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Martin’s 5: Will Jaylon Smith Suit Up For Cowboys In 2016?

Brian Martin

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Jaylon Smith

Welcome to this week's edition of Martin's 5!

The Dallas Cowboys have won nine games in a row and hope to continue that streak a few hours from now against the Washington Redskins.

Yes, it's a quick turnaround after defeating the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon, but you won't hear anybody making excuses or feeling sorry for the Cowboys.

These divisional games are always hard-fought battles. They usually are decided in the final few seconds of the game, and I would expect nothing else when these two teams square off against one another Thursday afternoon.

You would think that with all of the holiday goings-on my mind would be preoccupied with other things, but you would be mistaken.

There are still a lot of things stuck in my head that I can't quite get rid of, so luckily I have this space to throw them out there for all of you, with the hopes that they don't return.

Below are the five things I'm wondering about this week.

One: I thought it was really interesting that the Dallas Cowboys activated both Darren McFadden and Jaylon Smith from the NFI list. Well, not so much McFadden. The last official news about Smith was that he was continuing to rehab from his knee injury, while waiting for the nerve to start to fire once again. Apparently, the nerve in his knee is starting to  regenerate, which makes me wonder if we might see him suit up for the Dallas Cowboys at some point in 2016? Jaylon would have been a top-five draft pick if not for suffering a devastating knee injury. The Cowboys have already gotten more production from their rookie draft class than they could have ever imagined, and Smith would just be icing on the cake. I still think it's a long shot for him to play in 2016, but the news that the nerve in his knee is starting to regenerate is great news. The Cowboys have three weeks to evaluate him before having to make a decision about whether or not they add him to the active roster.

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Two: The Dallas Cowboys seem to be set at the running back position, so I wonder where Darren McFadden fits in the picture when/if he is added to the active roster? I don't think we will see him stealing any carries away from Ezekiel Elliott, and I'm not sure that he is better than Alfred Morris. So, that leaves Lance Dunbar as the logical odd man out. Dunbar has struggled staying healthy since entering the NFL, so maybe McFadden is just an insurance policy in case someone gets injured. McFadden could possibly be a valuable asset as the season progresses. He has fresh legs and has already proven that he can be successful running behind the Cowboys talented offensive line.

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Three: I've learned not to bet against Dak Prescott, but I wonder if he is as mentally and physically prepared as he usually is for this week's matchup against the Washington Redskins after such a quick turnaround? Prescott has been simply amazing this season and his performance is a big reason why the Dallas Cowboys have won nine consecutive games in a row. In all honesty, I don't worry too much about him being mentally prepared, but he did take quite a few big hits last week against the Baltimore Ravens and could be feeling the aftereffects. I personally think that he will be okay, but this is a lingering thought that I just can't quite shake for some reason.

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Four: The Dallas Cowboys have gotten out to a slow start the past couple of games, but somehow have been able to play from behind and come away with the victory. I personally wouldn't be surprised if they start slowly once again, especially having to play after such a quick turnaround with so many rookies contributing at key positions. Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, and the rest of the Cowboys 2016 rookie draft class are unaccustomed to playing two games in less than a weeks time, so it makes me wonder if they're getting any help with their preparation. Let's just hope that veteran players like Jason Witten and Tony Romo have shared their knowledge with these young players about how to best prepare for these Thursday night games. Everyone will need to be on top of their game to sweep the Redskins this year, because I don't know if they can continue to fall behind opponents and still hope to win.

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Five: You can call it a gut feeling if you want, but I wonder if Lucky Whitehead makes a key play in the game to help the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins? I don't know what it is, but I think Whitehead has a game changing play this week. We haven't really seen him  involved in the offense very much lately, so maybe the coaching staff gives him a jet sweep in a key situation that catches the Redskins defense off guard. The Redskins defense is aggressive and their defensive ends like to crash down to help stop the running game. The use of the jet sweep will not only keep them from crashing down, but also helps open up running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott. Then again, maybe we will see him finally take one to the house as a returner. Regardless, I just have the feeling that Lucky Whitehead will have a game changing moment against the Redskins.

Is there anything you're wondering about this week?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to share with all of us anything that might stuck in your head this week.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.

The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.

After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.

So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.

What exactly is that role, though?

I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.

Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.

Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.

If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.

This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.



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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

Kevin Brady

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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.

Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.

Randall Cobb on Twitter

Randall Cobb on Twitter

https://t.co/9H9xfApFqe

In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.

This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

https://twitter.com/tae15adams/status/1108158105957920770

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb

Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.



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Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.

McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.

None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.

Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?

"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.

On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.

Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.



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