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Sean’s Scout: LB Chris Covington Likely Finds Home on Special Teams

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: LB Chris Covington Most Noticeable on Special Teams

With the 193rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys doubled up on linebackers by selecting Indiana's Chris Covington. While Leighton Vander Esch surely expects to be the most noticeable rookie defender in Dallas, Covington is here to serve a role as well - likely on special teams where the Cowboys lost Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber.

In years past, this need for reliable special teams contributors would likely give Rich Bisaccia more power in the Cowboys war room to replenish his unit. With Bisaccia (along with Smith and Wilber) in Oakland now, it will be up to new Special Teams Coordinator Keith O'Quinn to get the most out of Covington.

Here is my full scouting report on Cowboys Linebacker Chris Covington.

Linebacker Chris Covington: Strengths

A decent athlete with adequate size to play at the next level, Chris Covington is an instinctive linebacker that will work under blockers to disrupt plays. When sticking his foot in the ground and firing forward, Covington is a downhill missile that will finish against any ball carrier he can get his hands on.

Covington1

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It is these traits that will primarily help Covington play in space on special teams, consistently playing with good leverage and his head up. Covington's hand strength is his standout trait.

Covington is capable of lining up at multiple positions on defense, holding his own as an extra defender on the edge or flipping his hips to cover as a MIKE. If things go as planned for the Cowboys defense, there won't be much of a need for Chris Covington as a starting linebacker, but his speed and reaction ability gives the Cowboys yet another match up piece.

Linebacker Chris Covington: Weaknesses

Chris Covington's biggest weakness is his lack of ability to position himself on defense. Covington lacks the range to chase plays on the outside, along with the functional strength needed in shooting gaps.

This is a player that is far too easily washed out of plays, discarded by blockers that knock back a hesitant Covington by getting into his square frame. Covington doesn't play with an ideal "nose for the football", reluctantly creating contact when given a chance to do so.

Covington's block shedding techniques are incredibly raw. Showing better balance when plays are in front of him, Covington will struggle to change directions smoothly.

Covington2

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Covington came to Indiana as a two-way player, taking until his Sophomore season to focus on playing linebacker - eventually becoming a reliable Senior starter. This is still a prospect the Cowboys drafted as nearly a finished product, given Covington's physical limitations.

Linebacker Chris Covington: Summary

As mentioned, the Cowboys first of two sixth round picks will likely be in the hands of ST Coordinator Keith O'Quinn. While Rod Marinelli can work on developing Covington's motor and fine tuning his athletic traits, O'Quinn is getting a player that can replace some of the Cowboys FA departures.

Between Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, and now Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys were not in the market for a starting linebacker as late in the draft as they took Covington. This bodes well for a Dallas team that still adds speed and depth to two units with Indiana's Chris Covington.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: LB Chris Covington Likely Finds Home on Special Teams" 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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Dak Prescott Impresses, Draws Compliments All Minicamp Long

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott and Coaches Both to Blame for Cowboys Offensive Woes
James D. Smith via AP

Dak Prescott stood before the media Thursday in a Stetson Cowboy hat, answering questions about his upcoming contract extension.

“I’ve got my cowboy hat on, so I’m a Cowboy, we’ll say that.”

Prescott has cemented himself as the franchise quarterback of America's Team, and now it's time for the franchise to pay him like it. Set to earn roughly $34 million per year (according to recent rumors/reports), Prescott is going to be a very rich and comfortable man in the near future.

But, for now, he still plays under his fourth round rookie contract. You wouldn't be able to tell by watching him on the field, however. Though it was just minicamp, Prescott was impressive as ever over the last couple weeks of practice, earning praise from all levels within the organization.

Veteran Jason Witten complimented both Prescott's anticipation and accuracy, saying his throws have been "off the charts" at minicamp. Prescott himself said that this is the best he's felt since he's entered the league, and it certainly makes sense for this to be the case.

"Is it three years under my belt or just seeing defenses a whole lot more clear, being quicker and faster in everything I want to do, having great teammates around me? Who really knows the answer, but I feel great. I feel confident, and my teammates do, as well.” - Prescott to DallasCowboys.com

If Prescott was ever going to be comfortable, hungry, and ready to go, this is likely the time that it would happen. He has three relatively successful seasons under his belt, and ended 2018 on the best stretch of his career. He is the unquestioned starting quarterback for this team, and has the backing of every key decision maker in the building.

Prescott now has an offensive coordinator who he has not only worked closely with (in some capacity) since he entered the league in 2016, but is also being lauded for his creativity as an offensive mastermind. His quarterbacks coach, Jon Kitna, has been receiving similar praise for how he can coach up Prescott and get his footwork consistent, to help him "throw it through a Fruit Loop."

The time is now for Dak Prescott, and it's encouraging to see how he is responding to this increased pressure and responsibility. Then again we should have no doubt that he will respond positively, as he as throughout his entire young career.

Whenever faced with adversity, Prescott has answered the bell. Now he has all the supporters he needs, and just needs to prove them right.



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Does RB Ezekiel Elliott Have A Chance At NFL MVP?

Kevin Brady

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Ezekiel Elliott

Who is the Cowboys best player?

A question debated seemingly daily on social media, most fans seem to center their arguments around the same few names. Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Ezekiel Elliott.

As a running back, it's quite possible that Elliott is both the best of that bunch and the least important to the team's overall success. NFL.com's Adam Schein disagrees with the latter statement, however, placing Ezekiel Elliott among his top ten contenders for 2019 NFL MVP.

"I think the Cowboys are going to challenge for the Super Bowl in 2019 -- and I think Zeke fuels this team. When Elliott runs for 95-plus yards, the Cowboys are 19-4; when he falls below that benchmark, they're 9-8." - Adam Schein

Schein's prediction will no doubt make Cowboys Nation swoon, but does Elliott really have the opportunity to compete for an MVP award?

For one, this would require the Cowboys be among the best teams in the league this season. It's quite possible, as they did win 10 regular season and 1 playoff game a year ago, but it will have to happen once again for Elliott to be considered.

Next, Ezekiel Elliott would have to put up incredible numbers. Well, it's safe to assume this will likely be the case if condition one is met. Elliott is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball each game, and finding himself among the league's rushing leaders has never been an issue for the young running back. Especially if the team has a lead and is running the ball to kill clock.

Even if both these conditions prove true, though, Elliott will still have trouble getting himself in the real MVP discussion. These awards tend to go to certain positions, and running back is not among that list. If Dallas has such a successful 2019, and their offense is clicking, it's more likely Dak Prescott will be the one contending for that MVP honor.

I know to some it sounds crazy, but Prescott will likely need to be closer to MVP level than Elliott if the Cowboys are to contend in the way Adam Schein suggests in his article.

So, likely, Schein should have named Prescott among his top ten MVP contenders, not Elliott.



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Amari Cooper Says He’s Focused On Football, Not His Next Contract

Kevin Brady

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Report: Cowboys Waiting Until After Season for Amari Cooper Contract Talks 1

It seems like all anyone has talked about this offseason is who the Cowboys should re-sign, and how they can go about doing so.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper, of course, is heavily involved in those conversations. The Cowboys used their 2019 first round pick to trade for the Pro Bowl wide out last season, and Cooper's emergence helped to turn their struggling offense around immediately.

In just 9 games with the Cowboys last season, he caught 53 passes for 725 yards and 6 touchdowns. He quickly gained the trust of quarterback Dak Prescott, and exhibited a chemistry with the young passer that no one else really has to this point. Outside of maybe Cole Beasley in 2016, perhaps.

While the football world seems to be focusing on what Amari Cooper's contract will look like after 2019, the receiver himself claims to be solely focused on the upcoming season. Cooper spoke with ESPN's Todd Archer about this very subject, emphasizing where his mind lies at this time.

"I just handle my business...I'm more anxious about camp and actually playing football." - Amari Cooper.

Amari Cooper has just one year left on his contract as he plays under the fifth year option from his rookie deal. Cooper will make $13.9 million this season, putting him behind some of the league's other WR1s like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and DeAndre Hopkins.

There had been speculation around whether any of the Cowboys left with just one year on their contract would hold-out through parts of offseason activity, but Cooper alluded that it never seemed to cross his mind.

"I just want to get better and I love football. That's why I'm here" - Cooper.

Of course, Amari Cooper will play a huge role in the Cowboys offense in 2019. Combining him with a second year version of Michael Gallup, and new versatile threats like Tony Pollard and Randall Cobb, will help make the Dallas passing game as multiple as it's been in years.

The Cowboys will eventually need to get Amari Cooper locked up long term, but for the time being it seems like both he and the franchise are more focused on what will happen on the field in 2019 than in the negotiating room next Spring.



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