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The Complete And Utter Failure Of The Dallas Cowboys In The 2nd Round

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Headlines - The Complete And Utter Failure Of The Dallas Cowboys In The 2nd Round

When I sit down to write something for Inside The Star I like to toss on some music and find my zone. I've got a playlist that has various songs that either get me pumped or calm me down so that my brain can find the proper sweet spot. A surprising member of this playlist is "That's The Way It Is" by Celine Dion.

This song seems really appropriate to the way that Cowboys Nation is feeling about Tuesday's news surrounding Randy Gregory.

Randy missed another drug test, which is treated identically to a failed test, and is now facing an even longer suspension than the 4-Game one already hanging over his 2016 season. As Tuesday wore on word trickled out that some within the Cowboys believe Randy Gregory will never play for them again. That's just awesome, isn't it?

It's been 454 days since the Dallas Cowboys exercised the 60th Overall Pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on the talented pass rusher out of Nebraska. At that point it had only been 358 days since the Cowboys had selected Boise State's DeMarcus Lawrence with the 34th Overall Pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Today they are both suspended for significant periods of time to begin the 2016 season.

The Cowboys, who boast the 2014 NFL Executive of the Year in Jerry Jones, have made some categorically large mistakes in the 2nd Round of the NFL Draft in the Jason Garrett era (which fully began in 2011).

RJ Ochoa on Twitter

Last 4 Dallas 2nd Round Picks: 2013- Gavin Escobar 2014- DeMarcus Lawrence 2015- Randy Gregory 2016- Jaylon Smith 0 will play to begin '16

To be totally fair here, Gavin Escobar could technically miraculously be healthy enough for Week 1's date against the New York Giants. Even then, the Cowboys have shown a blatant disregard for Escobar's services so it's not like he'd play much anyway.

Putting The 2nd Round Failures In Perspective

This whole thing got me curious, though. How bad are the Cowboys in the 2nd Round? This tweet doesn't tell the whole story, but then again neither does including Escobar since our current gripe isn't with him. Here is every 2nd Round Pick since 2014 broken down by team, including the number of games they've played in their NFL careers.

Cowboys Headlines - Putting The Dallas Cowboys 2nd Round Failures In Perspective

At first glance this doesn't seem so bad. The Cowboys have gotten 73% usage out DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory in this span. Six teams have gotten less from their picks so hey... whatever, right? We're the Cowboys. It's all good.

Digesting The Failure

I've spent a lot of time on Inside The Star, Ocho Live, and the RJOShow blasting the Cowboys for their drafting of Jaylon Smith with this year's 34th Overall Pick. For the record, I like Jaylon. I hope he becomes a star for the Cowboys... but it was an insanely arrogant thing to do.

Let's talk about that word - arrogant.

The Cowboys believe that Jaylon Smith's nerve will regain full function and that will make him a beast. Ok cool. That's not happening until 2017 so we need something in the interim, right? Good thing Rolando McClain is here!

Cowboys Headlines - The Complete And Utter Failure Of The Dallas Cowboys In The 2nd Round 1

Some within the Dallas Cowboys fear that Randy Gregory will never play for them again after being selected with the 60th Overall Pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Oh wait, he's suspended? Well that's ok. I've got Sean Lee! He's missed 42% of games throughout his career, but I trust you. Silver and blue!

We're going to have an elite pass rush so I don't have to worry about Sean Lee? Alright sweet! Cool cool cool.That's where the two 2nd Round Picks preceding Jaylon Smith were devoted so that makes sense.

They're suspended, too?!

Alright I suppose I can still make this work. This is a lot of settling, but I'm a die hard. Let's do this. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will both be back after four games. We're Super Bowl bound, baby!

THE COWBOYS BELIEVE THAT RANDY GREGORY WILL NEVER PLAY AGAIN? WHAT ON EARTH? WE JUST DRAFTED HIM IN THE 2ND ROUND A YEAR AGO.

This is an appropriate reaction. You are 100% entitled to be enraged about this.

A House Built On Failure

I want to circle back to that handy-dandy color-coded chart up above. The Cowboys have gotten 73% usage from their last two 2nd Round Picks (no division rival has less than 98% mind you). Let's project this number into the future so we can understand just how flimsy the supposed foundation of the Dallas Cowboys 2nd Round Picks is:

  • As of now the Cowboys have gotten 73% usage from Lawrence and Gregory.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence will miss at least 4 games in 2016.
  • Randy Gregory will likely miss all of 2016.
  • Jaylon Smith will likely miss all of 2016.

This means that even if we were looking at things through the most optimistic lens possible that the last three Dallas Cowboys 2nd Round Picks will AT MOST play 12/48 games in 2016. 25%. That is eight million types of pathetic.

What other NFL team is getting 25% production in 2016 from their last three second round picks? Seriously? Name one. I dare you. Double dog. NAME A TEAM THIS DYSFUNCTIONAL.

Circling all the way back to when this "Tripod of Excellence" era began in 2014, let's take a painful but necessary look at this broken down:

2nd Round Pick (2014-2016) DeMarcus Lawrence Randy Gregory Jaylon Smith
# of Games Played in 2014 7 N/A N/A
# of Games Played in 2015 16 12 N/A
# of Games Played in 2016 (most likely) 12 0 0
Total 35/48 12/32 0/16

When the 2016 season is all said and done, the previous three 2nd Round Draft Picks will have likely played 47 out of a possible 96 games.

49%. Let that sink in. These are supposed to be cornerstones.

But hey. We're the Cowboys, right? We've got a "right kinda guy" aka RKG mentality here.

Arrogant should be spelled arRKGant. That's the way it is.

What do you make of the Dallas Cowboys 2nd Round Failures? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "The Complete And Utter Failure Of The Dallas Cowboys In The 2nd Round" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!



I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.

As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.

The Player

So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.

But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.

Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.

What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.

Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.

The Fit

As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.

The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

NAME: Rodney Anderson

SCHOOL: Oklahoma

CONFERENCE: Big 12

POSITION: Running Back

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 24

RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star

HT: 6'1"

WT: 219

D.O.B.: 9/12/96

Highlights:

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.

Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.

Pros:

Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.

Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.

Cons:

The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.

His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.

Cowboys Fit:

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.

There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Our search for a new pass catcher for the Cowboys in this years' draft class continues, this time with a wide receiver.

South Carolina's Deebo Samuel put himself on the map with a strong Sophomore season, but fell off a bit due to a severe leg injury early in 2017. After a strong 2018 campaign, and an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Samuel has played himself back into early Day Two draft discussions.

The Player

I don't know that anyone "won" Senior Bowl week more than Deebo Samuel did this January. Samuel, who had to deal with some poor quarterback play throughout his college career, didn't get much of a break in that department either at the Senior Bowl. But, he did show out every day at practice, and seemed to go viral on Twitter at least once a day.

During his actual collegiate season, Samuel finished with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns on 62 catches, solid production especially coming off an injury and playing in a limited offense. Initially in the NFL, Samuel is going to make his money in the slot. He's a shifty yet explosive receiver type than can quickly beat defenders with his speed. He's not the speedster than someone like Marquise Brown is, but he is explosive enough in his own right, especially in terms of short-area quickness.

Samuel isn't someone who will go up and grab the ball consistently, or even make up for inaccurate throws as often as some others might be able to. But he does have reliable hands, and his ability to get open quickly and create separation should give someone like Dak Prescott easy windows to find him in for completions.

What makes Deebo Samuel so fun for me to watch, though, is his ability after the catch. Despite his lack of size, Samuel is tough as nails, and rarely defers out of bounds or avoids contact. He's built well enough to withstand that contact as well, and when he gets free, he's hard to catch and bring down.

The Fit

Drafting Deebo Samuel 58th overall would be a heck of a haul for the Dallas Cowboys. In need of another playmaker in the passing game, the Cowboys could make immediate use of Samuel's talents in 2019, specifically as a slot receiver.

As has been mentioned ad nauseam, it seems unlikely that Cole Beasley will be returning to the team this season, which makes the need for a slot wide-out that much greater. Samuel has big play ability from the slot already, and has traits which project him to potentially work outside as well. If he tests well enough at the combine, reps on the outside could very well be in his future.

Samuel should be on every Cowboys fans' shortlist of draft targets in the second round this year.



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