News broke early last week that the Cowboys brass have had great visits with Paxton Lynch, and that they plan to speak with him again prior to the draft, which is now only a little over a month away. In light of this, we thought it would be a good idea to take another in-depth look at Lynch.
The first thing you see with Lynch is his size. This is a guy who's 6'7", 244lbs and has 10.25" hands. He's a huge specimen. Build-wise, he reminds me of Joe Flacco. Side note, I shook Joe Flacco's hand a few months back and he's got 9.63" hands and they were huge. Lynch's are over half an inch bigger, meaning he's got gigantic hands and should be able to hold on to the ball easier when in the face of pressure.
When I study guys, I don't just look at their tape. You can't. If you do that, you're only a little bit better than your friend who tells you someone's amazing when all they do is watch highlight tapes on YouTube. Not cool. So what else do I do? I watch interviews on the guy. I read up on his background. I do whatever I can to learn where these guys come from. Everyone knows that you can tell where someone's going by looking at where they've been.
After watching some of his interviews, he certainly seems like a good guy. Smiles a lot and says the right things. A lot of scouts and executives don't like hearing prospects name a team they'd like to play for (even the team the prospect names). When Lynch has been asked the same question, he politely side steps it and says he'd like to play for any of the 32. He's a guy who's willing to come in and start for a team on day one, or sit behind a veteran passer and learn for a year or two (cough cough).
He's from an athletic family, which is always a positive. His father played college basketball and his brother plays baseball.
As recently as last week, I had Paxton Lynch rated as my top quarterback in this draft. Honestly, he may still be there. His combination of athleticism and traits make him such an intriguing prospect for a quarterbacks coach to mold. If he could sit behind Romo for a year or two and soak up as much as he can about the position, he could be dangerous.
Paxton Lynch: Positives
This is a guy who knows what improvement means. He's the only one out of the top three quarterbacks this season to have played every game his last three years, AND improve in every major category. Courtesy of sports-reference.com, the table below shows the increase in all categories, something coaches love. Something they love more? Well, it's already been highlighted.
He's got a cannon of an arm. He's very underrated when you're talking about his athleticism. He has the ability to move within the pocket, and take off to run when the play breaks down. He's got a solid ability to throw on the run, although sometimes the passes can be off-target, and he has the awareness to reset his feet when rolling out to the left when he has time to. Fantastic ability to set his feet in the pocket and deliver a strike with his entire body. I absolutely love his accuracy. His bad throws seem to be more a product of pressure and throwaways. I love his ability to keep his eyes down field throughout the play. Regardless of whether he's in the pocket or rolling out, he seems to always scan the field to make a throw. He's able to hit his receivers in stride and allow them to pick up yards after the catch with ease.
You can see in the play below how the play calls for him to read the right defensive end and right corner. The wide receiver, seeing that the corner is playing deep, is taught to run his post across the face of the defensive back. As soon as he hits his back foot, Lynch sees that the DE has sunken too far into the flat. He shoots the ball into his receiver, anticipating that the route will be run correctly. The crisp throw allows the WR to pick up an additional 5-10 yards on the play. Solid throw.
Here's a great example of his accuracy on the run. One of the things I like most about this play is the zone that he's able to float the ball into. Unlike the first play where he guns the ball into his wide receiver, on this play, Lynch shows the touch he's able to add to his passes.
On a designed roll-out to the right, his first read is the linebackers, and whether they bite on the play action or not. If they do, he knows to keep his eyes downfield on the safeties because he's got his two receivers running parallel post routes. Because of this, he has a good feeling that the outside receiver is going to draw the safeties up the field, and he should have a good chance at a throw underneath to #83. If the linebackers don't bite on the play action, you probably see him dump the ball off to the fullback in the flat, or try to run for a few yards.
My favorite part about the play is the touch he puts in the ball without setting his feet. It's sort of an Aaron Rodgers-like dump pass where he just knows he can fit the ball right over the linebacker's head, and before the safeties.
Paxton Lynch: Negatives
I'd like to see him step up in the pocket more. There are too many plays where he prematurely takes off to run, and rolls out to the right. There are a lot of yards he leaves on the field because he tries to do too much with his legs.
In the play below, he gets nervous when he sees the man coverage. He's too quick in dismissing his outside receiver running up field from the right. If he's able to keep his eyes up and be prepared to throw, since the corner covering the crossing receiver peels off at the end of the run to tackle the quarterback, Lynch may have had the ability to toss the ball to the receiver in the middle of the field.
Here's a still image illustrating my point. He could've led the receiver to the middle of the field. Keep in mind that the receiver is still running to the middle of the field, but the corner has stopped to come back to tackle the quarterback. It's certainly a tight window, but those are the types of plays you're going to have to make on the next level. He does a great job of escaping the collapsing pocket, but he needs to finish it off my making the throw in the face of pressure.
Some other negative observations include the scheme he played in at Memphis. Very rarely did he take a snap under center. In fact, I can't recall a good play he had from any sort of under center formation. A lot of his throws are pre-determined reads or screens. I'd like to see him use his eyes and scan the field more. I think this is where Wentz and Goff have a lead over him.
He's got a little bit of a wind up in his throwing motion, causing him to take a little longer to get rid of the ball. Because of his longer wind up and long limbs, he's going to have to be careful on his drop-backs. Defensive ends and outside linebackers are going to lick their chops if he doesn't step up in the pocket because they'll be able to force fumbles at the top of the drop-back.
Overall, I think Paxton Lynch is a first round quarterback all day long. You draft a guy based on his traits, not his production. Lynch's measurables are off the charts, and he possesses the arm and accuracy that quarterback coaches love.
Latest #WouldYou Poll/Article is out. Check it out at (https://t.co/Bem1Vhvrzm) and make your selection...
So, in light of recent events, would you draft Paxton Lynch in the first round?
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing 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.
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?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
3 Dallas Cowboys Who Could Be Traded Before Week 1
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
5 Takeaways from Dallas Cowboys OTA’s
Star Blog2 weeks ago
3 Reasons 2019 Will be Dak Prescott’s Best Season Yet
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Could Amari Cooper Threaten Cowboys Receiving Records in 2019?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Post-OTA’s Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster Projection
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys CB Donovan Olumba Should Compete for Roster Spot
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Michael Gallup has a Sponge-like Offseason Approach In Year 2
Star Blog1 week ago
Several Former Cowboys Participate in XFL Summer Showcase