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Dallas Cowboys: Biggest Draft Needs

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Draft Blog - Dallas Cowboys: Biggest Draft Needs

The Dallas Cowboys still have to work to do. Currently, the offseason isn't on their minds. With three games left, players still have to prove that they belong here beyond the 2015 season. That's what the coaching staff will focus on. For me, however, I'll be getting started on the draft process, something I've already looked into for about the past two weeks now. Let's take a look at the Cowboys' five biggest draft needs.

1) Cornerback

I understand that the Cowboys need to find the Cowboys' successor to Tony Romo. However, with Morris Claiborne likely going elsewhere in the offseason, Brandon Carr likely to be released, and Byron Jones likely to make the move to free safety, the Cowboys find themselves without much talent at the cornerback position. The return of Orlando Scandrick will be huge, but the Cowboys need to look into drafting another cornerback early in the draft. Jalen Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves fits the mold.

2) Quarterback

Not only do the Cowboys need to find Romo's successor, they also need that successor to be Romo's understudy. In case Romo gets injured again, the Cowboys need something better than Matt Cassel or Brandon Weeden to come in and play. Dallas' top pick will provide desires for top quarterback prospects like Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff, but the Cowboys would serve better to wait until the middle rounds to develop a guy like Carson Wentz.

3) Defensive Tackle

Tyrone Crawford doesn't get the attention he deserves. He consistently splits the middle and gets pressure on the quarterback. Amazingly enough, he does all of this without much help from the 1-technique defensive tackle next to him. Nick Hayden isn't a bad player, but he's not a starter-level player. The Cowboys need a space-eater. A'Shawn Robinson or Kenny Clark makes sense.

4) Wide Receiver

Although Dez Bryant hasn't looked the same in 2015, it's worth being mentioned that he's been banged up all year and when you don't practice often with a bad quarterback, years like this are bound to happen. I'm not worried about Bryant. I'm not worried about Cole Beasley. I am worried, however, about both Terrance Williams and Devin Street. Neither has done much in their careers. If Dallas really wants to add a playmaker across from Bryant, grabbing Laquon Treadwell in the first would be a risky move that would be worth it.

5) Defensive End

I was thinking about putting safety here, but I truly believe that Byron Jones will make the transition to free safety, perhaps as early as this offseason. Defensive end is somewhat of a priority because the Cowboys should let Greg Hardy walk. It was a good attempt, but the move really backfired, even though Hardy was productive on the field.

It never hurts to add more pass-rushers. Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence look like foundational pieces, but a guy like Joey Bosa or Robert Nkemdiche paired with a guru in Rod Marinelli would simply be insane.



An online sports writer for about three years now, Ryan is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He writes about his favorite team on Inside The Star. Ryan also writes for other publications like Roster Watch, Rant Sports, and Cuse Nation. Ryan is a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Information Management and Technology. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanRattyNFL.

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13 Comments
  • http://www.dallascowboyschat.com cowboysdude

    They can't draft their biggest needs… you can't draft a GM or HC.

    • Ryan Ratty

      Gotta give Garrett time. He's the right man here whether you believe that or not. Regarding GM, Jerry is really giving more power Stephen Jones and a guy named Will McClay. The latter has been the main voice in the Cowboys' war room for about the past three years now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog Fred Goodwin

        Give Garrett time? If 5-1/2 years (at the end of this season) isn't enough time, how much more would you suggest?

        • James Howerton

          I agree with you on a lot of things. I think you may be wrong about Claiborne not coming back next year. He's just starting to play decent ball and I doubt he'll get a huge offer from another team but if he does, it wouldn't be a great loss. As you stated, we will get our best DB back from the IR. I really do hope Dallas' staff is smart enough to make Jones our starting FS because we've needed one badly since Woody retired. He has the ability and, importantly, the heart to be a great one. Most importantly for me is using a high pick on a QB of the future, if one of the two top-rated QBs are still available when we pick. If not, Conner Cook from MSU may develop into a good one. I think whoever gets him may get the steal of the draft. We also definitely need a very good RB. DMC has played well but he's missing that third gear that would have allowed him to score at least twice this year when he's gotten past the LBers. 8 or 9 years will do that to an athlete. Second and third receiver can wait. I say bench Romo and Bryant for the rest of the season so they can get truly healthy. Good luck on trying that with Bryant, though.

    • Scottcb1

      I totally agree. Most teams with this much talent can win more game with their back up QB. This season was an eye opener as far as coaching is concerned.

  • Robert

    As Ron Wolf, the hall of fame general manager, of the green bay packers, if there is a quality quarterback, when it's time to draft, you draft the quarterback. I think Jerry will finally pull the trigger and draft Romo's heir apparent in the 2016 NFL Draft.

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    Once again, spot on Ryan.

    Garrett is a motivator and a franchise team builder. Had Romo not gotten himself injured and we were sitting at 8-4 or 7-5 right now with a firm grip on the NFC East and the playoffs, it would be a lot more obvious. When it comes to coaching changes, I think the only change(s) needed are at the OC position and potentially the offensive line coach.

  • maxdallasfan

    We need a QB, a QB, and a QB.

  • Johnny Blades

    As long as Ole Jerry is the General Manager/Owner.there will never be a quality coach in Dallas, because Jerry will continue to hold control over all aspects of the team. All the fans saw all the conflict in the locker room with this losing season. Jerry not putting his foot down and Garrett not in control. It doesn't matter, if Cowboys have a top 5 pick, Jerry and Company will screw it up. You can claim that Will McCay and Stephen Jones have input but Ole Jerry signs the check Will there be any major changes, not with Jerry in charge. Offensive line can't protect the qb, no running back, starting receiver not playing to contract and defense can't stop the run and corner backs getting beat. How many times are you going to use 1st and 2nd picks on corner backs and get the same results. Build the DE and DT and linebackers. You'll get better results… .

  • cjprine

    For those screaming QB, I ask which one would you take at a top ten pick! This is not the time for over reaching! I.e Browns!!! Have to be smart! From scouts this is the worst QB draft class! We clearly have to look at CB, and one that can play in the system of our defense coordinator! I say WR/RB in the 2nd!!! Romo will be our QB for the next 2 years I think we get mid round QB and hope we can develop! I think that's a likely scenario unless a trade presents itself

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Blue Star

    I feel like Jerry is going to reach for a QB next draft. Linebacker is a huge need. WR is a need IMO.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie
    InsideTheStar.com User

    All the fans saw all the conflict in the locker room with this losing season.

    Now we're just making stuff up. This never happened.

  • IamSturge

    I think I'd probably include LB over DE, Hardy will be back cheaper than originally expected if they decide to spend the money. Rolando could be looking at another 1 yr deal, I can't imagine there will be a huge market after losing 4 games to weed and some up and down play this season. That said both he and Lee are still kind of question marks

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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