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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

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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NFL Draft

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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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades

Shane Carter

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades 1

Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.

Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.

Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.

58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 1

In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.

Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.

It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Grade: B

90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 6

As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.

However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.

Who’s job could be on the line?

Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?

Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?

Is one of them going to get traded?

Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?

So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.

Grade: A

128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.

Shane Carter on Twitter

Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft

Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.

The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.

Grade: A-

158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 9

This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.

His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.

With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.

Grade: C+

165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 11

Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.

The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.

The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.

Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.

Grade: B+

213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 12

The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.

Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.

Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.

Grade: B

218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 13

Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.

Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.

He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Grade: B

241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 14

Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.

It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B



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