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Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: WR Zay Jones

Sean Martin

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Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Target: WR Zay Jones

The Dallas Cowboys are one draft class away from potentially owning the NFL landscape for years to come, with their 2016 class not only serving as the foundation for this team right now – but a blueprint to what their goals in the 2017 Draft should be. Finding talent through all seven rounds will be essential once again, and towards the bottom of this draft a wide receiver they could target is Zay Jones out of East Carolina University.

Measuring in at the Senior Bowl at 6017, Zones checks off the height (barely) that the Cowboys will look for in adding depth at WR, along with the production. The FBS’ all-time leader in receptions, Jones has some serious flaws to his game as a complete prospect, but catching the football is not one of them.

Zay Jones 2017 WR Vs Virginia Tech – Streamable

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

Zay Jones is a strong runner that, although stiff at times, utilizes his upper body strength incredibly well to high point any passes thrown his way.

This quote comes from my full scouting report on Zay Jones at Slant Sports, and when paired with the above highlight, you get a pretty good vision of the type of player that Jones is. While some Cowboys fans and draft followers are looking for a receiver to take the top off of a defense across from Dez Bryant, there would be nothing wrong with establishing Jones into this offense as a target that can line up both on the inside and out with the comfort to catch passes at either position.

Jones does show the ability to stretch the field on tape and track the ball exceptionally well…

Zay Jones currently holds a sixth round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft Board, so the expectation would not be for him to immediately become the Cowboys’ WR2 as a rookie.

Instead, the developmental potential is huge for a player like Jones thanks to his collegiate production and pro-ready hands. When Scott Linehan wants to spread the field, a player like Jones running intermediate routes as a check down option for Dak Prescott could be huge (literally).

When asked to stretch the field and expand his route tree, Jones rarely shows the fluidity or strength to create consistent separation.

Over time, the hope for Jones would be to improve in Dallas as a route runner. With a NFL training camp under his belt, Zay Jones could become quietly become another late round steal for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 Draft after his rookie season.

With strong enough hands to make up for the tight coverage he’ll most certainly see at the next level, the intrigue is there with Zay Jones to potentially continue making the WR position look easy with whatever team calls his name in the draft thanks to his traits – which is sometimes all you look for in the later rounds.

This last quote from my scouting report summarizes the intrigue when it comes to Jones joining America’s Team. Wide receiver is definitely a position of need for the Cowboys, but not one that they necessarily need to invest a high draft pick into. While Zay Jones shouldn’t be their only target, he could certainly be one of them – a big one with a ton of potential at that.

Zay Jones 2017 WR Vs South Carolina – Streamable

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

Oh, and Jones is the son of former Dallas Cowboys’ first round pick LB Robert Jones. The ✭ may be in his destiny.

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

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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 wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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4 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    I guess I’m surprised that you see Jones as a 6th round pick and the combine could play a big part in where he finally gets slotted. Most so-called draft gurus have him anywhere from 2nd round to 4th round and personally I love his game. There are a few aspects about his game that need some work and he switched from primary slot to outside his senior season but I think he is ready to play in the NFL. I Wil be surprised if he makes it out of round 3 and if he is sitting there at our pick in that round I’m sending his name up…unless we already picked a WR in 1 or 2.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Agreeing to disagree with a lot of people it seems on Jones, which is fine, but the Combine could certainly see his grade improve to a 5th for me – possibly a 4th. Wish him all the best wherever he ends up there, seems like a great guy, and as mentioned his passion for the game jumped out even on tape. Could be a 6th round steal, or go earlier and perform well.

      • Randy Martin

        Its alright that’s the great thing about the draft. Makes for a lot of good conversation! Just because a lot of people like a guy doesn’t mean you have to. You can either choose to be a sheep or a shepherd.

        • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

          Absolutely! Love the draft season for that reason, all opinions should be welcome. Trust your eyes and the tape.

NFL Draft

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games

Mauricio Rodriguez

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We still have to wait a long time before it’s Draft season, but after watching college football’s conference championships yesterday, it is inevitable to start talking about some prospects who could help the Dallas Cowboys next year.

The Cowboys still have four football games left, but the college football season is coming to an end. This week, some of the best teams in the country played their respective conference championships. Here are some players who shined in their championship games and could help the Cowboys at positions of need.

Georgia Bulldog LB Roquan Smith

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship GamesOut of everyone on this list, Smith is perhaps the player who made the most noise on championship weekend. As Georgia absolutely destroyed Auburn, Smith made his presence felt on the field.

His stats were outstanding, including 13 tackles (10 of which were solo), one sack, two tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries. The 2017 SEC Championship Game MVP will definitely be in the “top LB of the class” conversation.

Roquan might go too early for Dallas, but a lot of things can happen between now and April, so he’s still worth keeping an eye on. Who knows, maybe we even get to see Dallas trading up. Just picture a LB group with Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Jaylon Smith and Roquan Smith.

Mayhem.

Oklahoma Sooner TE Mark Andrews

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games 1

Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It’s no secret that Jason Witten’s career is coming to an end soon, and his perfect replacement may be coming out of Oklahoma this year. The Sooners TE is arguably the best at his position this year and a key piece of the Baker Mayfield-led offense.

He’s not only good as a receiving threat, but also as a blocker, which does nothing but help his draft stock.

The Cowboys may be reluctant to target a tight end in the first round, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to se a TE’s stock falling just because of his positional value. It’s still to early to say, but Andrews could be a second-round target for Dallas. At least, he should.

We may have hopes on Rico Gathers, but it should be time to start looking at other – more viable – options. Mark Andrews would be a nice addition to the Cowboys offense.

Memphis Tiger WR Anthony Miller

In a game in which more than 100 points were scored, Memphis’ WR Anthony Miller’s draft stock skyrocketed. There’re a lot of reasons to believe he won’t be a first-round pick, including the conference he plays in and his lack of size.

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games 3

But don’t underestimate this guy. He truly is a game changer. During his championship game versus Central Florida, he caught 14 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cowboys really need to take a look at WR as a top need. Even with names like Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley, this is a group that has really struggled creating separation and opportunities for the offense.

As draft season gets closer and closer, we’ll be taking a deeper look at all of the Cowboys’ prospects. For now, I thought of pointing out these guys who had excellent performances in their championship games.

It may not be the best Draft class ever, but I bet it will be a fun one for the Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about “3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games” 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

Cowboys 2018 NFL Draft Preview

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I know what you’re thinking, the Cowboys get blown out on the road at Atlanta and I’m giving up on the season and moving on to the draft. That is NOT what I’m doing. We are more than halfway through the regular season and the draft is creeping right around the corner (five months to be exact).

I’m here today, to (hopefully) educate you on a few prospects and highlight some of the Dallas Cowboys biggest needs heading into April.

If the season ended tomorrow, the Dallas Cowboys would be picking 17th overall, so highlight players who will realistically be around for the Cowboys to draft in that range and throughout the first few rounds.

Offense Dominates Top 10 Picks of 2017 NFL Draft, Defensive Talent Remains for Cowboys

Top Five Team Needs

  1. Linebacker
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Tackle
  4. Cornerback
  5. Defensive End

Linebacker

Linebacker is one of the biggest positions that NEEDS to be addressed in April’s Draft.

Outside of Sean Lee there isn’t a single linebacker on the team that plays at a consistently high level. And unfortunately for the Cowboys (and Sean Lee), he has struggled to stay on the field his entire career.

Anthony Hitchens is a very solid MLB for the team, but he is entering a contract year in a year where DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and David Irving (RFA) are also free agents.

Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson are really the only two other options the Cowboys have as full-time linebackers and neither of the two are consistent in their level of play.

Damien Wilson has shown flashes of being a very good player, but he has struggled in coverage and misses tackles in the open field far too often.

As far as Jaylon Smith goes, I don’t think he should be on the field at all right now. As bad as that sounds, Smith is currently hurting this defense. To make matters worse it doesn’t seem that Jaylon Smith is being limited athletically, but the mental aspect of the game has let the former second round pick down big time.

Jeff Cavanaugh on Twitter

Interesting plan by Jaylon. https://t.co/z8eL80yYlh

Linebacker Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Rashaan Evans – Alabama – 6’3″, 235lbs

Rashaan Evans is a thumper in the middle of one of the most talented defenses in the nation. Evans does an excellent job taking on and disengaging from blocks to get to ball carriers in all depths of the field.

Evans shows glimpses of a familiar face in Sean Lee. His instincts may be his best trait.

Rashaan Evans is a little undersized, but he uses his smaller size to his strength. The Cowboys desperately need a linebacker who can contribute, but more importantly take over if Sean Lee’s injuries continue to keep him sidelined.

Rashaan Evans would be a great option for the Cowboys in the middle of the first round.

https://twitter.com/Future_NFL_GM/status/929520211719532544

  • Roquan Smith – Georgia – 6’1″ 225lbs

Similar to Rashaan Evans, Roquan Smith is an undersized linebacker who flies all over the field. Smith’s ability to diagnose plays and get to the football in a hurry is one of his biggest strengths.

The Cowboys linebackers corp currently lacks a player that can play sideline to sideline and that is the Georgia linebacker’s best trait.

  • Tremaine Edmunds – Virginia Tech – 6’5″ 235lbs

Tremaine Edmunds would fit in wonderfully in the Dallas Cowboys defense. Edmunds is a consistent tackler, who knows where to be and when to be there. The Virginia Tech junior plays both the run and the pass well and looks very athletic on tape for being 6’5″ 235 lbs.

Wide Receiver

Chaz Green was absolutely terrible in Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, but the receivers weren’t much better. While some of the blame should be given to the play-calling, the receivers didn’t get any separation for Dak Prescott.

Dez Bryant is still a huge weapon in the red zone, but in between the 20s Dez has struggled the last few seasons. Dez Bryant wins with his size and physicality, but lacks the quickness to get separation against quicker cornerbacks.

Cole Beasley is great at gaining separation, but teams are scheming to bracket Beasley with a corner and a linebacker/safety.

The Cowboys need to target a wide receiver in this year’s draft, and the first round may be the time to do it.

Wide Receiver Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Calvin Ridley – Alabama – 6’1″ 190lbs

The wide receiver depth in this year’s draft class isn’t great, but Calvin Ridley is.

Ridley uses his speed, route running ability, and smarts to create separation, off the ball, in the middle of his routes, and at the top of his routes. Ridley is the type of player that can get open and make plays in all depths of the field.

I really like Calvin Ridley’s ability to make plays after the catch, but more importantly his ability to separate to allow his quarterback to get the ball out of his hands quickly.

Brett Hudson on Twitter

First big Calvin Ridley play: MSU plays zone behind blitz. Ridley hits gap between underneath and McLaurin deep. Ridley runs good route and you can see McLaurin (top right) doesn’t have time to get there. https://t.co/2KQeDypNyb

  • Anthony Miller – Memphis – 5’11” 190lbs

To me, Anthony Miller is a poor man’s Odell Beckham Jr.

Anthony Miller has extremely sticky hands, runs impressive routes, and has the quickness and smarts to create separation. Anthony Miller has elite traits, he just doesn’t get the respect he deserves due to playing at a smaller school in Memphis. Miller may not be a clear-cut first rounder, but he could be an option in the second round.

Jason DiRienzo on Twitter

What makes #Memphis WR Anthony Miller so special?…plays like this. He is a human highlight reel. He will be a top WR #devy pick, mark it. https://t.co/ZdfbppLbob

Tackle

Oh man, where do I even begin? If the Cowboys could be promised that none of their starting five offensive lineman would ever get injured, then we wouldn’t be talking about this at all.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Tyron Smith has been dealing with back problems for two years now, and was held out of the Atlanta game due to a strained groin. In his absence, Chaz Green and Byron Bell gave up 6.5 sacks (6 of which came from Adrian Clayborn). The swing-tackle position in Dallas is by far one of the weakest on the team.

Tackle Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Connor Williams – Texas – 6’6″ 315lbs

If not for a knee injury that has kept Connor Williams out for a majority of the 2017 season, he would be looked as the best offensive lineman in this class.

Williams has the size, strength, and athletic ability to manhandle rushers off the edge. Williams is an excellent run blocker that still needs a little bit of refining as a pass blocker. If the Cowboys front office is extremely worried about Tyron Smith’s health, drafting Connor Williams in the first round wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

  • Orlando Brown – Oklahoma – 6’8″ 345lbs

As you see from his height and weight, Orlando Brown is a massive human being. While that does help him in some instances, it also hurts him when dealing with some of the smaller/quicker pass rushers.

For his size, Brown does do a nice job of keeping his technique clean when run blocking and not reaching or extending too early.

Where Brown needs work is in his pass blocking sets.

Brown is often a tick too slow to reach his landmarks which allows some rushers to beat him to the edge. If Brown can clean that aspect of his game up he would be an intriguing option for Dallas on day two.

Cornerback

The Cowboys spent two top-100 draft picks on corners last year. Chidobe Awuzie has spent a majority of his time on the sideline nursing a hamstring injury that he can’t seem to shake. Jourdan Lewis, on the other hand, has been fantastic.

Outside of those two guys – Anthony Brown has had an up and down year. For the most part, it’s safe to say that Anthony Brown’s sophomore season has been a disappointment.

Orlando Scandrick is a veteran in the locker room and has played nicely for the Cowboys in 2017, though I’d be surprised to see him back in 2018. Drafting at least one corner in the top-100 is something I think the Cowboys NEED to do for the makeup of their roster in 2018.

Cornerback Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Tarvarus McFadden – Florida State – 6’2″ 198lbs

Last draft season, McFadden was slated to be a top-five pick in 2017. I think McFadden’s inconsistent play has pushed him down draft boards just a bit.

In 2016 McFadden finished the season with eight interceptions, making him one of the most intriguing prospects heading into his junior year.

In 2017, McFadden hasn’t picked off a single pass yet, but he can still play at a really high level.

  • Quenton Meeks – Stanford – 6’2″ 200lbs

Quenton Meeks is another corner I think Dallas would really like to land in April’s draft. Meeks is a long corner that has good speed and is an extremely smart player.

The Stanford junior plays a lot of off-coverage allowing him to watch and read the quarterback’s eyes and body movements. Quenton Meeks isn’t a guy you may be familiar with in November, but you’ll start hearing his name a lot more the closer we get to April.

Demetric D. Warren on Twitter

PickSix by Stanford True Freshman Quenton Meeks #RoseBowlGame #NerdNation #TheFarm https://t.co/ePkCUvOgUl

Defensive End

This may leave some scratching their heads as well. For years Cowboys Nation has been screaming for a dominant pass rush and they finally have one. DeMarcus Lawrence leads the NFL in sacks, but is also a free agent at the end of the year. David Irving is playing lights out as the defensive line’s Swiss Army Knife, but is also a restricted-free-agent at the end of the season.

While I do think both players will be back, at least for 2018, the depth behind them is concerning.

Taco Charlton has had a dreadful year and is barely getting to see the field. Benson Mayowa has yet to register a sack and is getting a lot of reps at weak-side defensive end. Tyrone Crawford has probably had his best season yet, but has dealt with his fair share of injuries and isn’t an ideal option at WDE (weak-side defensive end).

With the concerns of talent and depth at defensive end, I think WDE is a very important position the Cowboys must target in the draft.

Defensive End Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Harold Landry – Boston College – 6’3″ 250lbs

Harold Landry is your prototypical WDE. At 250lbs, Landry has the speed, bend in his lower half, and explosiveness to win the edge on a high percentage of reps. Landry also has very polished hands that allow him to control blocker’s arms and hands when they are able to get a hold of him.

Landry would certainly require more attention at the RDE position than any of the players the Cowboys are throwing out there right now. That opens up more opportunities for DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, if both players are re-signed like I imagine.

The Great From 88′ on Twitter

That dip RT @EricElizondo8: Harold Landry bending the corner https://t.co/zFzO7sqY7t

  • Bradley Chubb – N.C. State – 6’4″ 275lbs

While Harold Landry doesn’t really fit the profile the Dallas Cowboys like out of their defensive ends, Bradley Chubb does. Chubb is a bigger body that could play either LDE or RDE, maybe even some three-technique in certain situations.

Chubb is extremely powerful and has a large arsenal of pass-rush moves that he uses to get after the quarterback. If Chubb can hang around until the 17th overall pick, don’t be surprised if his card gets turned in.

  • Marcus Davenport – University of Texas San Antonio – 6’7″ 255lbs

Knowing it’s hard to believe the Cowboys spend back to back first round picks on defensive ends, I added Marcus Davenport to my list.

Davenport is a freak athlete that is still learning how to rush with good technique. At 6’7″ 255lbs, Davenport runs like a running back but has the strength of a defensive tackle.

The UTSA senior has the speed to excel at RDE, but also the strength and ability to play the run as a LDE in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. If the Cowboys do go elsewhere in the first round, Marcus Davenport may be a great option in the second round to help bolster the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.

Dane Brugler on Twitter

UTSA DE Marcus Davenport #93 was dominant vs. UNT: 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF…6-6, 255 athlete w/ hoops background. NFL excited about him. https://t.co/EJVzXiSqZQ

There is still a lot of football left in the 2017-2018 NFL Season, but it’s never too early to start talking about some guys who could potentially help the Dallas Cowboys get to the Super Bowl in 2018. We’re only a few months away from hearing who your Dallas Cowboys select in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft!

Who do you think the Cowboys should draft in April?

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NFL Draft

Matt Miller’s 2018 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Top CB

Brian Martin

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Matt Miller's 2018 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Top CB
Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I don’t know about you, but I like to look at way too early mock drafts throughout the season to see who the so-called “draft analysts” predict for each team. Matt Miller happens to be one of my favorite draft analysts and fortunately he just released his latest 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

Matt Miller has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with NFL scouts around the league. He uses those connections for these mock drafts and bases each selection on what he’s hearing from those teams instead of who he would personally choose. That’s why I put a little bit more credibility in his mock drafts than others.

Let’s take a look at who Matt Miller predicts the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Miller set the draft order according to each teams current record and the strength of schedule for the rest of the 2017 season.

19. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

CB Holton Hill

Holton Hill, CB, University of Texas

Holton Hill, CB, University of Texas

Surprisingly enough, draft analyst Matt Miller predicts the Dallas Cowboys will select a cornerback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft despite using their second and third round selections in 2017 on CBs (Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis). Miller of course does state that this isn’t necessarily the direction he would go. The selections are based on what he’s hearing from teams around the league.

Here is what Matt Miller says about Holton Hill:

“The 6’3″, 200-pound junior cornerback has eye-popping tools and traits. Hill’s arm length, toughness as a tackler and 4.5 speed might just remind you of a young Richard Sherman. On the year, Hill has two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. He continues to impress with five passes defensed despite offenses staying away from his side of the field.”

Holton Hill is the first cornerback off the board in Matt Miller’s 2018 NFL mock draft and certainly sounds like a player the Dallas Cowboys could use. He would add much-needed size to the position and could be the #1 CB they are currently lacking. The only concern I would have is his lack of straight-line speed. But, Miller using Richard Sherman as a comparison lessens the concern just a little.

I’ve personally watched Holton Hill play a few games this season, and I have to say I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him. He is exactly the type of CB Rod Marinelli likes in his system. Hill is equally as good in man-to-man coverage or zone, and prides himself on his physical tackling ability against the run.

Whether or not  the Dallas Cowboys draft another CB early is still up in the air, but I certainly think it’s possible. Orlando Scandrick might be playing his last year in Dallas and Anthony Brown has seemed to regress this season. Jourdan Lewis certainly looks like a keeper as does Xavier Woods, but Chidobe Awuzie’s health issues make him an unknown at this point.

Given all the unknowns and youth at the cornerback position for the Dallas Cowboys, I believe Holton Hill will certainly be in play for them in the first round if available. Unfortunately, we have to wait until April to find out if this is true or not.

Do you like the Holton Hill selection for the Dallas Cowboys?

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