POST-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE: Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett’s final thoughts on the 2014 Dallas Cowboys Draft | NFL Draft 2014
Anthony Hitchens primary job will be protecting the Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker investment.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he saw a player with size who could run in Hitchens, the Cowboys’ fourth-round pick. He also saw a player who could step in at middle linebacker if Sean Lee went down.
“We saw a guy who could definitely improve us from where we were last year when we lost Sean Lee,” Jones said. “Probably, for me, the most important thing is how much of a hitter he is. He blows them up.”
Some believe the Hitchens pick was a reach, but Jones and the Cowboys didn’t.
“I’d say that’s the difference in the eye of the beholder,” Jones said. “He was productive. I think the other thing is that he can play some weak linebacker. He’s obviously got the power and the other thing I can say about him is that he did a good job of dropping back in pass routes. I’m not saying he’s Sean Lee, but he can drop back and get back.”
Head coach Jason Garrett noted the injuries that have happened to their linebackers over the years. Sean Lee’s never stayed healthy for a full 16 games yet in his career. The Hitchens pick allows some protection if that occurs again.
“Guys get hurt,” Garrett said. “So you want to make sure you have enough numbers there, enough competition there so if something does happen to one of your topflight players you can survive and function.”
Garrett also spoke at length after the post-draft press conference about the linebacker position, and there could be more mixing and matching there. DeVonte Holloman and Kyle Wilber will both compete at the strong side linebacker spot, and it’s possible Justin Durant could shift over to the weak side linebacker spot to compete with Bruce Carter.
Ben Gardner, who injured his pectoral muscle at the end of his college career, should be ready to go when the team starts practicing, but there’s another draft pick who may still need some time to get fully healthy.
Jerry Jones said the draft picks are healthy, in general, but wide receiver Devin Street’s shoulder injury might be one to keep an eye on.
Street was limited on the bench press at the NFL Combine, but wide receivers coach Derek Dooley worked him out at Pittsburgh and the Cowboys felt comfortable with where the receiver was at.
“Street’s the one that got a little nick right at the end of the year,” Jones said. “We don’t know, he could actually come in here and do everything at OTA’s. He did three bench presses at 115 at the Combine because he had injured that shoulder at the end of the year. On the other hand, when we went to his workout… it looked ready to roll – his bench press.”
Ahmad Dixon wasted no time, both in his phone call with the Dallas Cowboys and in his conference with media, expressing his emotions and excitement regarding his selection.
There was a ton of silence during the Cowboys call to inform Dixon he’d been selected, and that’s because Dixon was emotional and soaking up the moment with family.
Jerry Jones said that call made him appreciate being in the NFL.
“How in the world do you get to sit here and be lucky enough to be having a conversation, it means that much to him, they’re that emotional about it, celebrating going on behind and literally having an emotional reaction to getting to be a part of the NFL,” Jones said. “I really had an emotional thing along with that. That was unbelievable. He was trying so hard to talk to me.”
Jones said one of the attractions to Dixon, who was taken in the seventh round, was the passion and emotion he plays with. The owner said when the Cowboys hung up the phone, everyone winked at each other and said, ‘That’s a good way to start coming in.”
Jason Garrett would agree.
“I always try to say, ‘It’s a great day for you, but it’s also a great day for us to add you to our football team,’” Garrett said. “But it really is a great day for these guys. You get drafted once. To think that you’re getting drafted into the National Football League by the Dallas Cowboys – it’s a fantastic moment.
“When you pick nine guys, sometimes you can be a little bit numb to that. I think, the conversation we had with him was pretty one-sided, but I think in a lot of ways it indicated how special this opportunity is for all of us. It was really a moment I won’t forget real soon.”
Jerry Jones said the Dallas Cowboys took a long, hard look at the available quarterbacks on Day 3 of the draft, but they opted not to pull the trigger. Surprisingly to many, several high-profile signal-callers slipped to the later rounds, prompting the thought that Dallas could take a late round flier on the likes of Georgia’s Aaron Murray or Alabama’s A.J. McCarron.
Jones wouldn’t get specific, but he said the Cowboys evaluated the position thoroughly before opting away.
“We couldn’t justify it — the way we needed numbers on defense,” he said. “We spent a lot of time on quarterbacks, the entire position, we spent the usual amount of time and evaluated every quarterback in the draft.”
“To tell you the truth, obviously we think a lot of Brandon Weeden – he got drafted in the first round for a reason,” he said.
Stephen Jones also confirmed the Dallas Cowboys signed West Texas A&M quarterback Dustin Vaughan during undrafted free agency.
(Michael) Sam Linebacker
Being one of the most high-profile figures in football, Jerry Jones was bound to field a question about the drafting of Michael Sam.
Sam made history Saturday evening when the St. Louis Rams made him the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL, as they made him the No. 249th overall pick. Jones said the Cowboys didn’t give any consideration to his sexual orientation when evaluating Sam.
“I was happy to see him drafted because it just shouldn’t be an issue. It shouldn’t be an issue that we made of that,” he said. “I thought there’d be less of an issue made if he were drafted then if he wasn’t drafted, because we’re all aware of the reality that it was the focal point here of what he is relative to that part of the society issue.”
MEET YOUR NEW DRAFT PICKS: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys DE Ben Gardner, OLB Will Smith, S Ahmad Dixon, DT Ken Bishop, and CB Terrance Mitchell | 7th round NFL Draft 2014
IRVING, Texas – Day 3 of the Dallas Cowboys draft was the busiest by far, with America’s Team selecting seven of their nine players this afternoon.
With all those players to consider, here is a comprehensive scouting report on all five of the Dallas Cowboys seventh round picks.
Ben Gardner – Stanford – DE – 6-4 – 272 – 5.03
Will Smith – Texas Tech – OLB – 6-2 – 231 – 4.59
Ahmad Dixon – Baylor – S – 6-0 – 212 – 4.62
Ken Bishop – Northern Illinois – DT – 6-0 – 306 – 5.12
Terrance Mitchell – Oregon – CB – 5-11 – 192 – 4.61
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Former NFL Scout
- HEAT-SEEKING MISSLE HITCHED: Dallas Cowboys ready to coach up Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens | NFL Draft 2014 – 4th Round
- MEET YOUR NEW DRAFT PICK: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens | 4th round NFL Draft 2014
- TALLER TARGET TAKEN TODAY: Dallas Cowboys shift lanes for Pitt WR Devin Street | NFL Draft 2014 – 5th Round
- MEET YOUR NEW DRAFT PICK: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Street | 5th round NFL Draft 2014
ALTERNATIVE OPINIONS ON THE DALLAS COWBOYS 2014 NFL DRAFT:
Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin (16th), Demarcus Lawrence (34th), Anthony Hitchens (119th), Devin Street (146th), Ben Gardner (213st), Will Smith (238th), Ahmad Dixon (248th), Ken Bishop (251st), and Terrance Mitchell (254th)
The skinny: We waited a long time between the second and third picks from the Dallas Cowboys, and they reached some for Hitchens, but he provides some size and much-needed depth. Trading up to get Street in the fifth gives Tony Romo another very talented, big wideout. It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see a lot of those late-round picks make the 53-man roster.
Courtesy: Bryan Fischer | College Football writer | NFL website
1 (16) Zack Martin | OG, Notre Dame
This is a good pick for a team that needed line help. They didn’t get caught up in the hype. The line will be damn good.
2 (34) Demarcus Lawrence | DE, Boise State
Great move by the Cowboys. I had a first-round grade on this kid. They need pass-rush help.
4 (119) Anthony Hitchens | OLB, Iowa
Hitchens was a productive tackler at Iowa, and comes with ideal size to play on the inside at the next level. He’s limited in space though, and may have been available later in the draft.
5 (146) Devin Street | WR, Pittsburgh
A prolific pass-catcher, Street has good hands and runs clean routes, but doesn’t give the Cowboys much after the catch, and may struggle to beat press consistently out on the edge, in the NFL. Could be a nice slot contributor out of the gate.
7 (231) Ben Gardner | DE, Stanford
Gardner is a bit of a tweener who has battled some injuries, but exhibits toughness and grit, and could earn a roster spot with his ability to shed blocks and wrap up in the trenches.
7 (238) Will Smith | OLB, Texas Tech
Although he plays out of control and needs to get stronger, he is always around the football with his range and instincts and should stand out on special teams.
7 (248) Ahmad Dixon | SS, Baylor
Dixon is an explosive downhill athlete who lives for the big hit. He plays out of control though and lacks top-notch instincts. Needs to improve in coverage, and has been the subject of some character concerns after allegedly assaulting a fan last year.
7 (251) Ken Bishop | DT, Northern Illinois
Naturally powerful athlete with a strong anchor, who lacks initial burst to be a factor as a pass-rusher, but could contribute against the run in a rotation.
7 (254) Terrance Mitchell | CB, Oregon
Decent-sized corner who showed consistent improvement over the course of his college career, but has limited movement skills and will struggle when asked to bump and run on the outside.
Courtesy: Pete Prisco Rounds (1-3) | Derek Stephens Rounds (4-7) | NFL Draft Scout/CBS
MEET YOUR NEW DRAFT PICK: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Street | 5th round NFL Draft 2014
Devin Street | Pittsburgh | 6-3/198
Here is a quick scouting report on Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street.
Devin Street WR, Pittsburgh Combine Workout
Watch Pittsburgh WR Devin Street work out at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
(Watch | No MP3)
Secret Audio: Devin Street Selection Call
The Dallas Cowboys War Room calls Devin Street after trading up to select him in round 5 of the NFL Draft.
Devin Street: This Is The Team I Wanted To Go To
Devin Street joined 105.3 The Fan shortly after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys.
MEET YOUR NEW DRAFT PICK: Pro scouting report on Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens | 4th round NFL Draft 2014
Anthony Hitchens | Position: Linebacker | College: Iowa | 6-0/240 | 4.74
He’s a compact looking player on tape. You can see that there is a lot of weight packed on his body. For his bulk, felt like there were some times where he was very physical at the point of attack and then others where he could have done a little bit better job with his shed. He’ll extend his hands. He does a nice job of finding the ball. Big fan of the way that he reacts. He’ll take on in the hole with his shoulder, then work to the ball.
When he lowers his pads, you see a much better player. There were some snaps where he unloaded on the ball carrier. There is some pop with him. He does a nice job of handling the puller on the trap. He needs to get off the block a tick quick at times, but something he will get better at. Will close down in the hole. He’s able to flow to the ball. There were times where he over ran the ball and was very aggressive.
When he can see it, he can make the play. He’s not a fluid-moving athlete in space when it comes to coverage. He’s more of open, drop and float. Didn’t see him drive back to put himself in position. Think he would be a much better player if he didn’t weigh 240 pounds. That might help his quickness, but he’s extremely tough.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Former NFL Scout
Related videos …
Secret Audio: Anthony Hitchens Selection Call
Anthony Hitchens: Fortunate For This Opportunity
Anthony Hitchens Conference Call
HEAT-SEEKING MISSLE HITCHED: Dallas Cowboys ready to coach up Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens | NFL Draft 2014 – 4th Round
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys got back into the drafting swing of things today with a fourth-round pick.
Once again, the Cowboys addressed the defensive side of the ball, taking Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
In 2013, Hitchens (6-0, 240) was the Hawkeyes’ team MVP and lead the team with 112 tackles and 13.5 for loss with two sacks.
Hitchens, a second-team All-Big 10 pick in 2013, ran a 4.74 at the scouting combine in February.
The Cowboys nearly went with an outside linebacker with the 16th pick with their eyes on Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, who went one spot ahead to Pittsburgh, leaving them to take Notre Dame guard Zack Martin.
Hitchens is the second defensive player taken by the Dallas Cowboys, who traded up in the second round Friday night for Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence at No. 34 overall. The trade forfeited their third-round pick.
Hitchens becomes the first Iowa player drafted by the Cowboys in 30 years. Ironically enough, in 1984 the Cowboys went with Hawkeye players in consecutive rounds, taking running back Norm Granger and guard Joe Levelis in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Hitchens was a productive tackler at Iowa, and comes with ideal size to play on the inside at the next level. He’s limited in space though. – NFL Draft Scout
Florida native who took initiative to move out of his biological parents’ house and live with a friend’s family in order to attend a better, safer school and remain focused on his football career. High school running back, linebacker and kick returner who had 3,864 career rushing yards and 52 touchdowns — earned four varsity letters in addition to playing basketball and running track.
Bounced between safety, linebacker and running back as a true freshman in 2010, recording nine tackles, zero for loss and zero sacks in 10 games played. Appeared in eight games in ’11, tallying 25-0-0. Missed five games because of a knee sprain. Started all 11 games at Will linebacker in ’12 and notched 124-5.5-1. Was the Hawkeyes’ leading tackler and Defensive MVP in ’13 — started all 13 games at Will and registered 112-13.5-2 with two pass breakups, an interception and two forced fumbles.
Aggressive tackler. Flows fast to the ball (when he sees it) and has good playing range to the sideline. Plays bigger than his size and does not back down from big-bodied blockers or physical runners (see Ohio State). Explosive hitter. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and is highly respected for his work ethic, makeup and overall approach. Is mentally and physically tough. Very durable despite lack of size (missed only one game in career).
Is short and lacks bulk. Tends to play narrow-based and get rooted out of the hole on inside runs. Angles and anticipation could stand to improve — is late to sort out misdirection. Very average cover instincts — often is lured by play-action passing game. See-and-go reactor. Modest production for a weakside position where action is designed to be heavily funneled his way — leaves some on the field.
An active, undersized, run-and-hit weakside linebacker, Hitchens is at his best in a scheme where he is protected and free to run to the ball. Has shown gradual improvement.
Related video …
Anthony Hitchens Combine Workout | 1:32 | Watch Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens work out at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. (Watch | No MP3)
PICKIN AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Dallas Cowboys to host NFL Draft Party from AT&T Stadium | 2014 NFL Draft 2014
IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys fans living in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area will have the opportunity to take in the NFL draft in style tomorrow night.
KEEPIN’ UP WITH THE JONES’: Dallas Cowboys pre-draft press conference with Jason Garrett | NFL Draft 2014
IRVING, Texas – If all goes according to plan, the Dallas Cowboys will be welcoming more than just new rookies to their practices this summer.
The Dallas Cowboys pre-draft press conference was called with the intention of discussing the approaching NFL draft, but it served as a perfect opportunity for Cowboys brass to address the rehabs and availability of several prominent veterans returning from injury.
PICKIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: Your 2014 Dallas Cowboys Draft Guide | NFL Prospect Rankings: Defense | Special Feature
Defensively, the Dallas Cowboys are in a “trenches transition” going into the 2014-2015 NFL season. If everyone stays healthy, the free agency losses (and gains) from the offseason could be somewhat manageable … assuming the draft goes well and DeMarcus Ware’s productivity can be filled by a committee of blue-collar Marinelli-Men.
IRVING, Texas – By this point in the draft cycle, you’ve likely heard of most of the guys on this big board. At the same time, you’re bound to notice some big names missing from the list – there’s no Teddy Bridgewater or Kelvin Benjamin to be found here.
After plenty of hours studying the tape, this is simply the 50 best targets in the 2014 NFL Draft – from obvious stars to some lesser-known surprises. This should give some idea of what to expect in the first two rounds of the draft, and who the Cowboys may have a chance of taking.
SITTIN’ AT SWEET SIXTEEN: True Blue fans also preparing for the Dallas Cowboys 2014 NFL Draft | NFL Draft 2014 | Special Feature
The Dallas Cowboys 2014 NFL Draft is now only 11 days away. We want True Blue Dallas Cowboys fans even more prepared for the upcoming draft than your average fan around the league. This article also introduces Dallas Cowboys players and coaches. These interviews and features shows a personal side to some of these key people in the Dallas Cowboys organization.
Take time to view The Blitz television series and latest Dallas Cowboys Draft shows on your PC or phone. All of the (much smaller) audio files can be downloaded to your computer or phone and listened to at will.
2014 NFL DRAFT ORDER: Official round-by-round order including the compensatory draft picks awarded by the league
The official round-by-round order for the 2014 NFL Draft, including the 32 compensatory picks awarded to 13 different teams:
1. Houston Texans
1 (33). Houston Texans
1 (65). Houston Texans
1 (101). Houston Texans
1 (141). Houston Texans
1 (177). Houston Texans
1 (216). Houston Texans
Compensatory picks cannot be traded
PHOTO: Larry Allen (Dallas, Round 2, Pick No. 46 overall, 1994)
Larry Allen is the only compensatory draft pick in the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame. He had quite a career in the NFL, starting 197 of 203 games and making 11 Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro teams. He was voted to both the NFL’s 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams.
A total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2014 NFL Draft have been awarded to 13 teams.
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.
The 2014 NFL Draft takes place on May 8 to 10, and will be televised live on NFL Network.
Here are the teams receiving compensatory picks this year, with the round and overall number of each pick:
Atlanta Falcons: 4th round (139), 7th round (253, 255)
Baltimore Ravens: 3rd round (99), 4th round (134, 138), 5th round (175)
Cincinnati Bengals: 6th round (212), 7th round (252)
Dallas Cowboys: 7th round (248, 251, 254)
Detroit Lions: 4th round (133, 136)
Green Bay Packers: 3rd round (98), 5th round (176)
Houston Texans: 4th round (135), 6th round (211), 7th round (256)
New England Patriots: 4th round (140)
New York Giants: 5th round (174)
New York Jets: 4th round (137), 6th round (209, 210, 213)
Pittsburgh Steelers: 3rd round (97), 5th round (173), 6th round (215)
San Francisco 49ers: 3rd round (100)
St. Louis Rams: 6th round (214), 7th round (249, 250)
Compensatory free agents lost and signed by the clubs that will receive compensatory picks in 2014:
Atlanta Falcons: Lost: Brent Grimes, Luke McCown (did not qualify), Christopher Owens, Will Svitek, Vance Walker. Signed: Osi Umenyiora. Baltimore Ravens: Lost: Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed, Cary Williams. Signed: None. Cincinnati Bengals: Lost: Josh Brown, Bruce Gradkowski, Manny Lawson, Brian Leonard (did not qualify), Pat Sims, Dan Skuta. Signed: Josh Johnson, Mike Pollak, Alex Smith. Dallas Cowboys: Lost: Victor Butler, Kenyon Coleman, Mike Jenkins, John Phillips. Signed: Justin Durant. Detroit Lions: Lost: Cliff Avril, Gosder Cherilus, Justin Durant, Drayton Florence, Sammie Lee Hill. Signed: Reggie Bush, Jason Jones, Glover Quin. Green Bay Packers: Lost: Greg Jennings, Erik Walden. Signed: None. Houston Texans: Lost: Alan Ball, Connor Barwin, James Casey, Justin Forsett, Donnie Jones, Glover Quin. Signed: Greg Jones, Shane Lechler, Ed Reed. New England Patriots: Lost: Patrick Chung, Donald Thomas, Wes Welker, Danny Woodhead. Signed: Danny Amendola, Isaac Sopoaga, Will Svitek. New York Giants: Lost: Martellus Bennett, Chase Blackburn, Domenik Hixon, Osi Umenyiora. Signed: Josh Brown, Ryan Mundy, Brandon Myers. New York Jets: Lost: Yeremiah Bell, Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, LaRon Landry, Matt Slauson. Signed: Antwan Barnes, Mike Goodson. Pittsburgh Steelers: Lost: Keenan Lewis, Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Mundy, Mike Wallace. Signed: Bruce Gradkowski. San Francisco 49ers: Lost: Ted Ginn, Dashon Goldson, Ricky Jean Francois, Isaac Sopoaga, Delanie Walker. Signed: Craig Dahl, Phil Dawson, Glenn Dorsey, Dan Skuta. St. Louis Rams: Lost: Danny Amendola, Craig Dahl, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Gibson, Robert Turner. Signed: Jared Cook, Jake Long.
ROAD TO 2014 NFL DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys win coin toss for 16th pick | League’s pecking order officially set
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys won the No. 16 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft following a coin flip with the Baltimore Ravens.
Team officials held the coin toss at the NFL Scouting Combine, which began Wednesday morning in Indianapolis, Ind.
The decision gives Dallas a pick in the top half of the first round for the third time in four years — the Cowboys held the ninth overall selection in 2011 and the No. 14 pick in 2012 before trading up to take Morris Claiborne.
Having lost the coin toss, the Ravens will pick No. 17 overall.
Both clubs finished the 2013 season with 8-8 records, but a tiebreaker was needed to determine their draft order. In addition to owning the same records, the teams also had identical strengths of schedule.
The final draft order for the 2014 NFL Draft is now set:
2. St. Louis (from Washington)
7. Tampa Bay
12. New York Giants
13. St. Louis
18. New York Jets
21. Green Bay
23. Kansas City
25. San Diego
26. Cleveland (from Indianapolis)
27. New Orleans
29. New England
30. San Francisco
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft coin-flip win a sign of flipping the 2013 script
IRVING, Texas – Hey, maybe 2014 will be a different story, right?
We’ve already seen one trend bucked, and it happened in Indianapolis of all places: This team won a coin flip – stop the presses!
Last year the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t win a coin flip to save their lives.
For something that is supposed to be 50-50, this team was anything but average when it came to flipping a coin. The Cowboys won just three coin flips all last year. And after the Nov. 3 game against the Vikings at home when they won the toss, the Cowboys didn’t win another pregame coin toss over the last seven weeks.
It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the game. Not really, although sometimes it’s nice to have the decision on taking the ball now or in the second half. But if you’re better than your opponent, it doesn’t matter.
This coin toss the Cowboys won in Indianapolis is rather significant, giving the club the 16th pick in the draft over the Ravens, who will select 17th in the first round.
You might say that picking 16 or 17 doesn’t matter much because it’s still in the middle of the first round. And that’s true. However, don’t forget who is running the show and what he likes to do when he gets in that War Room. Jerry Jones becomes “Trader Jerry” when he’s in there and having the 16th pick.
Point values vary when you’re looking at draft charts. Teams often have different values but for the most part, the difference between the 16th and 17th pick is around 50 points, and that’s the equivalent of a late fourth-round pick.
But I went a little deeper into the difference of 16 vs. 17 with this scenario.
Let’s say the Cardinals (20th pick) wanted to move up a few spots. If the Cowboys picked 17, they’d get a high-fourth round pick by swapping picks with Arizona. But at 16, they’ll likely receive a mid-third round pick. Obviously the two teams would have to throw in other picks to even it out since Arizona wouldn’t have a high-fourth, but you get the picture.
Now, history shows picking 17 is better for the Dallas Cowboys, who selected both Mel Renfro and Emmitt Smith at No. 17. They also got Kevin Brooks and Kevin Smith.
The only time they’ve ever selected No. 16 occurred in 1961, when they picked lineman E.J. Holub, who never played for the Cowboys because he chose to play in the AFL with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs franchise. Holub is now in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame.
None of that stuff really matters now. All that matters is how the Dallas Cowboys handle this No. 16 pick.
ROAD TO 2014 NFL DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys can’t let an elite offensive lineman on their draft board slip past them | Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014
The Dallas Cowboys used a first round pick on an offensive lineman twice in the last three years and it’s possible they could make it three in four years. Yes, the defensive line is the biggest area of concern, but the Cowboys can’t let an elite guard or tackle slip past if they’re the top player on their board. The top o-linemen in this class are Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan. All three should be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. But here’s 10 offensive linemen that could be available for the Dallas Cowboys throughout the first few rounds.
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame – Doug Free could be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season. Draft Zack Martin (pictured) in May and the Dallas Cowboys could have a bookend to pair with Tyron Smith for a long time.
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia – A solid starter for UVA over the last three seasons. The 6-6, 325-pound right tackle as seen his stock rise into the first round.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – Another elite tackle option. One of the top rated prospects coming out of high school, Kouandjio has been Alabama’s full-time starter at left tackle the last two seasons.
Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee – If you want experience, this is your guy. James has started a school record 49 games at Tennessee. He is projected to play right tackle in the NFL.
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee – He played left tackle for the Vols but might be better suited for the right side in the NFL. Richardson has started all 24 games over the last two seasons.
Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State – He has played guard and tackle in college but projects to be a right tackle in the NFL. Mewhort played in 49 consecutive games for Ohio State, starting the final 39.
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami – He could be a steal in the second or third round. Henderson’s stock has slipped since telling teams at the Senior Bowl that his suspensions at Miami were because of marijuana use.
Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State – He’s considered by some to be the top offensive guard available in the draft. Gabe Jackson (pictured) could quickly upgrade one of the interior line spots for the Dallas Cowboys.
Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor – A Fort Worth kid who was a two-time All-American, Richardson was a three-year starter for the Baylor Bears. He should come off the board in the second or third round.
David Yankey, OG, Stanford – A two-time All-American that has experience playing left tackle and left guard. He projects as a guard in the NFL and should be among the first few players at that position selected in May.
Follow the Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 and 2014 NFL Draft Prospects right here on The Boys Are Back website …
IRVING, Texas – It’s never too early in today’s NFL to start making wild conjectures about the draft.
Mock drafts pop up every week after the Super Bowl ends from a variety of sources, providing different names and opinions regarding which players will end up with specific teams. It’s only February, so these will get tinkered with throughout the offseason as draft experts learn more and more about each player.
Many of those mock drafts have the Dallas Cowboys landing a defensive lineman, which is understandable given their health at the spot and the pending free agency of Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer.
With that in mind, here’s a compiled Top-10 list of the most common names of potential Dallas Cowboys first-round picks.
1) Aaron Donald, Pitt, DT – Probably the most popular choice for the Dallas Cowboys so far, Donald’s quickness and ability to push the pocket and get up field quickly makes him a popular choice in the middle of the first round for Dallas. His lack of height may scare some teams away, but his dominant week at the Senior Bowl and ability to play in a 4-3 defense should attract the Cowboys.
2) Kony Ealy, Missouri, DE – His size at 6-5, 275 pounds means gives him the frame to be a dominant force off the edge. His ability to move inside and outside could also give him some versatility in this 4-3 scheme. If the Cowboys take Ealy, the consensus seems to be that he hasn’t reached his potential and may need some time to develop and tap into that, but the ceiling is high here because of his athleticism.
3) Calvin Pryor, Louisville, S – If the Cowboys don’t look to the line, Pryor could be the next best choice. He’s got a ton of range and maintains his aggression with the ball in the air. He can cover, and he could be the perfect cover safety to pair with Barry Church, whose ability near the line of scrimmage could be tapped into more fully. But Pryor can still lay the wood.
4) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama, S – The Crimson Tide defensive back might be the best all-around safety in the class. He had two picks in 2014 and may not rack up interceptions like an Ed Reed type, but he can bring the boom as well as any safety in the class, as most Alabama safeties are known to do. The Cowboys’ shouldn’t have much of an issue with their safeties attacking the line of scrimmage if Clinton-Dix pans out.
5) Louis Nix, Notre Dame, DT – Nix may not fall into the typical mold the Cowboys use on the defensive line and may fit more as a nose tackle for a 3-4 team at 6-2, 345 pounds. He might have trouble keeping his weight down to where he can be a mobile defensive tackle that gets up the field the way Rod Marinelli likes. But the Cowboys could take the chance, in which case he’d fill in as the new 1-technique in Dallas.
6) Timmy Jernigan, FSU, DT – The lasting image of Timmy Jernigan is going to be him watching, out of breath, on the sideline during crunch time of this year’s national championship game. It was a damning moment for what is otherwise considered one of this draft’s brightest defensive linemen. Jernigan notched 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks last year.
7) Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota, DT – Hageman certainly stands out from a physical aspect, as he tips the scale at 6-6, 311 pounds. The first-team All-Big Ten selection was one of the standout defensive tackles at this year’s Senior Bowl, along with Donald. Conventional wisdom says Hageman could fit with the Cowboys as an oversized three technique tackle, similar to Jason Hatcher.
8) Dee Ford, Auburn, DE – Ford was another Senior Bowl standout, as he followed his 10.5-sack season at Auburn with a promising showing in Mobile, Ala. Ford is a bit undersized for a 4-3 defensive end, at 6-2, 240 pounds, but he makes up for it with speed. It raises the question of whether he’ll be used in the NFL as a down lineman or a pass rushing linebacker.
9) Zack Martin, Notre Dame, OT – A somewhat surprising target, considering the Cowboys just spent a high draft pick on Travis Frederick. Martin was fantastic at the Senior Bowl as an offensive tackle, though some think he projects as a guard at the next level. Depending on who else is available, the Cowboys could opt to shore up their offensive line for the foreseeable future with another high pick.
10) C.J. Mosley, Alabama, LB – The latest in a long line of dominant Alabama linebackers, Mosley finished the 2013 season with 108 tackles and nine tackles for loss. He was the heart and soul of a dominant Crimson Tide defense, averaging eight tackles per game. One problem is that he plays middle linebacker, the same spot as Sean Lee, but the Dallas Cowboys could surely find a place to use him.
Derek Carr, Fresno State, QB – Probably the most polished of the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl last month, Carr is following in his brother David’s footsteps to
the NFL. Carr showed some experience and poise in working with other players and media at Senior Bowl practices that showcased his leadership potential. Most agree he isn’t the top quarterback prospect in this draft, but he still figures to be selected early.
Much has been said and made of Missouri DE/OLB Michael Sam in the past few days. This article focuses solely on what he brings to the field on gameday.
Michael Sam – Missouri – #52 – 6’ 1” – 260 lbs – 4.74
Games Studied: Oklahoma State, Auburn, Texas A&M, Georgia
Sam plays as a defensive end in their scheme and will usually line up on the left side. He worked as an outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl but played as an end during the game.
He shows some initial quickness off the snap and can be a tough guy to block on the move. That said, he doesn’t have much change of direction and is more of a straight line rusher. He will use his hands as he closes down the line and plays with outstanding effort. Sam will try and spin to free himself off blocks and can win matchups with this first move. Often, he will slap hands down to rush and work around a low block and will use his arm over a move inside.
There are times where he will lose the ball on his rush. He had game saving sack in the Cotton Bowl that caused a fumble to seal game. He beat the offensive tackle to the outside, then sharpened the corner to get there. There were also times where he gave ground in the running game. Sam would get wide and does a much better job of playing assignment to find the ball on the read option.
He can retrace his steps and work back to the ball. He fought the fullback block with his hands and worked back to the play. He can play a low block and kept his balance, but didn’t finish with a tackle.
He has trouble when he gets pinned inside and will miss tackles on the move. I have seen him get in position, then bounce off and can cause problems when he gets to the edge. If he doesn’t, then he plays like another guy. He had a sack against Georgia on an inside charge – a nice, quick move that beat the offensive tackle. On the next play, he had a move around the edge and was able to knock the ball out of Aaron Murray’s hand on the play.
He picked up a fumble and ran 20 yards for a touchdown against Georgia. He is one of those players that is not for everyone. If a 3-4 team would draft him, I believe he would be played as a strongside linebacker, but during the Senior Bowl, he didn’t look comfortable at all.
He does have the ability to rush the passer, but he might not be an every down player so you may use him just on third downs. I did not see him slide inside as a nickel rusher, and he is more disruptive when he is on the move.
He will struggle when he gets hooked on blocks in the running game. His effort is outstanding, but he needs to win on first move which at times he has shown the ability to do.
As of today’s date, Michael Sam is ranked #110 overall and the #11th ranked DE available.
Rated as the No. 75 defensive recruit in the country by ESPN coming out of Hitchcock, Texas, Sam played on both sides of the trenches in high school.
He redshirted in 2009 before entering the rotation the following season and producing 24 tackles, including 7.0 for loss, to go with 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Sam was again a rotation player as a redshirt sophomore, finishing with 29 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. He started nine of 12 games in 2012 and finished four on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks.
Sam was named the co-SEC Defensive Player of the year as a senior after leading the conference in both sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (18.0) during the regular season. He joined Jeff Gaylord (1981) as the only Missouri Tigers to win conference defensive player of the year honors. He also was a unanimous first-team All-SEC pick by the Associated Press, and first team by the coaches.
Sam certainly has the production against top competition to intrigue scouts. He’s very quick off the snap, showing the ability to attack off the edge as well as the burst to penetrate through gaps.
At 6-feet-2, 255 pounds, Sam could earn the dreaded ‘tweener label from scouts who may see him as too short for defensive end and a project as a stand-up outside linebacker, pushing the productive defender into the second or even third round.
STRENGTHS: Sports a compact, well-developed frame. Very good initial quickness to explode past offensive tackles and apply pressure on the quarterback.
Uses his natural leverage advantage well, keeping his legs driving to overpower much bigger opponents on the bull-rush, while also mixing in effective rip and club moves to keep blockers’ hands off his chest. Accelerates smoothly and closes in a flash, showing good power for the knockdown and technique to wrap securely.
Considering his size, Sam is surprisingly effective in run defense. Can slip gaps due to his quickness to penetrate and make a big play behind the line of scrimmage and shows good power, knee bend to anchor and create a pile when run at. Good awareness, quickness and balance to recognize and defeat cut-blocks.
Occasionally asked to drop back in this scheme, showing awareness and at least fair fluidity. Active defender who searches the ball and pursues with passion.
WEAKNESSES: Not quite the sum of his parts due to size and flexibility limitations. Does not possess ideal length and therefore, struggles to separate from blockers once engaged. Impressive burst upfield is mitigated by average core flexibility, limiting his ability to turn the corner in one fluid motion.
Only occasionally asked to drop into coverage in this scheme, making his conversion to outside linebacker a true projection, especially given his average ability to change directions.
COMPARES TO: Elvis Dumervil, OLB, Baltimore Ravens – Few undersized pass rushers are capable of beating the odds like Dumervil but he’s the model optimists will point to in projecting Sam to the NFL. Like Dumervil, Sam has an explosive burst and is more powerful than his relatively short frame might suggest.
–Rob Rang (1/7/14
IRVING, Texas – The comparisons will follow Jimmy Garoppolo everywhere he goes.
They started at Eastern Illinois and will undeniably continue when he gets selected in the 2014 NFL Draft out of his specific college and at his specific position. But he’s not bothered when people link or associate him with Tony Romo.
“He set the standard,” Garoppolo said. “It’s up to us and the Eastern quarterbacks and all of the guys who go through there to live to that standard, really. That’s what I tried to do when I was there. There’s a benchmark set.”
Garoppolo doesn’t shy away from that challenge. He accepts, embraces and basks in it. He wants those expectations placed upon him and doesn’t find them unfair.
“I want to live up to that. I want to surpass that, really,” Garoppolo said. “Every quarterback should have that mindset. You want to be the best. You want to go win Super Bowls.”
He’s got to get drafted before he can do any of that, and he’s putting himself in the best position to do so by being as visible as he can to as many eyes as possible. Garoppolo played in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 18, where he was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player, going 9-for-14 with 100 yards and a touchdown in limited action before heading over to Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices the following week.
The most important part of that Senior Bowl week might have been the practice time, where he worked with NFL coaches (Watch short video) and fielded questions from most teams, scouts and media members. Inevitably, some involved Romo.
Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award in 2013 after throwing for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns and left college with 13,156 passing yards and 118 passing touchdowns in his career. The only other player to win the esteemed award from Eastern Illinois? That would be Romo, who finished his career as the school and conference all-time leader with 85 touchdown passes.
But most of the previous school passing records, once held mostly by Romo and current Saints head coach Sean Payton, now belong to Garoppolo, who set a school record with seven touchdown passes in a win against Illinois State in 2013.
“The surprising thing is Coach Payton actually had more records than Tony Romo, so a lot of people don’t know that, but yeah, a little fun fact for you,” said Garoppolo, who still respects Romo and what the Cowboys’ quarterback’s done for the school tremendously.
He said he’s been asked about a million questions about Romo throughout his career, particularly toward the end when the NFL became more and more of a likelihood, and he continues to answer those questions similarly.
“At first it was pretty cool, now I just kind of expect it,” Garoppolo said. “It’s fun. It’s a great comparison. He’s a very successful NFL quarterback, and that’s what I’m trying to be, so it’s nice to have that kind of comparison.
“The quarterback tradition at Eastern is very well known. I’m just trying to keep it going really and take it to the next level.”
Garoppolo’s all for putting Eastern Illinois on the map, which his famous quarterback predecessors did before and he’s doing now.
“All the publicity Eastern can get – we’re in the middle of Illinois, not too much people live there – it’s nice to get that little extra publicity,” Garoppolo said. “Every little bit counts. It’s a good stepping stone for Eastern, really.”
Before Garoppolo can get anywhere near the level of a Payton or a Romo, though, he’s got a long road ahead to prove himself as an NFL quarterback. He said he’s got to get used to the NFL footwork – the three, five and seven step drops – considering his offense in college didn’t ask much of that from him. He said Eastern Illinois ran the Baylor offense with a focus on fast tempo.
Garoppolo’s open to starting immediately or waiting and getting tutored, depending on when he gets picked. Regardless of when he starts, he knows what he can provide for his future team.
“They’re getting a very passionate, hard-working quarterback – some guy who’s going to be the CEO of the company and lead by example,” Garoppolo said. “The quarterback’s always asked to set the example on and off the field, and I think I do a good job of that.”
He’s been all over the place since his record senior season ended, but he said it was an easy decision to go to the Senior Bowl and not pass that opportunity up. He wants to face the best players and get compared to the best players around him, just as he has with the star quarterbacks who previously attended his school.
Don’t expect a breather for Garoppolo any time soon as he prepares for the biggest year of his life.
“I don’t think I’m going to get one,” Garoppolo said. “After this, I’m going to go back to LA and start training again for the Combine and then the Combine comes and Pro Day comes. It’s a process, but I knew what I was getting into and I’m having fun with it.”
Broaddus: Not many teams will like his lack of height but there is no questioning how he played this week. He was the most disruptive player for either squad. His film and work here gives him a nice platform into the Combine.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #21 overall | Position rank #2 | Projected Round 1
Zach Martin/OT/Notre Dame
Broaddus: Didn’t matter who he was facing, he was up to the task. Played left tackle but also took reps at guard where he was just as good. Plays with power and mobility.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #12 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1
Broaddus: Love how this player physically looks. He carries himself well. Knows he is a good player and plays like it. Was always at the side of Falcons receivers coach Terry Robiskie after every play. Can tell this game matters to him.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #108 overall | Position rank #16 | Projected Round 3-4
Derek Carr/QB/Fresno State
Broaddus: Physically is a good looking player. Was clearly better than any of the quarterbacks at this game. Has a command and presence while he is leading the team. Can make all the throws, quick with the ball and accurate.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #29 overall | Position rank #4 | Projected Round 1-2
Broaddus: This guy catches everything thrown his way. Has deceptive speed and quickness with the ability to separate. Makes plays all over the field. Not afraid to catch the ball in traffic, love his toughness.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #96 overall | Position rank #14 | Projected Round 3
Broaddus: I really do like this player a great deal but I do worry about his lacks of bulk. He measured in weighing 243 pounds but he has those types of traits that these defensive coaches are looking for with his ability to go get the ball.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #18 overall | Position rank #3 | Projected Round 1
Broaddus: It was a game with nice sized corners and he was one of the biggest at near 6-3. Really thought he did a much better job when he could play press coverage than zone. Was able to move with and handle these receivers. Made plays on ball.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #86 overall | Position rank #11 | Projected Round 3
Broaddus: Doesn’t have the best speed or quickness off the ball but finds ways to get open. Very consistent in his route running and even better hands. Plays with some nastiness as a blocker. Is always going to be prepared as a player. Receivers coach told me that you can play him inside or out and it doesn’t matter.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #49 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2
Jack Mewhort/OT/Ohio State
Broaddus: There was a reason why that the rushers on the North squad didn’t have the most productive practices this week because of Zack Martin and Jack Mewhort. Showed nice balance and base. Plays with power. Can get movement. Not a slow footed blocker at all. Helped himself each day with work.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #61 overall | Position rank #8 | Projected Round 2
Broaddus: I honestly don’t know where you play him but you need to find a place for him. He is not a linebacker which they tried him at this week during these practices. He is a put his hand on the ground get after the passer. Not athletic enough to drop but when he rushes, he is hard to block. Might be the defense’s version on a 3rd down receiver. Relentless.
Official The Boys Are Back ranking: #90 overall | Position rank #9 | Projected Round 3
The order of picks 21-32 will be based on the outcome of the NFL playoffs. Updated first-round mock drafts can be found here.
|NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 – Top 20 picks|
|NFL DRAFT ORDER 2014 – Playoff Teams|
Above is the order with the strength of schedule (SOS) numbers to indicate the tiebreaker. For the NFL Draft, the first tiebreaker rule is SOS, the easier SOS earning the earlier selection. Division and Conference tiebreakers are next and if teams are still tied, a coin flip will determine the team that picks first (** Indicates a coin flip to break ties).
2014 Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft picks 2014
|Round 1||16 or 17||Coin flip will determine|
|Round 2||15 (47 overall)|
|Round 3||14 (78 overall)|
|Round 4||19 (115 overall)|
|Round 5||18 (146 overall)|
|Round 6||17 (177 overall)|
|Round 7||14 (206 overall)||From Chicago (Rosario)|
|Round 7||16 (208 overall)|
These picks are subject to trade and do not include any compensatory picks awarded by the NFL in the later rounds. Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
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