BEHIND THE STALLS AND WALLS: Getting to know Dallas’ ADPP Will McClay, and how he can help the Dallas Cowboys this offseason
True Blue Dallas Cowboy fans want to know more about Will McClay, and they should.
He’s the assistant director of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, a role that he took on before the team left for Oxnard before the 2013 season.
It was a nice promotion for a guy that is extremely hard working and prepared. What is different about McClay from the other guys that have sat in that chair, is that his background is more on the pro side of the ball. Guys like Larry Lacewell, Jeff Ireland, and Tom Ciskowski were guys that went on the road to scout the college players.
What’s to like about this change for the front office and coaches, is that McClay knows this league backwards and forwards. One of the key component in building your 53 man roster is knowing who you are playing. College scouts are outstanding at telling you about that safety at Florida State but very few of them can tell you who is lining up there for the Washington Redskins.
His strengths are an old school belief in the toughness of your team, along with speed but his best trait is understanding how this league is about matchups. He has a keen understanding of how you find players that can handle the quickness out of the slot against the Giants or the edge rushers in Seattle or the offensive power of the 49ers.
To McClay it’s about winning your division first, then working from there. With McClay, you will not have a mixed matched squad. Each player will have a specific role and assignment on why they are part of the roster and he’s able to merge that with the other members of the front office. Communication is extremely important to him.
A few articles related to Will McClay in the past few years …
EDITORS NOTE: Will McClay has been in Jerry Jones’ ear for a few years now. He’s one of the people that Jones listens too (regarding personnel issues). You’ve seen McClay mentioned on The Boys Are Back website many times in the past … primarily because he helped staff Marinelli’s Misfits (and many other players) due to rash of injuries during the past two seasons. He’s also a part of the improved production we’ve been seeing from recent draft picks. His promotion during last years offseason is clearly justified. He’s done a great job evaluating the market and the talent available. Some people around Valley Ranch (including Bryan Broaddus) think he’s the best personnel guy in the building. Examples, he’s the person credited with bringing in Laurent Robinson in 2012 … and two starters along the 2013 Dallas Cowboys defensive line. Click HERE to read more about Will McClay.
NFL SCOUTING COMBINE REPORT: Big O-Line prospects show off amazing speed | Watch 2014 NFL Combine videos
It’s been a long standing tradition that the offensive linemen kick off the on field workouts for the combine and today that tradition continued (Watch this Video). Of the two groups that worked, Group 2 was the headliner. First-round talents Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin, Jake Matthews, and Greg Robinson were on display for coaches and scouts to evaluate. As a group, they did not disappoint.
Coming into this combine, there were questions who would be the first tackle off the board, whether it would be Matthews or Robinson, with Lewan the third in that group. What we learned Saturday was that all three came to the workout with the intention of making these teams head back to their meetings with some other ideas of that order.
The tackle that appeared to gain the most ground when you studied his workout was Lewan. His 40 yard dash was 4.87 and throughout the drills he was able to perform with some smoothness that we had not seen on tape. You could tell that he prepared for this combine because there wasn’t that stiffness and over-extension. It was a very productive day for him.
Greg Robinson might not have the polish that you see when you watch Jake Matthews work, but you cannot deny the explosive power with which he plays. At 6-5, 332 and carrying that body down the track at 4.91 was jaw dropping. What I really like about Robinson is that despite that size, his movements are like that of a much smaller man. It is almost effortless in which the way he moves.
In watching Jake Matthews, there was no question that he was going to be the best athlete of the group. Where the questions for him are going to arise is in his strength numbers. With only benching 225 24x, there are times
where you do see him struggle with power. If you watch the Auburn game, it is clear. With all that being said, if you needed to have a tackle to come in and play right now, he would be your guy. There was not much of any wasted movement from him during the drills.
Of the centers and guards that were on the field, I thought the guy that helped himself the most was Xavier Su’a-Filo from UCLA. Here is a player that on tape you can watch him play guard as well as tackle. I feel that his best spot will be at guard and there were some athletic movements that gave me some hope that he could be a player that you could plug in there if you ran a zone scheme, he could give you a little power. If there was something that I wasn’t to impressed with him was his vertical jump was only 23″ because that might be a flag for a lack of lower body power but he doesn’t play that way.
A player that a lot of scouts have fallen in love with is David Yankey, but I just don’t see it on tape. He plays like a slow-footed guy and on Saturday, he ran like one. The times I had for him were 5.50 and 5.53. In the drills, he went through them in the same fashion.
Cyril Richardson was another disappointing player to me. I really want to like him but with each rep or game I study, I draw further away from him. He didn’t run all that well but to his credit, he did come in lighter than what he measured at the Senior Bowl where he looked not in his best condition. For a man that should play with more lower body power, his vertical jump of 23.5″ was a disappointment as well. He just didn’t go through the drills with any type of quickness. I feel like he is going to have to play in a scheme where they are a power blocking and that would be his best chance.
More NFL SCOUTING COMBINE 2014 video:
MOBILE, AL — My plan was to follow three defensive linemen on the North squad to try and get a better feel for how they moved around live. The three players that I chose were: Aaron Donald, Ra’Shede Hegaman, and Rasheed Martin.
After the team broke from stretching, I knew I was following the right group because Will McClay was doing the very same thing. My seat was in the press box, while McClay was within four feet of the drills that the Falcons coaches were putting the players through.
It was interesting to see how these players went through the drills. Donald and Martin were the smoothest and moved the best. Hageman was better straight ahead and struggled a little more with the side to side stuff.
When the group went to the one-on-one drills as they worked against the offensive line, all three did a nice job of playing with some power. Donald for his lack of height and bulk, played with outstanding leverage against Cyril Richardson, who can be a load to deal with. Donald didn’t give an inch against Richardson and that was impressive.
Rasheed Martin measured well this morning at 272 pounds and despite his long build, he battled the massive tackle, Seantrel Henderson to a stalemate on several reps. I remember studying these two last week when Miami and North Carolina hooked up during the season, with Henderson getting the best of Martin plenty that day. It was a nice bounce back for Martin with a ton of eyes on him.
There is no doubt that Ra’Shede Hageman looks the part. At 6-6 318 pounds, he is a full grown man. What I was worried about was his ability to get off the ball quick enough. His first few reps were not impressive than the defensive line coach, got on his rear and you saw a different player. He can be a very hard man to block and there were times when Richardson and Brandon Linder really struggled with him.
Like Donald because of Mike Nolan’s scheme, they both saw action playing as the one and the three. Where Hageman did struggle is when he did get up the field and had problems finding the ball. He would make a great move, look to be in position, than the ball would go right by him. Thought he could have shown more awareness there.
When Mike Smith took his squad to the team period, this is where Donald really shined. His quickness and power were difficult to block. Centers Weston Richburg and Tyler Larsen had a handful to try and slow him down. He played the majority of the day on the offensive line side of the ball. It didn’t matter run or pass, he was in the middle of the action. I thought his technique was spot on the entire day, arm over, rip move, two hand bull, he was on.
Of the three, Aaron Donald looked the most ready to play from the opening snap of practice and I am sure that Will McClay noticed that. His motor was running and he was on a mission. I did like some things that I did see from Ra’Shede Hagaman once the coach got in his face and his intensity picked up. Kareem Martin needs to do a better job of not rushing down the middle when getting after the quarterback, because then he has no shot. Martin is a better player when he can attack the edge and I sure they will point that out tonight in the film sessions.
Overall it was a good start to the week for Ra’Shede Hegaman and Kareem Martin but a great one for Aaron Donald. It will be up to Donald to build on that and he could separate himself from the others because tomorrow morning, we get to all come back to the field and do it again.
SEE FOR YOURSELF – VIDEO:
Senior Bowl | Three To Watch | Defensive Line (Watch Video)
Check out three of the top defensive lineman from the North roster during Monday’s Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama.
MOBILE, Ala. – With the Dallas Cowboys staff in Mobile for the Reese’s 2014 Senior Bowl, here are some things that us scouts (you) should be looking out for …
What I have always loved about the Senior Bowl from a scouting point of view, is how both squads are being coached this week by current NFL coaches. Part of having poor records during the season, Mike Smith from the Atlanta Falcons and Gus Bradley from the Jacksonville Jaguars staffs will lead the North and South squads this week. What is outstanding about this is that you get to observe these players out of their college element and functioning during the practices run by these coaches.
I was reminded this week from Monte Kiffin how when he was on Jon Gruden’s staff in Tampa and were coaching the game in 2005, when coaches on Bill Parcells staff in Dallas asked if Kiffin a 4-3 coach, could give DeMarcus Ware some reps during the practice at outside linebacker to see if Ware who was a 4-3 end at Troy could stand up and play on the outside. Kiffin had no problem with the request and the Cowboys were able to get a good look at Ware which helped them in their draft evaluation of him.
Of all the college all-star games that are played after the season, the Senior Bowl does the best job of putting these rosters together. Phil Savage the director of that game is a former NFL general manager having worked in Baltimore and Cleveland. Savage and his staff have an outstanding eye for talent and when you go through these rosters, you will see a nice mix of players.
What Savage has done is not only assemble talent from the major conferences around the country, but also he has players from schools like Lindenwood, Saginaw Valley, Eastern Illinois and North Dakota State. It was always interesting to see how the players from these schools work with these coaches and players from the major programs. Keep an eye on players like cornerback Pierre Desir, wide receiver Jeff Janis, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and offensive tackle Billy Turner. Garoppolo seems to be the player that most draft fans have interest in.
There are always two or three players that might not be on your radar now but by the time this week is over, you will have a pretty clear understanding if these kids can play or not. Scouts will be tracking these players this week to see how they are responding to this experience.
Defensive Line On Review
This will be a good week, for the scout’s around the league to get a good look at this current group of college defensive linemen. I remember very well this time last year, when defensive end Ziggy Ansah of BYU impressed all those that watched him practice and play in this game. Matter of fact, it was the Lions that were coaching in the game, that ended up drafting him in the 1st round.
Looking at this current group, this is an important week for guys like Will Sutton, Ra’Shede Hageman, Aaron Donald, Marcus Smith, Kareem Martin, Trent Murphy, and DaQuan Jones. What I have learned from these Cowboys defensive coaches is that with the defensive line, it’s all about the quick twitch more so than the overall size. Kiffin told me that it was rare this season to have a guy like Jason Hatcher with his height to play as a one technique in this scheme.
The player that has that Hatcher like size would be Hageman but on tape, I don’t believe that he has that quick twitch that Kiffin would be looking for, but we will see if that might have changed as he goes through this week. Aaron Donald will be measured Monday morning as will Will Sutton, who both would be perfect three techniques. What is interesting about Donald and Sutton is that they both are right at 6 foot tall and that is not a problem for Kiffin, as long as they both have that quick twitch that we have talked about.
Two guys that I will be keeping my eye on in this group, is Marcus Smith and Kareem Martin. When I studied Smith this past week, he is a player that Will McClay (Head of the Dallas Cowboys Pro Scouting Department) and his group will be looking to project him to end from an outside linebacker. I believe that Smith can put his hand down in this scheme and rush the passer plus handle in the edge in the running game. He should get some reps this week rushing the passer in various drills and I am sure that this trait will show.
Martin is a straight defensive end, that has the length and the range to be effective in this Kiffin scheme. He can chase the ball, he gets up the field and he can defeat blockers one-on-one. Trent Murphy is a guy that has a very similar skill set and I would expect people to be talking about his play as the week goes along.
There will be players in this game that other teams will not want because of their schemes but this Cowboys scouting staff and coaches will covet and how they view these players will be critical.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
DALLAS COWBOYS RISING STAR: Marinelli Misfit George Selvie making a name for himself in Texas-2 Defense
IRVING, Texas – You know that half-a-sack George Selvie was credited with this past Sunday in Philadelphia, the one he shared with the just-arriving Jarius Wynn?
Well, upon further review, Selvie was credited with a full sack. That then officially gave him two sacks in the game.
In turn, that now gives him five sacks in seven games.
Let that sink in: George Selvie, now officially the leader of “Them Other Guys,” is second on the Dallas Cowboys in sacks, just one behind Jason Hatcher, who’s having a Pro Bowl start to this 2013 season.
Why, Selvie has one more sack than DeMarcus Ware, at this point likely to miss his second game in a row Sunday after having played in every one of the first 134 of his career.
Those five Selvie sacks, they would have been the third most on last year’s Dallas Cowboys team – for the entire season.
Five sacks. Until last year that total was just one less than Anthony Spencer’s career-high over his first five years in the NFL, and until this year one more than Hatcher’s previous seven-year career-high.
Five sacks. Just one less than the team’s previous high by a player not named DeMarcus Ware from 2009-2011, and just three less than what Greg Ellis and Bradie James posted in 2008.
And on July 25, three months to the day this Friday, with all 32 NFL training camps in full swing, this very guy, George Selvie, was sitting at home in Pensacola, Fla., out of work, having been released by Tampa Bay back on May 6.
He had just turned 26, released for the fourth time since he was a seventh-round pick in 2010 out of South Florida, and his mind was understandably beginning to wonder, “What do I do now? What do I do after football?”
Please don’t pinch the dude. Let him be.
Selvie, the guy who had never started even once over his 36-game NFL career the previous three seasons – drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, released on the final cuts of 2011, claimed by Carolina only to be released four weeks later, then signed by Jacksonville five weeks later, playing 16 games over two seasons with the Jaguars before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and signed a month later by Tampa Bay this offseason – now is tied for 12thin the NFL with those five sacks. He’s in the same company with the likes of Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, LaMarr Woodley and a half-sack behind Elvis Dumervil.
To further appreciate what Selvie has done so far this 2013 Dallas Cowboys season, a flashback to this summer is necessary, back to when the Dallas Cowboys called, more so out of necessity. Remember, the Cowboys lost Tyrone Crawford for the season the first practice of training camp (torn Achilles) with Spencer having his knee scoped about a week later.
They were simply looking for warm bodies at that time, defensive end types who were athletic, had high motors, could play the strong side, all with a decent amount of speed and … out of work. The list of candidates Will McClay’s pro scouting department had handy kicked out one George Selvie.
“I was coming to training camp like, they probably just think of me as a [camp] body,” said Selvie during his interview this week that can be heard in its entirety on the Jason Garrett Show, locally at 11 p.m. Saturday on CBS-11. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Understand, camp body is a derogatory term, meaning a guy simply needed to fill out the 80-man roster and help facilitate training camp practices at minimum wage then discarded before the final 53 is assembled. The percentages are against these guys, especially coming into camp a week late, with no OTA practices or minicamps under their belt.
And in Selvie’s mind on his way to the West Coast, this just might be his last call.
“I’m going to go out here and try to prove myself,” he said of his thinking when getting the call and traveling all the way from Pensacola that same day to Oxnard, Calif., jumping into practice the very next day. And stuff just fell in place.
“I was blessed to be in the situation I’m in now, just fell in place for me – but I am where I am.”
Fell in place? More like crashed down in place. Ten days after arriving in Oxnard, Selvie demonstrated he was more than a camp body in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game, recording five tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for losses against Miami.
Come on, was this for real or one of those one-time wonders?
Judging from emails and phone calls to Talkin’ Cowboys, fans would have just as soon left Selvie in Canton, Ohio, to be measured for his yellow jacket. There actually were questions about the possibility of trading Spencer. Just let Selvie take his place and grab $10.6 million in cap relief.
So there we were, on the tennis courts at training camp, interviewing Selvie on Talkin’ Cowboys, letting him know of his new-found celebrity, but quickly finding out, as Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett likes to say, he is the right kind of guy.
“It’s just been crazy,” he said at the time, “because Twitter and stuff. I was like, got my phone, ‘I don’t want no part of that.’ I got a lot to do, you know what I’m sayin’, I got a lot to do.
“People are like, ‘Great start …’ but I still got … look I know the feeling.”
And he then began earning his eventual nickname coined by defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who Selvie readily credits for much of his success: Bricklayer. You know, come to work every day, work hard and lay those bricks down one at a time.
And yes, things fell in place. Obviously, Crawford was done for the season. Spencer was on his way to being done for the season. Ben Bass, a guy who could play defensive tackle, defensive end, was headed for injured reserve, too. Suddenly, he looked up one day and basically when it came to defensive ends, it was DeMarcus Ware, Kyle Wilber and … George Selvie.
Man, after never starting in any of those first 36 games he played in the NFL, there he was, under the glare of Sunday Night Football at AT&T Stadium, starting. Starting, mind you, for the first time in his career, no more than six weeks removed from wondering just what he would be doing for the rest of his life.
Nearly two months later and now Selvie is a fixture in the Dallas Cowboys lineup, having started all seven games and now standing second on the team in sacks, tied for second in tackles for losses (3) and third in quarterback pressures (11) behind some guys named Ware and Hatcher.
Meteoric rise would be an understatement, and not likely in his wildest dreams …
“No, I couldn’t have imagined it,” says Selvie when thinking back to those lonely moments in Pensacola, having trudged back home after Tampa Bay released him to contemplate his future.
“But this is the best football I’ve played, the stats show those are the facts, and I’ve had the opportunity to go out there and play, rush the passers, actually get out there on the field. I never had that [opportunity] in the past, but now I do.”
And aren’t the Dallas Cowboys darn glad he does, too.
So don’t even think about it, no pinching allowed.
George Selvie 1-on-1 interview with Mickey Spagnola (3:10)
Mickey Spagnola sits down for a 1-on-1 interview with Dallas Cowboys DE George Selvie.