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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: CB Sidney Jones

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: CB Sidney Jones

With the pending free agent status of starting cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, there is a case to be made that the Dallas Cowboys' biggest need on defense is at CB as opposed to defensive end. Fortunately for them, the 2017 NFL Draft class is deep at both positions, more so at cornerback though. Washington's Sidney Jones sits near the top of any positional rankings at CB, and for good reasons as an athletic and confident player that could still be on the board when the Cowboys draft with the 28th overall pick.

A day one starter that would bring a well-balanced game and boost of athleticism to the Dallas Cowboys secondary, let's take a closer look at CB Sidney Jones' fit with the Cowboys.

2017 CB Sidney Jones Vs Arizona State - Streamable

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An incredibly smooth athlete, Jones’ understanding of his own body and skill set jumps out on tape...

This film clip and quote comes from my full scouting report on Washington's Sidney Jones at Slant Sports, and quickly gives you a feel for the type of player he is. Jones consistently puts himself in position to make plays on the ball - a welcome sight to Cowboys fans that have seen enough of corners that consistently allow big plays in years past.

...he consistently wins against almost any type of wide receiver.

Jones' ability to make plays stems from his athleticism in coverage off the line, as his elite balance and change-of-direction ability allows him to stick to any receiver in multiple types of coverage.

2017 CB Sidney Jones Vs Arizona State - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli asks his defensive backs to play a lot of coverages, with the more conservative ones typically being dialed up with the acknowledgment that opposing quarterbacks will have time to throw with Dallas' lack of pass rush.

As an off-man cornerback, Jones displays some of the same physicality as he does in the press at the top of his receiver’s route

Fortunately, Jones can excel in this role with his fluidity to rally to the ball along with adequate speed to pair with his awareness.

Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: CB Sidney Jones 1

2017 NFL Draft prospect, CB Sidney Jones of Washington. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

As the Cowboys expect to also improve their pass rush this offseason through free agency and the draft, their secondary should be able to play more press coverage - yet another area Sidney Jones is comfortable in.

Never missing with his jam, Jones has the ability to fluidly play in press man and utilize his functional length to disrupt WRs off the line.

Excelling in pass coverage is not the only thing that earned Sidney Jones a first round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft Board though, as he also showcases his athleticism as a willing run defender.

2017 CB Sidney Jones Vs Oregon - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The fans of whatever NFL team Sidney Jones lands on in the 2017 NFL Draft should be ecstatic. Jones will be a starting outside cornerback as a rookie, and one that should be expected to make impact plays in coverage – in addition to what he provides as a back-end run support CB.

Anthony Brown projects to start as an outside cornerback for the Cowboys in 2017, after emerging onto the scene as a rookie sixth round steal, as does the veteran Orlando Scandrick - who comes with his own injury and durability concerns.

Whether or not Carr, Claiborne, or neither defender is back with the team, Washington's Sidney Jones would be yet another first round draft pick for the Cowboys that can make an immediate impact as a rookie and improve a passing defense that will be critical to the Cowboys' overall success next season.

With an offense that grinds out long scoring drives, the Cowboys defense can complement this dominant offense much better moving forward with added talent in the secondary - forcing teams (many of which should be trailing on the scoreboard against Dallas) to equally have to dink-and-dunk their way down the field.

Sidney Jones can be this added talent in Greg Jackson's secondary, and would be more than deserving of the Dallas Cowboys' 28th overall pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: CB Sidney Jones" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    IMO it’s accurate to say equal need / RDE and CB, given the lack of pass pressure on Rodgers in the Divisional Round.

    Flip side: if you come into camp with a top prospect or top veteran for both positions, good chance of ruling the league for several years. So I put these positions ahead of all other considerations, and then I’m going in order for:
    OL (OT), TE, then as available DT, RB, WR

    But I make whatever FA and cap moves I need to, to get one of the two that way. And this is a “now” team so it can make sense to mortgage some future for the right FA. Then aggressive again, to get the other position in the draft.

    Damn shame about Gregory. Without his problems RDE is solved, and he may have run Rodgers down on that impossible 3rd & 20 throw to set up the game winner.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Russ, thanks for reading and responding. This is mostly spot on and a great breakdown of some needs this offseason. The one thing I’ll disagree on from a team perspective is the “now team” aspect. While that is mostly true, and I certainly want to see this team go win the whole thing in 2017 more than anyone, we have to realize Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and this line aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not sure how many future assets I’m giving up with that core as my future and Will McClay running my drafts.

      All just something to consider though. Appreciate the interaction! Go Cowboys!

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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NFL Draft

Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch
Loren Orr / Getty Images

A week ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked out to the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive year, a large portion of Cowboys Nation was not pretty happy about the player America's Team had drafted in the first day of the Draft.

Boise State's Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has become one of the main debates among Cowboys fans right now and will continue to be one at least until the season starts. Some are fine with the decision the front office made and some simply don't view Vander Esch as a first round talent.

Naturally, taking Leighton in the first round has been widely compared to the team's last first round pick: Taco Charlton.

Both of these selections resulted in fans all around the world complaining and criticizing the selections since they both seemed like a reach, arguing that they could've gotten better players at other positions.

But fans shouldn't be so quick to compare the Charlton and Vander Esch selections, because they really aren't that similar. Sure, most of the media and Draft fans didn't consider any of these players worthy of a first round pick, but that doesn't mean both players were ranked similarly in the Cowboys' draft board.

Defensive End Taco Charlton, despite showing some very promising flashes towards the end of the year, wasn't able to become a starter at any point during his rookie season. Hopefully he develops into one next season. But when you're talking about first-round picks, being a solid starter at the end of the season at the latest is a very usual expectation.

Possibly what made the Taco pick hurt even more, is the fact that the front office didn't even consider him a first-round talent. Although he was drafted to wear the Star with the 28th overall pick, he wasn't their guy.

Drew Davison on Twitter

The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.

With Leighton Vander Esch, the same can't be said. The Cowboys knew he was their guy and that they were going to take him, regardless of the situation. For many weeks we wondered about just every scenario the team might face when they were on the clock.

What if DE Harold Landry is available? What if Calvin Ridley is still on the board? What if Derwin James slides, would they trade up?

For the front office, there was quite a lot of talent to choose from at 19 (not to mention James did slide out of the top 15), but they still took Leighton Vander Esch, even with Landry and Ridley on the board. We might disagree with the pick. We might not think the Boise State's product should've been taken so early. That's completely fine.

But Cowboys Nation should be happy knowing that this was the guy they wanted all along. Maybe if Derwin James hadn't been drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick, Dallas would have still taken Vander Esch.

 "If the Cowboys traded up a few spots in the first round, I believe it would have been to ensure they got Vander Esch, not get James or Edmunds." Dane Brugler on the Cowboys' approach to the Draft. 

For now, it's time to root for the Dallas Cowboys' new rookie. Vander Esch will provide a special factor to this defense and has the potential to become a very good starter down the road. Playing side by side with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will certainly help his development and turn him into an impact player soon.

At the end of the day, it takes years to properly evaluate how a draft pick turned out in the NFL. There are first round players who turn out to be complete busts just like there are sixth or seventh round players that go on to become superstars in the league.

The Dallas Cowboys did a hell of a job addressing their needs throughout the Draft this year and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this year's draft picks. Leighton Vander Esch is without a doubt, one of them.

Tell me what you think about "Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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