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NFL Draft

Matt Miller’s Early Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Talented DE

Brian Martin

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Matt Miller's Early Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Land Talented DE

I know it's way too early to start jumping into the 2018 mock drafts, but I still find it interesting to see who people are predicting the Dallas Cowboys will draft approximately a year from now. That is why I thought I would go ahead and share with you Matt Miller's 2018 mock draft and the talented defensive end he predicts the Dallas Cowboys will select.

In Miller's 2018 mock draft, he has a Dallas Cowboys slotted at the 26th spot in the first-round, and he has predicted they will draft defensive end Sam Hubbard, out of Ohio State. Below is his assessment of the Sam Hubbard selection for the Cowboys.

"Drafting a defensive end without any in the off-field issues would be an upgrade for the Dallas Cowboys. Selecting one with the power and technique of Sam Hubbard would give them a legitimate rookie starter.

The 6'5", 265-pounder might not test exceptionally well for an edge-rusher, but his strength and ability to shoot through or around blockers at the line to make splash plays against the run and pass make him interesting as a weak- or strong-side defensive end.

The Cowboys have played loose with character-flag players, and the defensive line is paying for it now. Adding a high-character, high-impact defensive end should be a no-brainer."

Matt Miller certainly makes Sam Hubbard sound like he would be an upgrade at the defensive end position for the Dallas Cowboys. It is certainly a position of need, even though they invested in a first-round DE (Taco Charlton) in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Now, I'm not one to disbelieve anything Matt Miller says about an NFL prospect, especially since he's one of my favorite draft analyst, but I wanted to see how Sam Hubbard performed for myself. The only thing I really know about Hubbard is he plays at Ohio State, so I decided to watch the few games of his available @draftbreakdown.com. You're more than welcome to head there yourself, but I thought I would share with you a few plays of Hubbard's that caught my eye.

Sam Hubbard against the run - Streamable

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

One of the main things rookie defensive ends struggle with in the NFL is holding up against the run. In the video above you see Sam Hubbard use proper technique and his strength to control the offensive tackle while working down the line to take down the RB in the open field for a tackle for a loss.

This may look like a routine play, but DEs have to be able to set a strong edge in the NFL if they want to get on the field. This is an area of Hubbard's game where he excels and it could earn him a starting role as a rookie.

The next play I want to share with you is how he remains disciplined and once again uses proper technique to make a play behind the line of scrimmage.

Hubbard stays disciplined - Streamable

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

You may notice that in this video Jabrill Peppers is lined up at QB in the wildcat formation. It is a read option play were Peppers is watching to see what Sam Hubbard does at the DE position. Hubbard plays this play perfectly.

Hubbard keeps his shoulder squared to the line of scrimmage and slow plays Peppers, which isn't easy to do because Peppers is one of the more dynamic players with the ball in his hands. Hubbard however uses proper technique and discipline in order to work down the line of scrimmage and get just enough of Peppers to get the tackle for a loss.

These first two videos are proof of why Sam Hubbard will likely get on the field early as a rookie and how he could help the Dallas Cowboys, but I know most of you are concerned with whether or not he can get after the QB. Well, he does have 10 QB sacks so far in his career at Ohio State, 6.5 in 2015 and 3.5 and 2016.

In the games I watched, he is typically a step or even a half step away from taking down the QB, but he does show promise. He has a limited pass rushing repertoire, but most incoming rookie pass rushers do.

Hubbard pass rush - Streamable

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

In the video above, you see exactly what I mean about Hubbard being just a step away from getting the QB sack. He does an excellent job of quickly getting up the field at the snap of the ball and not allowing the offensive tackle to get his hands on him. But, the lack of natural bend didn't allow him to get to the QB before he got rid of the ball.

Sam Hubbard's lack of bend and press rushing repertoire are a work in process, but he has the natural gifts to work with. I believe defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would love a player like Hubbard and could do wonders developing his natural ability.

Overall, I think this is a good solid pick for the Dallas Cowboys and agree with Matt Miller that Sam Hubbard would be an upgrade at the DE position. The 2018 NFL Draft is still a long ways away, so we don't really know who will be available or where, but it's still fun to speculate.

Would you be on board with Sam Hubbard as the Dallas Cowboys 2018 first-round draft pick?



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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Thorin

    September 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Didn’t we draft a similar player(Taco), I’ll rather see what Charles Tapper does. He’s a prototypical Edge Rusher. I prefer Brandon Chubb, Much Faster. If I was drafting today, I’ll look at Receiver and Outside Linbacker

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NFL Draft

Should the Dallas Cowboys Make Offensive Tackle a Draft Priority?

Brian Martin

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Should Dallas Cowboys Make Offensive Tackle a Draft Priority?

The 2019 NFL Draft will be an interesting one for the Dallas Cowboys. From the outside looking in it doesn't seem as if they have any clear "needs" that need to be addressed. But, if you were to dive deeper into their roster you'd probably discover things might not be as stable as we'd like to believe.

The Dallas Cowboys could obviously stand to upgrade several positions. So far this offseason wide receiver, tight end, and safety have been at the forefront of the discussion, but one position not being mentioned is offensive tackle. Why?

There has to be growing concerns within the organization about Tyron Smith's inability to stay healthy for an entire season. He has a bothersome back and it has continued to make him unavailable for at least two or three games these past few seasons. How much longer can they afford to roll the dice with his back issues?

Then there is La'el Collins, who is entering a contract year in 2019. Collins' best attribute during his time with the Cowboys is probably his availability. He's battled through some injuries himself these past couple years, but managed to play through it. Unfortunately though, his career has been up-and-down since taking over as the starting right tackle. It's probably time to find his successor.

La'el Collins

Dallas Cowboys RT La'el Collins

Sadly, Dallas doesn't have much offensive tackle depth behind Smith and Collins. Cameron Fleming, the Cowboys swing tackle in 2018, is now a free agent and is probably looking to join a team where he can earn a little more playing time. The only other OT candidate on the roster might be Connor Williams, but even that's an unknown sense he's never played tackle in the NFL.

I don't know what the Cowboys brass thinks of all of this, but I find it more than a little concerning. We know all too well what happens when the OT play isn't up to par. Chaz Green anyone!? That game alone against the Falcons is one we would all like to forget, but serves as a reminder of just how important it is to have an emergency plan in place.

The Cowboys of course have one or two ways of solidifying their tackle position. They can use free agency once again to find a swing tackle like they did with Cameron Fleming last year, or they can use one of their draft picks this year. The latter seems to be the wiser move, especially with Collins' contract coming to an end.

The Dallas Cowboys may have Tyron Smith and La'el Collins as their starters for the upcoming 2019 season, but it's never too early to start preparing for the future. That's why it wouldn't surprise me at all if Dallas used one of their draft picks this year on an offensive tackle. In fact, I'd encourage it.

I really like the idea of providing some competition at the RT position. If La'el Collins wins out fine. The rookie OT can then serve as the swing tackle and take over next season when Collins' contract expires. But, if the rookie wins Collins could also be become a trade asset. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Do you think offensive tackle should be a Dallas Cowboys draft priority?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.

As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.

The Player

So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.

But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.

Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.

What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.

Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.

The Fit

As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.

The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

NAME: Rodney Anderson

SCHOOL: Oklahoma

CONFERENCE: Big 12

POSITION: Running Back

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 24

RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star

HT: 6'1"

WT: 219

D.O.B.: 9/12/96

Highlights:

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.

Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.

Pros:

Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.

Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.

Cons:

The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.

His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.

Cowboys Fit:

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.

There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.



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