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Prospect Profile: Johnny Manziel

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A lot of things has been said about the Aggies starting quarterback and at this point of the season he might very well be one of the toughest prospect to scout in this draft class.

Before he even steps in the field and take his first snap, the first thing everyone realizes is that Manziel is a member of the new breed of shorter quarterback who can enjoy success at the next level. Currently listed at 6 foot 1 and weighting in at 210 lbs according to Texas A&M website’s (so, in other words, he could be shorter than that). His comparison  with both Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, other QBs below the magical 6 foot 2 mark, are logical but not entirely.

First of all, Manziel is an elite dual threat quarterback. He is as deadly through the air as he is in ground, something that both Brees and Wilson never really were during their collegiate career. Being shorter than other QBs, his mobility has been Manziel’s key to succeed in college football. His quickness and elusiveness are a nightmare for opposing defenders as his ability to escape the pressure and/or the pocket are second to none. With those elite skills on his feet and a world-class creativity, Manziel is a tough player to sack and there were countless plays last year or this year, for example in the rematch against Alabama. In that game Manziel could have been sacked but instead found a way to make a play for positive yardage thanks to his skill-set.

But Manziel isn’t only an elite runner. He also happen to be a good passer but that’s when the flaws in Manziel’s game are exposed. Of course, there’s a lot to like as he showed a great accuracy last year and a natural talent to throw on the run. Also on the positive side : His decision making. As mentioned earlier, Manziel’s ability to make plays out of nothing are remarkable but he also did a great job to not turn the ball over in 2012. Even if he is in pace to throw more INTs than last year (8 at this point, 9 last year), he also is in pace to throw more passing TDs (22 at this point, 26 last year) than during his Heisman winning season. Finally, Manziel can throw the ball. He doesn’t have the biggest arm in college and did a very good job on a short/quick passing type of game.

Then, there’s the negative side : Even if he improved this year, his footwork in the pocket is still a work in progress. He still makes far too much off balance/difficult throws and could very well throw some costly interceptions in the next level. Also, while Manziel’s size shouldn’t be an issue, his throwing motion will be. He doesn’t enjoy a high release point like Brees or Wilson and this will be a factor in the next level. Will he be able to throw on interior routes ? Last but not least, Manziel still have to prove that he can adjust to the defense. Being creative, elusive and able to succeed even on broken plays is one thing but being able to anticipate a blitz could be a key for Johnny Football’s success in the NFL.

Granted, his offensive line featured three possible NFL starters (Ogbuehi, Matthews and Joeckel) and he benefited from both coach Sumlin’s offense but also from Mike Evans talent. But Manziel’s instinct and skills can’t be overlooked.

Collegiate Career

First ever Freshman and second Aggie to win the Heisman trophy.

First ever freshman to win the Manning and the Davey O’Brien Award.

2012 First Team All American.


2012 SEC Offensive Player of the year.

Led Texas A&M to a 11-2 season in 2012 (winning the Cotton Bowl).

Holds the FBS record for total offense for a freshman and the FBS record of the most rushing yards by a QB in a Bowl game.

Red Flags

On the analysis part, it was only about Manziel as a football player. Here, it will be the part that could scare most of the NFL team because as you may all know, Johnny Football hasn’t been an angel off the field. The main issue and concern is Manziel’s maturity. No need to enter the details of parties and other NCAA suspension (regardless of what you think about that ..) but you have to wonder if the Texas A&M product is ready handle the worldwide exposure that will go along with being an NFL   player. How will he handle a multi-million contract ? (depending on when he gets drafted, of course) Also, will he be able to accept the fact that he may not be the only star on the team ? NFL is no longer a USA-only league. They play games in London, in Canada and some teams will ask themselves if Manziel can represent them and play as well as he does in college with the high-pressure of being an NFL starter. This is a possible huge redflag because talent doesn’t make anything in this world … and memories of off-field antics a la Ryan Leaf are still there.

Projection

Round 1-2 (Top 60 Pick): Based on talent alone, Manziel could be a Top 5 pick. But he won’t. His off-field issues and his size will scare teams but there’s a very good chance that some-one in the first round (a desperate team..), especially in the second half, will take a gamble on such an High Risk High Reward kind of prospect. After all, the need in Quarterback is higher than ever but I would not be surprised to see him fall to round 3.

Possible Match in the NFL

Every team who needs a help under center will be interested in Manziel’s profile. The Eagles would be a very good match as well as the Cardinals, the Browns or even the Jaguars (they could go Clowney with the #1 and Manziel in the second round but that’s a VERY long shot). All those team need a playmaker and could pull the trigger regardless of his off-field issues.


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NFL Draft

Red River Rivalry Brings WR Devin Duvernay to Dallas, Hopefully to Stay

Brian Martin

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Red River Rivalry Brings WR Devin Duvernay to Dallas, Hopefully to Stay 1

If you happen to be a fan of college football and the Dallas Cowboys, then the 2019 Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns might just be a game you want to tune in for this weekend. Both teams will showcase quite a few players who could enter the 2020 NFL Draft and one of the more talented, although still underrated, players could be of interest to the Cowboys.

Enter Texas Longhorns Wide Receiver Devin Duvernay.

When it comes to positions the Dallas Cowboy would be most interested in next year's NFL Draft, wide receiver might not be at the top the list… or so it would seem from the outside looking in. But if you look a little deeper only Amari Cooper, who the Cowboys will extend eventually, and Michael Gallup are locks to stick around beyond this season. That's where Devin Duvernay comes in.

With Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin under one-year contracts, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking for their next slot receiver. Devin Duvernay may be new to the position with the Longhorns this year, but he's already proving to be a dynamic weapon out of the slot and could be exactly what the Cowboys are looking for.

The slot WR position is an important one for the Dallas Cowboys, especially for Quarterback Dak Prescott. It has become a security blanket of sorts over the years for Prescott and finding a sure-handed receiver he's comfortable with is easier said than done. Luckily though, they don't come much more reliable than Devin Duvernay.


Devin Duvernay

Texas Longhorns WR Devin Duvernay (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

According to the folks over at Pro Football Focus, Duvernay was one of the rare collegiate WRs who didn't drop a pass in 2018. That's pretty impressive considering he played the Z-receiver role with the Longhorns last year before moving into the slot in 2019. I'd say that's pretty sure-handed. Down the field targets are much more difficult to haul in than the ones thrown near or around the line of scrimmage.

Sure handedness isn't Devin Duvernay's only impressive trait though. His physicality and infectious attitude on the field is something that would pair nicely with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both of whom are a little low-key/reserved as far as their on-field persona is concerned. Duvernay is a WR who likes to punish would be tackler and he has the build to do just that.

At 5'11", 210 pounds, Duvernay's thick, well muscled frame is much more RB-esque than that of a traditional receiver. His build is comparable to Carolina's D.J. Moore and San Francisco's Deebo Samuel, both of whom were taken relatively high in their respective drafts the past couple of years. His play to both of these WRs is similar as well.

The soon to be former Longhorns WR has all the intangibles to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. His physicality alone makes him difficult for any defensive back to tackle, but he also possesses elite speed as well. He claims he can run a 4.3 40-yard dash and his film certainly suggests he's capable of doing just that.

Overall, Devin Duvernay is absolutely someone the Dallas Cowboys should keep an eye on when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns meet up this weekend in Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. I'd be more than happy if he ended up being one of their Day 2 selections, which is where I have him being drafted right now.

Do you like the idea of WR Devin Duvernay in a Dallas Cowboys uniform?


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NFL Draft

Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Brian Martin

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Matt Miller's 2020 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Strengthen Their Secondary

What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for Bleacherreport.com and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.

Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.

25. Dallas Cowboys

Bryce Hall

Virginia Cavaliers CB Bryce Hall

The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.


The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.

According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.

Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.

I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?


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NFL Draft

2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin

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2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.


J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?


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