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Will McClay Discusses 2016 Cowboys Draft Class, Looks Ahead to 2017

Sean Martin

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Will McClay has been the architect for a Dallas Cowboys roster that has gotten younger and much more talented under Head Coach Jason Garrett – now one of the best in the league thanks in large part to Dallas’ 2016 draft class.

In the interview above, McClay recently talked about the two best and most important players to come play for America’s Team in the 2016 NFL Draft in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

“Our goal was to find an All-Pro. The goal is to find a great one so you don’t have to pick up that high again.” – Will McClay

McClay had this to say about Ezekiel Elliott, who was the ultimate immediate impact player the Dallas Cowboys could have selected with the fourth overall pick. The Cowboys’ vision for Elliott running behind the best offensive line in football certainly became a reality in 2016, and the future for their workhorse running back could not be brighter.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Garrett

Tim Heitman – USA TODAY Sports

“You have to have him (Dak Prescott) in your building to really understand how special that man is.” – Will McClay

Much more improbably, the Cowboys found a new franchise quarterback to play with Elliott in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft, and the entirety of the Dallas Cowboys’ organization couldn’t be more excited about the potential for a great run of success under Prescott.

With this young core in place, the 2017 NFL Draft will give the Cowboys a real chance to cement their status as one of the best teams in the league moving forward, and while early in the process of evaluating these prospects, McClay had this to say about the Cowboys’ approach:

“There’s a clear plan to try to improve the team overall.” – Will McClay

This simple quote should have Cowboys Nation excited, because it reflects the “best player available” approach the Cowboys have used in recent drafts to consistently hit on their  first round picks.

So whether Dallas finally addresses the pass rush, bulks up their secondary, or adds to their juggernaut offense with the 28th overall pick, the Cowboys should (and do) have total faith in Will McClay to make the right decisions on their long march towards Super Bowl LII.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Anthony Brown, Maliek Collins, and Jaylon Smith were just the beginning. Take notice, NFL.

Tell us what you think about “Will McClay Discusses 2016 Cowboys Draft Class, Looks Ahead to 2017” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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3 Comments
  • Ethan Chazin

    I am optimistically looking forward to the draft but also extremely eager to see what next season holds in store for Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper. Hope we’ve seen the last of Escobar, intrigues to see if Boys keep Church and/or Claiborne, and the 20 or so free agents currently on the roster. Going to be an exciting off-season but I honestly believe they will have a failed off season if they do not find a more talented group of pass rushers. Have seen enough of Aaron Rogers shredding our D in ’14 and ’16!!!

    • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

      Ethan, thank you for reading and commenting on my article! Smith undoubtedly has Cowboys’ fans as excited as we should be, seeing as he is in instant game-changer on defense the second he’s able to get on the fiend. Tapper is worth mentioning too though because while this defensive line certainly needs more talent, they may have less room than expected to add to it with the guys they’re committed to keeping – Tapper being one of them to see make his debut. Right there with you on getting to and beating Aaron Rodgers, enjoy the Super Bowl without him in it haha, and I’ll keep scouting defensive ends that can give the NFC Playoffs a different outcome next season and beyond. Thanks again.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Ethan, thank you for reading and commenting on my article! Smith undoubtedly has Cowboys’ fans as excited as we should be, seeing as he is in instant game-changer on defense the second he’s able to get on the fiend. Tapper is worth mentioning too though because while this defensive line certainly needs more talent, they may have less room than expected to add to it with the guys they’re committed to keeping – Tapper being one of them to see make his debut. Right there with you on getting to and beating Aaron Rodgers, enjoy the Super Bowl without him in it haha, and I’ll keep scouting defensive ends that can give the NFC Playoffs a different outcome next season and beyond. Thanks again!

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job

Sean Martin

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Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job 1

By keeping all three top coaches (Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, and Rod Marinelli) in place for 2018, there isn’t a Dallas Cowboys coaching hire that feels like they “must” get it right to contend next season. This is how it should be.

Producing nine wins, despite missing key players throughout the season, the Cowboys are changing things up at the position coach level to hopefully introduce new ideas and give the talent on this team a better chance at sustained success.

One coaching vacancy that needs to be filled by the right guy above any else is on the offensive line, where things haven’t been the same since the great Bill Callahan departed.

Frank Pollack took his place, and now finds himself with the Cincinnati Bengals after not being retained by Dallas this offseason.

Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates For Cowboys Vacant OL Coach Job

Tom Cable (Stephen Brashear / Getty Images)

The first name that was thrown around in consideration for the Cowboys job was Tom Cable, which sent a panic throughout Cowboys Nation before Cable decided to sign with John Gruden and the Raiders.

Cable had been coaching the Seahawks’ OL, a position that franchise has not valued in some time, and struggled to develop any talent in protection of their franchise QB Russell Wilson.

Now, two new names have emerged as candidates to coach the likes of two-time 1st Team All-Pro LT Tyron Smith, 1st Team All-Pro C Travis Frederick, and two-time 1st Team All-Pro RG Zack Martin.

Mike Solari and Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander has already met with the Dallas Cowboys, looking for work after 23 seasons with the Bengals. During this time, Alexander served as Marvin Lewis’ assistant head coach, in addition to his duties as their OL coach.

Judging on reactions out of Cincinnati to Alexander’s departure, the Bengals offensive line regressed under him in 2017, warranting change from a franchise that is as reluctant as any to move on from coaches.

Goodberry on Twitter

Paul Alexander better be gone

Most recently, Mike Solari has served as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants — far from a renowned unit around the NFL lately. He does have previous experience with the Cowboys, having served as an assistant OL and special teams coach here from 1987-88.

From 2006-07, Solari did reach the rank of offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs, which shows the level of respect that the 30-year NFL coaching veteran has earned.

He will be the Dallas Cowboys’ next interview for their open OL coach position.

Cowboys at Raiders: La'el Collins Faces Toughest Test Yet In Khalil Mack 1

Dallas Cowboys RT La’el Collins, RG Zack Martin

Depth at tackle, a long-term answer at left guard, and an extension for Zack Martin are among the questions facing the Cowboys offensive line moving forward. Whoever is in charge of keeping this unit up to standard in 2018 though, may hold the keys to getting the entirety of the Cowboys’ program back on track.

Whether it’s Alexander, Solari, or another outside candidate yet to emerge, Inside The Star will keep you updated on the Cowboys’ ongoing coaching search.

Tell us what you think about “Mike Solari, Paul Alexander Candidates for Cowboys Vacant OL Coaching Job” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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