The Scouting Combine is officially underway in Indianapolis and while this is a really fun and exciting time, it can also be extremely frustrating.
You will have the players who drop out of certain drills last minute, some players will have shocking measurables, whether that be positive or negative, other players will show some red flags in their medicals... however you look at it, something will shock you this week.
You will hear stories about teams meeting with particular players. You will hear about teams meeting with different agents.
The main point here is that you will hear a lot of things. You'll see a lot of things through these drills as well. But no matter what you see or hear, do not overreact.
Just in case you didn't understand the first time, Do Not Overreact!!!
I can't stress enough how often people will blow things out of proportion at the Combine. Teams are going to talk to a lot of players. Different agents represent tons of different players. There will be a lot of smokescreens and lies being spread. Do not take everything as fact.
Then there are the complete overreactions to player decisions, measurables, and how they test.
Jared Goff has small hands? Guess who doesn't care? Me! Plenty of teams also do not care as well. That guy who plays quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys... he doesn't have very large hands and I would say he's done just fine.
Then there will be some of the players who don't run as fast as you thought they would. One player who most likely was going to fall into this category was Laquon Treadwell. Plenty of people were complaining about Treadwell's lack of speed and I actually think it was a poor decision for him not to run at the Combine. I was not going to worry about him no matter what he ran and I think plenty of teams would agree.
When will you ever see a player run a straight line? I am more concerned with how a player speeds through cuts, how quick their get-off is (10 yard splits) and their overall explosion numbers.
The Combine is about checking boxes. If a player shows you something you didn't expect, whether positive or negative, that is when it is something noteworthy. You are wanting to confirm things you see on tape or debunk some issues that you may see.
For instance, Byron Jones' jump was something that drew major attention. Trae Waynes' forty time opened eyes, because that kind of speed was something that wasn't seen on tape. Vic Beasley changed his body for the next level and you wanted to see if that came with any loss of athleticism.
So, while you watch the Combine, check boxes.
Does X or Y player show the speed you thought that they would? Do they show the power and explosion you wanted to see? Did they bench as much as you thought? Are they as tall as you thought?
Check boxes and temper your takes.
If Jared Goff comes in under 6 feet, for some bizarre out of this world reason, then that is a red flag.
If Jared Goff has small hands that doesn't bother me. Does his film show a guy that can throw the football? It does, and that makes me not worry about his hands.
Tape trumps all, so let the Combine confirm what you see or trigger red flags.
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.
Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.
BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.
Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.
On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.
Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.
The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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