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NFL Draft

Why LB Isn’t a 1st-Round “Need” for the Cowboys

Brian Martin

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Why LB Isn't a First-Round Need for the Cowboys

The 2018 NFL Draft is merely weeks away and drawing closer and closer by the minute now that we have entered the month of April. All of the speculation and anticipation about who the Dallas Cowboys will select will finally come to an end and we can all hopefully breathe a sigh of relief.

As things stand right now, there is no clear-cut player or position the Dallas Cowboys seem to be targeting with the 19th overall selection in the first round. I think the only two positions we can mark off the list for sure in the first round is quarterback and running back, everything else is probably fair game.

I know a lot of Cowboys Nation want to see the Dallas Cowboys take a defensive player with their first pick, and from what I've seen, linebacker and defensive tackle are at the top the list. It certainly makes sense considering the Cowboys roster depth at each position, but I'm not completely sold that's the direction they need to go.

I'm all for the Cowboys drafting a DT in the first round if his name is Vita Vea, but that's because I believe he is a difference maker and his addition to the defensive line helps everyone around him. That's what you're supposed to get from a first-round draft pick.

With that in mind, it's also why I don't think it would be wise by the Dallas Cowboys to draft a linebacker in the first-round.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Dallas Cowboys already have their starting LBs heading into the 2018 season in Sean Lee (WILL), Jaylon Smith (MIKE), and Damien Wiilson (SAM). It just doesn't make a lot of sense to draft another LB who isn't going to make an immediate impact.

Having said that though, Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds would be a draft day steal if still available for the Cowboys at 19. It's a no-brainer to write their name down on the draft card, but those are the only two LBs I'd personally consider that early.

What the Dallas Cowboys really need at the LB position is depth. They need a player who can step in and fill the role left by Anthony Hitchens. They really just need a rookie with starting potential/traits, who can fill in a few games if needed if someone goes down with an injury. These kind players can be found a little later in the draft.

I know my opinion about a first-round linebacker may be an unpopular one with many of you, but I think it's the right one. I just believe different positions besides LB can make more of an immediate impact. We don't need another backup/project in the 1st like Taco Charlton.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys "need" a LB in the first-round?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Chuck Wright

    April 4, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I am a YUGE believer that VV would make the biggest impact of any player on the board for 2018. So if DaBoys nab him, excellent, he makes everyone around him better.

    Having said that, this draft is not about 2018 as much as it is about the next 3-4 years and LB is a YUGE need. Sean Lee is an injury waiting to happen. Doesn’t mean I don’t love him but we need his replacement.

    Would love to see Dallas take next year’s 2 plus something to land another player in this year’s 2nd round or to trade back if VV is off the board. Barring some other big talent sliding.

    Would like to see 2 LBs, a 1 Tech, a S, an OL (2 if they take Toth who’s a layaway player, 2 year Army commit) and a speedy WR (Pettis, Miller, St Brown, Chark etc bunch available in rounds 2 and 3) and guess what. . .we need Whitten’s replacement too.

  2. Hector Espindola

    April 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I see your point but respectfully I don’t agree that LB is only a depth issue, because Lee may get injured any time and we need an starter. For me, LVE -taken at #19 and who can play SAM- can share snaps with Damien Wilson in order to become that starter in the short run. Having said so, if and only if VV is our first round, I wouldn´t mind getting a LB even at day 3 (because VV would make our LB’s look better asap, no matter what). However, something sadly tells me that the 1T is a matter of later rounds of the draft, unless VV or Da’Ron are valued by the FO as a 1T with versatility to play 3T. I want VV/Da’Ron as our first selection, if not LVE.

  3. Saul Molina

    April 4, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Vita vea is my guy all the way linebacker is something we need to address but you can do it in the later rd maybe josey jewell but there’s no way you spend your first rd pick on leighton vander esch sorry he’s good but not for 19th second rd pick i would love it unless it’s roqaun smith or trumaine Edmunds in first rd no linebacker in first rd

  4. Chet Horton

    April 5, 2018 at 12:20 am

    I completely disagree.

    LB is our biggest need and will be the position most likely to directly help us win more games, a 1 technique DT doesn’t make that kind of impact. We already have a 1 technique DT that is decent and you can improve on that position no earlier than the 4th round.

    Evans and Vander Esch are better picks at 19 than VV for the Cowboys. Jaylon Smith has position flex as does Evans and both picks would be a huge upgrade of Wilson who has a really bad habit of over running plays.

    Wynn at G is the pick if you don’t go LB then get a LB in the 2nd round.

    My prediction is we pick Vander Esch with the 19th pick.

    • Fact Based Opinion

      April 5, 2018 at 7:54 am

      What you’re missing is that Vita Vea, because of his size and dominance, makes all the other defensive linemen MORE effective because of the attention VV draws. Sacks would increase by 8-10 per season with VV.

      • Chet

        April 5, 2018 at 12:16 pm

        I don’t agree with your assessment. You can’t predict how much impact he will have in a manner of additional sacks. Collins is most definitely big enough and a lot faster than VV and played 1 technique very well. I think Collins will have more sacks and produce more pressure than VV will. Price is the backup and he is getting better each year. That combine with Evans, if they take him, ability to rush the passer and make other pass rushers more effective makes the argument a moot point. Pass rush wasn’t our problem last year it was our secondary play and that was shored up with the youth movement we had late in the season. We need the most dominate run defense in the NFL and great LB’s will bring you that. I will admit that either this plays out LB, VV, or one of the top 2 G’s its a good problem to have.

  5. Fact Based Opinion

    April 5, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I generally agree but I disagree with the title of the article. Linebacker is a NEED. It would just be smarter to use the first pick on some other position (like DT), but get back to selecting a linebacker in the second or third round and again in the 4th or 5th.

  6. oneputter

    April 5, 2018 at 8:12 am

    we definitely need LB’s, big need for this defense.

    as many have pointed out here, 50 we can’t rely on, 54 we are not sure about yet, that leaves 57 as our only LB with experience. i am a fan of wilson and see that he is underrated by many but if you look at our LB’s he has been the most consistent one in terms of games played and staying healthy. he does have some problems with over pursuing but i also think he needs to be used more on blitzes both run and pass.

    i would not be dissapointed with evans at 19, we certainly don’t need a WR at 19. there are many to be had in the later rounds.

  7. Tommy Davis

    April 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Vita Vea or Da Ron Payne if available would make the most sense at pick # 19. If they are off the board, wide receiver and linebacker are the next most glaring needs. You have to get it right if you choose a wide receiver or a linebacker at pick # 19. Vander Esch would not be the right choice here, you have to use your head and not pick with your heart. There are 3 fast athletic linebackers in this draft that would immediately make an impact, Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans, and Tremain Edmunds. The best wide reciever in the draft in my opinion is D J Moore, he would immediately upgrade the Cowboys passing game with his ability to get open and take the top off with his speed running deep. The Cowboys wasted their #1 pick last year with Charlton, they can’t afford to miss again. Vander Esch is a tall, straight line runner, not very athletic, which in todays game, you have to be athletic because of the elusiveness of the running backs and recievers. Selecting Vander Esch at pick #19 would be 2 years in a row of wasting your first round pick. Teams like the Rams, Eagles, Saints to name a few, get it right by selecting the most talented players that can immediately make an impact in areas of need. The Cowboys front office is lacking and needs to improve .

    • elindio42

      April 5, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Vander Esch is faster than Evans. Also bigger and can play all LB spots.

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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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NFL Draft

3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys

Brian Martin

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3 Potential Day 2 Tight End Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys

By now it's no secret the Dallas Cowboys don't have a first-round draft pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft. The Amari Cooper trade took care of that, meaning sitting through the entire Day 1 could be a little tiresome for us fans. But, Day 2 of the draft could get really interesting for the Cowboys, especially as it pertains to the players/positions they could target.

Today, I wanted to take a look at a few of the Day 2 tight end prospects the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in. This would be the second tier of TEs behind the likes of T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and Irv Smith, all of which should be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at 58th overall in the second round.

I really believe that if the Dallas Cowboys plan on drafting a starting caliber tight end in this year's draft class they are going to have to do it with either their second or third round selection. The TEs available beyond that point probably aren't much of an upgrade over Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz, which is praise in itself about the upside of the young TEs they currently have on the roster.

With all of that in mind, I put together a list of three tight ends I would personally target on Day 2 if I were the Cowboys. I tried to identify what they typically look for in a starting TE (size, speed, athleticism), while also taking into account the ones that are are versatile enough to contribute on all three downs in both the running and passing game.

Isaac Nauta, Georgia

Isaac Nauta

Georgia TE Isaac Nauta

Isaac Nauta is a former five-star recruit who never really lived up to his billing during his time with the Georgia Bulldogs. He is a top-notch blocker both in line and when split out wide, but due to the Bulldogs run heavy offense he never really developed into the pass catcher many envisioned him becoming. He possesses good speed and terrific hands to be a threat in the passing game though, even if he doesn't show a lot of separation ability on film.

Nauta looks and plays like a prototypical Dallas Cowboys tight end. He has the desired size (6'4", 246), athleticism, and skill set to step in and be the Cowboys TE1 as a rookie. His blocking ability alone will get him on the field early, but he also shows enough pass catching ability to be a threat in the passing game as well. Overall, Nauta is a pro-ready three down TE who is a high floor prospect with very little downside.

Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

Jace Sternberger

Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger

Jace Sternberger is a former three-star recruit and the definition of a one-year wonder. He was basically a complete unknown before the 2018 season and had just one catch for 5 yards during his two years at Kansas before deciding to transfer to JUCO. He didn't fare much better at Northern Oklahoma A&M, but Jimbo Fisher thought enough of him to bring him aboard a Texas A&M, essentially turning him into an All-American and first team All-SEC.

Sternberger is almost the exact opposite of Isaac Nauta, but still has the desired traits the Dallas Cowboys look for in their tight ends. Unlike Nauta, Sternberger is much more accomplished as a passing threat. He runs and moves like a big wide receiver and possesses good separation ability. Due to his size (6'4", 250) and athletic ability he is difficult to bring down after the catch as well. He's not as accomplished as a blocker as Nauta, but he shows good technique and will improve in time with added strength. He has the ability to be the Cowboys TE1 as a rookie.

Dawson Knox, Ole Miss

Dawson Knox

Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox

Dawson Knox is a former walk-on quarterback at Ole Miss, but spent the last two years playing tight end for the Rebels. He is one of the more difficult tight ends to evaluate in this draft class due to the unorthodox offense he played in and his usage in the system, but may actually be more pro-ready than many of us believe. He does have the size (6'4", 250), speed, and natural hands to be a complete three-down TE in the NFL and reminds me a little bit of George Kittle when he was entering the league.

Knox is still pretty raw as a player, but moldable and he has the upside to be one of the best tight ends in this entire draft class. He could probably compete to be the Dallas Cowboys TE1 as a rookie, but it might be better for him to be in a timeshare of sorts while he develops his God-given talent. Nevertheless, I have a hard time seeing him making it out of Day 2 of the draft, especially after he puts on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine. His talent might be too much for the Cowboys to pass up.



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NFL Draft

Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?

The Dallas Cowboys have taken a few risks when on the clock in the second round of the NFL Draft in recent years. Randy Gregory and Jaylon Smith, both important starters on defense, were drafted to the Cowboys after they went down on many teams' draft boards. In 2019, they'll have the opportunity to take yet another risk. Recently, one of the best defensive tackles in this year's class, Jeffery Simmons, suffered a torn ACL while going through a drill during his workout in Florida.

Simmons took to Twitter to share the unfortunate news that will drastically affect his draft stock only a couple of months before the Draft.

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

Jeffery Simmons on Twitter

https://t.co/0NAzPv0bvY

Before the injury, Jeffery Simmons was seen as a top draft prospect. Some even envisioned him being drafted in the top 10. As a 21-year old defensive tackle from Mississippi State, Simmons had an impressive career during his time in college football. In three seasons he managed to rack up 157 tackles and seven sacks.

If one thing is clear it's that the Mississippi State product will be an impact player when he gets on the field on Sundays. His quick reaction on the get-off will still interest a lot of teams despite his injury. A sound defender on the running and passing game, he'll pay big dividends for whichever team decides to pull the trigger on him come April.

Due to their recent second round draft history, I can't help but wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will consider him when they're on the clock in the second round. This year though, there will be a big difference. Pick #58 will be the first time the Cowboys will be on the clock in this year's draft after trading away their first rounder for Amari Cooper last year.

It will be tough for them to wait until the third round to pick a player they could actually put on the field for the 2019 season. Specially considering the fact that they're a football team with title aspirations this year. Despite their history and the fact that Simmons will be one hell of a pro, I believe the team will not want to make such a pick in the second without a first round selection.

The team has a big need at DT, although Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins were very serviceable in 2018. We'll see how tempted they are if Jeffery Simmons is still on the board when they're on the clock.

Tell me what you think about "Could Cowboys Take Another 2nd Round Risk On DT Jeffery Simmons?" 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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