MAKING OF AMERICA’S TEAM: The Dallas Cowboys best all-time NFL draft picks round-by-round | Special Feature

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IRVING, Texas – This list centers on breaking down the Dallas Cowboys top NFL Draft picks in club history, round by round. These aren’t the best groups of draft picks in franchise history, but quite possibly the best in each round.

Now, back in 1961, the first regular draft in which the Dallas Cowboys participated, there were 20 rounds of picks, dropping to 17 from 1967-76 and then down to 12 from 1977-92. In 1993, the draft was eight rounds long, but it went to seven rounds in 1994 and has stayed there ever since.

So the list has been cut to 10 rounds, with honorable mention for Round 11. 

11 – Honorable Mention

Jethro Pugh/Chad Hennings/Dennis Thurman – The Dallas Cowboys had some quality players come from the 11th round. Jethro Pugh played 14 seasons, 1965-78, with the Cowboys and was a part of the Doomsday Defense. Thurman had a nickname in the secondary with “Thurman’s Thieves,” as he teamed up with Everson Walls to form a dynamic cornerback duo. And with Hennings, the Cowboys had good foresight, taking a player who had to fulfill his military obligations before coming to the team as a defensive line contributor.

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10 – Roger Staubach – Without a doubt, this is the easiest pick on the list. Staubach isn’t just the only superstar or Hall of Fame player in the 10th round for the Cowboys, but he’s the only regular starter. Staubach is arguably the best draft pick in franchise history, especially since the Cowboys knew he wouldn’t be available right away. Obviously, he was worth the wait.

9 – Kenny Gant – Hard to think Staubach is 10 on any list and Gant is 9, but there certainly weren’t many options here in the ninth round. Nicknamed the “Shark,” Gant was one of the best special teams players in Dallas Cowboys history and carved out a nice defensive role for himself in nickel packages.

8 – Kevin Gogan – Another light round of picks from which to choose, Gogan was one of the toughest offensive linemen the Cowboys had on those early 1990 squads. Some of his better days occurred after his time in Dallas, but as far as eighth-rounder’s go, Gogan is the best.

Rayfield Wright - HS

7 – Rayfield Wright/Bob Hayes – Two Hall of Fame players drafted in the seventh round and both were great picks because the Cowboys showed their vision. Wright (pictured above) was actually a tight end before he moved to left tackle, and ‘Bullet” Bob Hayes (below) was an Olympic track star before becoming one of the more game-changing players in NFL history.

bob hayes' speed gave opposing cornerbacks fits and cowboys qb roger staubach an easy target down the field - the boys are back blog
Honorable Mentions: Leon Lett (pictured below), Jay Ratliff, Brock Marion.

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6 – D.D. Lewis – A staple at linebacker for many years, Lewis helped anchor a Doomsday Defense that was consistently one of the NFL’s best. Lewis narrowly edged out a few other solid contributors.
Honorable Mentions: George Andrie, Eugene Lockhart, Jim Cooper

Herschel Walker and Jerry Jones

5 – Herschel Walker – This is one of the best draft picks in Dallas Cowboys history. The club had a hunch the USFL would fold, so taking a chance on the league’s best player proved to be a franchise-altering move. Walker’s trade in 1989 to the Vikings was one of the more influential swaps in sports history. Honorable Mentions: Walt Garrison, Blaine Nye, Ron Springs, Orlando Scandrick 

Tom Rafferty Dallas Cowboys

4 – Tom Rafferty – This was another close position, but Rafferty’s 14 years of longevity gave him the ultimate edge. A versatile center who could also deep-snap, Rafferty was one of the more consistent linemen in Cowboys’ history.
Honorable Mentions: Pat Donovan, Marion Barber, Bradie James, Tony Tolbert

3 – Jason Witten – One of the best tight ends in NFL history and arguably the most complete player at his position in the entire league, Witten had a first-round grade back in 2003 but managed to fall to the third. Missing just one game in his 11-year career, Witten is easily categorized as one of the toughest players to wear the star on his helmet. And he’s one of the very few to participate in a single play without one. 

Honorable Mentions: Harvey Martin, Erik Williams, Charlie Waters

HOF Dallas Cowboys OG Larry Allen chases down linebacker - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

2 – Larry Allen – The Cowboys took a chance on the quiet, yet strong-as-an-ox kid from tiny Sonoma State in California. It didn’t take long for them to realize Allen wasn’t just a mauling lineman, but a great athlete as well. He played every spot on the line but center, and was a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection this past season.
Honorable Mentions: Mel Renfro, Darren Woodson

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1 – Emmitt Smith – One year removed from trading Herschel Walker, the Cowboys needed to find a suitable replacement. While many draft experts pegged Smith as too small and not fast enough, the Cowboys traded from No. 21 to 17th overall to grab Smith, who turned out to be the final piece of the “Triplets.” Smith is now the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and it will take an abnormally durable career for another running back to surpass him.
Honorable Mentions: Bob Lilly, Randy White, Tony Dorsett, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman.

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DALLAS DAY WORKOUTS 2014: Fifty local prospects visit Valley Ranch for annual workout with America’s Team

Texas wide receiver Mike Davis

IRVING, Texas – While the Dallas Cowboys can only bring in 30 college prospects as national visits, there are no such rules for area standouts who fit the NFL’s criteria for the local workouts. For the Cowboys, the annual event is simply known as “Dallas Day” and today more than 50 players from either local colleges or high schools came to Valley Ranch for a workout for the club’s coaches and scouts.

NFL rules allow the workout to include players who attended college in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, mostly including TCU and SMU. Players from other colleges outside of the area can participate in Dallas Day if they played high school ball in the DFW area.

Among the some half-hundred players in attendance, a few well-known quarterbacks in this area were on hand, including SMU’s Garrett Gilbert, who started his career at Texas. TCU’s Casey Pachall and Missouri’s James Franklin were also among the quarterbacks working out.

Other recognizable names include Texas wide receiver Mike Davis (pictured above) and Texas A&M running back Ben Molina and Kansas running back James Sims.

Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of former Cowboys standout Jim Jeffcoat, starred at nearby Plano West, a school that would certainly be in the range for the workout. However, with Jim Jeffcoat now coaching at Colorado, the family has since moved to Boulder and the Longhorns DE now doesn’t qualify, according to NFL rules.

In the past, the Cowboys have had some success with players from Dallas Day. In 2012, former SMU wide receiver Cole Beasley and current running back Lance Dunbar were Dallas Day standouts. A  year earlier, running back Phillip Tanner, who is now an unrestricted free agent, excelled at the workout.

Ten years ago, the Cowboys drafted a pair of seventh-rounder’s who starred at Dallas Day in wide receiver Patrick Crayton and cornerback Jacques Reeves.

STILL WAITING ON DATES: Dallas Cowboys 2014 Preseason schedule matchups announced by NFL

2014 Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule 2014 - The Boys Are Back website

IRVING, Texas – The NFL released this year’s preseason scheduled matchups, with many specific dates still to be determined.

The Dallas Cowboys will go to San Diego in Week 1, host the Ravens in Week 2, travel to Miami in Week 3 and then host the Broncos on Aug. 28 in what will be the first reunion back at AT&T Stadium for former Cowboys great DeMarcus Ware. 

All of the Week 4 games will take place Aug. 28. The rest of the dates have not yet been announced, but Week 1’s games will occur Aug. 7-10, while Week 2 will be between Aug. 14-18 and Week 3 will take place Aug. 21-24.

The Cowboys will head out to Oxnard, Calif. in mid-to-late July, with their first game staying on the West Coast in San Diego. After hosting the Ravens, the Cowboys will travel to the other coast to take on Miami before returning home to face the Broncos.

Dallas played in the Hall of Fame Game last year, so it’ll have one fewer preseason game this time around. The 2014 preseason kicks off this year with the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, Aug. 3, in Canton, Ohio, between the Buffalo Bills and the Jersey Giants.

Last year, the Cowboys stayed on the West Coast for both of their road preseason matchups after the Hall of Fame Game, traveling to Oakland and Arizona before returning home to play Cincinnati and Houston.

None of the Cowboys’ preseason games this year are scheduled to be nationally televised.

2014 Dallas Cowboys Preseason Schedule 2014

Week 1: @ San Diego Chargers

Week 2: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 3: @ Miami Dolphins

Aug. 28: vs. Denver Broncos


Whoa … don’t leave partner. Keep up with the Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 schedule and 2014-2015 Dallas Cowboys Calendar of Events right here …

 

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FIRST-ROUND FLURRY FACTOR: History shows that Jerry Jones may reshape the 2014 NFL Draft | Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft 2014

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IRVING, Texas – Mock drafts might want to skip Dallas at 16, if history’s any indication.

Six of the past seven years, the Dallas Cowboys traded the first-round pick they were slotted for based on their record the previous season.

Most recently, the Cowboys traded from No. 18 to No. 31 in the first round in 2013 and picked up a third-round pick from San Francisco to select center Travis Frederick and wide receiver Terrance Williams, respectively, while the 49ers used their pick at No. 18 on safety Eric Reid.

It marked one of many first-round trades around the NFL in 2013, and it was a decision that appears to have paid off for both teams, though only time will tell.

The choice to trade down occurred one year after trading with the Rams to move up from No. 14 to No. 6 and grab cornerback Morris Claiborne. The Cowboys forfeited their second-round pick in the process – a pick the Bears then traded up for to grab wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. The Rams took defensive tackle Michael Brockers with the No. 14 pick.

2011 NFL Draft - Dallas Cowboys select Tyron-Smith - The Boys Are Back website

The 2011 NFL Draft marked the only time since 2007 the Cowboys stayed put and used the pick they were scheduled to have based on their record. They took Tyron Smith with the No. 9 pick overall and found their future star left tackle and would follow that pick up with Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray.

Each of the four drafts prior to the Smith pick, the Dallas Cowboys made moves either up, back or out entirely.

Dallas lacked a first-round selection in 2009 after trading its No. 20 overall pick as well as a third-round pick and a sixth-round pick for wide receiver Roy Williams and a seventh-round pick. The Lions used that first-round pick on tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The Cowboys also traded their only second-round pick that year to Buffalo for third and fourth round choices.

That 2009 draft will go down as one of the Cowboys’ least successful in recent memory. None of the Cowboys’ 12 picks that season are still with the team, and most of them are no longer in the league. (Editors note: The 2009 NFL Draft was not particularly good for any NFL team.)

HEADED TO HAWAII - Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith both named to NFL Pro Bowl for first time - Dallas Cowboys roster 2013 2014

The Cowboys ensured they wouldn’t wait around on talent a year later in 2010, trading their first-round pick at No. 27 and a third-round pick to move up for the Patriots’ first-round pick at No. 24 and a fourth-round pick. Dallas selected Dez Bryant at No. 24, while New England selected cornerback Devin McCourty at No. 27. The Cowboys also moved up a round later and traded their second and fourth round choices to the NFC East-rival Eagles to grab Sean Lee.

Both trade-ups in the 2009 scenario worked out for Dallas. The first-round trades in 2007 and 2008 were a bit more confusing to follow.

In 2007, the Dallas Cowboys traded their No. 22 overall pick to the Browns (who selected Brady Quinn), to grab the No. 36 overall pick and a 2008-first rounder. The Cowboys then traded that No. 36 pick to the Eagles, who landed Kevin Kolb with the selection, along with a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to move back in the first round and select Anthony Spencer. There were a lot of moving parts, but in the end the Cowboys netted a Pro Bowl defensive end.

Their 2007 trade with Cleveland allowed the Cowboys to select Felix Jones in the first round at No. 22 overall in 2008. The Cowboys also moved up that year from No. 28 overall to No. 25 overall in a trade with Seattle that brought cornerback Mike Jenkins to Dallas. The Cowboys also dealt fifth and seventh round picks in the process.

The only year the Cowboys stayed put resulted in success in 2011. The Cowboys experienced varied successes and failures by moving up and down the last seven years, going to show there’s not always a black and white answer for the best decision from draft to draft.

WAR ROOM SNEAK PREVIEWS: Annual NFL Pre-Draft visits are a window into most of the Dallas Cowboys recent draft picks

NFL Draft - Dallas Cowboys war room - Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas — In the coming weeks you will hear about NFL teams bringing in college players from around the country for the annual pre-draft visits. Each club is allowed to bring 30 players into their complex up until the week before the actual NFL draft.

These players will have the opportunity to visit with the front office and coaching staff for group or one-on-one meetings, tour the complex and take a physical if necessary. The clubs are not allowed to work these players out unless it is that player’s hometown, or if the school they attended is in the metro area of that team’s complex.

Earlier in the year, teams had the opportunity to visit with most these players for just fifteen minutes while they were in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. During these official visits, the clubs are allowed to keep the players overnight and then meet with them the entire next day if necessary.

In the case of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and Will McClay, along with the coaches and scouts will be able to interact with these players in a more comfortable setting. They can sit down and watch game tape with the players, as well as test them on X’s and O’s to see their ability to retain information.      

Coaches always welcome the opportunity to sit down with players and see what makes them tick. There were numerous times in my experiences preparing for a draft where a coach did or did not like what he heard from a player in one of the pre-draft visits.

I remember an example from Randy Moss’ pre-draft visit to Valley Ranch. The wide receivers coach at the time, Dwain Painter, brought up in a final draft meeting with Jerry Jones that he was turned off by Moss and his attitude. That feedback ultimately affected Jones’ decision not to draft him.

In these pre-draft visits you will hear about names like Aaron Donald and Kony Ealy, who are likely first round picks. But there will be other names on these visits that will be considerations much later in the draft. Maybe these players didn’t have a chance to go to the Combine and the club needs a physical on them before the draft. During this period, this is where you will see those physicals take place.

Along with the annual Dallas Day, these pre-draft visits are vital to working toward building the final draft board that the Cowboys will use. Impressions good or bad will shape that board and ultimately shape this team. As we start to bring you news of who is visiting Valley Ranch, pay close attention who they are because trust me, other teams around the league sure are.   


RELATED: Dallas Cowboys’ pre-draft visits headlined by top defenders

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh, 97 - NFL Draft 2014

To get a clearer understanding who the Dallas Cowboys might take with their 16th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, keep an eye on who their bring in for pre-draft visits, starting today and running through Wednesday.

The Cowboys are allowed to bring in 30 top prospects for national visits and considering the names reportedly already here or on the invite list for the up close and personal meet and greet, targeting the defense is the obvious focal point.

Many of the prospects came in Sunday night.

The expected visitors include Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald (pictured above), Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Arizona State defensive end Davon Coleman, Southeast Louisiana State defensive tackle Jerrod Black, Northwest Missouri cornerback Brandon Dixon, Northern Illinois strong safety Jimmie Ward.

These visits are important considering that DeMarcus Ware in 2005 and Morris Claiborne in 2012 were the only top picks taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the past nine drafts who didn’t make pre-draft visits to the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters.

Travis Frederick in 13, Tyron Smith in 2011, Dez Bryant in 2010, Jason Williams in in 2009, Felix Jones in 2008, Anthony Spencer in 2007 and Bobby Carpenter in 2006 were among the pre-draft visitors the year they were taking first by the Dallas Cowboys.

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect C.J. Mosley | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect C.J. Mosley - NFL Draft 2014 pick

Linebacker C.J. Mosley | College: Alabama | Height/Weight: 6-2 / 234 | Age: 21

Honors: Butkus Award winner in 2013 as nation’s top linebacker. Took home SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and was a first-team All-American and All-SEC pick in 2012 & 2013. To wrap up his junior season, Mosley earned Defensive MVP honors in the 2013 BCS national championship game vs. Notre Dame, recording eight tackles. He was voted a freshman All-American in 2010.

Key stat: Played in 51 of 53 games in his four-year career in the rugged SEC. His only two games he missed – in 2011 of his sophomore year – occurred from a dislocated elbow injury midway through the year.

Where He’s Projected: His projection is tricky because of his medical history. While he’s only missed two games, he’s got plenty of bumps and bruises, including a shoulder injury that prevented him from participating in every drill at the combine. Mosley is still considered a mid- to late-first round pick. There is a good shot he’d be sitting there for the Cowboys at No. 16.

Alabama Missouri Football

How He Helps the Cowboys: An established, heady linebacker that knows how to get to the football would be useful for all defenses, no matter if it’s a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Mosley has the instincts to play middle linebacker but would likely be better suited for the outside right now. He’d help the Cowboys if he could come right in and be healthy enough to start. However, there’s no guarantees he’d beat out Bruce Carter, or even the promising young backers such as Kyle Wilber and DeVonte Holloman. But Mosley has plenty of talent and with a linebacker corps that has been hit hard by the injury bug, especially to middle linebacker Sean Lee, acquiring playmaking depth here would be a great asset.

Scout’s Take: Mosley is one of those players you need to keep an eye on for the Dallas Cowboys in this draft. His grade on the board will most likely allow him to be available when it comes time to select.

Physically, he is an impressive player in regards to his ability to take on blocks, disengage and finish the play. H keeps his feet active, and is wrap-up tackler – he gets his man on the ground with force. He’s more than willing to step up and take the fullback on in the hole. Has the awareness and vision to work down the line. Does a nice job of getting to the ball once he sees it — will play around blocks and can avoid men on the ground.

Tends to use his shoulder more than his hands to play off blocks, which is surprising because of the issues he has had with his shoulder. Reads then attacks the ball. Can knife through inside. Physical in the hole. Will step up and make the play. Has a feel for how to make plays at the point of attack. Does not get knocked back. Reads the quarterback’s eyes in his drop. Can tackle big backs in space, no problem.

Importantly for the Cowboys, Mosley has a feel for how to rush the passer. He will retrace his steps when he rushes the passer to get back to the ball. More power than technique here. Good to read in the flat and react. Can get in the throwing lanes and knock the ball down. 

Another key for the Cowboys is that Mosley shows the awareness to play in pass coverage. Nice change of direction in his game. Doesn’t struggle in movement, despite his size. Doesn’t give up on the play, and he will play off the block and chase the ball. Had problems with his balance in the Texas A&M game.

I think he’d most likely play as a Mike or Sam linebacker in this scheme. I believe he could cover well enough to play in the middle of the defense. More explosive than he is quick or fast – the type of guy that can be a load at the point when taking on blocks. Has a nose for the ball and can finish. Is the best middle linebacker in the draft. Of course, you have to know that he has an injury history. No doubt that he is a first round talent. Was the backbone of a nationally-ranked defense and is the type of talent that you plug in and play with.  – Bryan Broaddus

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix - NFL Draft 2014

Safety Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix | College: Alabama | Height/Weight: 6-1/208 | Age: 21

Honors: As a junior starter in 2013, Clinton-Dix was one of the consensus best defenders in the nation. His 46 tackles and two interceptions earned him first-team All-SEC and All-American honors, despite serving a two-game suspension during the season. He also earned SEC and national championship rings as a member of Alabama’s 2011 and 2012 championship squads.

Key stat: Clinton-Dix’s abilities in coverage have drawn praise, as many scouts consider him a center fielder-type safety. Although he managed just two picks in 2013, he did intercept five balls during his junior campaign.

Where He’s Projected: Depending on who you ask, Clinton-Dix is either the best or second-best safety in this draft – coupled with Louisville’s Calvin Pryor. Both players are considered locks to go in the first round, and the drop off to the next-best safety after them looks considerable. It’s a pretty safe bet Clinton-Dix won’t last too far past the middle of the first round – if he makes it that far.

How He Helps the Cowboys: The play of rookie safeties J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath wasn’t exactly inspiring for anyone that watched the Cowboys last fall. It’s true that both players were rookies, and it’s also true that the Cowboys just spent a third round pick on Wilcox. There’s still a common opinion that this team doesn’t have a good cover guy among its safeties. A player as talented as Clinton-Dix would have to be considered a good bet to vie for a starting spot, despite his shortcomings.

Scout’s Take: Like all defenders in Nick Saban’s Alabama scheme, this guy is not afraid to mix it up. He’ll come forward to force the run — a downhill player that will get to the ball.

He has shown at times that he doesn’t take great angles, and that will put him in some awkward positions. But when he does take the correct path, he will wrap the ball carrier up – and I have also seen him use a block down tackle or low tackle in space.

Clinton-Dix is one of those players that will hustle to chase the play — no matter where the ball is, he is going to be running. He will throw his body around, and he showed the ability to take on blocks off the edge and work to the ball.

He has some Barry Church in him, in the sense that he will try and go for the strip to try and cause a turnover. He can separate the ball with a big hit and is not afraid to light the ball carrier up. In the same way, he will play down in the box and get in the middle of the action.

Clinton-Dix does a nice job of reacting to the ball in front of him. When he sees it, he goes after it – he can pedal, plant and come forward.

One of his strengths in coverage is his awareness in getting to the flat. He reads the backs and tight ends in routes. In Alabama’s game tape against Texas A&M, he did his best to come off the hash to defend a ball along the sideline. He tried to get there but arrived a step late. You don’t see him put in many situations where he has to cover, but he plays like he has smarts and awareness. He did show better range in A&M game than any of the other ones.

I respect his game because of how physical he can be at times. And if you’ll remember, a similar Alabama safety that Tampa took named Mark Barron wasn’t put in many coverage situations while in college.

He will no doubt need some experience here. I see him more as a strong safety than as a free in this scheme. — Bryan Broaddus

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Louis Nix III | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Louis Nix III - NFL Draft 2014

Defensive Tackle Louis Nix III | College: Notre Dame | Height/Weight: 6-2/331 | Age: 22

Honors: Nix was named first-team All-Independent for three straight seasons, from 2011-13.

Key stat: Unusual for a defensive tackle, Nix led all defensive linemen in tackles during Notre Dame’s 2012 run to the BCS Championship Game. He recorded 50 tackles in 13 appearances — 11 of them starts. In 2013, he finished third among defensive linemen with just 27 tackles, though he appeared in just eight games.

Where He’s Projected: To get a gauge on where Nix will go, you have to consider the type of scheme being used by the teams looking at him. He is widely considered one of the top three or four defensive tackles in this draft, but most agree he fits best as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense — his college position. Because of that, his role within a defense seems likely to influence his draft positioning. All of that said, he looks like a likely first or early second round pick.

How He Helps the Cowboys: There’s no doubt the Cowboys could use the help at the defensive tackle position, but it’s not clear how much that pertains to Nix. His likely position in Rod Marinelli’s defense would likely be a one-technique defensive tackle, while the Cowboys would prefer to add another three-technique. Still, if Dallas does wind up selecting the Notre Dame product, Nix has proven plenty capable of being disruptive. He managed 9.5 tackles for loss in his final two seasons at nose tackle for the Fighting Irish.

Scout’s Take: This is a large, thick player — a hard guy to move off the line, who is able to get a push with power. Nix can hold the point of attack and knock the blocker off balance with his shot. He will chase down the line, he doesn’t just stay in one spot. Impressively for a guy his size, he can avoid the low block, but he doesn’t possess many, if any, pass rush moves.

What Nix can do is fight through double-team blocks — he plays like a two-gap nose tackle in the way he reads the play. Overall, he doesn’t play with his hands as consistently as I would have liked, but he played better in later games.

He has surprising lateral quickness, and he’s been used on twist stunts — but I didn’t see the quickness to get around the corner for him to do that all the time. He needs better pass rush moves, but he has shown a good quick-arm move that he used effectively against USC. And he will try to make back door plays.

I feel like his best position would be as a 3-4 nose tackle, but he is active enough to maybe consider trying him as a one-technique defensive tackle in this 4-3 defense. — Bryan Broaddus

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy - NFL Draft 2014

The Dallas Cowboys aim to improve their roster through the draft. With the 16th pick, the team hopes to select a player that will be an immediate contributor and help the Cowboys for years to come. Here is a look at a prospect who may make sense for Dallas:

Kony Ealy | Position: Defensive End | School: Missouri | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 273

What he’s done: Overshadowed by teammate Michael Sam in recent months, Kony Ealy performed well in his final season at Missouri. He was a first-team All-SEC selection after collecting 9 ½  sacks and 14 ½ tackles for loss in 2013. He also led Missouri with 16 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. Ealy opted to forgo his senior season after his strong performance as a junior. At the NFL combine, Ealy didn’t wow scouts or coaches. He completed the 40-yard dash in 4.92 seconds and did 22 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. He did produce the best time among defensive ends in the three-cone drill, showing agility.

Why he makes sense for the Cowboys: With the departure of DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys are in the market for a defensive end who can be a reliable impact player. George Selvie performed well last season, but it’s not clear yet whether he can sustain that level of productivity. New acquisition Jeremy Mincey, has a similarly spotty track record. With the Cowboys unable to lure Jared Allen to Dallas, they still have a need for a defensive end. Ealy, who proved an able pass rusher in the nation’s toughest conference, may be just what the Dallas Cowboys are looking for as they try to fill the mammoth void left by Ware.


How ‘bout a quick look?

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Kony Ealy - NFL Draft 2014 - making the case Video

Making A Case For Kony Ealy

Join Talkin’ Cowboys as they weight the positives and negatives between two of the top defensive players in the draft. (Watch | Listen)

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Aaron Donald | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Aaron Donald - NFL Draft 2014

IRVING, Texas – Aaron Donald doesn’t pay much attention to the pre-draft hype, but his mother sure does.

“She’s pretty much looking at Google every day. So every day she says ‘This team says they’re going to draft you this time,’” Donald said. “I’m like, ‘Mom, just don’t look at that. None of that matters until your name gets called.’ But that’s what she does.”

Donald’s mother has that in common with thousands of others, mainly Dallas Cowboys fans, who are bound to be intrigued by the defensive tackle’s visit to Valley Ranch on Monday morning. The All-American from Pitt has been strongly linked to the Cowboys as the possible No. 16 pick since the draft process started, and his selection as one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visitors will do nothing to quell that.

The Cowboys are the third – and at this point final – team Donald has visited with this spring. With his highly-publicized work at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine behind him, Donald said this last bit of draft preparation will ready him for what comes after he is finally picked.

“I’m just staying in the weight room, conditioning, staying in shape – just getting football-ready now,” he said. “It’s been a grind, but I’m just making sure I’m ready for whenever I get picked and drafted so I can be ready for what’s about to come.”

What’s about to come is likely a lofty first-round draft status. Plenty of people think Donald will be unavailable by the time the Cowboys pick at the midpoint of the first round. If that’s the case, he can look back to his eye-catching Combine, as well his decorated college career, as the reasons why.

Donald rose from an unheralded high school recruit with just three scholarship offers to an All-Everything star for Pittsburgh. He capped off his career last fall by winning the Bronko Nagurski Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Outland Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award, in addition to first-team All-America and All-ACC selections.

If some weren’t convinced by his on-field performance, he showed up at the Combine and dazzled with a 4.68 40-yard dash, best among defensive tackles, 35 reps on the bench press, second-best among defensive linemen, and remarkable aptitude in the agility drills.

“They want to see that this guy can do what he does on a football field, but they want to see how you move outside the pads and things like that,” Donald said. “It ain’t nothing but football drills. It’s nothing to be worried about or nervous about – you just have to go out there and do it.”

There’s bound to be those that still doubt him, as Donald’s 6-0, 288-pound frame hardly looks like that of a defensive stalwart. If the accolades don’t sway people, though, he said he’ll let his play speak for itself.

“There’s probably people that are still going to doubt you.  It is what it is – I’m still going to go out there and play football the way I do and still have passion for the game the way I do,” he said. “All I can do is keep playing football the way I’ve been playing.”

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli doesn’t sound like someone who needs convincing. Donald is well-familiar with Marinelli’s history of coaching elite defensive tackles, and it seems like a safe bet he’d love a chance to pair the youngster with the Cowboys’ newly-signed Pro Bowler in Henry Melton.

“I had the opportunity to talk to him a couple times at the Combine, I talked to him last night and I talked to him today,” Donald said. “He’s a great coach, and just talking to him and looking in his eyes – the way he talks, he’s got a passion for the game of football and he loves the game of football.

“He loves doing what he does, so that’s a coach I’d love to play for and learn from. Knowing he coached guys like Warren Sapp, that just gets you excited just knowing he’s got history and is one of the best to do it. If I was able to play for Coach Marinelli that would be a blessing, but we’re going to see.”

He’s going to see soon, as a matter of fact. It feels like an eternity since Donald first turned heads in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl, but the NFL draft is now a matter of weeks away. As one of this year’s top prospects, he was invited to watch the proceedings from Radio City Music Hall in New York, but he opted to watch from home with his family.

Home brings an interesting dynamic to the story. As a native of Pittsburgh and a childhood Steelers fan, Donald has heard plenty about that rivalry, as the Cowboys and Steelers have faced off in three Super Bowls.

“I wasn’t born yet when the big rivalry with the Steelers and Dallas started, but you always hear about it getting ready for the draft,” he said. “Everybody in Pittsburgh is saying ‘I hope you don’t go to Dallas.’”

Much like his mom’s reports, Donald said he isn’t paying much attention to that talk, though. With time winding down until the big day, he’s focused on the final destination – of which, he said, Dallas is as good as any.

“I’m like ‘I’ll go to any team that wants me,’ and Dallas is a team I’d love to play for,” Donald said. “Getting coached by Coach Marinelli, one of the best to ever do it — he coached Hall of Fame guys, so I know he can get me to that level I want to play at. I want to be great, and I feel like he can help me do that.”


How ‘bout a quick look?

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Aaron Donald - NFL Draft 2014 - Video

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald discusses his biggest fan and inspiration in life as well as how he will celebrate when he’s selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. (Video | Audio)


SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Aaron Donald - NFL Draft 2014 - making the case Video

Making A Case For Aaron Donald

With Aaron Donald in the building for a visit, The Break discussed what makes him such a great fit for the Dallas Cowboys. (Watch | Listen)

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Anthony Barr | NFL Draft 2014

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Anthony Barr - NFL Draft 2014

IRVING, Texas – Former UCLA standout pass rusher Anthony Barr was two years old when the L.A. Raiders moved back to Oakland and the L.A. Rams moved to St. Louis.

Barr, whose father and other family members played football at Notre Dame, was born in South Bend, Ind., but grew up and attended high school in Los Angeles, without a professional team to pull for in the area.

He watched a lot of the Denver Broncos as a kid in the ‘90s, growing up a fan of John Elway and Terrell Davis. But he didn’t have one “go-to team,” as he put it, and another squad was also on the dial.

“It was always CBS and Fox were the two channels we got out on the West Coast,” Barr recalled. “So Dallas was always on Fox, and I watched them pretty frequently.”

After years of watching the Dallas Cowboys, Barr, a highly sought-after high school running back turned college running back turned standout linebacker and likely first-round pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, could wind up being the second former running back on the Cowboys’ defensive line if he joins Henry Melton in Dallas.

Barring a trade, which is always a possibility with the Cowboys, Barr would have to fall out of the top 10 for that to happen. But he wouldn’t be offended or disappointed if that occurs and he ends up a Cowboy.

“There’s pros and cons to every team and everywhere you go, but if I were a Cowboy, that would be really a blessing, truly a dream come true – a team I watched growing up,” Barr said. “It would just be surreal. I would be really appreciative to be here.”

Barr, who spent his first two years at running back at UCLA before transitioning to 3-4 outside linebacker and racking up 23.5 sacks in just two seasons at the new position, is among the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors.

The Cowboys will have a decision to make if they take Barr, who’s not used to playing in a 4-3 system with his hand on the ground. Barr led the Bruins with 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his first year at outside linebacker in 2012 and did so once again last year with 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2013.

He’s demonstrated tremendous burst and quickness around the edge, but the Cowboys’ defensive scheme would be new for him. The defensive coaches could make him an outside linebacker, or they could groom him into a defensive end.

Barr said he thinks he can play and produce at either position, as long as he gets an opportunity. He said he’s not sure what he’d be better suited for, considering he’s never played in that 4-3 system, and that as long as he’s on the field, he doesn’t mind the position.

But based on Barr’s visit with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, it seems likely he’ll be joining the position group that the former defensive line coach taught last year.

“I spoke with him at length today,” Barr said. “He showed me a lot of tape of (Julius) Peppers and Simeon Rice and (Warren) Sapp, so I think he wants me playing that defensive right end position to go after the quarterback, and that’s something I’m all for.”

Marinelli always refers to his defensive linemen as “rush men,” with the main goal to get up the field as fast as possible. After years of having to read, react and diagnose at linebacker, he’d get the chance to use his skillset as an explosive pass rusher in a new way in Dallas. That’s a situation that excites Barr, who said there’s nothing better than sacking and knocking down the quarterback.

“That’s something I take pride in the last couple years, it’s something I enjoy doing,” Barr said. “So If I’m asked to do that, I’ll be very happy to do it.”

While Barr’s best trait on the field might be his quickness around the edge, he believes his best trait he’ll bring to a team is in the locker room. The former running back brings with him a load of confidence after finally breaking out following the position switch.

“I make those around me better, I believe,” Barr said. “I think being average is something I’ve been before, and I don’t really want to go back to doing that. I think I can excel my game and those around me, and I’m a competitor. I’m a hate-losing, love-to-win kind of guy. Those two things kind of jump out to me.”

It can be an exhaustive process for a potential first-round pick to go through all the scenarios in his head of potential landing spots. Barr said it’s hard not think about where he’ll end up, but he tries not to since he’s already put in most of the work. For now, he’ll sit back and enjoy the pre-draft process and trips, including the one to see the Cowboys this week.

Barr’s trip to Dallas was a first, having visited San Antonio, Houston and El Paso, but never the home of the Cowboys.

He’s used to visiting with plenty of teams given his first-round talent, but speaking with coaches and the familiar faces around the NFL doesn’t get old to Barr, particularly in Dallas.

“If you coach in the NFL, obviously you’re going to get some respect right off the bat,” Barr said. “But these guys that I’ve watched growing up and coaching, it’s just real humbling to speak with these guys. I met Jerry Jones last night, and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even talk at first, like, ‘This is Jerry Jones.’ It was a pretty cool experience, so these guys get my respect right off the bat.”

If he falls to No. 16, that cool experience in Dallas may just the first of many for Barr, who could wind up on the same line as Melton and on the same defense as J.J. Wilcox. That would make three former running backs and possible defensive starters in Dallas defying the notion that offensive players don’t like to hit.

“I don’t know whoever said that,” Barr said with a slight grin. “We’re doing all right for ourselves.”


How ‘bout a quick look?

SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN - Dallas Cowboys first-round NFL Draft Prospect Anthony Barr - NFL Draft 2014 - Video

Take a look at the college highlights of UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr (Video | Audio)

AROUND THE NFC EAST: Former Eagle DeSean Jackson headed to rival Redskins

NFC East flag - DAL NYG WAS PHI logos - The Boys Are Back website 2014

It would have been too easy and too boring for the Dallas Cowboys if DeSean Jackson had disappeared off to Oakland or Cleveland.

Instead, he’ll turn the spotlight back on Washington — which is precisely where it was for much of 2013, if you’ll remember. Jackson agreed to terms with the Redskins last night.

DeSean Jackson has never been a fan of the Cowboys. The receiver once famously declared “we gonna sting they ass’’ when he played for Philadelphia.

Jackson didn’t do a lot of stinging against the Cowboys the last three seasons. Will he have a better chance now that he’s with Washington?

AROUND THE NFC EAST - Former Eagle DeSean Jackson headed to rival Redskins  -TD against Dallas Cowboys - Redskins Cowboys rivalry

It almost seemed like the inevitable conclusion to Jackson’s release from Philadelphia last week. In keeping with the NFC East’s penchant for drama, the move not only keeps him within the same division as his old team, the Eagles, but also his old nemesis, the Cowboys.

The news brings a strange story to an end, as it had only been five days since the Eagles released Jackson for no definitive reason. It was widely speculated the three-time Pro Bowler would find a new home relatively quickly, and Washington wasted no time after visiting with Jackson on Monday night.

As if the storied Cowboys-Redskins rivalry needed any more juice, it certainly has picked up a bit this offseason. Washington signed lifelong Cowboys and 2013 Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher just three days into free agency, and now the Redskins have added Jackson — a favorite target of Dallas fans during his career in Philadelphia.

AROUND THE NFC EAST - Former Eagle DeSean Jackson headed to rival Redskins - Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne

In truth, Jackson’s success against the Cowboys has been lacking when compared to his impressive six-year career. He has played 11 games against Dallas, tallying 39 catches for 688 yards and just two touchdowns. That’s an average of 3.5 catches for 62.5 yards per game.

There are two obvious outliers there: Jackson torched the Cowboys for 210 yards and a touchdown on four catches in 2010, and he was also limited to just six catches for 49 yards in two games last year.

AROUND THE NFC EAST - Former Eagle DeSean Jackson headed to rival Redskins - Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr

That said, the addition of one of the league’s best deep threats is an undeniable boon for Washington. The Redskins have been lacking explosiveness in the passing game for what feels like ages. In fact, Pierre Garcon’s 1,346-yard effort in 2013 was the team’s first 1,000-yard season by a receiver since 2010, and it was just the team’s fourth 1,000-yard receiving season since 2004.

Combining Garcon and Jackson is undoubtedly going to open up the passing game for Robert Griffin III, who hasn’t had a true No. 1 receiver during his brief NFL career. It should also decrease the focus on Alfred Morris and Washington’s vaunted ground game, which was already plenty successful when the Redskins didn’t have a deep threat like Jackson.

On paper, at least, this is Washington’s most intimidating offense in some time. If Griffin returns to his 2012 form, and the offensive line can keep him on his feet, the Redskins should have no problems scoring points.

Of course, the offense scored plenty last season. The bigger problem was a leaky defense — something every team in the NFC East can likely relate to. The Redskins have taken some steps toward fixing that, headlined by the addition of Hatcher.

But there’s no doubt that adding Jackson is the first truly blockbuster move an NFC East team has made this offseason. The Cowboys and Redskins had both already added Pro Bowlers to this point — but Hatcher is turning 32 and Henry Melton is coming off ACL surgery.

The Eagles made waves by trading for Darren Sproles, but he is more of a complimentary piece. The Giants have added several good-not-great players, but no bonafide stars.

The Jackson deal is sure to put the Redskins in the limelight during Jay Gruden’s first season as coach. It’s hard to imagine high expectations for a team that finished 3-13 and doesn’t possess a first-round draft pick, but that’s what it’s looking like.

Signing an All-Pro, hot button target can do that for you — especially in this division.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Dallas Cowboys featured on NFL Network’s Dynasty Week

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION - Dallas Cowboys featured on NFL Network's Dynasty Week - Roger Staubach

IRVING, Texas – This week is the Dallas Cowboys turn to be featured on NFL Network’s Dynasty Week, which runs each week with a new team throughout March.

The Cowboys are one of five NFL dynasties, along with the Packers, Patriots, Steelers and 49ers, that will be featured. Each “Dynasty Week” will feature team-related segments on NFL AM and NFL Total Access, as well as interviews with guests associated with each team.

Additionally, throughout the week NFL Network will show team-related editions of such shows as A Football Life, America’s Game, NFL’s Top 10 and Sound FX, as well as classic games and Super Bowl re-airs.

The series for the Dallas Cowboys begins Monday and continues through Sunday, April 6. Former Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton and former Cowboys defensive back Everson Walls are among the in-studio guests.

Cowboys Week features the following Cowboys-related programming:

Dallas Cowboys make a run unprecedented in NFL history by appearing in 12 championship games and five Super bowls - Dallas Cowboys history - 1960s 1970s 1980s

Monday, March 31

3:00 PM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Team Nicknames
4:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1971 Cowboys
5:00 PM CT – Super Bowl VI: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins
5:30 PM CT – Sound FX: The Triplets
8:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Tom Landry
9:00 PM CT – The Road to Canton: Deion Sanders
12 Midnight CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 1
2:00 AM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Dallas Cowboys
3:00 AM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Thanksgiving Moments
4:00 AM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Team Nicknames

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - The Triplets

Tuesday, April 1

1:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Jimmy Johnson 
2:00 PM CT – The Road to Canton: Deion Sanders
3:00 PM CT – NFL Film Session: Emmitt Smith: Run with History
4:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1977 Cowboys
5:00 PM CT – Super Bowl XII: Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos
5:30 PM CT – Sound FX: Terrell Owens
8:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Jimmy Johnson
9:00 PM CT – The Road to Canton: Michael Irvin
12 Midnight CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 2
2:00 AM CT – NFL Classic Games: 1975 Divisional Playoff – Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
4:30 AM CT – Super Bowl XII: Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - 1990's Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman huddle

Wednesday, April 2

1:00 PM CT – Super Bowl Classics: Super Bowl XXVII – Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
4:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1992 Cowboys
5:00 PM CT – Super Bowl XXVII: Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
5:30 PM CT – Sound FX: Bill Parcells
8:00 PM CT – NFL’s Greatest Games: 1992 NFC Championship Game – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers
9:30 PM CT – Super Bowl XXVII: Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
12 Midnight CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 3
2:00 AM CT – NFL Classic Games: 1992 NFC Championship Game – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Mark Tuinei

Thursday, April 3

1:00 PM CT – NFL Classic Games: Week 17, 1993 – Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
4:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1993 Cowboys
5:30 PM CT – Sound FX: The Triplets
8:00 PM CT – A Football Life: The Great Wall of Dallas
9:00 PM CT – NFL Film Session: Emmitt Smith: Run with History
12 Midnight CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 4
2:00 AM CT – NFL Classic Games: Week 14, 1994 – Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys

DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY - The Great Wall of Dallas - Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run - Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton

Friday, April 4

1:00 PM CT – Super Bowl Classics: Super Bowl XXX – Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
4:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1995 Cowboys
5:00 PM CT – Super Bowl XXX: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
5:30 PM CT – Sound FX: Tony Romo 
8:00 PM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Dallas Cowboys
9:00 PM CT – NFL’s Top 10: Thanksgiving Moments
12 Midnight CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 5
2:00 AM CT – NFL Classic Games: 1995 NFC Championship Game – Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys

The 1968 Dallas Cowboys qualified for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season - Dallas Cowboys history

Saturday, April 5

8:00 AM CT – A Football Life: Tom Landry
9:00 AM CT – A Football Life: The Great Wall of Dallas
10:00 AM CT – A Football Life: Jimmy Johnson
11:00 AM CT – Super Bowl Classics: Super Bowl XXVII – Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
2:00 PM CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 1
3:00 PM CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 2
4:00 PM CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 3
5:00 PM CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 4
6:00 PM CT – Hard Knocks: 2008 Cowboys: Episode 5
8:00 PM CT – A Football Life: The Great Wall of Dallas
9:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Jimmy Johnson
11:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Tom Landry
12 Midnight CT – NFL’s Top 10: Dallas Cowboys
2:00 PM CT – NFL Classic Games: 1992 NFC Championship Game – Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers

FIRST WIN - In September of 1961 the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Cotton Bowl for their first ever franchise victory - Dallas Cowboys history

Sunday, April 6

8:00 AM CT – The Road to Canton: Michael Irvin
9:00 AM CT – The Road to Canton: Deion Sanders
10:00 AM CT – NFL Film Session: Emmitt Smith: Run with History
11:00 AM CT – Super Bowl Classics: Super Bowl XXX – Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
2:00 PM CT – A Football Life: The Great Wall of Dallas
3:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Jimmy Johnson
4:00 PM CT – A Football Life: Tom Landry
5:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1971 Cowboys
6:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1977 Cowboys
7:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1992 Cowboys
8:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1993 Cowboys
9:00 PM CT – America’s Game: 1995 Cowboys
10:00 PM CT – Super Bowl VI: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins
10:30 PM CT – Super Bowl XII: Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos
11:00 PM CT – Super Bowl XXVII: Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys
11:30 PM CT – Super Bowl XXVIII: Dallas Cowboys vs. Buffalo Bills
12 Midnight CT – Super Bowl XXX: Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
12:30 AM CT – NFL’s Greatest Games: 1992 NFC Championship Game – San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
2:00 PM CT – Super Bowl Classics: Super Bowl XXX – Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

ANNUAL NFL OWNERS MEETING: League ownership approves new rules | NFL approves new replay process | Field-goal posts to be extended

NEW 2013 NFL RULES - Officials discuss changes beginning in upcoming season - The Boys Are Back blog

ORLANDO, Fla. — On the third day of the NFL Annual Meeting, the league’s ownership got down to voting.

One day after approving a rule to allow referees to consult with the officiating department in New York during replay review (see below), the league came to a decision on the rest of the rule proposals on the docket. Here’s a quick summary of the measures:

Rule changes

  • The proposal to extend the goal posts five feet taller has passed.

“It just made sense,” Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. It passed “relatively easily.”

  • The “NaVorro Bowman Rule” was passed. That allows the officials to make the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play a reviewable call. This loophole was exposed when Bowman clearly recovered a ball in the NFC Championship Game last year, but the play couldn’t be under review.
  • The game clock will now continue after a quarterback sack outside of two minutes.

Failed proposals

  • Multiple proposals to expand plays that can be reviewed were shot down. The Patriots had suggested allowing all plays to be reviewed. The Washington Redskins wanted personal fouls to be reviewed.

Less than 50 percent of coaches supported the measure to make all plays reviewable, according to the Competition Committee. The committee said the topic inspired a lot of debate.

  • The proposal to move the kickoff to the 40-yard line was shot down. So was their idea to eliminate the training camp roster cutdown to 75 players.
  • The proposal to move the extra point back to the 25-yard line failed, but the league will experiment with a new extra-point system during the preseason. Extra points in Weeks 1 and 2 of the preseason will be snapped from the 20-yard line. (Making them like a 37-yard field goal.)
  • The proposal to allow an unlimited number of players on injured reserve to return to the active roster failed. Jeff Fisher of the Competition Committee said that vote wasn’t close.

No decision yet

  • The abolition of overtime in the preseason was tabled until May.
  • The idea to expand the practice squad from eight to ten players was also tabled. The same goes for expanding rosters for Thursday night games to 49 from 46.
  • The league also put off deciding whether to allow teams to open their roof during halftime at games for weather reasons.
  • The Competition Committee told the Patriots that it will look at the possibility of adding cameras to all goal lines, side lines and end lines. The NFL will discuss the possibility with its broadcast partners.

RELATED: NFL approves rule that changes the replay process

referee ed hochuli (85) at work in the half - the boys are back blog

ORLANDO, Fla. — NFL owners voted to significantly change the instant replay process.

The league announced owners voted to pass Rule Proposal 9 at the 2014 NFL Annual Meeting, which says that referees can consult with the officiating department in New York during replay reviews.

This proposal always had a wide swath of support throughout the league because there is belief it will improve accuracy and speed during replay reviews. The existing NFL Officiating Command Center in New York immediately will begin to review replays after the call is challenged. By the time the referee gets to his “booth,” the command center can advise the referee on what to look for in the play. The referee ultimately makes the final choice on the play.

It’s hard to see the downside of this rule. It should prevent obvious mistakes from happening.

The league also voted to ban “roll up” blocks to the side of a player’s leg. This is a tweak of the rule that bans these blocks from behind. It should help mostly defensive players, and is a relatively minor adjustment on the previous rule.

The rest of the rules and bylaws proposals are expected to be voted on during Wednesday’s session (see above).

PLAYERS PERFORMANCE PAY: Dallas Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary ranks third for 2013

PLAYERS PERFORMANCE PAY - Dallas Cowboys left guard Ronald Leary ranks third for 2013 - The Boys Are Back website 2014

IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys guard Ronald Leary ranked third in the league in performance-based pay for 2013, the NFL announced in its annual report.

The purpose of the program is to compensate players whose playing time surpasses their contract for the league year. Leary earned an additional $307,104.43, making him one of 11 players in the league to make at least $250,000 in additional compensation, due April 1.

Compensation does not count against the NFL’s salary cap of $133 million. Each team is allotted roughly $3.5 million to compensate players through an agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Leary started all 16 games at left guard last season, after he signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He spent the majority of his rookie year on the practice squad before taking over for Nate Livings in training camp last summer.

Upon taking over the starting role, Leary played 71.3 percent of the team’s offensive snaps last year.

Before accounting for his performance-based pay, Leary’s initial salary for the 2013 season was $405,000. He’s slated to make $495,000 in 2014 – the final year of his initial contract before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2015.

Several other Cowboys players benefitted from the performance-based pay program, largely thanks to the rash of injuries that forced unheralded players into the starting lineup. Safety Jeff Heath, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Saginaw Valley State, rose up the depth chart to start eight games and roughly 57 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

Heath’s compensation for 2013 is $247,273.09. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who was also an afterthought on the training camp roster before starting all 16 games, made an additional $156,788.33.

Nine Cowboys players in all earned more than $100,000 in extra compensation – including 16-game rookie starter Travis Frederick and fellow rookie starters Terrance Williams, and J.J. Wilcox.

George Selvie, who is now the Dallas Cowboys returning sack leader from 2013, also earned an additional $141,704.71 after earning a starting spot as a late addition to the training camp roster.

All told, the Cowboys made performance payments to 39 players during the 2013 season.

NFL COMPENSATORY PICKS: League awards Dallas Cowboys 3 additional picks for 2014 NFL Draft

NFL COMPENSATORY PICKS - League awards Dallas Cowboys 3 additional picks for 2014 NFL Draft

ORLANDO – The Dallas Cowboys saw their 2014 draft pick total jump from eight players to 11 with one announcement Monday by the NFL.

The league awarded three compensatory picks to the Cowboys – all in the seventh round, giving the Cowboys six in the final round, although those three new picks cannot be traded.

The NFL gave the Cowboys the picks for the free-agent losses of Kenyon Coleman, Mike Jenkins, Victor Butler and John Phillips, while only acquiring Justin Durant in free agency.

The Cowboys picked up a seventh-rounder in early September in a trade with Kansas City for Edgar Jones, but lost their sixth-rounder. The Cowboys added a seventh-rounder from Chicago for Dante Rosario, giving them three sevenths, including their own, before Monday’s additions.

The sixth-round pick they acquired from San Diego for Sean Lissemore was traded away to Indianapolis for Caesar Rayford.

The Cowboys do not have a sixth-round pick because of their trade to acquire Edgar Jones. However, if they covet a player in that round, it seems likely they have some firepower in the

seventh to move up. The Cowboys picked up two seventh-round picks in September trades for Sean Lissemore and Dante Rosario with San Diego and Chicago, respectively.

Although they didn’t have a pick in the final round last year, seventh-round picks have been good for the Cowboys in the past. Jay Ratliff (2005) was a seventh-rounder who made four Pro Bowls. Patrick Crayton, Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones all made the team in 2004 after being seventh-round picks and played multiple years.

However last year, the only seventh-round picks on the Cowboys’ roster were not drafted by Dallas –George Selvie and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

The Cowboys have one draft pick in each of the first five rounds, including the 16th overall pick in the first round. The club has not picked 16th since 1961 when they took E.J. Holub, an offensive lineman who eventually went to the AFL and never played for the Cowboys.

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