There is no denying that Miles Austin has given the Dallas Cowboys some big games, some big catches and scored some timely touchdowns. It is also evident that when they needed him most, he hasn't been there for them. Austin burst onto the scene when Roy Williams wasn't able to play that Sunday Afternoon in Kansas City back in 2009.
Not only that game but his season in 2009 would end up being a big year for Austin. After posting 278 yards receiving and 624 yards on kick returns the previous year, no one could have expected him to have 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns by seasons end. He impressed ownership enough that Jerry Jones signed Austin to a seven year and $54.1 million deal. The following season he posted another season of 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns. Since that time he hasn’t eclipsed 1,000 yards or seven touchdowns.
Here are the reasons why Austin shouldn't return beyond 2013
Young quartet of receivers
The first player that should and usually does come to mind is Dez Bryant. Dez played like a man possessed in the final eight games of the season. Down the stretch he averaged six receptions, 110 yards and 1.25 touchdowns during that stretch. He constantly battles against double coverage and is still able to perform for this team. Through seven games so far he is averaging six receptions, 81 yards and just under a touchdown per game so far.
Terrance Williams is really showing that he is more than just a deep threat for Tony Romo and company. Thus far this season Williams has 24 receptions for 380 yards and three touchdowns, his third sealed the game against the Eagles. At this point he is projected to have 60 receptions for 950 yards and seven scores. This is almost virtually identical to the numbers that Miles Austin put up last season at almost a fifth the cost (4.86).
Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris aren't exactly lighting up the stat sheet, but they make timely plays on the field. Beasley has been the Cowboys’ Wes Welker. He seems to be a match-up problem for any defender that lines up across him. While Beasley is making timely catches for the offense Harris is shredding the opposing special team’s coverage units.
Harris has a combined 501 yards on returns and one score. Last week against the Redskins, he had a punt return touchdown of 86 yards and a 90 yard return to set up another score. Dallas could utilize Harris a bit more in their empty sets, but they do have Escobar that could take those snaps.
Fans and media know all about the hamstring issues that Miles Austin deals with on a week to week basis. This past week he practiced on Wednesday but was held out of practice the rest of the week for precautionary reasons. Austin has already missed two games this season and five games in 2011. Not having him available for practice definitely hurts in the game planning aspect. Tony Romo seems to have more trust in Williams, Bryant, Witten or anyone else at this point. He rarely throws the ball Austin’s way even when he does make it on the field. Miles has been targeted 7 times in the last two games with no catches.
Austin has three years left on his current deal and he will cost the Cowboys over $30 million during that span. As reported by Adam Shefter, the Cowboys will be $31 million over the cap next season and it will be another offseason of trying to cut salaries. If you designate Austin as a June 1st cut they will save $5.5 million. Combine Williams, Beasley and Harris aren't anywhere near that figure and Dallas will need to address other positions.
What all this really means is the end of one Mr. Miles Austin in Dallas. He is over-paid and is under performing based on his contract. Unless he is willing to take a massive pay cut, you can expect that Bryant, Williams, Beasley and Harris will be the receivers moving forward. With the end of Bryant’s rookie deal coming up, Dallas would be smart to put all of their eggs in his basket.
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.
Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.
BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.
Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.
On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.
Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.
The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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