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Dallas Cowboys 2010 Draft: Coverage At Safety

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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.

Or

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.


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NFL Draft

2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.


J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?


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Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.


But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.


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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.


The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?


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