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How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy

Cowboys Draft - How Myles Jack Can Become a Cowboy

NFL 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.

Jess Haynie

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!

  • 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.

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