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Sean’s Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value to Cowboys D

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value at DE

At the 2014 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys opted to trade up in the second round for pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence - who will enter 2018 as their franchise player, recording 14.5 sacks last season. While it is safe to say they made the right decision on that night, we no longer have to speculate on what could have been. The Cowboys' original plan at 47th overall was to draft Missouri DE Kony Ealy, who instead went at pick #60 to the Carolina Panthers.

After three seasons with the Panthers, and a 2017 campaign with the New York Jets, Ealy now finds himself in Dallas. The latest Cowboys free agent acquisition adds further depth at DE, a position the team should still be looking to address early in this month's draft.

As far as FA signings in April go, Kony Ealy is certainly a worthwhile name for the Cowboys to "kick the tires on" as they continue to search for a starting right end. As a rotational player with the Jets last year, Ealy rushed off of both ends with minimal success, appearing in 15 games but only securing one sack.

Here is his full scouting report.

DE Kony Ealy: Strengths

ealy1 - Streamable

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Kony Ealy is a lengthy pass rusher that takes long and balanced strides off the edge to capture the corner. Earning opportunities to "rush the half man" was not a problem for Ealy with the Jets, as he consistently fired off the ball with above average burst - sometimes enough to generate leverage and disengage.

Ealy's ability to play with lower body power was the most impressive part of his game at both left and right defensive end. Ideally, this is a situational RDE for the Cowboys, although Ealy is certainly solid enough against the run to warrant snaps on both sides.

ealy3 - Streamable

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Ealy is a fluid player, one that has no problem flowing to the ball while keeping blockers at a distance with his length. At 6'4", this is a lanky rusher that can be difficult to control at the line of scrimmage.

Kony Ealy was rarely seen completely washed out of a play, as he is not afraid to counter inside of his blockers and plug gaps.

DE Kony Ealy: Weaknesses

This is a player that gets stopped too easily through a lot of his rush moves, which Ealy does not have a great feel for. There were plenty of snaps where Ealy would set the tackle up to be beat to either side, only to allow him to recover by working into Kony's frame.

There is very little power in Kony Ealy's slender upper body or hands, which is a very noticeable weakness in his game. Despite showing some ability to flip his hips and attack the pocket, Ealy has to do a better job of disengaging to finish these plays.

When Ealy does not get a great jump on the snap, he will struggle to gain any leverage, despite showing off some decent corner bend. This is the area that Ealy is most affected by not having a reliable counter rush move.

DE Kony Ealy: Summary

As mentioned, this is likely as good as it gets for depth signings by the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 2018 NFL Draft. In no way should Kony Ealy be looked at as a progress stopper for any of the young DEs on this team - including ones that may be added at the draft.

When any player hits the open market, every team will look back at their initial evaluation of that player from their respective draft. Like many other teams, the Cowboys did not quite hit on what Kony Ealy would be in the NFL.

ealy4 - Streamable

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This is not to say that Rod Marinelli won't get the most out of a rusher with some solid traits to play as a sideline-to-sideline defensive end, but overall expectations should remain rather low for Kony Ealy with the Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: As Late FA Signing, New DE Kony Ealy Brings Value to Cowboys D" 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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Star Blog

DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

Kevin Brady

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DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line

The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.

The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.

After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.

So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.

What exactly is that role, though?

I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.

Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.

Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.

If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.

This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.



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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

Kevin Brady

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New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF

On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.

Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.

Randall Cobb on Twitter

Randall Cobb on Twitter

https://t.co/9H9xfApFqe

In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.

This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

https://twitter.com/tae15adams/status/1108158105957920770

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb

Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.



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Star Blog

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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