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Reliving Dak Prescott’s NFL Debut In LA

Sean Martin

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Reliving Dak Prescott's Preseason Debut In LA

The future of the Dallas Cowboys was altered greatly on August 14th, 2016 as rookie QB Dak Prescott made his NFL preseason debut in the bright lights of the Los Angeles Coliseum against the returning LA Rams. Football was back in the city of angels this night, but so was America's Team - and not because of Tony Romo.

With Romo harmlessly sitting out the first of Dallas' four preseason contests, Prescott took full advantage of the opportunity in front of him, elevated to QB2 in training camp after Kellen Moore suffered a broken leg.

Prescott attempted just 12 passes, completing ten of them for 139 yards and two touchdowns, but even re-watching this game last night captured the magic that Dak put together with some surreal accuracy, poise, comfort level, and confidence as the quarterback for the Cowboys.

With the Cowboys back in LA on Saturday, I thought I would help all of Cowboys Nation relive the moment that this 135th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft emerged as the eventual NFC East winning quarterback.

Beasley_First_Down - Streamable

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Early on, Prescott's connection to Cole Beasley looked in mid-season form as Dak comfortably targeted #11 on plays dialed up by Scott Linehan very similar to the throws he was asked to complete in the spread at Mississippi State. Even still, it is the decisiveness and dead-accurate throw from Dak that jumped off the tape in his first game and foreshadowed a career year for slot receiver Cole Beasley in 2016.

Beasley_Middle_Catch - Streamable

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Hitting Beasley in stride again here, Prescott quickly made the world forget he was just a rookie expected to take a red shirt season on ESPN by reading the linebacker against Geoff Swaim up the field before knowing the football should go to Cole. I can't remember ever turning on the tape to study a player and being as excited while watching as I was viewing the game live, but even seeing simple plays like these again had me on the edge of my seat.

Butler_Sideline_Catch - Streamable

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Dak proved pretty quickly as well that there was more to his game than the short and intermediate reads, as he not only hit on two memorable deep throws for touchdowns, but drove the ball with strength and accuracy to the likes of Brice Butler above. Play action passes like these became a key element to the Cowboys' offense in 2016, not just because of Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line but because of Prescott's ability to sell his fakes, climb the pocket, and deliver the ball with zip.

Seven quarterbacks were drafted before Dak Prescott, for those scoring at home.

Another surreal part of rewinding to the tape of this game was seeing players no longer with the Cowboys make an impact. Fortunately for Dak Prescott, the Dallas offense will have a scary amount of continuity carrying over into his sophomore season, but there was still plenty of Darius Jackson, Lucky Whitehead, and of course the forever-awkward imagery of Tony Romo with a headset on the sidelines.

Bryant_TD - Streamable

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The above moment might as well have cemented #4 as a fixture for the Cowboys for years to come though, as Dak nailed the back shoulder throw to Dez Bryant - who hauled in both Prescott's first preseason TD and regular season score against the Bears.

This touchdown is best described as electric, as the buzz of Prescott driving the Cowboys down the field right from the start of this game had silver and blue minds running wild with imagination - salivating at the very fact that the Cowboys were back on TV. A touchdown to Dez Bryant on a spectacular catch was a euphoric moment.

Williams_TD - Streamable

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Rational thought was very likely nowhere to be found in Cowboys Nation as Prescott's magic unfolded into the second quarter, but the amazing thing about this performance was how much room he showed for further development. Improvement would become evident with Prescott after each and every week, as he'll likely tell you himself this touchdown strike to Terrance Williams needed to be led farther into the end zone to hit Williams in stride.

However, I let the tape roll after the reception to show some emotion from Dak - who was otherwise just cool, calm, and collected on this night and every Sunday for the Cowboys. It was almost as if, in this moment, Dak Prescott realized that all he needed to do was give his guys a chance to make plays and they would come through for him - something this cast of receivers did to the tune of 13 wins and a division title a year ago.

Smith_Screen - Streamable

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It is likely that Dak Prescott will see some action again against the Rams to start his 2017 preseason on Saturday night after sitting out the Hall of Fame game. Nothing he can do will be able to top his jaw dropping NFL debut, but Prescott has publicly set very high goals for himself and his team this season.

A year later from the LA Coliseum, it is time for the very same Dak Prescott to make good on performing to these standards - and is there anyone really doubting him now?

Tell us what you think about "Reliving Dak Prescott’s NFL Debut In LA" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.

McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.

None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.

Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?

"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.

On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

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When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

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I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.

Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.



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Though Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys’ Offense

Kevin Brady

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Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys' Offense

When the news broke Monday that veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb was visiting the Dallas Cowboys, most immediately assumed he would be a logical replacement for the departed Cole Beasley.

When you take a look at the film and each of their skillsets, however, you quickly see this is likely not the case.

While Cobb would be able to play in the slot as a receiver for the Cowboys if he signs, his value extends much further than just a slot receiver. Where Beasley makes his mark with precise route running, short area quickness, and 3rd down reliability, Cobb is much more of a threat after the catch. He's not the route runner that Beasley is, and really isn't an upgrade over Beasley as a receiver, but Cobb would be able to help the Cowboys' become more diverse in their offensive schemes.

Similar to Tavon Austin, Randall Cobb can be used in pre snap motion and jet-sweep packages, as well as a traditional running back. A college quarterback, Cobb's versatility is what makes him so attractive to NFL teams. Cobb would actually fit more of the Lance Dunbar "scat back" role of sorts for the Cowboys than that of the Cole Beasley slot receiver role. His versatility, however, allows him to carve out a lane within the offense which they haven't quite had before.

Another area Cobb could help the Cowboys is when the play breaks down. With experience in the Packers offense playing with arguably the greatest improviser we've ever seen in Aaron Rodgers, Cobb would be able to help Dak Prescott down the field when he breaks the pocket and the play is off schedule.

So often last season we talked about how the Cowboys offense is reliant on remaining on schedule, staying in front of the chains and not having to force the ball downfield. Unleashing the Mississippi State version of Dak Prescott, where he can improvise and use his legs to create big plays, tends to be when this offense is at its best, however.

Randall Cobb won't be a Pro Bowler if the Cowboys sign him, and depending on the money he receives, it might not even be a lock that he makes the final roster. But Cobb would be an exciting addition to a Cowboys offense which has lacked "creativity" over the last few seasons, and is looking to reinvent themselves to a certain extent.

A receiving corps headlined by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, with versatile weapons such as Cobb and Tavon Austin behind them, is a pretty good one to head into draft day with.

Signing Cobb would keep the Cowboys from "needing" to take a wide receiver early in the draft, and would allow them to easily shed Allen Hurns if a receiving weapon did fall to them at 58th overall.



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Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas? 1

When it comes to making trades, the Dallas Cowboys are typically the buyer and not the seller. They proved that last season when they acquired Tavon Austin, Jamize Olawale, and Jihad Ward via trade and could be looking do the same once again this offseason. That's why today I want to talk about the Cowboys putting in a call to the San Francisco 49ers to inquire about potentially trading for Solomon Thomas.

New 49ers Defensive Line Coach Kris Kocurek is rumored to be evaluating Solomon Thomas' film in order to determine his fit and future with the organization moving forward. This is no easy task. In his two years in the league they've tried Thomas at DE and DT, but unfortunately the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has yet to find his footing at either position.

Being a man without a position doesn't bode well for Solomon Thomas, especially after the 49ers acquired Defensive End Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs last week via trade. The 49ers are suddenly stacked along the defensive line. That's not all though, things could actually get worse for Thomas.

To further complicate matters, the 49ers could use their second overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft on the either Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. If that's what indeed happens, someone is going to be the odd man out. If you haven't guessed it yet, I think that player could be Solomon Thomas.

Solomon Thomas

San Francisco 49ers DL Solomon Thomas

As a former high first-round draft pick, Thomas would count $7,678,468 against the salary cap in 2019 and $8,958,213 in 2020. That's probably more than the 49ers want to pay for a rotational/backup defensive lineman. And cutting him this season would create $16.6 million in dead money, so a trade is the logical solution.

With all that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if San Francisco put Solomon Thomas on the trade block any day now. He is only two years into his four-year rookie deal and comes with a fifth-year option as a former first-round draft pick. That means if a team does trade for him they have him under contract for essentially three more years.

If you add all of this up, it makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They need defensive line help and Solomon Thomas needs a fresh start. The Cowboys would get a young versatile defensive lineman and the 49ers get to dump his contract while also receiving some compensation in return. It's a win-win for all parties concerned.

I know what you're thinking though. What would the Cowboys have to give up in the trade? Well, it might not be as much as you think.

Fortunately, Thomas' failure to make an impact his first two years in the NFL favor the buyer, in this case the Dallas Cowboys. He has only four career quarterback sacks, three of which came in his rookie season. Stats of course don't always tell the entire story, but game film does. Unfortunately for Thomas, he can't escape his poor play.

I believe it wouldn't take more than a 2019 fourth-round draft pick to get Solomon Thomas away from the 49ers. Remember, just last season the New England Patriots sent a third-round draft pick to San Francisco and received Offensive Tackle Trent Brown and the fifth-round pick in return. Brown was a more proven player and was in the last year of his contract.

I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of Solomon Thomas in a Dallas Cowboys uniform. If anybody can tap into his potential, Rod Marinelli can. Giving up a 2019 fourth-round pick is well worth the gamble in my opinion.

Do you think the Cowboys should inquire about trading for Solomon Thomas?



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