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NFL Draft

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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1 Comment
  • Dee

    We need to keep Sensabaugh and get rid of ken hamlin and try to get one of these safetys and Taylor Mays is not like Roy Williams he can cover he just doesnt make plays

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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