s drafted early are a risk, I like 2-3 rounds for a CB, just look at Jenkins. One bad fuck up, but the rest has been good though.

NFL Draft

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts, a Pass Catching Theme Persists

John Williams

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Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists

The Dallas Cowboys haven't played the 2018 NFL season yet, but that shouldn't stop us from looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft and seeing what players the team will have their eye on this fall.

With the NFL season fast approaching, that means the college football season is as well, and as we look through these mocks, perhaps you get an idea of whom to watch with a Cowboys perspective this fall.

I scoured the internet looking for the best and brightest minds and their "way too early 2019 mocks." As I perused the mocks, one thing was clear. Many of the national writers see the Dallas Cowboys going with an offensive pass catcher in the 2019 NFL Draft. Namely a TE.

TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Noah Fant, from the University of Iowa, will be a junior in his 2019 season and as a sophomore caught 30 passes for 494 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 11 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage may not look all that impressive, but if we think about Iowa's offense in the Big 10, we can understand that he's not going to get many opportunities to catch the ball when the team is running it as often as they do.

In fact, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 10 more times per game than they threw it and their quarterback only completed - on average - 15 passes a game.

Fant accounted for 21% of the receiving yards on the season and 42% of the passing touchdowns. He was only 36 yards away from leading the team in receiving despite catching 21 fewer passes than leader Nick Easley. No other pass catcher for Iowa had more than four receiving touchdowns.

If there's something not to like at the moment about Fant, it's his size.

At the moment, College Football Reference has him listed at 232 pounds. There are running backs that weigh more than Fant does and he'll probably need to add about 10-20 pounds in the NFL to be an effective in-line blocker.

Mocked to the Dallas Cowboys by Dane Brugler of The Draft Show on DallasCowboys.com. In a mock draft he did for Sports Day DFW and the Dallas Morning News, he had this to say.

"It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."

Dane Brugler - Sports Day DFW, Dallas Morning News

Eric Galko of The Sporting News selected the Iowa tight end to the Cowboys as well, seeing him as a special prospect that has the chance to fill the shoes of Jason Witten.

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington also had Noah Fant to the Cowboys, thinking they are in need of a Jason Witten replacement.

DE Austin Bryant, Clemson

Depending on what Dallas can get out of Right Defensive Ends Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Charles Tapper, it could have the Cowboys taking a defensive end in the first round for the second time in three years.

Will Brinson's mock doesn't offer much analysis on Bryant, mostly saying that Clemson is going to be good. But here's what Draftek.com's Brett Clancy, who covers the 49ers, had to say about Bryant:

"Clemson's Austin Bryant is the 4th EDGE off the board in this mock and 2nd from his school, but he's still well worth a mid-round pick. Bryant broke out with 8.5 sacks as a junior last year and many thought he'd go pro. I like Bryant's move to stay in school and refine his game, specifically growing a repertoire of pass rush moves to complement his strong edge-setting ability."

Brett Clancy - Draftek.com

Bryant was amazingly disruptive for the Clemson Tigers as a junior, racking up 50 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. At 6-5 265, he could come in and play right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys on day one.

DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama

We know that the Dallas Cowboys have an affinity for Power 5 prospects and Jason Garrett goes back with Nick Saban.

Despite that relationship, it hasn't led to many Alabama players being selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, that should tell us something.

One other factor that could be in play with Davis is dependent upon who the defensive coordinator is in 2019. We all know that Rod Marinelli doesn't place premium draft value on defensive tackles, but prefers to find diamonds in the rough to develop.

If Kris Richard takes over as the defensive coordinator in 2019, the story could be a bit different. Seattle, with Richard at the defensive helm, selected defensive tackles in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.

If the Dallas Cowboys are going to spend a first on a defensive tackle, this is the guy to do it on.

He was highly productive as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide, racking up 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had one interception that was returned for 19 yards. At 6-7 306 pounds, he has the size and frame to be an immediate impact player on the Dallas Cowboys interior.

If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to resign David Irving in the 2018 offseason and Maliek Collins doesn't take a step forward, then Davis becomes a real possibility.

Here's what Draftek's Cowboys analyst had to say about Raekwon Davis.

"Alabama's Raekwon Davis has played both DT and DE in the Crimson Tide's 3-man line. He can maintain his gaps against the run when needed, but his primary skill set is using his long arms and strong lower body to use a variety of pass rush moves to win with power and speed. 

"One red flag on Davis happened 8/27/17: he was struck in the leg by a stray bullet during the wee hours of Sunday morning at a Tuscaloosa bar (Bar 17) where several shootings have occurred over the past few years. Despite HC Jason Garrett's affinity for Nick Saban coached players, this incident might remove him from the Dallas board."

Long Ball - Dratek.com

Interestingly, Draftek did a second round in this mock and they sent Boston College Safety Lukas Denis to the Dallas Cowboys.

S Jaquan Johnson, Miami

Speaking of safeties, Dan Kadar over at SBNation sent one to the Dallas Cowboys in the form of Jaquan Johnson.

Johnson, from the University of Miami, was very productive in his junior season for the Hurricanes, racking up 96 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and four interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.

Here are Kadar's thoughts on the second team All-ACC player:

"There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."

Dan Kadar - SB Nation

Obviously, this pick will depend on what happens with Earl Thomas over the next nine months and the development of Xavier Woods, but Johnson will be a name to watch for teams that need a safety.

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists 2

Miami Hurricanes WR Ahmmon Richards

WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami

Another Hurricane to have on your NFL Draft radars is Wide Receiver Ahmmon Richard, who is going into his junior season at Miami.

The Dallas Cowboys have begun the process of overhauling their wide receiver corp with the departures of Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the 2018 offseason. In 2019, it's likely that Terrance Williams (contract) and Cole Beasley (age) could be next to go.

That would leave them with Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson as their WR depth chart. It's certainly a solid group, but adding a talent like Richards could help.

The Draft Wire's Luke Easterling believes, "Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."

In two seasons at Miami, Richards has averaged 18.8 yards per reception, and 68.65 yards per game. He's got deep-threat ability which would combine well with Gallup and Hurns.

WR Collin Johnson, Texas

If Richards doesn't do it for you, then lets head a couple of hours south of Dallas to the University of Texas and Wide Receiver Collin Johnson.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Dallas Cowboys going with the junior wide receiver and had this to say:

"The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft—trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early—and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.

"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."

Matt Miller - Bleacher Report

I'll agree with Miller that Johnson will need to increase upon his production. Some believe that the quarterback limitations in Austin have been a factor, but at the moment, I'm leery of taking a wide receiver from the Big 12 that doesn't have excellent production in the first round of the draft.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

It's obvious from these mock drafts that analysts see the Dallas Cowboys continuing to invest in pass catchers for their offense and that is a reasonable thought.

Obviously, a lot will change between now and next April when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock, but this gives us a bit of insight on who to watch in this upcoming college football season.

What names will you be watching in college football this season?



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NFL Draft

Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Sean Martin

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Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Last night, it was reported that Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident comes from a traffic confrontation that took place back in October, where White -- according to his camp -- was justified in drawing his weapon for self-defense.

A promising young player that stuck on the Cowboys practice squad in his rookie season, the sixth round pick doesn't need this case hanging over his head as training camp approaches. When considering the timing up against this week's supplemental draft, and the rare crop of defensive back talent available in it, White could soon be fighting for relevance on the Cowboys roster.

Becoming complacent in building one of the best young secondaries in the league won't be an issue for the Cowboys under new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. The Cowboys were relying on White to be a depth option behind projected starters Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis.

White's spot on the depth chart may very well hold up, but by the end of the week he could also have added competition in Adonis Alexander or Sam Beal.

Respectively, the former Virginia Tech and Western Michigan cornerbacks are two of the most talented supplemental prospects to enter the draft in years -- both likely to be the first players drafted since 2015.

Alexander and Beal are also joined by Mississippi State Safety Brandon Bryant as another backup option for Dallas.

Supplemental Draft: CB Adonis Alexander A Depth Option for Cowboys? 1

A lengthy cornerback with the toughness to play on the boundary, Alexander is a similar player to White, and one that Richard should love for his physical traits. Whether or not this natural skill outweighs some maturity issues that saw Alexander fall from freshman starter to suspended at VT will determine if the Cowboys feel comfortable sending away a 2019 draft pick for his services.

Where Alexander's career leaves his arrow trending downward on the eve of the supplemental draft, Beal is a rising prospect that some are calling the best to ever enter this draft.

An all-conference cornerback as a Junior out of Western Michigan, Beal improved with each passing college season, determined to finish out his degree along the way. However, once Beal's eligibility for his Senior season was called into question, the feisty 6'1" CB decided to turn towards the NFL.

Beal's professional football faith is now in the hands of any team that's done their homework on him. Projected to be taken as early as the third round, teams impressed by Beal's tape could be giving away a premium pick in next year's draft to add him just before training camp.

Should this team be the Cowboys, Beal's presence would put more than just White on notice. The Cowboys are also expecting corners like Duke Thomas and Kam Kelly to fight for roster spots. In a perfect world, say the one the Cowboys were living in yesterday before this White news broke, Thomas or Kelly could replace White on the practice squad as the Florida State product took another jump in Oxnard.

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

As I've written before though, teams must be relentless in their search for talent. The Cowboys have drafted well, but passed on big name free agents in recent years. The result is a young roster full of potential and ready to compete.

If either Adonis Alexander, Sam Beal, or even Brandon Bryant help them do so this year, we could be right here talking about a new Cowboys rookie in the middle of July. Marquez White would be happy to see this talk overshadow his legal situation for the moment.

This won't be the case when he's competing against another player that will likely cost the Cowboys more than the sixth round pick they invested in him two years ago.

Tell us what you think about "Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

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Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.

I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.

Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.

Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:

2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano

You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.

Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.

DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.

Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.

I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?



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