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Dallas Cowboys Draft Review: Regrading the Cowboys 2010 Draft

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Draft Blog - Dallas Cowboys Draft Review: Regrading the Cowboys 2010 Draft 4

After each and every draft, grades are handed out like candy on Halloween. These grades are based on where expert thinks the best value was found and who reached too early. Did a team get a steal with a guy in the seventh round? Did they reach way too early in the first?

The fact is, grading a draft the day after it happens is basically pointless. There is no way to tell how a good, or bad, a pick can be until they get on the field for a full season. And even after one season, it still can  be difficult to get a true read on some guys. Most people think you need two or three years to fully grade ones draft class.

So with the 2013 draft right around the corner, we take a look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys draft class and how those selections have fared.

1.24 WR - Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State

Dez BryantBryant came in the league with some immaturity question, but his natural talent was something that Dallas couldn't pass on. Dallas gave up their third round pick in order to move up and grab Bryant. He only started 2 games his rookie season, but finished with 45 catches, 561 yards, and 6 TD. He also added 2 punt return TD as well. He's had a few minor off-field issues early on, but has stayed out of the spotlight this offseason, and after last season in which Bryant accounted for 1,382 yards receiving to go along with 12 TD, he's looking the part of one of the top WRs in the league.

With Bryant developing into a true number one WR, and maturing off the field, the Cowboys seem to of hit a homerun with this pick.

Grade: A

Should have selected: Bryant - After a bit of a bumpy start, Bryant's 2012 season was what the Cowboys were planning on getting when they drafted him. Has the skillset and talent to develop into one of the better WRs in the NFL.

2.23 ILB - Sean Lee, Penn State

Sean Lee fell on draft day due to concerns about a knee he injured in college. Known for his high football IQ and overall toughness, Lee was able to take things slow as rookie as he backed up Keith Brooking and Bradie James. He had a fantastic 2011 season leading the team in tackles with a total of 105. Also led the team with 4 interceptions. Was only in the teams first 7 games last season (toe injury) but looked the part of the Cowboys best defender with 58 total tackles.

Injuries have been somewhat of a concern early on in his career, but Lee has the making of the Cowboys next great defensive player. He's a leader on and off the field and should continue to develop as a player that opposing offenses have to gameplan for.

Grade: A -

Should have selected: Lee - He's everything that Dallas needed and wanted at the time. He looks the part of a franchise defensive player and should continue to flourish even with the switch to the 4-3

4.28 S - Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana (Pa.)

Cowboys drafted Owusu-Ansah knowing they had to be patient while he developed as a NFL FS. But they anticipated he could contribute immediately as a kick returner. That never happened as battled injuries and he failed to make an impact on Special Teams or as a Safety.

Prior to his release late in the 2011 season, AOA totaled 28 kickoffs for 599 and zero touchdowns. Dallas looked to convert him to WR in hopes his playmaking ability could get him on the field, but that was a failed experiment as well. He was picked up by Jacksonville late in 2011, and spent the 2012 season in Oakland.

Grade: F

Should have selected: Kam Chancellor - The Pro Bowl Safety was selected 7 spots after AOA, and has totaled 220 career tackles to go along with 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles.

6.10 OT - Sam Young, Notre Dame

At the time, Young was considered good value in the 6th round. He came from a pro-style offense and amassed over 50 career starts while at Notre Dame. He had NFL size, and was thought he could be groomed as the teams future RT.

Instead he never developed the way the Cowboys had hoped. He stuck around for the 2010 season, but was cut in 2011. He landed with Buffalo and made 4 starts and is currently listed as their backup RT

Grade: F

Should have selected: Antonio Brown - While at the time Dallas wasn't in the market to select two wide receivers, Brown has emerged as the Steelers top WR for 2013, and was the first person in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving and return yards in a single season.

6.27 CB - Jamar Wall, Texas Tech

Cowboys thought that Wall could come in right away and contribute on Special Teams and eventually battle for, at worst, the third CB position. Instead, what they got was someone who never saw the field as a Cowboys as he was one of the last players cut back in September of 2010. Tallied one career tackle and had brief stints with the Texans and Eagles

Grade: F

Should have selected: Trindon Holliday - When picking late in the draft you look for immediate contributors to your Special Teams unit. Holiday could've added just that as one of the more dynamic returners in the NFL. Picked one spot after Jamar Wall, Holliday was someone the Cowboys could've used at the time.

7.27 DT/DE - Sean Lissemore, Williams & Mary

Coming out of college, Lissemore was known for his relentless motor and untapped potential, and thats exactly what the Cowboys got out of him. He comes to work everyday and brings the intensity and hard work he was known for in college. He continues to develop, and while he will never be considered a week in and week out starter, Dallas saw enough to reward him with a three-year contract extension this past season. He will move to DT in the new 4-3 and once again be relied on to bring a spark off the bench.

Grade: B+

Should have selected: Lissemore - Brandon Deaderick wouldn't have been a bad option, but Dallas loves what they have in Lissemore.

This class will always be remembered for Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, and any time you can grab two long term starters in a draft it should be considered a very successful draft. However, having three picks in the middle of the draft basically wasted is a bit troublesome. Lissemore provided great value as one the last players picked in the draft.



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2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.

J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?



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Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.

But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.



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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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