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NFL Draft

Did The Dallas Cowboys Strike Gold In The 6th Round Again?

Brian Martin

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2017 Cowboys Draft Target: Louisiana Tech S Xavier Woods

One of the more difficult things for NFL teams to accomplish is finding players late in the NFL Draft to not only contribute early, but to develop into starters down the road. The Dallas Cowboys are no exception, but they have recently been able to find late round gems. This is especially true in the 6th round, because it looks as if they have struck gold once again in back to back drafts.

The Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft class was simply phenomenal last season and could turn out to be one the best in the history of the franchise. Lost in the shuffle because of all of the attention Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott received, is the outstanding play of the Cowboys 6th round draft pick Anthony Brown.

Not much was expected from Brown as a rookie, but due to injuries he ended up having to start nine games in his first year in the NFL for Dallas. He was a bright spot for the Cowboys’ secondary and finished the season with 55 tackles, eight passes defensed, one interception, and one forced fumble.

Brown is looking to build on his rookie success in 2017 and is likely competing for a starting job at one of the outside cornerback positions. I know it’s still a little early to predict the trajectory his career will take, but when you think about what he has already accomplished, he looks like a 6th round steal.

CB Anthony BrownAnthony Brown certainly looks like the real deal, which is definitely hard to find from a player selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft. But, the Dallas Cowboys may have struck gold once again in the 6th round in 2017 with the selection of former Louisiana Tech safety, Xavier Woods.

To say that the Dallas Cowboys lucked into making Xavier Woods a member of the team is an understatement. Woods was one of the Cowboys’ 30 pre-draft visitors and someone they thought very highly of. So, to see him still sitting there in the 6th round was a temptation they simply couldn’t pass up.

The Dallas Cowboys decided to trade a future 2018 5th round draft pick to the New York Jets in order to draft Xavier Woods 191st overall. By the way, that’s just two selections after the Cowboys drafted Anthony Brown (189th overall) the year before.

I don’t know about any of you, but I was really hoping the Cowboys would trade up in the fifth round to secure Woods’ services, so to get him in the 6th round was simply amazing. I actually have high expectations for Woods, but I just don’t know how much of an impact he can have as a rookie.

Woods has the talent to become a starting safety in the NFL. His extremely aggressive and plays with a fearlessness in both the running and passing game. He has excellent ball skills and always seems to be around the ball making plays. Those are definitely attributes the Cowboys’ secondary can use.

Unfortunately, Woods is buried on the depth chart at the safety position. Byron Jones is without a doubt the starting free safety and it is starting to look like Jeff Heath has locked down the starting spot opposite Jones. So, barring some unforeseen injury (heaven forbid), Woods is going to have a hard time seeing a lot of playing time in his first year in the NFL.

Xavier Woods still has training camp to make a case for himself in order to earn playing time in 2017, but it is an uphill battle. Woods is likely to play the role of a core special teams player as a rookie, but I could see the scenario where he earns a rotational role at safety this season.

Even though Xavier Woods might not have the same type of impact Anthony Brown did as a rookie for the Cowboys doesn’t mean Dallas didn’t strike gold once again in the 6th round. Woods might just take a little longer to prove himself.

Do you think the Cowboys struck 6th round gold once again?

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Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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7 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    I think the cowboys found a gem in the 6 round again. I believe while most cowboys think Jeff Heath is the” #GOAT”, I think Xavier Woods could be the enforcer that makes teams respect this secondary. He might not start right away but it wont take too long for staff to see this guy

    • Brian Martin

      Travis, I don’t really see Xavier Woods as an enforcer. I actually think Jeff Heath is more of an enforcer. I think Woods is more athletic and rangy, with better ball skills. I don’t think he’s going to start right away, but I think he’s going to earn playing time as a rookie and to be in some type of rotation with Heath. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Travis Diggs

        From seeing his college tape after they got him in the draft, all i see is big hits and him all over the field. Jeff heath as a enforcer is a typical Jeff Heath cowboys fans GOAT thing!? What game can anybody name that would make us believe that Heath would be the enforcer…I’ll wait….???I remember a blind side hit in a seattle game that almost paralyzed a guy, thats about it. I’ve seen ints, but nothing for me to believe he’s an a enforcer type player offenses game plan for. Maybe woods isnt that guy but we need somebody that can come down an smack guys and make the league respect a defense no one is afraid of

        • Brian Martin

          Heath hasn’t really been asked to play around the scrimmage as much, but I see what you’re getting at. The concern I have with Woods as an enforcer is his size. He’s only about 5’11”, 200 pounds, which is a little on the smallish size. He plays with a recklessness when tackling, so injuries could become a concern. And I would much rather have two interchangeable safeties than a true free safety and a strong safety/enforcer type. I just think the defense benefit so much more from interchangeable safeties, but that’s just me.

          • John Williams

            I think the enforcer idea of a player is a bit overrated, especially with the rule changes the league has made to limit the hits on defenseless receivers.

            While JJ Wilcox and Roy Williams (the safety) made big hits, they also got beat a lot going for the big hit.

            I’d rather have a guy who can hit, but is more concerned with make the sure tackle.

            Not saying Woods will be this guy, but he reminds me a lot of Darren Woodson, though Woody was probably a bigger player.

            They both have the ability to cover multiple positions (Tight end, running back, slot receiver) as well as play cover two or three zone.

            Regardless, even if Woods is a rotational player and special teamer, it’s still a solid sixth round pick.

            Brian is right, with the depth that this team has in the secondary, Woods’ snaps are going to have to be earned.

  • Assassin

    Thought for sure X would go in the late 3rd or 4th round. I was screaming at the TV for Dallas to grab him… cannot believe he lasted to 6.

    I think he will end up being the box safety, not free. Athletic limitations will limit that. While the guy can INT the ball, he does go for broke a bit too much, not what you want your last line of D to do. Has limitations in space. the closer he can get to the action, the better

    • Assassin

      Wonder if he could backup the slot CB too?

NFL Draft

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games

Mauricio Rodriguez

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We still have to wait a long time before it’s Draft season, but after watching college football’s conference championships yesterday, it is inevitable to start talking about some prospects who could help the Dallas Cowboys next year.

The Cowboys still have four football games left, but the college football season is coming to an end. This week, some of the best teams in the country played their respective conference championships. Here are some players who shined in their championship games and could help the Cowboys at positions of need.

Georgia Bulldog LB Roquan Smith

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship GamesOut of everyone on this list, Smith is perhaps the player who made the most noise on championship weekend. As Georgia absolutely destroyed Auburn, Smith made his presence felt on the field.

His stats were outstanding, including 13 tackles (10 of which were solo), one sack, two tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries. The 2017 SEC Championship Game MVP will definitely be in the “top LB of the class” conversation.

Roquan might go too early for Dallas, but a lot of things can happen between now and April, so he’s still worth keeping an eye on. Who knows, maybe we even get to see Dallas trading up. Just picture a LB group with Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Jaylon Smith and Roquan Smith.

Mayhem.

Oklahoma Sooner TE Mark Andrews

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games 1

Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It’s no secret that Jason Witten’s career is coming to an end soon, and his perfect replacement may be coming out of Oklahoma this year. The Sooners TE is arguably the best at his position this year and a key piece of the Baker Mayfield-led offense.

He’s not only good as a receiving threat, but also as a blocker, which does nothing but help his draft stock.

The Cowboys may be reluctant to target a tight end in the first round, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to se a TE’s stock falling just because of his positional value. It’s still to early to say, but Andrews could be a second-round target for Dallas. At least, he should.

We may have hopes on Rico Gathers, but it should be time to start looking at other – more viable – options. Mark Andrews would be a nice addition to the Cowboys offense.

Memphis Tiger WR Anthony Miller

In a game in which more than 100 points were scored, Memphis’ WR Anthony Miller’s draft stock skyrocketed. There’re a lot of reasons to believe he won’t be a first-round pick, including the conference he plays in and his lack of size.

3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games 3

But don’t underestimate this guy. He truly is a game changer. During his championship game versus Central Florida, he caught 14 passes for 195 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cowboys really need to take a look at WR as a top need. Even with names like Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley, this is a group that has really struggled creating separation and opportunities for the offense.

As draft season gets closer and closer, we’ll be taking a deeper look at all of the Cowboys’ prospects. For now, I thought of pointing out these guys who had excellent performances in their championship games.

It may not be the best Draft class ever, but I bet it will be a fun one for the Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about “3 Potential Draft Targets Who Shined In Their Championship Games” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys 2018 NFL Draft Preview

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I know what you’re thinking, the Cowboys get blown out on the road at Atlanta and I’m giving up on the season and moving on to the draft. That is NOT what I’m doing. We are more than halfway through the regular season and the draft is creeping right around the corner (five months to be exact).

I’m here today, to (hopefully) educate you on a few prospects and highlight some of the Dallas Cowboys biggest needs heading into April.

If the season ended tomorrow, the Dallas Cowboys would be picking 17th overall, so highlight players who will realistically be around for the Cowboys to draft in that range and throughout the first few rounds.

Offense Dominates Top 10 Picks of 2017 NFL Draft, Defensive Talent Remains for Cowboys

Top Five Team Needs

  1. Linebacker
  2. Wide Receiver
  3. Tackle
  4. Cornerback
  5. Defensive End

Linebacker

Linebacker is one of the biggest positions that NEEDS to be addressed in April’s Draft.

Outside of Sean Lee there isn’t a single linebacker on the team that plays at a consistently high level. And unfortunately for the Cowboys (and Sean Lee), he has struggled to stay on the field his entire career.

Anthony Hitchens is a very solid MLB for the team, but he is entering a contract year in a year where DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and David Irving (RFA) are also free agents.

Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson are really the only two other options the Cowboys have as full-time linebackers and neither of the two are consistent in their level of play.

Damien Wilson has shown flashes of being a very good player, but he has struggled in coverage and misses tackles in the open field far too often.

As far as Jaylon Smith goes, I don’t think he should be on the field at all right now. As bad as that sounds, Smith is currently hurting this defense. To make matters worse it doesn’t seem that Jaylon Smith is being limited athletically, but the mental aspect of the game has let the former second round pick down big time.

Jeff Cavanaugh on Twitter

Interesting plan by Jaylon. https://t.co/z8eL80yYlh

Linebacker Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Rashaan Evans – Alabama – 6’3″, 235lbs

Rashaan Evans is a thumper in the middle of one of the most talented defenses in the nation. Evans does an excellent job taking on and disengaging from blocks to get to ball carriers in all depths of the field.

Evans shows glimpses of a familiar face in Sean Lee. His instincts may be his best trait.

Rashaan Evans is a little undersized, but he uses his smaller size to his strength. The Cowboys desperately need a linebacker who can contribute, but more importantly take over if Sean Lee’s injuries continue to keep him sidelined.

Rashaan Evans would be a great option for the Cowboys in the middle of the first round.

https://twitter.com/Future_NFL_GM/status/929520211719532544

  • Roquan Smith – Georgia – 6’1″ 225lbs

Similar to Rashaan Evans, Roquan Smith is an undersized linebacker who flies all over the field. Smith’s ability to diagnose plays and get to the football in a hurry is one of his biggest strengths.

The Cowboys linebackers corp currently lacks a player that can play sideline to sideline and that is the Georgia linebacker’s best trait.

  • Tremaine Edmunds – Virginia Tech – 6’5″ 235lbs

Tremaine Edmunds would fit in wonderfully in the Dallas Cowboys defense. Edmunds is a consistent tackler, who knows where to be and when to be there. The Virginia Tech junior plays both the run and the pass well and looks very athletic on tape for being 6’5″ 235 lbs.

Wide Receiver

Chaz Green was absolutely terrible in Sunday’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, but the receivers weren’t much better. While some of the blame should be given to the play-calling, the receivers didn’t get any separation for Dak Prescott.

Dez Bryant is still a huge weapon in the red zone, but in between the 20s Dez has struggled the last few seasons. Dez Bryant wins with his size and physicality, but lacks the quickness to get separation against quicker cornerbacks.

Cole Beasley is great at gaining separation, but teams are scheming to bracket Beasley with a corner and a linebacker/safety.

The Cowboys need to target a wide receiver in this year’s draft, and the first round may be the time to do it.

Wide Receiver Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Calvin Ridley – Alabama – 6’1″ 190lbs

The wide receiver depth in this year’s draft class isn’t great, but Calvin Ridley is.

Ridley uses his speed, route running ability, and smarts to create separation, off the ball, in the middle of his routes, and at the top of his routes. Ridley is the type of player that can get open and make plays in all depths of the field.

I really like Calvin Ridley’s ability to make plays after the catch, but more importantly his ability to separate to allow his quarterback to get the ball out of his hands quickly.

Brett Hudson on Twitter

First big Calvin Ridley play: MSU plays zone behind blitz. Ridley hits gap between underneath and McLaurin deep. Ridley runs good route and you can see McLaurin (top right) doesn’t have time to get there. https://t.co/2KQeDypNyb

  • Anthony Miller – Memphis – 5’11” 190lbs

To me, Anthony Miller is a poor man’s Odell Beckham Jr.

Anthony Miller has extremely sticky hands, runs impressive routes, and has the quickness and smarts to create separation. Anthony Miller has elite traits, he just doesn’t get the respect he deserves due to playing at a smaller school in Memphis. Miller may not be a clear-cut first rounder, but he could be an option in the second round.

Jason DiRienzo on Twitter

What makes #Memphis WR Anthony Miller so special?…plays like this. He is a human highlight reel. He will be a top WR #devy pick, mark it. https://t.co/ZdfbppLbob

Tackle

Oh man, where do I even begin? If the Cowboys could be promised that none of their starting five offensive lineman would ever get injured, then we wouldn’t be talking about this at all.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Tyron Smith has been dealing with back problems for two years now, and was held out of the Atlanta game due to a strained groin. In his absence, Chaz Green and Byron Bell gave up 6.5 sacks (6 of which came from Adrian Clayborn). The swing-tackle position in Dallas is by far one of the weakest on the team.

Tackle Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Connor Williams – Texas – 6’6″ 315lbs

If not for a knee injury that has kept Connor Williams out for a majority of the 2017 season, he would be looked as the best offensive lineman in this class.

Williams has the size, strength, and athletic ability to manhandle rushers off the edge. Williams is an excellent run blocker that still needs a little bit of refining as a pass blocker. If the Cowboys front office is extremely worried about Tyron Smith’s health, drafting Connor Williams in the first round wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

  • Orlando Brown – Oklahoma – 6’8″ 345lbs

As you see from his height and weight, Orlando Brown is a massive human being. While that does help him in some instances, it also hurts him when dealing with some of the smaller/quicker pass rushers.

For his size, Brown does do a nice job of keeping his technique clean when run blocking and not reaching or extending too early.

Where Brown needs work is in his pass blocking sets.

Brown is often a tick too slow to reach his landmarks which allows some rushers to beat him to the edge. If Brown can clean that aspect of his game up he would be an intriguing option for Dallas on day two.

Cornerback

The Cowboys spent two top-100 draft picks on corners last year. Chidobe Awuzie has spent a majority of his time on the sideline nursing a hamstring injury that he can’t seem to shake. Jourdan Lewis, on the other hand, has been fantastic.

Outside of those two guys – Anthony Brown has had an up and down year. For the most part, it’s safe to say that Anthony Brown’s sophomore season has been a disappointment.

Orlando Scandrick is a veteran in the locker room and has played nicely for the Cowboys in 2017, though I’d be surprised to see him back in 2018. Drafting at least one corner in the top-100 is something I think the Cowboys NEED to do for the makeup of their roster in 2018.

Cornerback Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Tarvarus McFadden – Florida State – 6’2″ 198lbs

Last draft season, McFadden was slated to be a top-five pick in 2017. I think McFadden’s inconsistent play has pushed him down draft boards just a bit.

In 2016 McFadden finished the season with eight interceptions, making him one of the most intriguing prospects heading into his junior year.

In 2017, McFadden hasn’t picked off a single pass yet, but he can still play at a really high level.

  • Quenton Meeks – Stanford – 6’2″ 200lbs

Quenton Meeks is another corner I think Dallas would really like to land in April’s draft. Meeks is a long corner that has good speed and is an extremely smart player.

The Stanford junior plays a lot of off-coverage allowing him to watch and read the quarterback’s eyes and body movements. Quenton Meeks isn’t a guy you may be familiar with in November, but you’ll start hearing his name a lot more the closer we get to April.

Demetric D. Warren on Twitter

PickSix by Stanford True Freshman Quenton Meeks #RoseBowlGame #NerdNation #TheFarm https://t.co/ePkCUvOgUl

Defensive End

This may leave some scratching their heads as well. For years Cowboys Nation has been screaming for a dominant pass rush and they finally have one. DeMarcus Lawrence leads the NFL in sacks, but is also a free agent at the end of the year. David Irving is playing lights out as the defensive line’s Swiss Army Knife, but is also a restricted-free-agent at the end of the season.

While I do think both players will be back, at least for 2018, the depth behind them is concerning.

Taco Charlton has had a dreadful year and is barely getting to see the field. Benson Mayowa has yet to register a sack and is getting a lot of reps at weak-side defensive end. Tyrone Crawford has probably had his best season yet, but has dealt with his fair share of injuries and isn’t an ideal option at WDE (weak-side defensive end).

With the concerns of talent and depth at defensive end, I think WDE is a very important position the Cowboys must target in the draft.

Defensive End Options in the 2018 NFL Draft

  • Harold Landry – Boston College – 6’3″ 250lbs

Harold Landry is your prototypical WDE. At 250lbs, Landry has the speed, bend in his lower half, and explosiveness to win the edge on a high percentage of reps. Landry also has very polished hands that allow him to control blocker’s arms and hands when they are able to get a hold of him.

Landry would certainly require more attention at the RDE position than any of the players the Cowboys are throwing out there right now. That opens up more opportunities for DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, if both players are re-signed like I imagine.

The Great From 88′ on Twitter

That dip RT @EricElizondo8: Harold Landry bending the corner https://t.co/zFzO7sqY7t

  • Bradley Chubb – N.C. State – 6’4″ 275lbs

While Harold Landry doesn’t really fit the profile the Dallas Cowboys like out of their defensive ends, Bradley Chubb does. Chubb is a bigger body that could play either LDE or RDE, maybe even some three-technique in certain situations.

Chubb is extremely powerful and has a large arsenal of pass-rush moves that he uses to get after the quarterback. If Chubb can hang around until the 17th overall pick, don’t be surprised if his card gets turned in.

  • Marcus Davenport – University of Texas San Antonio – 6’7″ 255lbs

Knowing it’s hard to believe the Cowboys spend back to back first round picks on defensive ends, I added Marcus Davenport to my list.

Davenport is a freak athlete that is still learning how to rush with good technique. At 6’7″ 255lbs, Davenport runs like a running back but has the strength of a defensive tackle.

The UTSA senior has the speed to excel at RDE, but also the strength and ability to play the run as a LDE in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. If the Cowboys do go elsewhere in the first round, Marcus Davenport may be a great option in the second round to help bolster the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.

Dane Brugler on Twitter

UTSA DE Marcus Davenport #93 was dominant vs. UNT: 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF…6-6, 255 athlete w/ hoops background. NFL excited about him. https://t.co/EJVzXiSqZQ

There is still a lot of football left in the 2017-2018 NFL Season, but it’s never too early to start talking about some guys who could potentially help the Dallas Cowboys get to the Super Bowl in 2018. We’re only a few months away from hearing who your Dallas Cowboys select in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft!

Who do you think the Cowboys should draft in April?

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NFL Draft

Matt Miller’s 2018 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Top CB

Brian Martin

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Matt Miller's 2018 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Top CB
Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

I don’t know about you, but I like to look at way too early mock drafts throughout the season to see who the so-called “draft analysts” predict for each team. Matt Miller happens to be one of my favorite draft analysts and fortunately he just released his latest 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

Matt Miller has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with NFL scouts around the league. He uses those connections for these mock drafts and bases each selection on what he’s hearing from those teams instead of who he would personally choose. That’s why I put a little bit more credibility in his mock drafts than others.

Let’s take a look at who Matt Miller predicts the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Miller set the draft order according to each teams current record and the strength of schedule for the rest of the 2017 season.

19. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

CB Holton Hill

Holton Hill, CB, University of Texas

Holton Hill, CB, University of Texas

Surprisingly enough, draft analyst Matt Miller predicts the Dallas Cowboys will select a cornerback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft despite using their second and third round selections in 2017 on CBs (Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis). Miller of course does state that this isn’t necessarily the direction he would go. The selections are based on what he’s hearing from teams around the league.

Here is what Matt Miller says about Holton Hill:

“The 6’3″, 200-pound junior cornerback has eye-popping tools and traits. Hill’s arm length, toughness as a tackler and 4.5 speed might just remind you of a young Richard Sherman. On the year, Hill has two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. He continues to impress with five passes defensed despite offenses staying away from his side of the field.”

Holton Hill is the first cornerback off the board in Matt Miller’s 2018 NFL mock draft and certainly sounds like a player the Dallas Cowboys could use. He would add much-needed size to the position and could be the #1 CB they are currently lacking. The only concern I would have is his lack of straight-line speed. But, Miller using Richard Sherman as a comparison lessens the concern just a little.

I’ve personally watched Holton Hill play a few games this season, and I have to say I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him. He is exactly the type of CB Rod Marinelli likes in his system. Hill is equally as good in man-to-man coverage or zone, and prides himself on his physical tackling ability against the run.

Whether or not  the Dallas Cowboys draft another CB early is still up in the air, but I certainly think it’s possible. Orlando Scandrick might be playing his last year in Dallas and Anthony Brown has seemed to regress this season. Jourdan Lewis certainly looks like a keeper as does Xavier Woods, but Chidobe Awuzie’s health issues make him an unknown at this point.

Given all the unknowns and youth at the cornerback position for the Dallas Cowboys, I believe Holton Hill will certainly be in play for them in the first round if available. Unfortunately, we have to wait until April to find out if this is true or not.

Do you like the Holton Hill selection for the Dallas Cowboys?

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