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NFL Draft

How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Draft - How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy

On Thursday I posted my first 2016 mock draft, covering Dallas' first and second-round picks. I thought I would dive deeper into each of my selections for the Cowboys, beginning today with the first-round pick of linebacker Myles Jack.

Before we talk about the future let's briefly review the past. Two years ago Dallas had the 16th pick and, after taking Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick in two of their three previous drafts, were unanimously expected to got with a defensive player. When the time came, though, the Cowboys stunned everyone and selected Zack Martin at guard.

Cowboys Headlines - How Myles Jack Can Become a CowboyDallas wasn't exactly loaded on the offensive line at this point. Without Martin their starting guards would've been Ronald Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau. Still, they'd both had solid years in 2013 and were going to be playing next to stars.

Still, Dallas stuck to their board and took the best player available once they were on the clock. Martin was an instant upgrade that helped the 2014 offense establish a dominant run game, DeMarco Murray break the team record for yards in a season, and the team go 12-4 and win the division. He is now considered one of the elite guards in the league.

The reason I mention all of this is that I think the logic that went into drafting Martin is very much the same as why I could see Dallas taking Myles Jack in a few weeks.

When I got to the Cowboys pick the three players off the board were tackle Laremy Tunsil, quarterback Carson Wentz, and defensive back Jalen Ramsey. To be clear, I would pick Ramsey to the Cowboys in an instant if he was still available. Sadly, I don't see him getting past the Chargers at #3 and he may go even higher than that.

So, with Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Jared Goff, and plenty of other guys on the board I went with Jack. Here are the key reasons:

1. Best Player Available

The way I see this rookie class there are four elite talents among the non-quarterbacks; Tunsil, Ramsey, Elliott, and Jack. Once you go outside of those four you are dropping to a lower tier of talent and upside.

Cowboys Headlines - How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy 1

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

So why Jack over Elliott? This is more of a philosophical issue than one of player evaluation. The Cowboys are going to be spending a whole lot of money on their offensive line for the next ten years. Frederick, Martin, and La'el Collins will all command league-leading salaries at their positions when rookie deals expire. It's not likely that the Cowboys can pay all of them while also giving a running back franchise money.

After seeing what Murray did in 2014 and Darren McFadden last year, I'm more convinced than ever that Dallas doesn't need to have the best running backs to have the best running attack. Solid and modestly-paid rushers should be able to produce more than enough for this team to be successful. I think spend high picks and $5 million or more a year on one ball carrier is a waste given the system they've built. The return on investment won't be as good.

2. Quarterback Question

I'm not going to be completely shocked if Dallas selects Wentz or Goff at the fourth pick. It's reasonable given Tony Romo's health concerns and the rare opportunity to acquire a quarterback of their talent and perceived upside.

That said, it's hard to see Dallas forsaking the present for the future coming off of a 4-12 season. Romo is their guy for at least this year and probably 2017, giving them a little more cushion to worry about his replacement. Unless they are truly head over heels for Goff or Wentz, which we won't know until they've already made the pick, then it's not happening.

3. Immediate and Future Need

In two years together as Cowboys, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain have only played in the same game nine times. That means there could be plenty of opportunity for Jack to contribute immediately.

Cowboys Headlines - Is Dallas Done at Linebacker? 2

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In fact, even if Lee and McClain both miraculously play in all 16 games, Jack would be an upgrade in the base defense and could perhaps supplant McClain as coverage player in the nickel. His talents in pass defense make him a perfect fit for this scheme, able to play any position.

Best of all, Jack's presence would allow Dallas to have all of the power when dealing with McClain in next year's free agency. They keep giving Rolando one-year deals for a reason; a lack of faith in his long-term production, desire to play football, or ability to stay out of trouble. Remember that McClain was suspended for the first four weeks of 2015 due to a substance issue and would face a yearlong ban for another offense.

~ ~ ~

Ultimately this comes down to a few key points of logic. If Dallas was going to draft based on need then they'd be taking a defensive end. They have both stated and proven that that is not how they want to handle the draft anymore. They want to focus on adding the most talent whenever they can and not worry too much about the position they play.

If they're drafting solely on talent and Tunsil and Ramsey are gone then it comes down to Jack, Elliott, and one or both of the quarterbacks if you love them enough. I've already explained why I wouldn't take Elliott or any running back that high in the draft, especially with McFadden returning and the signing of Alfred Morris. I think this run game will be more than productive enough for the team to be a contender.

Cowboys Headlines - How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy 2

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As said already, only the Cowboys know if they really think Goff or Wentz is the right kid to tie your future to. I think it's still a year too soon to pull that trigger but I could easily be wrong about the team's mindset.

That leaves Myles Jack as not only the best talent on the board but someone who can help you both now and especially a year from now. With McClain's question marks and Sean Lee turning 30 in July, Rod Marinelli's defense may need a new captain very quickly. Jack has the skills to fill that void and is a perfect scheme fit.

Dallas reaped the benefits of the Zack Martin pick immediately.  I think picking Jack would be similarly profitable this year and for many to come.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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4 Comments
  • GiOjeda

    You make valid points for Jack. I watched him play live @ the Alamo Bowl in 2015 & he was a BEAST all over the place! What concerns me & many others is will he be able to stay healthy? Especially playing a position that take quite a bit of punishment. Lee is awesome but he hasn't been able to stay healthy either. I understand that they have a very good OL but I'm hoping they still don't have the mentality that "any RB can run behind this OL". Yes, DMC rushed over 1K yds but I still can't trust him repeating it this yr. & staying healthy. With Dunbar being injury prone as well leaves them with A. Morris. I think that if they've invested in building a great OL then they should aquire/draft a great RB to take advantage of it. But I understand your point that in the near future they will have to re-sign thus OL. It's a very tough choice/situation.

    • Jess Haynie

      The health concern is valid and especially after what we've been through with Sean Lee. It all comes down to how Jack's knee checks out in pre-draft evals. Any red flags likely take him off the board, at least for teams drafting as high as Dallas.

  • Randy Martin

    I think we have to wait on the medical eval on Jack on April 14-15 before deciding. If he gets a clean bill then he is in play but you cannot run any risk of taking a questionable medical at #4. So assuming he is healthy how would things look of we took Jack. With McClain at Mike and Lee at Will that leaves Jack at Sam. I don't know if that's the best use of his skill. I would rather see him in the middle but he has the athleticism to play anywhere. I would like to see him moved around a lot. I think you could put him up on the line to rush the passer, drop him back as a safety, use him the way the Steelers used Polamalu. The problem is that I feel Marinelli's D is a little rigid. I have changed my mind multiple times on that pick but if Jack is healthy and we get him at #4 I'm not gonna be mad.

    • Jess Haynie

      Jack at the Sam is not ideal, as you said. However, he could rotate in at Mike at Will and perhaps play in the nickel over McClain. The key is that they can find plenty of ways to use him now and then really enjoy him next year as a likely McClain replacement.

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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