Now that the NFL season is in the books for the Dallas Cowboys the offseason process begins. As we saw all season long there were issues all over this team. This team has issues on both sides of the ball. A large majority of the issues belong to the defensive side of the ball. Where do the Cowboys turn? Well here is a list of 50 guys that I think Dallas should be looking at.
Free Safety (Current roster Jeff Heath, J.J. Wilcox, Matt Johnson)
• Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama (First Round) – Clinton-Dix is a great cover safety that could help in coverage. This season using both Jeff Heath and J.J. Wilcox didn’t prove to be very effective. While the pass rush didn’t provide much help in that regard you still need a playmakers in the secondary.
• Dion Bailey, Southern California (Second Round)
• Calvin Prior, Louisville (Fourth Round)
• Marqueston Huff, Wyoming (Fourth Round)
• Dontae Johnson, North Carolina State (Sixth Round)
Strong Safety (Current Roster Barry Church, Danny McCray, Jakar Hamilton)
• Ahmad Dixon, Baylor (Second Round) – Dixon is power hitting safety who can also provide some coverage. Barry Church had a good season in terms of tackling. However, Church isn’t someone that can make plays in the passing. Beyond Church there isn’t any depth either. Dixon provides a presence in the secondary this team hasn’t had since Darren Woodson.
• Deone Bucannon, Washington State (Second Round)
• Craig Loston, Louisiana State (Third Round)
• Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois (Fourth Round)
• Hakeem Smith, Louisville (Sixth Round)
Defensive End (Current Roster DeMarcus Ware, George Selvie, Everett Brown, Edgar Jones, Kyle Wilber)
• Kony Ealy, Missouri (First Round) – Ealy is easily the most talented end that is available for the Cowboys in the first round outside of Jadeveon Clowney but that pick isn’t attainable. Ealy is a big bodied end who reminds me of DeMarcus Ware. He still has plenty room to grow. Anthony Spencer likely gone, the Cowboys need to go defensive line early and often.
• Scott Crichton, Oregon State (Second Round)
• Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (Second Round)
• Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State (Second Round)
• Kareem Martin, North Carolina (Third Round)
• George Uko, Southern California (Fourth Round)
• Aaron Lynch, South Florida (Fourth Round)
• Ed Stinson, Alabama (Fifth Round)
• Ben Gardner, Stanford (Sixth Round
• Lynden Trail, Norfolk State (Seventh Round)
Defensive Tackle (Current Roster Nick Hayden, Ben Bass, Jarius Wynn, Corvey Irvin, Frank Kearse)
• Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (First Round) – Hageman is a physical freak who dominates interior linemen. One of the staples of the Tampa 2 defense is a very active defensive tackle. Jason Hatcher should be gone once free agency starts. They will need someone like Hageman to step in and contribute from day one.
• Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (Second Round)
• Ego Ferguson, Louisiana State (Second Round)
• Will Sutton, Arizona State (Second Round)
• Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (Second Round)
• DaQuan Jones, Penn State (Second Round)
• Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina (Third Round)
• Dominique Easley, Florida (Third Round)
• Anthony Johnson, Louisiana State (Third Round)
• Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State (Fourth Round)
Outside Linebacker (Current Roster Bruce Carter, Devonte Holloman, Ernie Sims, Orie Lemon, Cameron Lawrence, Justin Durant)
• Khalil Mack, Buffalo (First Round) – Mack is a guy that is very versatile. He plays the run well and is a very good pass rusher. The Cowboys could use Mack as their outside linebacker then move him to pass rush on nickel situations. The linebacker position that was once a strength of this team seems to be the weakness. Need sure tacklers who aren’t going to be a liability in pass coverage.
• Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (First Round)
• CJ Mosely, Alabama (First Round) A middle linebacker who can make switch
• Kyle Van Noy, Brigham Young (First Round)
• Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech (Second Round)
• Christian Kirksey, Iowa (Fouth Round)
• Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College (Fifth Round)
• Boseko Lokombo, Oregon (Fifth Round)
• Jonathan Brown, Illinois (Sixth Round)
• Derrell Johnson, East Carolina (Sixth Round)
Quarterback (Current Roster Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, Jon Kitna)
• Derek Carr, Fresno State (First Round) – This one may be a little farfetched but Carr is my number one rated senior quarterback. His arm strength is his best quality and it would be good for him to sit and learn behind Tony. I have concerns about Romo’s back having had two surgeries in nine months. If Carr slips in this draft I could see Dallas making the call despite their needs on defense.
• AJ McCarron, Alabama (Second Round)
• David Fales, San Jose State (Third Round)
• Aaron Murray, Georgia (Third Round)
• Jimmy Garappolo, Eastern Illinois (Fourth Round)
Offensive Guard (Current Roster Ronald Leary, Mackenzy Bernadeau)
• David Yankey, Stanford (First Round) – Yankey is just like Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick as a plug and play guy. This offensive line became the strongest unit after having the biggest question mark to start the year. Brian Waters was huge for this team and Bernadeau played very well down the stretch. Even though guard isn’t a top priority they need depth.
• Cyril Richardson, Baylor (Second Round)
• Zack Martin, Notre Dame (Second Round)
• Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (Third Round)
• Brandon Linder, Miami, Fla (Fifth Round)
These are just my initial prospects to keep an eye on. We will be adding more to the list as the offseason moves on.
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.
Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.
BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.
Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.
On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.
Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.
The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog1 day ago
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Star Blog2 days ago
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Mauricio’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Cowboys Steal Defensive Talent
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: What’s Left Before Market Opens?
Star Blog1 week ago
3 Former Penn State Alumni Cowboys Could Target in Free Agency
Star Blog2 weeks ago
Cowboys Defense: Bigger Need at Safety or Defensive End?
NFL Draft1 week ago
Final Cowboys Mock Drafts Before Free Agency Address Defensive Interior, Receiver