Darius Jackson, you know the Dallas Cowboys on-again off-again running back!?
Okay. So that's a poor attempt at humor on my part, but it kind of rings true as it pertains to Darius Jackson and his career in the NFL to date.
When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys 2016 sixth-round draft pick, it's all about numbers for Darius Jackson. After all, that's all anybody really cares about when it comes to professional sports: Player stats, team stats, wins and losses, etc. Numbers are the measuring sticks on which we base just about everything on, whether that is good or bad.
For Darius Jackson, numbers haven't really been his best friend since entering the league. In fact, they've kind of been his worst enemy so far in his career. Whether by misfortune or design (probably a little of both), he just hasn't heard his number called. That could however change this week in the Cowboys 2018 season finale.
You see, the Cowboys cannot change their playoff status against the New York Giants Sunday whether they win or lose. They are locked into the No. 4 seed no matter what, which is why this game is pretty much meaningless. That may ring true for the majority of the team, but not for players like Darius Jackson. For him, it could be just the opportunity he's been waiting for.
I for one believe Dallas should sit several of their key players, especially those who have been banged up here recently. I know they want to build momentum heading into the playoffs, but you don't want to do that at the risk of jeopardizing anyone's availability when the game finally matters most. That is why I would personally sit Ezekiel Elliott, among others.
Zeke currently has 381 total touches in both the running and passing game before Sunday's contest. That's up from 2016 (354) in which we saw him sit the season finale. It's one of the reasons why I find it hard to believe he will play much, if at all, against the Giants.
I can almost guarantee you Rod Smith and Darius Jackson are fully aware of this and are prepared to handle the lions share of the workload. This of course isn't anything new for Smith, who has been Zeke's primary backup all season, but for Jackson it's an opportunity that's been a long time coming.
Let me show you what I mean by getting back to the numbers…
Let's start with the number THREE. This is a number that may sum up Darius Jackson's career the most. It's the number of years he's been in the NFL. The number of teams he's been on during that time period (Browns, Packers, Cowboys). The number of times he's been with the Cowboys and the number of jerseys (34, 44, 26) he's worn during his time in Dallas.
Wait, I'm not done…
THREE is also the total number of regular games he has played in during his professional career. Surprisingly enough, the majority of those came with the Green Bay Packers earlier this season (2). The only other game he's played in was last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's it!
What about the number ZERO!?
ZERO is the number of rushing attempts and receptions Jackson has in the regular season. Zero receptions or rushing attempts also means a big goose egg as far as accumulating any kind of yards from scrimmage is concerned.
You can bet Darius Jackson is fully aware of all of this, but he also knows how important the number ONE is also. He's just looking for his one opportunity to prove himself in a meaningful regular-season game against a starting defensive unit. That opportunity could arise this week against the Giants.
So even though the numbers really haven't worked out in Darius Jackson's favor as of yet, there's thankfully plenty of time to turn things around. I know I for one am looking forward to the Cowboys calling his number this week. Just remember though, he's the one in the #26 jersey.
Do you think the Cowboys will call Darius Jackson's number in the season finale?
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.
McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.
None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.
The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.
Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?
"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.
On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.
Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.
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