I have a good feeling about this year!... We are going all the way!... We're looking good with everything we did in the off season!... This year is different! These are things that every NFL fan says about their favorite team. Of course, there are an exception to that rule with a few teams that never seem to enjoy real success. Let me tell you why I am feeling good about the Dallas Cowboys in the upcoming 2010 season...competition.
Jerry has adopted a way of handling this team that has been a rule of previous successors of the Dallas Cowboys. For perfect example, take Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson. These two leaders, of grown men, knew how to motivate their team while remaining loyal and making this a business. Just like how any other business is ran, if you don't do your job there will be somebody that is more than willing to take your position. If it means to get on a professional football team... then that is a definite! But to play for America's Team!... the Dallas Cowboys, comes a real sense of honor. To know what has been a symbol of a successful sports franchise for years is what has become every player (who takes their craft seriously) dreams come true. Even if you have rooted for another team your entire childhood, to play for the silver and blue really means something.
Competition should always bring the best out of us. Competition doesn't necessarily mean cutting the throat of the man, behind you or, in front of you in order to get ahead. It means everyday showing up with your 'A-Game'. Despite how you feel that day or what's going on in your life, you know how to get the best out of yourself in whatever you do. That also means getting the best out of yourself with the people that you work with...you push each other. Lots of times you end up rooting for that person that you are also competing against. Mainly for the love and dedication that you have for each other...and in this case, that star.
I love the way that Jerry and Wade handle this team after handfuls of follies Jerry had dealt over the years. Dishing out millions of dollars for big time players that just don't seem to mount up to high standards when their pockets get really full. Perfect example of this has been Terrell Owens. Money doesn't always talk, but B.S. definitely walked. A lot has been learned from the few short years that T.O. has given to this organization. T.O. got paid big money and felt like he needed to prove himself, so he played at the top of his game. He had that motivation, that sense to prove himself, that fire under his rear. Once he got paid again and knew that he was "set" to be a Dallas Cowboy for life, his true colors spilt out.
Now for the subject of Roy Williams, that is something that I just don't feel like touching right now...I believe I have already said enough.
To get to my point...we need to have depth at all positions and we have it this year. We have veterans competing with veterans; rookies drooling over the chance to learn from a vets and possibly take over a vets spot; and rookies needing to prove themselves with all the talk that has surrounded them.
There are some exceptions to the rule this year. Tony Romo has proven himself this year as a true elite QB. Now that we have a 'QB friendly' system, he has shown himself to know how to be the leader and to successfully march the team down the field. Demarcus Ware has proven himself to be a constant elite player on defense. After starting off slow last season, he came through strong in the end and remained a definite force. But, it is always nice to have that guy behind him wanting to get in and show what he's got. To show that he's got the stuff it takes. That's what makes a team solid. To know that when Ware comes out of the game that there will be a Jason Williams, Victor Butler, Stephen Hodges, or Brandon Williams waiting behind for their chances to contribute to the team. The competition is what makes the Dallas Cowboys a whole, to function to it's max potential.
Sean Lee will be on the backs of the feet of Brady James and Keith Brooking this year. Not saying that either one of these veteran starters will be replaced, but Sean Lee will be there to learn and to show that he can play at that level. I am particularly happy with our Wide Receiving corp this year! Our original starter will be Miles Austin and Roy Williams. There will be plenty of competition for both of these starter to make sure to always bring their 'A-Game'. We have Kevin Ogletree who wants to prove that he can handle more snaps this year after his successful rookie showing. Manny Johnson and Jesse Holley feel like they could replace either Patrick Crayton and/or Sam Hurd for a slot on that bottom of that roster. Let's not forget our favorite topic of the year...our first round draft pick. Along with everything I mentioned with our Receiving corp....we can throw Dez Bryant right into the mix of everything.
As for Defense, I already mentioned how our Linebackers will be full to the rim with guys wanting to get in and show their stuff. Some already have and will be sure to always show why they are the newly developed starter (e.g. Anthony Spencer). Now we have competition in the secondary position, with not just the safety position, but also the cornerback position. Just when Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, and Orlando Scandrick start feeling comfortable at the spots the earned last year...Along comes Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, and Jamar Wall. AOA can play safety and corner, and if he can make the special teams squad he could surely look to be a quality back up and future starter. Alan Ball and Mike Hamlin are looking to be the main competitors for is looking like the Free Safety starting position, but you never know if any of these young cornerbacks could handle that position. You know how Wade likes having guys on his team who can play more than one position. Now with Gerald Sensabaugh looking like he's not going to play unless he has a contract before the season starts, that just gives other "hungrier" players a chance to show themselves on the pro football stage. Then we have our Offensive Line who now has made the Doug Free situation a little bit lighter. With the addition of Alex Barron(in the Bobby Carpenter trade to the Rams), this years sixth round pick Sam Young ,and now, last years third rounder Robert Brewster is getting healthier from a torn pec before the season began last year. Free will need to show why Tony Sparano felt highly about this young prospect. Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen will be competing with Marcus Spears for Defensive End time. I think everyone is getting my point here!
Now there are good ways to handle adversity with competition. Take Marcus Spears who sees that he is getting under paid but is still willing to go out there and to do whatever he can to progress and to make this team better.
There are bad ways to handle adversity with competition. Take Gerald Sensabaugh, whom won't play this year unless he has a contract (longer than one year). Patrick Crayton, who isn't showing up to OTA's, which is allowing these other WR's to go out and strut their stuff.
All in all everybody is in it for the team effort...if their not then they are shown the easiest exit out of the Ranch.
We need to keep our players hungry!...that's exactly what Jimmy Johnson did with the Cowboys in the early 90's..he kept them wanting more. He made sure that he found talent and that the talent worked hard. Their reward?...wins..."W"s...a championship...many championships! Even spotlight time for their personal achievements. No matter if you just played Special Teams( e.g. Kenneth "The Shark" Grant and Bill Bates). Who can beat that?
Tom Landry did that with his players, with Craig Morton and Roger Staubach sharing time at QB..some times each coming out every other play. Or Preston Pearson with Tony Dorsett. After a while Pearson, knew that he just needed to become a role player and let the young star rookie take the lead. Meanwhile, Pearson gave a whole 'nother depth to that '77 championship team.
I could go on and on. I could talk about the Running Back situation, on who should start and who should be our third down back, etc. Jason Witten has Martellus Bennett and John Phillips, to have him staying ahead of the game. Even the kicker Dave Buehler can't just walk in and assume the starting roll as kicking field goals. Practically, every position has someone who could came in from behind and take over the starting roll...that's what makes us special.
Now you could be reading this and think, "What about Romo, Ratliff, Witten or Ware?Haven't these guys already proven themselves at a, sometimes, All-Pro level??...don't these guys have a solid spot?" Well, of course, they do! They achieved it in their own way, by showing up every day to lead this team. Look at Aikman, Irvin, and Emmitt...they had solid spots, because they carried the team. I would love to say that there are solid spots on this team, but you never know...? I don't see any rings on Wade's Dallas Cowboys....just yet! Let 'em duke it out with each other in the hot weather this offseason....then duke it out with the rest of the NFL to show everyone what they are made of, and what their teammates have pushed each other to become...future Super Bowl Champions!
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
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