The Dallas Cowboys will have six selections (1,2,3,4,6,and7) at their disposal this year, what they do with those selections will determine their future for years to come. While they are most certainly not a bottom dwelling team in need of drastic improvements, the franchises future may be hinging on this draft just as if they were.
The 2010 draft will be the first step for the Cowboys to continue "to improve, and get better" as Tony Romo has repeatedly stated this season.
Part of the current NFL collective bargaining agreement is that, the teams left in the playoffs after wild card weekend are excluded from negotiating rights to any free agents other than their own. That is correct only players who were under contract with the Cowboys in 2009 are available for them to negotiate with, all others are off limits.
In 2009 the Cowboys were able to solidify one very crucial position on their team via free agency, with the signing of Gerald Sensabaugh, this year that will not be an option.
The Cowboys in 2010 will need to upgrade at a few key positions, and that list could grow significantly if they are unable to retain the services of a few key components.
In our opening draft post we discussed what the probable areas of need would be, or could be. So let's not waste anymore time and dive right into our 2010 draft coverage.
The first item I would like to take a look at is an area that was greatly upgraded in 2009, but may become an issue again. In 2009 the Dallas Cowboys brought in one Gerald Sensabaugh to become the Center Fielder they had so desperately craved. Gerald has been an outstanding presence on this resurgent Cowboys defense, his coverage skills have allowed Wade Phillips to open up the playbook this year. The 2009 Dallas Cowboy defense is what we all envisioned when Wade was hired, and a large amount of credit goes to Sensabaugh.
Gerald Sensabaugh was brought in on a one year deal, he had better offers than that of Dallas, but a one year deal is what he was in search of. That is correct a one year contract was what the player wanted. Sensabaugh wanted the opportunity to play for a top notch defense on a top notch team, to allow himself to cash in on a much bigger payday. After the way he has played this year he may have just played himself into a contract that Dallas simply cannot afford. If that is the case, How does this team fill that void?
In this scenario Dallas has two options. First, roll with what they have (Alan Ball, Pat Watkins, Michael Hamlin) hoping that one of these guys can step up and play the position with the same effectiveness.
Use one of their first two selections in this year’s draft on a Safety with abilities at least comparable to those of Sensabaugh.
Obviously resigning Sensabaugh would be the best option, but if that simply does not happen, preparations must be made, and they better be correct with their decision.
Alan Ball and Pat Watkins are both very solid bench players, as well as special teams players, but neither of these has the ability (on a consistent basis) to give this team what it needs as a starting safety.
Michael Hamlin is the wild card, we simply do not know enough about him, to feel confident that he can take over those duties. He was a stellar coverage safety at Clemson University, but earlier this year, there were opportunities for us to see him in regular season action, and the coaching staff chose to roll with Ball and Watkins. That told me that the coaching staff views him as a project player, and that at that point of the season he was not close enough, in his understanding of the game to give the team anything.
I think we can all agree that the “Roll with what they have” option is not going to be a very successful solution for this team. The safety position is one of the highest priorities for the Dallas Cowboys heading to the draft. Who is available you ask?
Here are seven of College footballs finest:
Eric Berry: Junior Free Safety from the University of Tennessee, 5'11" 203 lbs.
First and foremost let's get this straight, Mr. Berry will be long gone bye the time the Cowboys make their first selection. Eric Berry is the best Safety in the draft, and while normally Safety's are not top 5 selections, Berry possesses very special talents and abilities. Many compare Berry to Ed Reed, like Reed, Berry has that rare combination of speed and power. Eric Berry is excellent in coverage, has a nose for the football, and when he gets his hands on it he knows what to do with it. The NCAA career leader in interception return yards is a quarterbacks nightmare. If you think you can take him out of the game by running the football, well you are going to be in for a rude awakening. Eric can absolutely lower the boom, and is not shy about doing so. In both the run game and pass game Berry contains all the tools to become the NFL's next great Safety. Unfortunately for us he will not wear a Cowboy uniform his rookie season without some sort of draft day trade.
Earl Thomas: Sophmore Strong Safety from the University of Texas, 5'10" 197 lbs.
While his frame is not prototypical of that of an NFL Safety, his skill set fits what the Cowboys and many other teams in the NFL are looking for in a Safety. Earl plays the game with an attitude, and a fierceness that would lead you to believe he is bigger than he his. To go along with his physical nature, he has exceptional coverage skills. For two years in a row Earl has led the Longhorns in pass break ups and interceptions. Some around the NFL believe that he will be best suited as a corner at the next level. If Earl Thomas is still on the board when Dallas goes to the podium, He should be the selection. Earl Thomas is one of only two Safeties that meet and exceed the Cowboys criteria, unfortunately for Dallas though there are several other teams that are need of the same criteria. Jerry has been known to make moves on draft day, and a move like this would most certainly be costly. The Cowboys would likely need to move from 28 up 14 spots to #14, as the Giants will surely take Earl Thomas at 15. However if it becomes apparent that the Giants would choose to go in another direction, the jump the Boys would have to make becomes much more feasible. The next team they would have to jump would be the Houston Texans at #20.
Taylor Mays: Senior Free Safety from USC, 6'3" 230 lbs.
Mostly known for his bone crushing hits, is a superb run stuffing safety. Reminds me a lot of a former Dallas Safety... please do not make me say his name.
Nate Allen: Senior Free Safety from University of South Florida 6'2" 205 lbs.
Solid skill set, has a nose for the ball, if the Boys fail to nab the guy they want in the first round this could be our guy late in the second.
Darrell Stuckey: Senior Strong Safety from Kansas 6'1" 205 lbs.
Solid coverage safety, very good at getting in the backfield and causing disruption in the running game. Another guy that will be available late second to fourth round.
Chad Jones: Junior Safety from LSU 6'3" 230 lbs.
An exceptional athlete that has not even come close to reaching his full potential, can also contribute on special teams.
Morgan Burnett: Junior Free Safety from Georgia Tech 6'1" 210 lbs.
Had a rough 2009 campaign but his versatility and athleticism will make it hard to look past him. Could be a late round steal.
One of the first three will probably be available when Dallas makes their first selection, more than likely the one that will be available will be Taylor Mays. He is not what this team needs, he is an outstanding player, but he simply does not fit the Cowboys scheme. It is my thought that if Eric Berry and Earl Thomas are gone when the Cowboys turn comes, the team will wait until the middle rounds to address this area.
Make sure to check back with us over the coming weeks as we will continue with Dallas Cowboy 2010 Draft Coverage.
Cowboys Draft: 3 LBs To Pay Attention To
The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL offseason with clear needs to fill at linebacker. Starting MIKE backer Anthony Hitchens will enter free agency, starting WILL Sean Lee has been riddled with injuries, and the now third-year Jaylon Smith is still somewhat of a question mark.
Considering all of the doubts surrounding the Cowboys linebackers, it would be wise to target one during the 2018 NFL Draft. Of course, Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have become fan favorites over the last few months.
Both of these guys are clearly first round players, however, and may both be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. Dallas will probably need to find their linebacker starting on day two, so I have compiled a short list of some potential targets.
Josey Jewell, Iowa
With each NFL Draft cycle, scouts everywhere can typically feel good about their evaluations of Iowa Hawkeyes players. The BIG 10 school is known for producing solid, pro-ready talent that NFL teams absolutely need to fill out a roster. Enter Iowa Linebacker Josey Jewell, a three-year starter and captain on this Hawkeyes defense.
Iowa Hawkeye's linebacker Josey Jewell has been gaining traction within the draft community as of late. The three-year starter and collegiate captain has been discussed as one of the more pro-ready and consistent linebackers in this draft class.
Jewell earned a third round grade on my draft board, and fellow Inside The Star writer Sean Martin saw him in a similar light. Jewell possesses impressive instincts, plays with textbook technique, and is a solid run defender/tackler in the box.
His main weakness, however, is his athletic ability. He doesn't move laterally as well as someone like current Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith did in college. Jewell is a player with a solid floor, but not a very high ceiling. Drafting him would give the Cowboys another good piece on their defense, and a starting SAM backer.
Sean Martin believes he can play at either WILL or MIKE, and we both view him as a potential target for the Cowboys 81st overall.
Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Vander Esch reads it and attacks at 100 mph. Put this guy on my football team. https://t.co/RaTvP9sO7u
Boise State's Vander Esch is a linebacker garnering a lot of hype throughout Draft Twitter. At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Vander Esch certainly looks the part of an NFL linebacker. His athleticism and ability to move laterally leaves much to be desired, however.
Vander Esch totaled 141 tackles and 3 interceptions during the 2017 season, breaking onto the scene as a Junior. Vander Esch is a three down linebacker who has been labeled a leader and hard worker by his Boise State teammates and coaches, making him an excellent "RKG" candidate for Jason Garrett. He is an instinctual player who reads, reacts, and attacks on a routine basis against the run. He is also consistently impressive in coverage, something the Cowboys could use from their linebackers.
Despite his positives, which there are many, I just can't convince myself to draft Vander Esch as early as he's being talked about. I believe he can be a solid professional linebacker, and fit in as an off ball WILL, but if I were running the Cowboys I wouldn't make that pick until the third round.
And the way things look, Vander Esch will be long gone by the 81st overall pick. Maybe Dallas will see things differently, and make the move in round two.
Rashaan Evans, Alabama
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My favorite of these three linebackers, Alabama's Rashaan Evans is an off ball/edge hybrid who was all over the field for Alabama.
At 'Bama, Evans had six sacks and 10 quarterback hits, ranking 16th in pass rushing productivity (Pro Football Focus) among all qualifying draft-eligible inside linebackers. Still, I believe his best plays came from when lined up as a traditional off ball linebacker.
In Dallas, Evans could be used as a WILL backer who also rushes as a defensive end in passing situations. The 6'3" 234 pound linebacker is exactly the type of player that NFL defenses are moving towards, and he would be a welcomed addition to this young Cowboys defense.
I believe Rashaan Evans is a top-30 type of player, making it tough to envision being able to draft him 50th overall. If completely wiped out, Evans could be a candidate at 19, though I wouldn't hold my breath. Evans is ILB3 on my draft board, and earned the highest grade of these three linebackers.
Could This Draft Sleeper be Dez Bryant’s Successor?
One of my favorite parts of the NFL offseason is jumping into the draft process and studying the next group of incoming rookies. I don't pretend to be a professional scout, but I do trust my own analysis for the most part. I find myself right about these prospects more times than not, but no one is perfect.
When scouting these prospects, I am particularly looking at players that fit in with what the Dallas Cowboys like whether it is based on scheme or preference. I try not to waste my time with the ones who I don't believe fit into those categories.
Today, I want to share with you a wide receiver I happened to stumble upon who isn't getting talked about enough, but probably should. He is still flying under the radar, but I think that could change here in a few weeks when the NFL Combine gets underway.
We all know the Dallas Cowboys would probably like to add another receiver at some point in the draft, but when and where is debatable. I think it's unlikely they take one on Day 1, and possibly not even Day 2. It will likely depend on how things fall, but Day 3 could still have quite a few good options available.
I've started to study these Day 3 prospects, and I think I've found a diamond in the rough. I'm actually surprised he hasn't been talked about, but that could be good news for the Cowboys.
Let me be the first to introduce you to former Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle, Korey Robertson.
WR Korey Robertson, Southern Miss
I don't know about you, but I don't think of ever watched Southern Mississippi play a single collegiate game. They're not a big powerhouse school and don't produce a lot of high-end draft picks, but we've seen small school players make a name for themselves in the NFL before.
As you can imagine, I wasn't expecting much when I started to watch Korey Robertson's game film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think he has the potential to be a WR1 in the NFL and he reminds me a lot of the Dallas Cowboys own, Dez Bryant.
Robertson was a surprise early entry into the 2018 NFL draft class. He had remaining eligibility left and could have possibly improved his draft stock by returning to Southern Miss, but that's neither here nor there now.
Robertson certainly looks the part of a WR1 in the NFL. He is 6'2", 210 pounds and plays with amazing physicality. I think he could be the best WR in this draft class at attacking the ball in the air and winning those 50/50 jump balls. This is where he reminds me of Dez Bryant the most.
But don't take my word for it, take a look at his highlights and judge for yourself.
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I really like what I seen of Korey Robertson. I think he really makes an intriguing wide receiver prospect for the Dallas Cowboys. I personally think he has WR1 potential.
He registered 76 catches for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns this last season, so the production is there, but he's far from a finished prospect.
Robinson still needs to fine-tune his route running, but it's not terrible. He shows good speed on film and is expected to run in the 4.4 range at the combine. That would definitely boost his draft stock.
I think he checks just about all of the boxes. He has the size, speed, catches the ball easily (with his hands), and plays with the physicality that will immediately make him a fan favorite.
I currently have a third-round grade on him, but I'm probably higher on him with others. I think he will be a Day 3 draft pick, which means the Dallas Cowboys could use one of their compensatory picks to select this talented wide receiver.
What do you think of Korey Robertson as a potential Cowboys WR?
Sean’s Scout: Florida DT Taven Bryan A Disruptive Target for Cowboys
By now you know that the Dallas Cowboys have not prioritized the defensive tackle position at the Draft in some time, a point made prominent with the amount of talent available at DT in this 2018 class.
Despite not being as high on him as most, Florida's Taven Bryan would fit what the Cowboys are doing defensively under Rod Marinelli very well. Bryan is a disruptive player at the 3T position, where the Cowboys currently have a decision to make on RFA David Irving.
Even if Irving and Maliek Collins are back in the fold for 2018, Taven Bryan would be a great addition to this front seven - thanks to his raw athleticism and motor.
Let's take a closer look at how Bryan fits the Cowboys' defense.
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"Bryan excels at not giving his man much of a blocking surface area – playing with good pad level and impressive bend for a DT."
This film clip and quote comes from my full scouting report on Florida's Taven Bryan at Slant Sports. Far from a finished product, Bryan shoots gaps and beats guards off of the line with ease. This is a player with rare traits at the 3T position, bending well while playing with enough strength throughout his entire frame.
"Using a smooth upper body paired with quick footwork and burst, Bryan is frequently shooting gaps to finish in the backfield."
When I watched Taven Bryan, I was reminded of current Cowboys DT Maliek Collins in 2016. As a rookie, Collins played the penetrating 3T spot with similar burst and power.
With the Cowboys now preferring Collins at the 1T position, Bryan could fill in on day one as an interior force with the upside to become one of the league's best match up weapons up front.
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Unless a blocker across from Bryan works quickly into his frame, this is a player that is going to generate push and flow to the football with elite speed and balance.
"Taven Bryan allows his frame to be controlled too often, effectively getting washed out of any play where his blocker can squat against the speed rush and shoot their hands inside on Bryan."
Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence proved that he is the "alpha" of this defensive line in 2017. Building this unit around Lawrence will yield positive results for the Cowboys, especially if they can find a long-term 3T to play alongside him.
One with as high of a ceiling as Taven Bryan becomes an intriguing option, especially considering the Cowboys' ability to play him in a rotation early in his career.
"Unleashing Taven Bryan as a gap-shooting 3T DT is the best way to see this prospect reach his ceiling..."
The Cowboys' 19th overall pick may be a bit rich for Taven Bryan, but this is a prospect to look for in the second round, where Dallas holds the 50th overall pick. A second round DT on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, Bryan should outplay his draft status regardless of the pick if put in the right situation to use traits that would greatly help the Dallas Cowboys.
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