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What Roger Staubach and Jaylon Smith Have in Common

Per usual, the Cowboys are taking a lot of heat. What else is new? The Cowboys almost always have a target on their back that haters aim their criticisms at; it comes with the territory of being America’s Team. The Cowboys’ draft received a “C” grade from experts, due in part for taking a chance on two players. They took Jaylon Smith in the second round, in spite of his knee injury that may prevent him from seeing the field until next season.

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Cowboys Headlines - A Comparison of Risky Draft Picks 1

Per usual, the Cowboys are taking a lot of heat. What else is new? The Cowboys almost always have a target on their back that haters aim their criticisms at; it comes with the territory of being America's Team.

The Cowboys' draft received a "C" grade from experts, due in part for taking a chance on two players. They took Jaylon Smith in the second round, in spite of his knee injury that may prevent him from seeing the field until next season. They also drafted Rico Gathers who hasn’t played football since middle school. The Cowboys expect him to play Tight End.

History is in the Cowboys' favor when it comes to draft picks such as these. For example, when I think of a player that's unable to suit up the season they’re drafted, like Jaylon Smith, I think of another Dallas Cowboy, Roger Staubach.

Cowboys Headlines - What Smith and Staubach Have in CommonRoger Staubach was drafted in 1964 by the Cowboys, and although he is in the Hall-of-Fame now, he was a considered a risk for any NFL front office on draft day.

Staubach, at the time, owed the Navy five years of military service - a deal he made when accepted into the Naval Academy. He would not begin playing professionally until 1969, as a 27-year-old rookie.

He would practice and train with the Cowboys during his leaves from the Navy. When Staubach had served his five years, he went to work in Dallas.

Even though he missed four seasons, he made up for it with five Super Bowl appearances and two championships. So going a year (or five) without playing football, does not mean a player forgets how to play football.

Cowboys Headlines - What Jaylon Smith and Roger Staubach Have in CommonWhen I think of draft picks who've never played football, like Gathers, the list of successful players is very long. There have been many players to make the switch, especially from basketball to football.

For example, after being told by scouts that he wouldn't make it in the NBA, Antonio Gates arranged a workout in front of NFL scouts. This year Gates scored his 101st career touchdown reception and signed a 2-year contract extension to remain with the Chargers.

Other success stories include, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas. The switch from basketball to football can be done, and done successfully.

Besides, this isn’t the first time the Cowboys have drafted a player in this situation. “The Bullet” Bob Hayes had his finest hour as a sprinter in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. First, he won the 100m, tying the then world record. This was followed up with a second gold medal in the 4×100 meter relay, which also produced a new world record.

After being the fastest man on the planet, the Cowboys drafted him in the 1964 NFL Draft to play wide receiver. Hayes' first two seasons were his most successful, during which he led the NFL both times in receiving touchdowns with 12 and 13, respectively.

Cowboys Headlines - What Jaylon Smith and Roger Staubach Have in Common 1

So what that Jaylon Smith must take a year off? Who cares that Rico Gathers didn't play college football? Sure, there’s a risk with both Smith and Gathers but let’s be clear, every pick is a risky pick. It’s a crap-shoot either way. There's no sure fire way to know a player's full potential. There’s room for an incredible payoff for these rookies like there have been in the past with similar Cowboy picks.

These players could be blessings and in two or three years, experts could look back and say that the Cowboys got these guys at great deals. I look forward to watching Smith's and Gathers' careers unfold, because it will be a great story when they do.



I was born and raised in New York state's Hudson Valley and now attend school in New Jersey. Although I live in Montclair, my heart will always have a soft spot for Dallas, Texas. As an intern for Inside the Star, I now have a legitimate reason for the Cowboys to consume my life. Before, I was just a Cowboy fan with no life ... and very concerned parents. When I'm not writing about the Cowboys, I enjoy reading, seeing plays, creative writing, watching TV, and making my friends and family laugh. Follow me on Twitter, so we can connect on all topics related to America's Team. How 'bout em!

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Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?

Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.

After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.

The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.

Kavon Frazier

Dallas Cowboys S Kavon Frazier

I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.

Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.

As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.

I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.

Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?



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Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019

Kevin Brady

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Predicting Dallas Cowboys Roster Locks, Pre-Training Camp Edition
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.

After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.

But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."

The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.

Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).

The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.

This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.

These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.

Why The Numbers Expect Regression, But Success For Cowboys In 2017

Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.

Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.



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Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations

Kevin Brady

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Robert Quinn
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.

The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.

And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.

“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.

Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.

"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com. 

Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.

Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.



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