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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

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 - Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 - 7th round NFL Draft 2014

Ben Gardner Stanford – DE – 6-4 – 272 – 5.03

  • Will work down the line. Plays the down block. Keeps his feet on the cut. Nice hand use. Uses an arm over move up the field. Nose for the ball. Can find it. Will crash down inside.
  • Much better when he is on the move. Able to hold the point. Able to split the double team. Can play as a two gap player. Tries to make tackles in the hole, had a couple of misses when he just was not quite able to finish the play. There were snaps where he can played square and was able to hold the point of attack with no problem.
  • Didn’t get turned or knocked off balance. Had a tackle for loss against Utah, on quicker swim move. Can get his hands inside. Plays along the line, different positions. Plays with some quickness.
  • Great deal of toughness to his game. He was rare that you saw him not trying to work off the block and get in the middle of the play. Relentless in his style. There is nothing pretty or classic about the way he plays, but the bottom line is he gets the job done.

        Will Smith - Texas Tech - OLB - Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 - 7th round NFL Draft 2014

        Will Smith – Texas Tech – OLB – 6-2 – 231 – 4.59

        • Physical player at point of attack, will step up and deliver a blow. Rangy, long build. Will work his hand inside to deal with the blocker. Has a nose for the ball, did a nice job of showing awareness on the read option.
        • Helps him in the passing game as well. Was able to hunt the receiver behind him in zone coverage. Showed the ability to carry his man across the formation when he was walked outside in man coverage. Very active in the running game, will bounce off blockers. Will step up, read the blocking scheme and react.
        • Really nice job of reading the ball to the flat on the swing, wrap up tackle in space. Will be too aggressive at times and over run the play. Run-Hit factor is really good. Slippery player, all over the place when he attacks the ball. Plays with vision to see what is happening to him scheme wise. Has to be careful not to jump around blocks. Is much better playing blocks with his hands than he is with his shoulder.
        • Needs to come under better control when attack the line. Have seen him wrap up as a tackler, then the next time try to block-down tackle. Will bounce off blockers when he blitzes. Is always attack the line. Big fan of his ability to find ways to get to the ball and make the stop.
        • Better job against Texas when it came to rushing the passer on the blitz with the quick, arm over move. Better coming forward than he is going back in coverage. Fan of his ability to be in the pile.

              Ahmad Dixon - Baylor - S - Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 - 7th round NFL Draft 2014

              Ahmad Dixon – Baylor – S – 6-0 – 212 – 4.62

              • Is not afraid to stick his nose in the action. Will wrap up as a tackler, physical. Is a reckless player that will do anything to get to the ball. Can run the play down from the backside. Awareness to play the screen, beat the block and make the tackle.
              • Will hunt for his man in coverage. Is choppy in the way he moves, not fluid at all but shows quickness once he sees. Is much better when he can handle plays in front of him, then if he has to turn and run. Takes him a little time to turn and once again get going. Has straight line speed. He will come downhill in a hurry.
              • Not a smooth player, is a little bit all over the place. There were a couple of snaps where he was so aggressive, he completely overshot the ball carrier. Needs to break down better in space and come under control. Wants to deliver the big hit and it gets him in trouble. There were some snaps in coverage where his attention would go from one man to another where it should have been with his first read.
              • Is relentless in the way that he plays. Is a missile in the way he plays. Is a jump on the back of the ball carrier type of tackler. Can really cover some ground when he has to cover in the flat. Will bounce off blockers and find the ball. Super active.
              • Plays with a chip on his shoulder. He is going to hit you, punish you and let you know about it. Will try and rip at the ball when he is in a group when they tackle. Love how much he wants to be in the pile but he is going to need to learn to slow it down a little bit or he will miss too many tackles. 

                    Ken Bishop - Northern Illinois - DT - Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 - 7th round NFL Draft 2014

                    Ken BishopNorthern Illinois – DT – 6-0 – 306 – 5.12

                    • Don’t look at the height and weight of this guy but focus on the amount of plays that he makes. One of my favorite players to study in this draft. Plays with power at the point and leverage. Can line up as the one but can also line up as the three, believe he will play in this scheme there.
                    • Can shed the blocker. Very good on the move. Does a nice job of extending his hands, really quick hands. Outstanding initial quickness. Can work down the line and extend outside the tackle box. Wrap up tackler at the point. Hard to get movement on.
                    • When he is slow off the ball, he got reached. Plays quick, he has no problem. Great job of finding the ball, has to be careful not to allow man into his body because then he will get washed out of the play. Can free himself with quickness.
                    • Will fight the down block. Can redirect and work back to ball. Will close down in the hole. Plays square, doesn’t get turned. Can control blockers, will two gap the blocker. Shed to make the tackle. Really nice job playing with his hands, active with quick feet.

                          Terrance Mitchell - Oregon - CB - Dallas Cowboys Draft 2014 - 7th round NFL Draft 2014

                          Terrance Mitchell – Oregon – CB – 5-11 – 192 – 4.61

                          • Played some press man in the Oregon State game. Would fight the receiver down the field. Will rally when his man drives inside. Tries to not give much room. Will position himself in the route by jamming his man at the line. Had a struggle with the speed of Brandin Cooks.
                          • Did not see much catch-up speed. Will come off his man to help in coverage or get in on the tackle. Will get in trouble with his hands down the field. In press, thought he needed to do a better job of getting his head around to find the ball.
                          • Able to handle routes underneath but the longer he has to carry the route, the more the issue with speed. Tried to help out of the slot to a ball to the outside and was just a little late but showed nice awareness. Would like to see him get off the block quicker on the screen. Showed a great deal respect for the speed of Cooks in zone coverage. Wrap try and wrap up as a tackle.
                          • Not a trained killer but gave the effort. His best trait is his ability to read routes. Nice job of reading the curl against Utah. Receiver ran a solid route but playing four yards off, he drove hard and was able to get underneath. If there is a concern for me with this player is his ability to handle speed because he doesn’t have his own if he were to miss on the jam.
                          • Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Former NFL Scout


                            Editors Note: Our earlier reports on fourth-round pick (LB) Anthony Hitchens and fifth-round pick (WR) Devin Street can be found here …


                            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


                            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

                            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

                            HEAT-SEEKING MISSLE HITCHED: Dallas Cowboys ready to coach up Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens | NFL Draft 2014 – 4th Round

                            HITCH HEAT-SEEKING MISSLE - Dallas Cowboys ready to coach up Iowa LB Anthony Hitchens - NFL Draft 2014 – 4th Round 1

                            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.

                            At linebacker, the Cowboys have a lot of question marks, from Sean Lee’s injury history, Bruce Carter’s inconsistent play, and the unknown about Kyle Wilber and DeVonte Holloman switching positions.

                            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


                            OVERVIEW

                            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.

                            STRENGTHS

                            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).

                            WEAKNESSES

                            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.

                            BOTTOM LINE

                            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.


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