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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: Mississippi State WR Fred Ross

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: Mississippi State WR Fred Ross

Unless the 2015 Dallas Cowboys season kept you in hiding for all of the greatness that was 2016, you well know by now that the team's future is as bright as ever thanks to former Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott. A fourth round pick in 2016, Prescott's Cowboys are already a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, and now they have a chance to add even more talent in the 2017 Draft. One such talent at a position of need is WR Fred Ross - who was actually Prescott's top target as a Bulldog in 2015.

The Cowboys could very well prioritize the WR position based on the free agent status of both Terrance Williams and Brice Butler, opting to use one of their higher picks on another play maker for Dak. They should also strongly consider looking at Fred Ross in the later rounds, who they visited with twice at the Senior Bowl, and not just because of his connection to their now franchise quarterback.

Fred Ross 2017 WR Vs Texas A&M - Streamable

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Much more than just a deep ball threat, Ross sells his routes off the line with decisive moves and head fakes...

This quote and film clip comes from my complete scouting report of Fred Ross over on Slant Sports, and very simply displays some of the abilities that would make him a great fit with the Cowboys.

While he won't start at WR2 as a rookie, Ross could certainly compete for snaps all through training camp, and is a difference maker when on the field for a number of reasons. This slant route above shows his value as a big target that Dak Prescott already trusts, and you can easily envision an unsuspecting defense worried about Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant allowing Ross to make this type of play in the red zone.

Fred Ross 2017 WR Vs LSU - Streamable

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Ross consistently makes tough catches look easy, a relatively versatile wide receiver that would be an upgrade near the bottom of the depth chart for Dallas. Assuming for a second that Terrance Williams gets paid elsewhere this off season, adding Ross to a pass catching group that would feature Bryant, Cole Beasley, and presumably Brice Butler makes this unit an incredibly balanced and deep one.

An all around smooth athlete that makes plays look effortless at times, Ross’ ability to not waste any space on his vertical routes should make him a guy that NFL scouts can envision a role for early in his career...

To reach his full potential in the NFL, Fred Ross will need to greatly improve as a route runner, but with the Cowboys being so run-heavy he would have an opportunity right away to make an impact by sticking to what he knows and running simple routes to get his early touches.

...his soft hands did allow for some curl, stop, and slant routes to get thrown his way along with the go route, but even simple drag routes were difficult for Ross to execute coming across the field.

The Cowboys are well staffed to work with a WR like Ross thanks to Derek Dooley and Scott Linehan, and the ceiling for a guy like him is well worth a 4th or 5th round pick.

Only further securing my "match made in heaven" for Fred Ross to join Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys is Ross' ability to come in on day one and be a deep ball threat with reliable hands - a missing element to this team's offense away from Dez Bryant.

Fred Ross 2017 WR Vs Arkansas - Streamable

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

This clip from his scouting report shows that, and when you factor in the yards after the catch that Ross produced on simple screen plays and other schemed touches with Mississippi State, you get a welcome addition and developmental prospect on the Cowboys' offense for 2017 and beyond.

Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: Mississippi State WR Fred Ross 1

So say it with me Cowboys Nation, "Prescott completes to Ross".

Our second-year quarterback could be completing passes to a receiver that should be available for the Cowboys in the fourth or fifth round (graded in the 5th on my 2017 NFL Draft Board), and everything will be that much more awesome in 2017.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: Mississippi State WR Fred Ross" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

  • Spencer Caffrey

    Cowboys don’t have a fifth round pick.

    • Sean Martin

      The 5th round grade on Ross is simply where he’s tagged on my board (which isn’t built with a Cowboys slant at all). He could obviously go before the 5th, or later and potentially be in play for the Cowboys’ 6th round pick. Either way, it is important to keep in mind that they’ll likely be drafting players off of their board graded a round below the one they select them in. So, their first round pick at 28 could be a second round player. If they have a 5 on Ross, they would be happy to take him in the fourth. Thanks for reading!

      • Spencer Caffrey

        Would be unusual for Dallas to have to draft that way. They’ve been able to find higher rated prospects in most rounds of their recent drafts, actually. Broaddus and several others have been talking about that.

        This draft is deep enough at relevant positions that Will and company would almost have to lay unnaturally irregular draft day eggs to miss out on highly rated prospects this year.

NFL Draft

Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys

Kevin Brady



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

As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.

Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.

Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.

On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.

Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.

The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.

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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire)

With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.

Josh Norris on Twitter

It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today

With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.

Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.

If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.

Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.

Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.

Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”

Kevin Brady



Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.

The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.

That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.

First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.

DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.

An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.

With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.

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