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Jason’s 2015 NFL Mock Draft – Round 1, v2.0

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Draft Blog - Jason's 2015 NFL Mock Draft - Round 1

Tamp Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, FSU

Winston is the best QB prospect in this draft and the Bucs need a franchise QB, so this isn’t a hard one to match up.

Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DT, USC

Many have the #2 QB in this draft – Marcus Mariota – going in this spot, however, I don’t see logic behind the Titans coming out and endorsing Zach Mettenberger then taking a QB.

The Titans defense has been horrible for a while so they could certainly use a blue chip player like Williams added to it.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr, EDGE, Florida

There are a ton of top pass rushers in this draft, half of the top 8 could very well be EDGE players, so the Jags have a lot of options here. I believe Fowler is the 2nd best defensive player in the draft, so he would be a good choice here.

Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

I had Kevin White in this spot in my previous mock, but it recently came out that Cooper actually ran the same 40-time as White at the combine.

A major reason I initially pegged White ahead of Cooper is because he ran faster, while also being bigger than Cooper. If both are just as fast, it's really a toss-up as both have great tape. Cooper is a better route runner and White has the size advantage, so it's really going to be up to the team's preference.

The Raiders definitely could use a top WR for their young QB Derek Carr, and Cooper has true #1 potential.

*TRADE* Cleveland Browns: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

I'm going to mock a trade at the top for Mariota because I have a feeling it's bound to happen. I don't believe the Jets for a second when they say they aren't interested in Mariota. I personally don't think he makes it past #6.

This trade would make sense; if the Browns were willing to trade a 1st round pick for Sam Bradford, it obviously means they aren't happy with the position. Now if they like Mariota they could just keep him, but another scenario, if they really like Bradford, would be to trade the rights to Mariota for Bradford and the Eagles' first two picks, or 1st this year and next.

Washington gets pick #43 to move down 7 spots; with their current roster I'm sure they would take the opportunity to add two potential starters to their team opposed to one.

New York Jets: Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson

Beasley was certainly this combine’s workout warrior.

He showed incredible strength with 35 reps @ 225 and amazing speed running a 4.53 40 at 6’3 246lbs, BOTH tops among all DL/LBs!

Good tape is always great to have but a lot of the time it’s combine studs that tend to get taken high. The Jets are stacking up on defense and adding a stud pass rusher would make them scary.

Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, WVU

After White ran a 4.35 40 at 6’3 215lbs at the combine he quickly shot up draft boards. Playing across from the 6'3 216lb Alshon Jeffery would give Chicago a ridiculous duo that would be difficult to cover.

Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri

The Falcons signed a couple of pass rushers in free agency but they need all the help they can get after last season. Here they're in position to take 2 of the top 4 in Ray or Randy Gregory. With Gregory failing a drug test at the combine, along with showing up at a thin 235lbs, he's falling down draft boards. Ray gives new head coach, Dan Quinn, a new, explosive edge rusher.

New York Giants: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

The Giants only have 2 back up safeties on their current roster; they can re-sign Stevie Brown but that still leaves a hole on the strong side. Collins is the lone safety with a 1st round grade in this draft class, which could lead to him going quickly. Collins would be a big help in run support and help stop New York from getting burned so often.

St. Louis Rams: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa

The Rams need a lot of help on their offensive line. They released LT Jake Long and C Scott Wells this offseason so they basically just have T Greg Robinson (last year's #2 overall pick) and T/G Rodger Saffold.

They just signed last year's back up C Tim Barnes to a one year deal so I'm guessing he's the favorite for that position, and I'm sure they're hoping to re-sign RT Joe Barksdale, but that would still leave a big hole at G. In this situation, with the top ranked OL Scherff available, I can't see them going any other way.

Minnesota Vikings: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.

Waynes is the top rated corner is this draft and backed it up with a stellar combine performance. Xavier Rhodes has been a great CB for the Vikings but they could use a starter across from him. Rhodes and Waynes would make a great young duo for Minnesota.

*TRADE* Washington Redskins: Randy Gregory, EDGE, Nebraska

Gregory is one of the best pure pass rushers in this draft. I discussed earlier why he might drop, but based on how talented he is, and the need for pass rushers around the league, he shouldn't fall out of the top half of the 1st round.

Washington drafted Trent Murphy in the 2nd round last year but he seems to be more of a role player than a replacement for Brian Orakpo. Gregory, along with Ryan Kerrigan, could give Washington a young pass rushing duo.

New Orleans Saints: La’el Collins, OL, LSU

The Saints signed both Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller to 4 year deals this offseason and look interested in making an effort to run the ball more. Collins is a college tackle that has been consistently making his way up draft boards and has a lot of NFL people talking. Many think he has Pro Bowl potential inside.

After trading away Ben Grubbs this offseason, it's a hole that needs filling and Collins would be a great fit.

Miami Dolphins: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

The Dolphins shipped out Mike Wallace and lost Brian Hartline this offseason, they did trade for Kenny Stills though, and last year's rookie Jarvis Landry was great in the slot. They lack a true #1 though. Parker would provide Miami with a big and athletic target for Ryan Tannehill.

San Francisco 49ers: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

A lot of people see Shelton going much higher than this, but in every draft nose tackles seem to drop. The 49ers, once an extremely deep team on defense, now find themselves with several holes. Shelton would be a great value here and provide them with a true stud nose tackle.

Houston Texans: Arik Armstead, DT, Oregon

The Texans need a franchise QB and a replacement for Andre Johnson, but by this time the top two QBs are long gone and so are the top 3 WRs. They could also really use a new ILB, but there aren't any in this draft with a mid first round grade, in my opinion.

At 6'7 292lbs, Armstead is a long, athletic DT with a lot of upside. If he can tap into his potential playing beside Vince Wilfork and J.J. Watt, it would give Houston a scary front.

San Diego Chargers: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

I see this pick more and more in mock drafts and I just don't agree with it - the Chargers need a lot of help on defense, but San Diego's GM Tom Telesco came out a few days ago saying his team didn't "need" to add a RB.

I've learned to believe the opposite of what teams say before the draft usually, and his comments seem to me like someone hoping a player drops.

Gurley is a top 15 talent that will only fall due to an ACL tear in November, but if his knee checks out, he could provide a huge upgrade from Branden Oliver and Donald Brown.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford

The Chiefs took Eric Fisher with the #1 pick in 2013, but he hasn’t nearly played up to expectations. At the same time, KC needs to upgrade the RT position. Peat could provide competition for Fisher and also fill the hole on the right side.

Cleveland Browns (from BUF): Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

The Browns have a horrible defensive line. Luckily - with two first round picks - they could address their QB situation and also land a top DT. Brown is a big boy who could play nose or end in their 3-4.

Philadelphia Eagles: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri

With Jeremy Maclin heading to Kansas City, Chip Kelly needs another WR. Green-Beckham is a top talent who will fall in the draft due to character concerns. He was dismissed from the Missouri football program after being suspended twice, so the concerns aren’t without merit, but he’s massive at 6’5 237lbs and yet still runs fast posting a 4.49 40 at the combine.

He has special potential, but could also be Josh Gordon.

Cincinnati Bengals: Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky

The Bengals had the least sacks in the NFL this past season, so their need for a pass rusher is evident. Dupree is a physical freak that's big enough to play DE in a 4-3, still raw, but with some coaching, he could become a force.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

Peters is a prospect with a ton of talent but - like Green-Beckham - also with big character concerns that could go anywhere from top 10 to out of the first round. Some even see Peters as the top corner in the draft, so he would be a nice value for the Steelers, who currently have only one serviceable starter: William Gay.

Detroit Lions: D. J. Humphries, OL, Florida

Humphries is a great LT prospect whose biggest concern has been his lean frame, playing at only 285lbs last season. However, Humphries showed up to the combine (amazingly) at 307lbs, so that should definitely entice a lot of OL needy teams.

The Lions need to provide better protection for Matthew Stafford, and many analysts believe Humphries is the best pass blocker in this draft and can start at LT day 1. This could allow Detroit to move Riley Reiff to the right side or shuffle some other personnel around, and provide a big upgrade to that unit.

Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU

This pick would make a lot of sense to me with the departure of Antonio Cromartie. The need is obvious. Collins is a raw prospect but who better to learn from than one of the best corners in the league and LSU alum, Patrick Peterson? Collins is a big, long, athletic corner that – with coaching and development – could become a star.

Carolina Panthers: T.J. Clemmings, OL, Pittsburgh

This pick HAS to be for the offensive line for the Panthers; they have the worst unit in the NFL. Luckily, this is a very deep draft for top caliber tackles. Clemmings is a very athletic tackle that has a lot of scouts talking. He needs some development but could give Carolina their LT of the future.

Baltimore Ravens: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.

It seems every year the Ravens stand pat and take the best player available. If they do that again, I could definitely see this pick being Melvin Gordon. Even though Baltimore just signed Justin Forsett to a 3 year deal, he's going to be 30 and they don't really have anyone behind him.

I'm going to mock Strong in this position, however, because with the departure of Torrey Smith, the Ravens can't rely solely on 35-year-old Steve Smith. Whether it's the 1st round or not, Baltimore definitely needs to draft a wide out early, Strong would be a good value in this position and provide Joe Flacco a much-needed big bodied weapon.

Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

I’m sure everyone knows the Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray to the Eagles this offseason. It would be Dallas’ best-case scenario for one of the top 2 backs to fall to #27.

Gordon would be an ideal replacement for Murray as he's a talented workhorse that can handle a load. If the Ravens were to select Gordon - like I discussed for their pick at #26 - it would definitely make this choice tougher.

In this hypothetical situation, there would be two really good 1 techniques available in Eddie Goldman and Jordan Phillips, however, I know Dallas doesn't believe in taking that position high. There's also a couple of good LBs in Denzel Perryman and Eric Kendricks.

A choice that would make a lot of sense though, is CB Kevin Johnson, with the position being what it is right now.

Denver Broncos: Ereck Flowers, OL, Miami

As Peyton Manning enters his final years, the Broncos need to get him the best protection they can. Flowers would be an immediate upgrade at RT, not only providing protection for Manning, but he’s an absolute bruiser in the run game. Would be a big help in bolstering Denver’s run offense, which they seemed to rely on more and more last season.

Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Erving, OL, FSU

Here the Colts land the best center prospect in the draft and get Andrew Luck the protection he needs inside. This draft’s class of offensive linemen is much like last year’s class of cornerbacks: there’s a bunch of guys at the top and it’s going to be tough to peg which order they go.

Green Bay Packers: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

The Packers lost CBs Tramon Williams and Davon House this offseason, Kevin Johnson is a seasoned corner that could come in and help Green Bay day 1.

New Orleans Saints (from SEA): Eli Harold, EDGE, Virginia

The Saints have re-tooled their defense this offseason but are still in need of another pass rusher across from Junior Galette. Harold is an edge setter that would be a nice value here and a great fit for New Orleans' 3-4.

New England Patriots: Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida St.

The Patriots lost a huge body in Vince Wilfork this offseason. Here they can replace it with another. Mammoth at 6’4 336lbs, Goldman could provide the Pats with a true NT. Some like last year’s 1st round selection Dominique Easley as the favorite for that position, but he’d be very undersized at 6’2 290lbs to play the 0.



26 years old. Cowboys fan since I can remember. Love anything to do with the NFL, but I'm especially a fantasy football and draft junkie. Always up for a good football debate on Twitter - @bigbackjay.

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2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.

J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?



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Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: 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.



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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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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?



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