Thanks to Darren McFadden's poor judgment to try to save his phone from dropping and his broken elbow that seems to be made of glass, rookie running back Darius Jackson now has the opportunity to receive more practice repetitions and catch the eye of the coaching staff.
The Dallas Cowboys were intrigued enough by Jackson's athletic ability, that they decided to draft him in the six round of the 2016 NFL Draft, despite already drafting Ezekiel Elliott 4th overall in the first round.
I will admit that when Darius Jackson's name was announced as becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys, I was a little shocked. I thought to myself where is this guy going to fit in knowing that they just drafted Zeke Elliott and they also signed veteran running back Alfred Morris to a three-year contract in the off-season? Not to mention, the Cowboys still had the fourth leading rusher in 2015 Darren McFadden still on the roster.
Well, we now know that with McFadden nursing his elbow injury and likely to miss the majority of training camp, it gives Darius Jackson a huge opportunity to prove that he's worth keeping around and thus make McFadden expendable.
I hate to say it, but it looks as if McFadden might just be the odd man out now. He had a really good 2015 season with the Cowboys, but I find it really difficult to see a scenario where the organization decides to carry two veteran running backs that don't contribute on special teams.
Due to the contract the Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to, he is set to make a guaranteed of $1.8 million. Money speaks in the NFL and that is unfortunately bad news for McFadden's chances to stick with the team in 2016.
Of course, this all really depends on whether or not Darius Jackson can prove his worth as the third running back on the depth chart, but I for one am not betting against him.
Jackson has an intriguing skill set that with further development could be really beneficial to the entire offense and the Cowboys running game.
He has the size speed ratio that NFL teams seem to covet in their running backs, but he's nowhere near ready to carry the workload if called upon. Fortunately, due to the depth at the RB position for the Dallas Cowboys, he won't have to.
Darius Jackson is 6'0" and 221 pounds, but has the speed of a much smaller running back, as evidenced by his 4.4 40 yard dash time.
Jackson had a breakout senior season at Eastern Michigan and rushed for a total of 1,078 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns. He also added 21 receptions for 201 receiving yards. Of course, that was college and he is now stepping up the level of competition and will be playing against elite players in the NFL.
College statistics mean nothing now and Jackson is starting all over with the Dallas Cowboys. He once again has to prove to the coaching staff that he can be relied upon and that he deserves a roster spot when all is said and done.
We all know that Jackson's opportunities in practice and even on game days will be limited due to the fact that Zeke Elliott will handle the majority of the load at RB and Alfred Morris will get what's left over. He will have to approach each and every repetition as if it may be his last and prove that he can play in the NFL.
I for one can see a role for him in the 2016 season. I think he will be able to be a key member of the special-teams units and make his mark there to begin with. I also think due to his receiving ability, he could perhaps develop into the receiving type back like the Cowboys had with Lance Dunbar before his injury occurred.
The first thing he will have to do though is to become a better pass protector if he ever wants to get on the field, but I don't foresee that being a problem.
Darius Jackson has to prove he's reliable and that the Dallas Cowboys can count on him when given the chance.
I personally think he will take full advantage of this opportunity with Darren McFadden out and that he will end up contributing in several different ways in the 2016 season.
Of all of the different position battles that are going to be taking place in training camp for the Dallas Cowboys, the running back position is one that I think everyone will be paying close attention to.
Will Darius Jackson end up sticking around in 2016 for the Dallas Cowboys?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to provide your thoughts and opinions so that we can discuss this topic further.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.
The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.
One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.
Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.
Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.
This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.
Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.
Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.
Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.
Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.
It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.
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