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NFL Draft

John’s 7-Round Cowboys Mock Draft

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys Know G Will Hernandez Well, Even Without Formal Pre-Draft Visit

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away now, and what's more fun than reading mock drafts at this time of the year? The Dallas Cowboys have a couple of needs to address with this year's class and we all have players on our minds that we hope they draft. Who knows if any of those players will be any good.

Using Fanspeak's On the Clock Simulator, I attempted to take a realistic approach to the mock draft, without making any trades. For example, in the simulator Calvin Ridley was available in the second round. That isn't going to happen. Ridley is a top-20 player, so I didn't select him.

What you'll read below, is my best -- and only -- attempt at mocking the draft.

Feel free to mock me in the comment section.

Team Needs

I don't believe wide receiver is as big of a need for the Cowboys as many people do. They now have seven wide receivers under contract for the 2018 season. Now, a lot of things can change, but I believe they are set at the position and just need to figure out which five or six are going to be on the roster come week one.

Also, I don't believe there is a huge need at cornerback, given that they're running four deep there with the move of Byron Jones to the position. Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown pencil in as your top four, and Xavier Woods can also play some slot corner if needed. Aside from depth, they're set at corner.

Cowboys Draft Target: UTEP OL Will Hernandez

UTEP OL Will Hernandez

The Mock

19. Will Hernandez - Guard, UTEP

Will Hernandez fits an immediate need and is a favorite of Inside The Star draft analysts, Kevin Brady and Sean Martin. It came down to Hernandez and James Daniels from Iowa, and I went with the guy who has already built a rapport with the Dallas Cowboys OL.

He has a strength and nastiness that will fit right in with the rest of the DAL offensive line, and will immediately open holes for Ezekiel Elliott.

> Read Kevin Brady's scouting report on Will Hernandez on Slant Sports.

50. Leighton Vander Esch - Linebacker, Boise State

Projecting as a late-first rounder by some and a second rounder by others, I couldn't help but take Leighton Vander Esch as a player who could rotate in with Jaylon Smith day one, then take over for Sean Lee in 2019.

Other options I passed on were TE Dallas Goedert and WR James Washington. Taven Bryan was also available, but I felt the 3T spot was a bit crowded with David Irving and Maliek Collins to add another under tackle.

One of my favorites, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo from the University of Oklahoma, was also available, but seeing as how there is a greater need at LB than EDGE, I went that direction.

It also seems that many in the Draft Twitter community are lower on Obo than I am, which probably means I have some fan bias when it comes to the former Sooner.

Oklahoma Sooners TE Mark Andrews (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

81. Mark Andrews - Tight End, University of Oklahoma

Some will think that this is a waste of a pick, but it's time to begin finding the successor to Jason Witten, and Mark Andrews is that.

While at the moment seen as more of a "move tight end," Andrews can play in sub-packages while learning the finer points of blocking at the tight end position from a future Hall of Famer in Witten.

At Oklahoma, Andrews displayed really good hands and route running ability. His run after catch prowess led to many big gains for the Sooners as a favorite of Baker Mayfield. In three years at OU, he caught 22 touchdowns and averaged more than 15 yards a catch for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys like to use 12 personnel and with Andrews, they could motion him out to create mismatches and he's an excellent fit for Dallas as they continue to adopt more and more RPO concepts.

At 6'5", 254 lbs, he has the frame to become a good blocker and continue to be a red-zone weapon for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.

116. DeShon Elliott - Safety, University of Texas

The Cowboys have been doing a nice job of revamping their secondary and DeShon Elliott can fit right in with their safety group. He had a nice 2017 with the Longhorns, picking off six passes and converting 8.5 tackles for loss.

With Woods and Jeff Heath manning the free safety positions, Elliott can begin to rotate in with Kavon Frazier as well as manning some TE coverage roles.

137. Shaquem Griffin - Linebacker, University of Central Florida

Linebacker Shaquem Griffin is a favorite of Draft analyst Kevin Turner from 105.3 The Fan, and he's got me convinced that Griffin is a guy I want on my team.

Like the Dallas Cowboys did a year ago at cornerback, I attacked the LB position given the health concerns of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. Griffin can be a situational MIKE and WILL while also playing some special teams for you as well.

While he does have a disability that will limit him, effort will never be the issue with Griffin.

171. Deadrin Senat - Defensive Tackle, University of South Florida

Finally getting a chance to address the gaping hole at the 1T Nose Tackle spot, South Florida's Deadrin Senat's presence fills that hole.

While Vita Vea is the cream of the crop, Senat is no slouch himself.

I took him a bit higher than I should, but with only one fifth round selection and three in the sixth, I felt it was a justifiable reach for a guy who can push for snaps day one on the interior of the defensive line.

His senior season was pretty awesome. He had 66-combined tackles, 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He's rotating in on early downs right away and helps the run defense tremendously.

Nyheim Hines

N.C. State RB Nyheim Hines

192. Nyheim Hines - Running Back, North Carolina State

Nyheim Hines is the pass-catching Chris Thompson, Alvin Kamara type of running back this team has been looking for. They tried it with Lance Dunbar but were never able to complete the plan.

Hines ran for 1,113 yards and 12 touchdowns while playing in the ACC. The only thing that limits him is his size. But he can be a chunk player on 10 touches a game and has some experience lining up as a wide receiver as he did his freshmen year. Before becoming the lead back, he averaged more than 12 yards per reception his first two seasons.

He's the guy you want giving Ezekiel Elliott a breather a couple series a game and on third downs.

193. Jeff Holland - EDGE, Auburn University

Jeff Holland fills a need for some depth at EDGE and comes out of a Power 5 Conference, like this team likes to draft. He was a productive player at Auburn who had 9.5 sacks in 2017 to go along with 12.5 tackles for loss.

He can come in and compete for snaps on the weakside of the defensive line while continuing to refine his game.

208. Joseph Noteboom - Tackle, Texas Christian University

Joseph Noteboom. I'm pretty much ready to move on from the Chaz Green experiment. Noteboom is Jonah Tuls 171st ranked player and someone who could be the swing tackle and provide some competition on the offensive line.

236. Dimitri Flowers - H-Back, University of Oklahoma

I grabbed another Sooner, Dimitri Flowers, here because he is probably one of the more underrated offensive players in the draft.

He's a great receiver for his size and can run the ball with fluidity. He can do a little lead blocking, but needs some work on that front. Flowers scored 17 rushing and receiving touchdowns over his final three seasons at OU, and averaged more than 16 yards per reception on 54 catches.

He's a chess piece that would allow Dallas to be really creative in their formations.

Imagine him and Ezekiel Elliott lined up in shotgun on either side of Dak Prescott and the RPO and route options you could have with those two guys.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Well, Cowboys Nation, there you have it. The Dallas Cowboys didn't ask me, but I gave it my best shot.



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8 Comments
  • Saul Molina

    I’ve been open about drafting leighton vander esch with the 19th pick but in this one getting will hernandez in the first rd and leighton vander esch in the second rd sounds good I like this draft

    • John Williams

      I don’t like LVE at 19. Too rich for me.

      At 50. Let’s do it.

      • Saul Molina

        Yea I just think we have more pressing needs I want either calvin ridley,vita vea,will hernandez or dj moore

  • Carl Thorn

    Well that one is interesting being a lot of people love going in the top 20. Just saying but I do like the Oklahoma fullback. Pick

    • John Williams

      I see people mixed on LVE. There are people who see him in the first, but I also see people who see him as a round 2 round 3 grade.

    • John Williams

      I also love Dimitri Flowers. That dude is just a football player. And a really good football player.

  • Chuck Wright

    Meh. . . sorry, not a fan. I think we can trade back (of course you have to have a partner) and still get Will H + adding another 2nd rounder LVE isn’t going to be there at 50. Andrews has diabetes and likely cannot add weight. I’m a TEXAS fan and Deshaun simply isn’t that athletic, would rather have Tarious (?) Moore from S Miss, uber athletic. Love Griffin, think he’ll be a stud. Not opposed to Flowers at the end but that “chess piece” is the FB we got from Raiders. . .

    • John Williams

      Probably can trade back, but I didn’t consider trades in the mock.

      LVE to me is a player with mixed reviews.

      Andrews doesn’t need to add weight to his 6-5, 265 pound body. He’s huge and an excellent route runner and receiver. He can learn blocking.

      Difficult settings, can’t remember the board.

NFL Draft

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts, a Pass Catching Theme Persists

John Williams

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Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists

The Dallas Cowboys haven't played the 2018 NFL season yet, but that shouldn't stop us from looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft and seeing what players the team will have their eye on this fall.

With the NFL season fast approaching, that means the college football season is as well, and as we look through these mocks, perhaps you get an idea of whom to watch with a Cowboys perspective this fall.

I scoured the internet looking for the best and brightest minds and their "way too early 2019 mocks." As I perused the mocks, one thing was clear. Many of the national writers see the Dallas Cowboys going with an offensive pass catcher in the 2019 NFL Draft. Namely a TE.

TE Noah Fant, Iowa

Noah Fant, from the University of Iowa, will be a junior in his 2019 season and as a sophomore caught 30 passes for 494 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 11 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage may not look all that impressive, but if we think about Iowa's offense in the Big 10, we can understand that he's not going to get many opportunities to catch the ball when the team is running it as often as they do.

In fact, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 10 more times per game than they threw it and their quarterback only completed - on average - 15 passes a game.

Fant accounted for 21% of the receiving yards on the season and 42% of the passing touchdowns. He was only 36 yards away from leading the team in receiving despite catching 21 fewer passes than leader Nick Easley. No other pass catcher for Iowa had more than four receiving touchdowns.

If there's something not to like at the moment about Fant, it's his size.

At the moment, College Football Reference has him listed at 232 pounds. There are running backs that weigh more than Fant does and he'll probably need to add about 10-20 pounds in the NFL to be an effective in-line blocker.

Mocked to the Dallas Cowboys by Dane Brugler of The Draft Show on DallasCowboys.com. In a mock draft he did for Sports Day DFW and the Dallas Morning News, he had this to say.

"It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."

Dane Brugler - Sports Day DFW, Dallas Morning News

Eric Galko of The Sporting News selected the Iowa tight end to the Cowboys as well, seeing him as a special prospect that has the chance to fill the shoes of Jason Witten.

Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington also had Noah Fant to the Cowboys, thinking they are in need of a Jason Witten replacement.

DE Austin Bryant, Clemson

Depending on what Dallas can get out of Right Defensive Ends Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Charles Tapper, it could have the Cowboys taking a defensive end in the first round for the second time in three years.

Will Brinson's mock doesn't offer much analysis on Bryant, mostly saying that Clemson is going to be good. But here's what Draftek.com's Brett Clancy, who covers the 49ers, had to say about Bryant:

"Clemson's Austin Bryant is the 4th EDGE off the board in this mock and 2nd from his school, but he's still well worth a mid-round pick. Bryant broke out with 8.5 sacks as a junior last year and many thought he'd go pro. I like Bryant's move to stay in school and refine his game, specifically growing a repertoire of pass rush moves to complement his strong edge-setting ability."

Brett Clancy - Draftek.com

Bryant was amazingly disruptive for the Clemson Tigers as a junior, racking up 50 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. At 6-5 265, he could come in and play right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys on day one.

DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama

We know that the Dallas Cowboys have an affinity for Power 5 prospects and Jason Garrett goes back with Nick Saban.

Despite that relationship, it hasn't led to many Alabama players being selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, that should tell us something.

One other factor that could be in play with Davis is dependent upon who the defensive coordinator is in 2019. We all know that Rod Marinelli doesn't place premium draft value on defensive tackles, but prefers to find diamonds in the rough to develop.

If Kris Richard takes over as the defensive coordinator in 2019, the story could be a bit different. Seattle, with Richard at the defensive helm, selected defensive tackles in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.

If the Dallas Cowboys are going to spend a first on a defensive tackle, this is the guy to do it on.

He was highly productive as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide, racking up 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had one interception that was returned for 19 yards. At 6-7 306 pounds, he has the size and frame to be an immediate impact player on the Dallas Cowboys interior.

If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to resign David Irving in the 2018 offseason and Maliek Collins doesn't take a step forward, then Davis becomes a real possibility.

Here's what Draftek's Cowboys analyst had to say about Raekwon Davis.

"Alabama's Raekwon Davis has played both DT and DE in the Crimson Tide's 3-man line. He can maintain his gaps against the run when needed, but his primary skill set is using his long arms and strong lower body to use a variety of pass rush moves to win with power and speed. 

"One red flag on Davis happened 8/27/17: he was struck in the leg by a stray bullet during the wee hours of Sunday morning at a Tuscaloosa bar (Bar 17) where several shootings have occurred over the past few years. Despite HC Jason Garrett's affinity for Nick Saban coached players, this incident might remove him from the Dallas board."

Long Ball - Dratek.com

Interestingly, Draftek did a second round in this mock and they sent Boston College Safety Lukas Denis to the Dallas Cowboys.

S Jaquan Johnson, Miami

Speaking of safeties, Dan Kadar over at SBNation sent one to the Dallas Cowboys in the form of Jaquan Johnson.

Johnson, from the University of Miami, was very productive in his junior season for the Hurricanes, racking up 96 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and four interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.

Here are Kadar's thoughts on the second team All-ACC player:

"There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."

Dan Kadar - SB Nation

Obviously, this pick will depend on what happens with Earl Thomas over the next nine months and the development of Xavier Woods, but Johnson will be a name to watch for teams that need a safety.

Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts a Theme Persists 2

Miami Hurricanes WR Ahmmon Richards

WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami

Another Hurricane to have on your NFL Draft radars is Wide Receiver Ahmmon Richard, who is going into his junior season at Miami.

The Dallas Cowboys have begun the process of overhauling their wide receiver corp with the departures of Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the 2018 offseason. In 2019, it's likely that Terrance Williams (contract) and Cole Beasley (age) could be next to go.

That would leave them with Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson as their WR depth chart. It's certainly a solid group, but adding a talent like Richards could help.

The Draft Wire's Luke Easterling believes, "Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."

In two seasons at Miami, Richards has averaged 18.8 yards per reception, and 68.65 yards per game. He's got deep-threat ability which would combine well with Gallup and Hurns.

WR Collin Johnson, Texas

If Richards doesn't do it for you, then lets head a couple of hours south of Dallas to the University of Texas and Wide Receiver Collin Johnson.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Dallas Cowboys going with the junior wide receiver and had this to say:

"The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft—trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early—and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.

"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."

Matt Miller - Bleacher Report

I'll agree with Miller that Johnson will need to increase upon his production. Some believe that the quarterback limitations in Austin have been a factor, but at the moment, I'm leery of taking a wide receiver from the Big 12 that doesn't have excellent production in the first round of the draft.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

It's obvious from these mock drafts that analysts see the Dallas Cowboys continuing to invest in pass catchers for their offense and that is a reasonable thought.

Obviously, a lot will change between now and next April when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock, but this gives us a bit of insight on who to watch in this upcoming college football season.

What names will you be watching in college football this season?



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NFL Draft

Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Sean Martin

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Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?

Last night, it was reported that Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident comes from a traffic confrontation that took place back in October, where White -- according to his camp -- was justified in drawing his weapon for self-defense.

A promising young player that stuck on the Cowboys practice squad in his rookie season, the sixth round pick doesn't need this case hanging over his head as training camp approaches. When considering the timing up against this week's supplemental draft, and the rare crop of defensive back talent available in it, White could soon be fighting for relevance on the Cowboys roster.

Becoming complacent in building one of the best young secondaries in the league won't be an issue for the Cowboys under new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. The Cowboys were relying on White to be a depth option behind projected starters Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis.

White's spot on the depth chart may very well hold up, but by the end of the week he could also have added competition in Adonis Alexander or Sam Beal.

Respectively, the former Virginia Tech and Western Michigan cornerbacks are two of the most talented supplemental prospects to enter the draft in years -- both likely to be the first players drafted since 2015.

Alexander and Beal are also joined by Mississippi State Safety Brandon Bryant as another backup option for Dallas.

Supplemental Draft: CB Adonis Alexander A Depth Option for Cowboys? 1

A lengthy cornerback with the toughness to play on the boundary, Alexander is a similar player to White, and one that Richard should love for his physical traits. Whether or not this natural skill outweighs some maturity issues that saw Alexander fall from freshman starter to suspended at VT will determine if the Cowboys feel comfortable sending away a 2019 draft pick for his services.

Where Alexander's career leaves his arrow trending downward on the eve of the supplemental draft, Beal is a rising prospect that some are calling the best to ever enter this draft.

An all-conference cornerback as a Junior out of Western Michigan, Beal improved with each passing college season, determined to finish out his degree along the way. However, once Beal's eligibility for his Senior season was called into question, the feisty 6'1" CB decided to turn towards the NFL.

Beal's professional football faith is now in the hands of any team that's done their homework on him. Projected to be taken as early as the third round, teams impressed by Beal's tape could be giving away a premium pick in next year's draft to add him just before training camp.

Should this team be the Cowboys, Beal's presence would put more than just White on notice. The Cowboys are also expecting corners like Duke Thomas and Kam Kelly to fight for roster spots. In a perfect world, say the one the Cowboys were living in yesterday before this White news broke, Thomas or Kelly could replace White on the practice squad as the Florida State product took another jump in Oxnard.

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

As I've written before though, teams must be relentless in their search for talent. The Cowboys have drafted well, but passed on big name free agents in recent years. The result is a young roster full of potential and ready to compete.

If either Adonis Alexander, Sam Beal, or even Brandon Bryant help them do so this year, we could be right here talking about a new Cowboys rookie in the middle of July. Marquez White would be happy to see this talk overshadow his legal situation for the moment.

This won't be the case when he's competing against another player that will likely cost the Cowboys more than the sixth round pick they invested in him two years ago.

Tell us what you think about "Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

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Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.

I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.

Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.

Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:

2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano

You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.

Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.

DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.

Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.

I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?



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