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Sean’s Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher

When the Cowboys finalized their 53-man roster, many believed that LB Mark Nzeocha was very close to being that "53rd player" - right on the bubble of making the cut while the team potentially explored upgrades at the position. Sure enough, the team quickly released Nzeocha and completed a trade for Green Bay LB/EDGE Jayrone Elliott.

The Cowboys sent over a seventh round pick in the 2018 Draft to the Packers for Elliott. He has been with the team since 2014 as a UDFA, with 38 career appearances and four career sacks.

Elliott appeared in nine games for the Packers in 2016, and did put together a strong preseason with the club this season. My latest edition of Sean's Scout will take a look at what Elliott now brings to the Dallas Cowboys.

LB Jayrone Elliott: Strengths

In Green Bay's 3-4 scheme, Elliott was used as a pass rushing outside linebacker. While this means that he won't be a direct replacement for Nzeocha - who played primarily as a SAM - Elliott's flexibility as a weak and strong side rusher, along with ability to play special teams, makes him a valuable addition to the roster.

Jayrone Elliott Cowboys - Streamable

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The first thing that jumped off of the tape from Elliott was his strength as a rusher. Elliott is consistently able to generate push against his blocker off either edge, collapsing pockets and holding the line of scrimmage with active hands and feet against the run.

Elliott is at his best when he is attacking the line of scrimmage with his length and drive to capture the corner quickly before consistently flattening back to the point of the quarterback.

Ross Uglem on Twitter

@cheeseheadtv @Jay_Elliott15 @Mike_Daniels76 Oh weird it's @Jay_Elliott15 again. Negated by penalty.

This is a player that will fit into Rod Marinelli's rotation and prove his worth on special teams thanks to his relentless motor and smooth movement ability for his size.

Jayrone Elliott Cowboys - Streamable

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LB Jayrone Elliott: Weaknesses

Unfortunately, Elliott is extremely limited as a refined rusher off of the edge. There are simply far too many snaps where Jayrone will fail to use his hands at all in his rush, struggling to cleanly disengage from his blocker.

While he did show the willingness to work a counter move into his reps off the edge, Elliott is slow transitioning in and out of any rush moves. Blockers are often able to reset and sit back against the power of Elliott throughout the down, as his get off on the ball is wasted due to his lack of pure bend.

Jayrone Elliott will release up the field with some explosive ability and finish strong around the ball when given the chance, but has his struggles picking through the trash to avoid catching double teams and getting steered out of plays. Elliott's pad level is not a concern, but a lack of dominant upper body strength paired with below average hands play limits him as an EDGE for the Cowboys.

LB Jayrone Elliott: Summary

Jayrone Elliott Cowboys - Streamable

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As you would expect with a down-the-roster player, the Cowboys do not have to rely on Elliott to immediately fill a big role on the defensive side of the ball. While his impact will likely first be felt on special teams, the hope should be that Elliott can further develop as a situational rusher to be used on blitzes on both edges along with on the interior.

If Elliott can take a Taco Charlton or Benson Mayowa off the field on certain downs and charge the pocket to apply pressure, he will be a quality addition to Rod Marinelli's defense with a chance to improve significantly throughout the season thanks to his traits and relentless motor.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: LB Jayrone Elliott A High-Motor Rusher" in the comments below. You can also email me at, 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 every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.


Player News

Cowboys to Use 5th-Year Option on Ezekiel Elliott’s Contract

Jess Haynie



Ezekiel Elliott, Rams

To nobody's surprise, the Dallas Cowboys intend to exercise the fifth-year option on star Running Back Ezekiel Elliott's contract. This will keep Zeke signed with the Cowboys through the 2020 season.

The deadline for teams to use the options years on the draft class of 2016 is Thursday, May 2nd, just a few days following the 2019 NFL Draft.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on the team eventually exercising the fifth-year option on Ezekiel Elliott's contract: "Obviously we're gonna do it.

It's appropriate that Stephen said "obviously," because there is no reason for the Cowboys not to utilize this provision. It's one of the perks of drafting a player in the first round; the option does not apply to any other rookie deals.

Right now, the 2020 option year projects to pay Elliott around $10 million. That is a bargain considering other franchise backs like Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, and David Johnson are all now averaging $13-$14 million per season.

In fact, it may be more of a discount than Zeke is willing to give. He may very well holdout if the team doesn't give him a new contact closer to his market value.

For all we know, the Cowboys have every intention of doing just that. This move is little more than a formality; a placeholder that prevents Elliott from entering unrestricted free agency in 2020 and secures his rights while a new deal is negotiated.

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Connor Williams Adding Size and Strength Huge for Cowboys OL

John Williams



All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

It's no secret that heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, the book on Connor Williams coming out of Texas was that he didn't have enough length to play tackle in the NFL and didn't have enough bulk to play guard. At least not at first.

It was an issue we saw play out early in the 2018 season as he struggled with some of the more powerful defensive tackles. He struggled so much that the team went to Xavier Su'a-Filo during his injury and for a couple games after he was healthy, thinking they had a better option. After having a bit of time to sit back and watch, Williams came back into the starting lineup with a better feel for that power and was much improved over the last half of the season, including the playoffs. He never relinquished his job again.

Though he played better, it was obvious what his number one offseason focus would be; adding size and strength. According to Dallas Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones, he's done just that.

Speaking to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon, Jones gave us some insight into how Williams is looking this offseason.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on offensive lineman Connor Williams, last year's second round pick: "My understanding is that he's taken some huge steps in terms of his strength and size. My understanding is that he's put on some really good weight.

Jones then added some lofty expectations on the second year guard from the University of Texas.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan: "I think Connor Williams is gonna be a mainstay in our offensive line for many years to come. ... I think we'll be talking about him just like we do several of the other players on our offensive line.

Connor Williams was already proving himself capable of standing up to powerful defensive lineman as late in the season and in the playoffs, but this is very encouraging to hear as we look to 2019.

Against the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams, Williams and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys interior offensive line had big challenges in front of them. Seattle's Jarran Reed and Los Angeles' Aaron Donald were two of the better defensive tackles in 2018. Donald, is considered by many, the best defensive player in the NFL because of his brute strength that is matched by his quickness.

Against both players, Williams performed well. Not perfect, but well enough to be encouraged about what Williams could bring in 2019. Per Pro Football Focus, he only allowed five total pressures during the playoffs, including one in the divisional round against the Rams. There's a reason that everyone is so high on Williams heading into his second year.

The front office included.

Stephen Jones praise is significant. The Dallas Cowboys feature three All-Pro offensive lineman. To say that "we'll be talking about him just like we do several of the other players on our offensive line" is very high praise. There aren't many teams in the NFL that boast as much talent along the offensive line as the Dallas Cowboys do in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick. For Jones to think Williams cold be that level of player doesn't sound like generic front office speak.

With a full year under his belt, including two playoff starts, Williams should be confident heading into his second year. Adding strength and weight will help him anchor better against the strong interiors he'll face weekly in the NFL. Getting Center Travis Frederick back in the lineup will help him with the mental aspect of the game.

There's a lot to be excited about with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 and the offensive line remains one of those things. How Connor Williams improves from year one to year two will be one of the major storylines throughout the offseason heading toward week one. The Cowboys offensive line remains a focal point for America's Team and all eyes will be on Williams as he looks to make the second year jump.

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Player News

La’el Collins Has Surgery Ahead of Contract Year

Mauricio Rodriguez



La'el Collins

The list of injured Dallas Cowboys players getting surgery keeps getting larger. DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones will welcome La'el Collins to the "surgery recovery" group chat after Collins had a procedure to repair a torn rotator cuff.  According to the report from Forth-Worth Star Telegram, Collins suffered the injury at the end of the 2018 season.

La'el Collins expects to be ready for training camp, but don't expect much from him in the upcoming offseason program.

For Collins, this is a very meaningful season. At 25 years old, he's heading into a contract year in 2019. So far, his career has been decent at best. He began playing at guard, where he showed some pretty impressive flashes before moving to right tackle, where he's started since 2017.

Even before it was reported that he would have surgery, many in Cowboys Nation have wondered about his future. The truth is, since he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, his career hasn't lived up to the hype. Prior to the 2015 NFL Draft, an off-the-field misunderstanding made every team pass on him. However, he was seen by many as a top prospect in the class and was a projected first round pick.

Although he improved when Marc Colombo took over as the OL coach, Collins has struggled during his time at right tackle. At this point, he hasn't earned a long term deal.

La'el Collins' Toughness And Availability Earning High Praise

Right now, the Cowboys should see offensive tackle as a need in the NFL Draft. Not a priority one, but definitely one to watch out for in the later rounds. Tyron Smith is 28 years old, but his injury history doesn't look promising at all. I can definitely see this team addressing the lack of depth at the position at some point in Day 3.

This whole discussion raises yet another question. Would the Cowboys trade La'el Collins? I don't think it would happen, but it doesn't sound like a terrible idea either. At the moment, Cameron Fleming is on the roster and he isn't a bad starter. Now granted, he might be a downgrade from Collins. However, if you're able to get a good draft pick in exchange, it's worth considering. Use Fleming as a bridge player between for a younger one down the line.

Connor Williams could also move over to tackle, although I doubt they want to try experiments like this with a young player just like they did with La'el Collins. Let Williams grow as a guard and keep him there.

La'el Collins or not, the Cowboys have a need at offensive tackle and Collins' makes it even more evident. The good news is he expects to be back by training camp and doesn't seem like a huge question mark for week 1 as DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones do.

Tell me what you think about "La’el Collins Has Surgery Ahead of Contract Year" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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