As the draft nears, I'm going to continue looking at players that make sense for the Dallas Cowboys. That said, I'm going to look at ten quarterbacks, ten running backs, ten wide receivers, ten linebackers, and ten defensive backs. Currently, I have scouted two quarterbacks, Paxton Lynch, and Jared Goff. If you'd like to view those articles, they're available for you at the bottom of the screen.
The next quarterback prospect I'll be scouting is Connor Cook from Michigan State. If Cook does get picked by the Cowboys, it will likely mean that the team would bypass on drafting a quarterback in the first round and instead take one in the second or even third round.
Cook is an intriguing quarterback prospect. At Michigan State, he's been the main playmaker for one of the best collegiate programs for the past decade or so. Taking over the job towards the end of his freshman season, Cook has been known for having one of the higher quarterback ratings over the past three years. Let's finally get to the breakdown of Cook and how he projects to the NFL.
Whenever you find a college quarterback of making an NFL-level throw, it needs to be pointed out and that's exactly what Cook does here:
Cook's arm isn't exactly strong, but it's not weak either. He likes to stay in the pocket and get the ball out quickly. You don't see him take many chances with the football. This throw is a good one because he puts the ball only to where his receiver can get to it.
The next pass is a big problem with Cook. Whenever a quarterback overthrows a receiver, it's truly unacceptable. There's no reason for Cook to sail this pass, but he does and it leads to an easy interception for the defense. The worst part is that his intended man was wide open.
The next pass is one of the best throws I've seen from Cook. On this throw, Cook shows off his touch, putting a football right on the money to his receiver down the field. Also, notice that this play came on fourth down.
It's clear to me that Cook is most comfortable when he's in the pocket. Here's a throw from the pocket that shows arm strength, getting the football through a zone in the middle of the field.
Going back to Cook's ability to put excellent touch on the football, I truly believe that his touch stems from his footwork as well as his mechanics in the football. Cook looks extremely professional in the pocket, showing the ability to go through his reads and knowing where his check-down is at all times. Here's another example of his touch.
The next throw shows Cook's poise, anticipation, and touch all paired in one. This is the type of throw NFL coaches will appreciate out of the Michigan State product.
After watching Cook, it's easy to see how he excels within his pro-style offensive scheme. Cook's arm is solid. It's not on the level of a Jay Cutler, but he puts enough power on the ball to get the football in tight windows. With the right cast of players around him, I think Cook has the skill-set to succeed. But if he is placed in the wrong situation with a bad coaching staff, I think Cook will fail, this leads to my next point.
There have been a ton of reports regarding Cook's attitude and his dedication towards the team and not to himself. Unfortunately, I'm of the belief that Cook is an arrogant football player. Obviously, with just four career losses, it's clear that Cook is a proven winner. However, he's done all of this with an excellent defense and an excellent cast of players around him.
There's a ton to like out of Cook nevertheless. He has good size for an NFL quarterback, a good arm, and he has a great understanding of defensive schemes and what to do when the pocket collapses. Unfortunately, I struggle to believe how Cook will perform in the NFL when defenses are better and coaching staffs are smarter. Cook looks the part for an NFL quarterback, but I doubt his current skill-set will make him a starter off the bat in the NFL.
How does Cook fit in Dallas? With Tony Romo's age as well as his back and clavicle issues, the time is now for the Dallas Cowboys to look into finding his successor and while Cook may not be the guy right away, with some developing, he could turn into an above-average quarterback in the NFL. However, because of his character concerns as well as his reliability to the scheme he's playing in, I doubt Dallas is the team he'll end up with.
Games watched: Oregon, Penn State, Ohio State
Next up on the docket: Carson Wentz
Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?
There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.
Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.
The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.
@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!
To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.
In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.
Huge blessing being surrounded by players like this 👊🏽👊🏽
All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.
The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.
The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.
It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.
Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?
Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley
With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.
That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.
The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.
His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.
Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.
ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys https://t.co/cCNpXmhARe
Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.
Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.
This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.
Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.
Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.
Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.
This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.
It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.
Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.
We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?
2018 NFL Draft: What Cowboys Look For In LBs
As we continue to move through the Cowboys' positions of need and construct their overall draft board, we now take a look at what Dallas tends to look for in linebackers.
The Cowboys have some real questions to answer within their linebacker corps this offseason. Sean Lee is an obvious stud, but his injury history makes him a bit unreliable. Jaylon Smith began to come along later in the season, but how much better will he be in 2018? And then, of course, there is the impending free agency of Anthony Hitchens the team must deal with.
The Cowboys will certainly be looking at this somewhat-deep linebacker class in the upcoming draft, and after reviewing what their "type" has been in the past, a few prospects stood above the rest.
And here it is for LB. Better set of training data so should be more predictive of future picks. LVE is a freak athletically.
For starters, Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds must have been built in a lab. At 6'4" 253 pounds he is much bigger and stronger than the typical Cowboys linebacker, but his athletic testing all exceed the normal thresholds as well. He is significantly faster and more athletic than the typical Dallas draft pick, and would be an excellent candidate with the 19th overall pick. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate him being their for the taking.
Iowa's Josey Jewell is an interesting prospect to evaluate. A rather reliable player on film, Jewell also passes each of the athletic thresholds set by Dallas in previous years. Well, besides his 40 time, which is nearly a full second slower than their average selection. Still, considering his tape, short shuttle, 3 cone, and broad jump, I expect him to be a potential target for the Cowboys on day two.
The 2 linebackers which fit the Cowboys' plan best, however, are BYU's Fred Warner and Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch.
As seen on the spreadsheet, Vander Esch is a certified freak by Cowboys' standards. He greatly exceeds each of Dallas' athletic markers, and does it all at 6'4" and over 250 pounds. Like I said, he's an athletic freak in the eyes of the Cowboys.
Warner is just below the average weight in previous years (by only 2 pounds), but he is much more athletic than players we've seen the Cowboys draft since 2011. He is converting from more of an EDGE-type role in college to being a full time off-ball linebacker, and so far he has looked comfortable doing so at the Senior Bowl and Combine.
Considering the struggles the Cowboys have had on defense as of late, finding these younger and faster players should be a priority. And, as indicated by the testing of their previous draft classes, the Cowboys should be able to upgrade on that athleticism during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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