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Dallas Cowboys Stick To Plan, But Did They Succeed?

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This was one of the most gut wrenching drafts for me to watch. Mainly because there was plenty of opportunities for JJ and the Cowboys to do as they have done in years past, and completely deviate from the plan, and try to make a splash.

Now I know everyone wanted to see the Cowboys draft a player or players that would have an immediate impact in one or more of the positions of need. I too would have loved to see them land a top notch Safety or O- Lineman to compete for a starting spot. However by the time the Cowboys went on the clock, all of those players were gone. It was at that particular point in time that my heart began to race, for this is the exact spot in years past when management has overreacted and reached for someone. This year however it was different, Jerry trusted his scouting department, and trusted their board.

The Dallas Cowboy scouting department felt that there was a handful of players that may be available to them with the 51st pick that held 1st round talent, but after that you could throw a blanket over the rest. Simply meaning once the first rounders were gone everyone else was of equal talent. The 2009 NFL draft then became more about "value" than "name".

As Cowboy fans we have spent much of our time since Jerry took the rains of the team, being upset that they could not separate the difference between a "name" and an actual "football player".

The verdict on this draft will not be known for at least 3 years. As the draft began to unfold I realized what was happening and could not believe how stupid I was at not figuring out their plan before hand. The plan was a simple one, but like many of you I had become so mesmerized by what positions needed upgrading, that I completely lost focus about what the true intentions of the draft are. The same things I have for years blasted Jerry for doing I was now doing. The art of drafting college players to become NFL players, is an art, and an art not many have had a lot of success doing. Those who have had success will all say that "if you draft out of need you are going to fail, but if you trust your board and take the best available talent that fits your scheme then you are going to succeed."

In 2008 the Dallas Cowboys had 3 major areas of concern; (1) Special teams (this team lost at least 3 games last year due to there piss poor kick coverage) (2) Secondary (the corner play last year was better, but the lack of a ball hawking safety hurts.) (3) O-Line depth (as you all remember when Kosier went down last year so did the play of this unit)

When the Cowboys time on the clock came, and Louis Delma, Patrick Chung, Darcel Mcbath, Eric Wood, and Max Unger were gone, the Cowboys made a move to collect another draft pick. If you look at the needs of this team, which of the three areas noted could they have the most positive effect on in this draft? SPECIAL TEAMS! This unit has been horrific for several years now, and in dire need of drastic changes. This unit was slow, old, and very poorly coached. The Cowboys took care of the coaching side of things with the hiring of Joe D, and with the exception of the 101st pick (Stephen McGee) they totally revamped the special teams unit. Every single player they drafted this past weekend can be immediate players!

Sometimes in life what we think we want is not necessarily what we need. If this special teams unit plays to there capabilities this year they will impact this team far more than ANY OTHER PLAYER THAT WAS AVAILABLE AT 51. There is no one player that could have made the Cowboys 12-4 last year! but with the load they pulled yesterday this unit could have!

Welcome to the team gentlemen!


Jason Williams - ILB - Western Illinois

Robert Brewster - T/G - Ball State

Stephen McGee - QB - Texas A&M

Victor Butler - OLB - Oregon State

Brandon Williams - OLB - Texas Tech

DeAngelo Smith - CB - Cincinnati

Michael Hamlin - S - Clemson

David Buehler - K - USC

Stephen Hodge - S - TCU

John Phillips - TE - Virginia

Mike Mickens - CB - Cincinnati

Manuel Johnson - WR - Oklahoma


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7 Comments
  • Shaun Wellman

    Very nice article Philip, and I could’nt agree with you more.

    We do have a nice collection of starters, but it was starting to look like J.J. had forgotten that football teams are built from the bottom of the roster up.

    All but 2 of “The Dirty Dozen” are excellent special teamers, and this draft has now turned the bottom part of this roster on it’s ear. Very few of our starters play special teams, and the guys at the bottom of the roster seem more concerned with getting their shot to start than playing their hardest and contributing anywhere(special teams) they can.

    I love this draft and what it represents. The message sent to the team is very clear. The days of high priced underachieving back-ups are going to soon be over.

    This teams championship window had seemed like it would soon be closed but with this stout injection of hungry role players the Cowboys have followed the lead of modern era champs like the Patriots and Steelers. Both of those teams, when at their best have been chocked full of overachieving role players.

    Good job J.J. of shaking the S__T out of the bottom of this roster. Out with the overpriced underachieving old and in with some younger, cheaper, overachieving new.

    Hopefully we will be hearing these guys names called every game after a big time play on special teams, and watch out for a very different looking defensive backfield sometime either mid to late season.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ bags030404

    Thanks for the kind words Shaun. It took me longer than it should have to figure out what they were doing, but I am ecstatic with what they did.

  • Joe C

    Was just watching SC and they were giving “grades”, more like Mel Kiper Jr, was, for each division, and they gave Dallas a D for choosing Jason Williams and also not picking in the 1rst round. Obviously they don’t realize what we did and how much talent we actually picked up, but its whatever soon enough they will finally realize that we had an excellent draft this year.

    I’m already stoked, no I have been stocked about this season for a long time now, but this just puts icing on the cake.

    HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS!

  • Eric

    I’m torn about the draft. They did address most of their needs (LB, DB, OL, backup QB, WR) but not sure they picked the players in the best order or got best value.

    For example the Jason Williams pick. I’m not a college football expert but from what I read he was ranked around the 10th best LB and around 100-something pick, yet the Cowboys seemed to reach for him with the 69th pick. Seems like they could’ve picked a top 5 safety like Rashad Johnson, or someone with punt returning abilities, and still got Jason Williams later.

    Special teams was bad last year but don’t believe you should draft for special teams alone. I think you should draft for players that can competeplay on the regular roster AND also contribute to special teams as an added value.

    The biggest shock of the draft was the kicker in the 5th round. Are they really going to have 3 kickers (including the punter) active on game day? Or is this just a training camp competition thing? Are they thinking of trading Folk?

    I’m also surprised they didn’t try to make a move to trade picks this year for more picks next year. Seems they went the quantity over quality route and hope it promotes competition during training camp.

    Bottom line, it will be a few years before we know the true impact of these players, so I’ll hold judgement. Like you, I just have to trust that the scouting department knows what they are doing. It looked like they did with the 2008 draft, but this one on the surface feels more like the below medicre 2006 draft.

  • https://insidethestar.com/ TT

    Eric, I understand your inclination to feel this was correctly graded by dipschtick Kiper at a D, but you’ve got too look deeper into it to understand what they were doing.

    1. First and foremost they wanted guys with good motors and talent to add some competition to the bottom of the roster.

    2. They chose guys who fit their system above guys that were nationally ranked.

    I’m actually encouraged by the moves they made because they did what every team preaches about doing on draft day … sticking with your board. They spend weeks putting together a board based on years worth of scouting, yet they don’t usually follow what they have and end up with many names that are never heard from again.

    Getting Jason Williams at 69 might have been reaching a little, but the guy has good upside and will contribute right away on special teams. The kicker, this is a guy who put on a show at the combine, for a kicker, with his speed and strength that beat out a lot of linebackers there. But his main feature? He can kick the hell out of a football. Nick Folk is an accurate kicker, and while he can make the 53 yard field goals, he can’t kickoff worth a damn, so keeping a kickoff specialist in Beuhler on gameday is a good idea for field position.

    I was upset myself seeing Rashad Johnson on the board at 69 and 75 while they picked someone else, but they had him going around 100 and stuck to it. They weren’t far off either as he went like 96 or so. Had he been there at 101, they’d have taken him because they liked him.

    It’s hard to remember that this team is pretty much set on the depth chart, and that they weren’t drafting to find starters for this year. They were drafting to find football players to compete in camps, and some of these guys have a shot at earning some real playing time this year.

    I personally rank this years draft class as a B/B+, but it’ll take a year for anyone to really see why.

  • Shaun Wellman

    Wade and Jerry knew that coaching alone wasn’t responsible for the poor performance on special teams over the last three years.

    The hiring of Joe D. is a good start, but I’m sure he got here and looked at tape and didn’t like what he had to work with.

    The great finds that the Cowboys have had in late rounds over the last several years are all major contributors or starters so they are all at the top of the roster. Just look at how many starters where drafted in the 4th round and later.

    The Cowboys have done so well at polishing these “Diamonds in the Rough” that they depleted the talent pool at the bottom of the roster.

    That is what the team had lost sight of. They have taken the approach that having one of the most talented starting lineups means that they have one of the most talented teams.

    The draft is intended to add talent to a TEAM. A TEAM consists of more than just the starters.
    You are not going find starters every year in the draft; at least not next years starters. Every year TOP teams churn up the bottom of their rosters and get the most out of those players.

    Most fair-weather fans pay most of their attention to offense, then after they see a pick six or a sack for a big loss they start paying alittle more attention to defense. During special teams play they’re in the john or getting a beer, and those are the guys who want to know why we did’nt draft our next superstar.

    Our special teams unit is full of guys that think they should be or could be starters, and thats all they care about. Look back at some game footage and watch the body language of our guys(Especially Pat Watkins & Barbie Carpenter) coming off the field after a coverage situation. Of course the guy or guys that make the tackle are excited, but look at the rest of them walking off, heads down, pouting because they’d rather be doing something else. Special teamers need to have a sense of comraderie with each other, like its them against the whole world, and I think a rookie class of late rounders will play like theres no tomorrow.

    A football game consists of THREE key phases, and winning 2 of the 3 usually wins you the ball game. Last year we lost at least 2 games when the offense and defense where good enough but the special teams gave the game away. I’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts we lost in that phase 10 to 12 times last year.

    I give this draft an A- because of the lack of production from Roy Williams last year,or otherwise I’d give an A.

  • http://www.grantbailoutplan.com/ Shaun Wellman

    Wade and Jerry knew that coaching alone wasn’t responsible for the poor performance on special teams over the last three years.

    The hiring of Joe D. is a good start, but I’m sure he got here and looked at tape and didn’t like what he had to work with.

    The great finds that the Cowboys have had in late rounds over the last several years are all major contributors or starters so they are all at the top of the roster. Just look at how many starters where drafted in the 4th round and later.

    The Cowboys have done so well at polishing these “Diamonds in the Rough” that they depleted the talent pool at the bottom of the roster.

    That is what the team had lost sight of. They have taken the approach that having one of the most talented starting lineups means that they have one of the most talented teams.

    The draft is intended to add talent to a TEAM. A TEAM consists of more than just the starters.
    You are not going find starters every year in the draft; at least not next years starters. Every year TOP teams churn up the bottom of their rosters and get the most out of those players.

    Most fair-weather fans pay most of their attention to offense, then after they see a pick six or a sack for a big loss they start paying alittle more attention to defense. During special teams play they’re in the john or getting a beer, and those are the guys who want to know why we did’nt draft our next superstar.

    Our special teams unit is full of guys that think they should be or could be starters, and thats all they care about. Look back at some game footage and watch the body language of our guys(Especially Pat Watkins & Barbie Carpenter) coming off the field after a coverage situation. Of course the guy or guys that make the tackle are excited, but look at the rest of them walking off, heads down, pouting because they’d rather be doing something else. Special teamers need to have a sense of comraderie with each other, like its them against the whole world, and I think a rookie class of late rounders will play like theres no tomorrow.

    A football game consists of THREE key phases, and winning 2 of the 3 usually wins you the ball game. Last year we lost at least 2 games when the offense and defense where good enough but the special teams gave the game away. I’d be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts we lost in that phase 10 to 12 times last year.

    I give this draft an A- because of the lack of production from Roy Williams last year,or otherwise I’d give an A.
    BTW I love your blog!

NFL Draft

Draft Rumors: Cowboys Zeroed in on Three Players in 1st-Round

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Narrowed Down Their 1st-Round Pick To Three Players?

Welcome to Draft Day! A little later this evening the 2018 NFL Draft will officially kick off and we will finally be able to put to bed any kind of rumors or speculation about who the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first-round pick. But until then, there is one more rumor I thought worthy of being mentioned.

Normally, I don't put too much stock into draft rumors, especially this late in the process. But, this particular rumor comes from someone who has been a credible source in the past… Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com.

Almost at this exact point in the draft process a year ago Tony Pauline reported that the Atlanta Falcons were looking to jump the Dallas Cowboys in the draft to select a pass rusher. That proved to be true when the Falcons traded up from 31 to 26, two spots ahead of the Cowboys at 28, in order to take Takkarist McKinley.

Now, Tony Pauline has another report involving the Dallas Cowboys. According to Pauline, the Cowboys have zeroed in on three specific players with their first-round selection.

"Sources tell me the order of the three players the Dallas Cowboys are targeting with the 19th pick is Vita Vea, Leighton Vander Esch, and D.J. Moore. A report from Rotoworld yesterday stated that the Cowboys organization compared Vander Esch to Brian Urlacher."

I don't know who Pauline's sources are, but it sounds very plausible that the Dallas Cowboys have an interest in each one of the three players mentioned. Each one of them plays a position the Cowboys need to fill in the draft and they are some of the top prospects at those given positions.

Personally, I would change the order of these three players. I would keep Vita Vea where he is, but move D.J. Moore up and drop Leighton Vander Esch to third in the pecking order. I'm a big fan of Moore, but not a very big fan of Vander Esch.

I have D.J. Moore ranked as the top wide receiver prospect in the entire 2018 draft class. I think he is exactly the type of "Dak-friendly" WR the Dallas Cowboys are looking for. He is a good route runner and has a wide catching radius. But, what I like about him the most is the physicality he plays with and his ability to pick up yards after the catch.

I'm not as high on Leighton Vander Esch as others. I don't see a linebacker who plays with much physicality. Too many times on film I've seen him get washed out of plays or not be able to shed blocks. I think he is just a WILL linebacker in the NFL and you can find those kind of off-ball LBs later in the draft.

Which of these three prospects would you prefer the Dallas Cowboys draft at 19?


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Kevin Brady’s Final 7 Round Mock Draft

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys HC Jason Garrett Attends Courtland Sutton's SMU Pro Day

After all of the waiting and speculation, the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. Tonight the Dallas Cowboys will be on the clock with a chance to improve their roster for the first time in 2018.

In preparation for the total NFL Draft, I've put together a 7 round Cowboys-focused mock draft. This draft was completed using FanSpeak's On The Clock simulator, and done using Arif Hasan's consensus draft board.

The Cowboys enter the draft with 10 selections total, and rather than predicting trades, I stayed put and picked each time. So, let's get into the mock.

R1/19 - DAL: James Daniels, OL, Iowa

The Cowboys solidify their offensive line here with Iowa's James Daniels. Daniels primarily played at center in college, but will have no issues sliding to left guard in Dallas. He is an excellent reach blocker, a smooth pass protector, and one of the best interior offensive linemen in this class.

R2/18 - DAL: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU

After releasing veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant just a few weeks ago, the Cowboys bring in their newest "X" wide out in Courtland Sutton. Sutton slid a bit in this mock draft and the Cowboys benefit from his slide. I do like a few receivers more than Sutton, but he does provide value 50th overall.

R3/17 - DAL: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa

The Cowboys continue to add players from the Hawkeyes here, drafting linebacker Josey Jewell in round three. Jewell can provide solid depth at linebacker in year one, and if reports about Jaylon Smith's progress are true, that might be all the team needs from Jewell in 2018. Going forward, allow Jewell to learn from Sean Lee and improve on his game.

R4/16 - DAL: Deadrin Senat, DT, USF

Dallas finally gets their defensive tackle in round four, and Deadrin Senat is well worth the wait. Senat is a strong interior defensive lineman who fits perfectly as a 1-technique in the Cowboys defensive scheme. Senat plays with leverage and excellent hand usage that should translate to the NFL.

R4/37 - DAL: Tarvarius Moore, Safety, Southern Mississippi

The Cowboys look to bolster the back end of their defense with safety Tarvarius Moore here. Falling a bit further than expected, the Cowboys get a safety with elite athletic abilities. Moore can play in coverage and in the box against the run, and can be a good addition to the Cowboys secondary.

R5/34 - DAL: Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin

Jack Cichy is the second linebacker the Cowboys take in the 2018 draft, but he is the better of the two when healthy. Cichy would most likely be a top 100 pick if not for his injury concerns, but he's worth a chance on Day three regardless.

R6/18 - DAL: Christian Campbell, CB, Penn State

Cornerback isn't a need for the Cowboys at all, but Christian Campbell is a good late round option for them here. He is a long, strong, and physical cornerback, something I'm sure Kris Richard will love. Why not take Campbell here and see what he can bring during the preseason?

R6/19 - DAL: Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi

Due to the skills of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys won't consider a running back early in the draft. But drafting Ito Smith later in the draft could give them the change-of-pace back they've been missing the last couple of seasons. Smith averaged over 10 yards per catch in college, and Dallas could use that pass game production from a running back.

R6/34 - DAL: Javon Wims, WR , Georgia

Okay, I'll admit this is a bit of a personal pick. At 6'3" 215 pounds Javon Wims certainly "looks" the part of an NFL wide receiver. And while at Georgia, he was an effective playmaker who led the team with 45 catches for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns. Wims is a big receiving threat that's worth giving a shot to make this team.

R7/18 - DAL: Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis

Having already addressed their pressing needs, the Cowboys use their 7th round pick to add another quarterback to the depth chart. Right now it's only Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush occupying that lonely QB room, and Ferguson's production in college make him an interesting camp arm and potential developmental QB going forward.


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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Final Draft Board

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: FSU DB Derwin James

Since the conclusion of the college football season I have watched, scouted, and evaluated over 150 draft prospects in preparation for this upcoming NFL weekend. The 2018 NFL Draft is literally right around the corner, and with that my final rankings are complete.

I have finalized my complete offensive and defensive position rankings, but first we take a look at my top 50 prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

1. Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame OG 1

While separating much of this class was tough to do, the clear number one player in this draft to me is Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson. Nelson is both a powerful run blocker and an agile and smooth pass protector. He excels as a puller, and has quick enough feet to reach defenders at the next level. I don't see many problems at all with Nelson's game, and he deserves to be a top 10 pick.

2. Bradley Chubb, NC State EDGE

After Nelson things get a little tighter, but NC State's Bradley Chubb is number 2 on my board. When you combine his college production with his athletic and pass rushing traits, Chubb deserves consideration from the New York Giants as the number two overall pick. Chubb is a powerful, balanced, and controlled pass rusher who should make an impact right from his rookie year.

3. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB

I have some issues with Saquon Barkley's vision and decision making at the line of scrimmage at times, but he is clearly a special prospect. Barkley can bring immediate explosion to any offense, with the ability to make an impact both on the ground and in the passing game.

4. Roquan Smith, Georgia LB

Roquan Smith is an incredibly athletic linebacker that will be a day one starter at WILL in the NFL. Some have expressed concerns over his size, but I see Smith as one of the easier linebacker evaluations I've ever done. He's really good, don't mess this one up.

5. Harold Landry, Boston College EDGESean's Scout: Cowboys Can Fix RDE Problems with BC's Harold Landry

Harold Landry being in my top five may be the first surprise of the board, but I see him much closer to Bradley Chubb than most seem to. Landry's traits, production, and overall pass rushing ability are undeniable. And if he can remain healthy and reach his potential, he can be the best edge rusher in this class.

6. Derwin James, Florida State Safety

Derwin James is a bit of a tweener by NFL standards, but I see him as an athletic box safety who can make his impact felt all over the field. Whether rushing the passer, defending the run, or covering tight ends over the middle Derwin James will be a valuable defender in the NFL.

7. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama DB

Minkah Fitzpatrick has dropped a few spots on my board since January, but he is still worthy of a top 10 pick. Fitzpatrick can play both safety and cornerback, but I'm rolling with Nick Saban's plan in terms of where to start him at the next level.

8. Isaiah Wynn, Georgia OL

Outside of Quenton Nelson, Isaiah Wynn is the top offensive lineman in the 2018 draft class. With his ability and play style, I see no reason why Isaiah Wynn can't be a plug-and-play prospect at either guard or tackle. Wynn was the best offensive lineman on the best rushing offense in the country last year, and for Cowboys' fans sake I hope that is true again this season.

9. Josh Rosen, UCLA QB

Josh Rosen has faced some heat over "character concerns" during this draft process, but he is clearly QB1 on my board. Rosen has been billed as "the guy" since high school, and he has yet to disappoint. If you need a QB at the top of the draft, I'd look right at Josh Rosen.

10. Denzel Ward, Ohio State CB

The third DB in my top 10, Ohio State's Denzel Ward, also deserves consideration at the top of the first round. Ward is a sticky cover corner who plays with toughness and physicality. Though a bit undersized, Ward is the best true cornerback in this class.

11. Maurice Hurst, Michigan DL

Maurice Hurst has reportedly been falling down draft boards, probably due to medical concerns raised at the combine, but he is the best 3-technique in this class. Hurst's get-off, hands, quickness, and awareness make him a terror on the inside.

12. Calvin Ridley, Alabama WR

Despite what many considered a disappointing combine performance, Calvin Ridley remains WR1 on my board. Ridley is a ready-made Z receiver at the next level, and is able to separate despite the concerns about his athleticism.

13. James Daniels, Iowa OL

If you draft James Daniels, you're getting a starting interior offensive lineman from day one. Daniels is excellent on reach blocks and is agile enough to get to the second level and seal off linebackers. I think Daniels fits best in a zone blocking scheme, but he can start at center or guard just about anywhere.

14. Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech LB

Tremaine Edmunds is a straight-up athletic freak. He isn't the football player that Roquan Smith is yet, but Edmunds clearly has the necessary traits to become a very good linebacker in the NFL.

15. Vita Vea, Washington DLReport: Cowboys, Rod Marinelli View Washington's Vita Vea as "Three Down Player"

Vita Vea's traits are rather incredible as well. Possessing excellent movement skills and agility for a man his size, Vea has the chance to be an excellent player if he can become more consistent and control his technique a bit better.

16. Sam Darnold, USC QB

Sam Darnold has moved up to QB2 on my board, despite the concerns I still have over his interceptions. Darnold can certainly improve his decision making, but he has the chance to be really good with the right development.

17. DJ Moore, Maryland WR

DJ Moore clocks in at WR2 on my board, and deservedly so. Moore's route running ability, speed, and instincts as a route runner make him a first round prospect in this draft class. Though a bit undersized, I'd be more than happy snagging Moore 19th overall.

18. Jaire Alexander, Louisville CB

Jaire Alexander isn't CB1 on my board, but he is certainly my "favorite" cornerback in this class. Alexander plays with an attitude and toughness that will help your defense from day one.

19. Derrius Guice, LSU RB

Some have argued that Derrius Guice is actually the best running back in this class, and while I disagree, I do see where they're coming from. Guice was arguably the best back at LSU even while Leonard Fournette was there, and he has the chance to be a high-value pick at the end of the first round.

20. Da'Ron Payne, Alabama DL

The 20th prospect on my board is iDL3, Alabama's Da'Ron Payne. Payne fits exactly what the Cowboys tend to look for in defensive linemen, but his inconsistencies in production are a cause for concern.

21-39:

2018 NFL Draft: Final Draft Board 2

40-50

2018 NFL Draft: Final Draft Board

So,there it is, my final top 50 for the 2018 NFL Draft class. Make sure to comment below and tell me where I'm right, and where I'm wrong.


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