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  1. Back To Top    #661
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbair1967 View Post
    Bucky Brooks with good discussion and some video info on draft picks in the link.

    2018 NFL Draft: Candidates for Cowboys to replace Dez Bryant

    2018 NFL Draft: Candidates for Cowboys to replace Dez Bryant - NFL.com

    By Lance Zierlein
    NFL Media draft analyst
    Published: April 13, 2018 at 02:52 p.m.
    Updated: April 13, 2018 at 03:54 p.m.

    After eight seasons, Dez Bryant's career with the Cowboys has come to an end. Dallas released the three-time Pro Bowl selectee on Friday.

    Wide receiver was already widely viewed as one of the top needs for the team with so much uncertainty about Bryant's future. So, with less than two weeks to go until the 2018 NFL Draft, I think it's highly likely that Dallas will address the position at some point in the first two rounds -- the club holds pick No. 19 overall in Round 1 and No. 50 overall in Round 2.

    Which of this year's prospects would fit in Dallas? Here are some of the top candidates to replace Bryant.

    First-round prospects

    Calvin Ridley, Alabama

    Ridley's the best wide receiver in the draft, and it's really not a close competition. Some question whether Ridley (6-foot, 189 pounds) is big enough to be a WR1, but I think he'll be the latest in the new breed of top-end receivers that lack a little bit of size (Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders). He's the guy on this list that stands out to me as being ready to contribute at a high level right away, and the Cowboys, of course, are doing their homework on him -- they hosted him on a visit, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

    Courtland Sutton, SMU

    Sutton might be the most natural fit if the Cowboys want a player in the same vein as Bryant from a physical standpoint. He has prototypical WR1 size (6-3, 218). Although he lacks plus speed or separation quickness, he's extremely physical and has the ability to make contested catches on a consistent basis. League sources say Sutton's draft stock has improved since coaches and GMs have become more involved in the evaluation process down the stretch. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made the short trip to work out Sutton at SMU's pro day.

    D.J. Moore, Maryland

    Moore's ceiling might be higher than Sutton's. He has good size and athleticism. Much like Stefon Diggs before him at Maryland, he was used with a lot of catch-and-run stuff underneath during his college career, but he has the potential to become a much better receiver down the field with more experience. The buzz about Moore, who also visited the Cowboys, has grown throughout the evaluation process this offseason.

    Second-round prospects

    D.J. Chark, LSU

    Chark has a rare combination of size (6-3, 199) and speed (4.34-second 40-yard dash at the combine). He uses his acceleration to create vertical separation much like Ridley, but Chark has a longer frame. He had limited college production and is still in need of more polish thanks in part to sub-par quarterback play at LSU. He's helped himself this postseason, standing out at the Reese's Senior Bowl and combine.

    James Washington, Oklahoma State

    Washington is a vertical threat who had a tremendous win percentage on 50-50 balls in college. He operates with great concentration as he gets further away from the line of scrimmage, but he has some occasional lapses in focus on easy throws underneath. He has the build of a running back more than a prototypical wide receiver, but there are teams that think he's one of the receivers in this draft with the most upside. He has visited and worked out for the Cowboys.

    Wild card

    Antonio Callaway, Florida

    Callaway has WR1 potential, but his path to the draft has been beset by trouble during his career at Florida. He has good size and speed, but he didn't play a down in 2017, as he was suspended after facing charges of credit card fraud. He would be a top-50 pick if not for his issues. We've seen the Cowboys take chances on players with off-field problems in the past, and earlier in the draft than other teams would (Randy Gregory). I think Callaway could go anywhere from Rounds 2-5 this year, and it wouldn't be stunning to see him land in Dallas. The team did host him on a pre-draft visit, per Rapoport.


    sry but if theyve never owned an exotic animal then theyre not 88 material

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  3. Back To Top    #662
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    This needs to be the final season of Garrett & his staff. The greatest coaches on the planet should be candidates to lead the best org in sports. The days of teams blowing the Cowboys’ doors off in halftime adjustments needs to end. Time for change, new direction and a new voice
    — Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) November 20, 2017

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  5. Back To Top    #663
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    As far as I can tell, he doesn't elaborate any on that those rumors are though.


  6. Back To Top    #664
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    Daniel Jeremiah saying a sleeper 1st rd pick for Cowboys could be Iowa DB Josh Jackson. Said many teams now see him as an ideal FS candidate.

  7. Back To Top    #665
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    HOW COWBOYS CAN REPLACE DEZ BRYANT

    In most years, the NFL draft will feature a couple of pass catchers ranked within the Tier 1 category (Pro Bowl potential; first-round picks). However, the 2018 WR class is light on star power but loaded with solid-starter types that fall into the second or third tier. Now, that doesn't mean some of the players selected in Rounds 2-3 this year won't step up and deliver big-time production, I just don't see elite prospects that rival Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham, Jr., as prospects. In fact, I don't know if there is a Michael Thomas-like receiver in the class who's undervalued as a prospect but has a game that's built for the WR1 role in a creative or sophisticated offense.

    That said, there are some options available to the Dallas Cowboys that could replace Dez Bryant's production as the team's No. 1 playmaker in the passing game. Although they might lack No. 88's athleticism, ball skills, and competitiveness during his prime, they could surpass the three-time Pro Bowl selectee as polished route runners. Most importantly, the 2018 class could provide the Cowboys with better fits on the perimeter when it comes to the system and the chemistry with Dak Prescott.

    Remember, the Cowboys are revamping their passing game scheme to better suit the talents of Prescott after running an offense that was previously designed for Tony Romo the past two seasons. The shift to a more "Dak-friendly" offense will change the job description of the pass-catchers on the field, which will make it imperative to categorize the receivers correctly based on their skills. The Cowboys need to head into the draft with a grocery list to make sure they grab the right ingredients for a championship-caliber passing game. Looking at the talent in the 2018 class, here's how I would separate the pass catchers based on their skill level.

    Route runners
    Calvin Ridley, Alabama
    Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
    DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
    Deontay Burnett, USC
    Jordan Lasley, UCLA

    Big receivers/red-zone threats
    Courtland Sutton, SMU
    Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
    Auden Tate, Florida State
    Allen Lazard, Iowa State
    Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State

    Chain movers
    D.J. Moore, Maryland
    Michael Gallup, Colorado State
    Dante Pettis, Washington
    Cedrick Wilson, Boise State
    Tre'Quan Smith, UCF

    Big-play threats
    James Washington, Oklahoma State
    Deon Cain, Clemson
    D.J. Chark, LSU
    Antonio Callaway, Florida
    Anthony Miller, Memphis

    Despite Bryant's declining game, it will be tough for the Cowboys to replace his production with only one rookie. It's hard for a first-year player to step into the lead role as a WR1, as evidenced by the struggles of first-round receivers of late (over the past three drafts, only one of the 13 first-round receivers has earned Pro Bowl honors and nine have never caught 40 passes in a season). Thus, the Cowboys might have to draft two or three receivers to replace Bryant's production as a No. 1 option in the passing game. Whether it's using a first-round pick and a middle- or late-round selection on receivers or finding a couple of underrated middle-round options, the Cowboys must identify the right guys to place on the perimeter to elevate the play of their young quarterback. -- Bucky Brooks

  8. Back To Top    #666
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    Brugler's full mock draft: Brugler: 7-round mock NFL Draft | NFL Draft Scout

    Cowboys:

    1: Leighton Vander Esch, MLB, Boise St

    Vander Esch hits the prospect trifecta: traits, tape and production. He would be the MIKE linebacker the Cowboys have been searching for, allowing Jaylon Smith to move to SAM.

    2: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
    3: Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Miss
    4a: Breeland Speaks, DL, Ole Miss
    4b: Cole Madison, OT/G, Washington State
    5: Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
    6a: Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami (Fla.)
    6b: Ito Smith, RB, Southern Miss
    6c: Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama
    7: David Wells, TE, San Diego State

  9. Back To Top    #667
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbair1967 View Post
    Daniel Jeremiah saying a sleeper 1st rd pick for Cowboys could be Iowa DB Josh Jackson. Said many teams now see him as an ideal FS candidate.
    All depends on how well he tackles. Dont get me I value coverage more than anything out of LBs and DBs but seeing the Byron Jones play FS and tackle like Prime Time lead to problems vs the run and tackling downfield.

  10. Back To Top    #668
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoneandonly View Post
    All depends on how well he tackles. Dont get me I value coverage more than anything out of LBs and DBs but seeing the Byron Jones play FS and tackle like Prime Time lead to problems vs the run and tackling downfield.
    If Byron Jones had 5-8 picks a yr and a bunch of passes defensed, his tackling wouldn't have been an issue.

  11. Back To Top    #669
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    Broaddus says he is hearing rumors from scouts about Derwin James falling to 19. I am not going to piss and moan if he is the pick, and that certainly ends the Earl Thomas talk, however, I would still rather go either of the trenches.

  12. Back To Top    #670
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoneandonly View Post
    Broaddus says he is hearing rumors from scouts about Derwin James falling to 19. I am not going to piss and moan if he is the pick, and that certainly ends the Earl Thomas talk, however, I would still rather go either of the trenches.
    I'm down with adding Derwin James, especially if we don't have to trade up to get him.

    And do we know for sure it would end the Earl Thomas talk? What if they moved Heath to Seattle as part of the deal for Thomas (not a big part, but at least they're getting a guy back with starting experience) and then still added Derwin James.

    I think James could play either safety spot, and you could play him at a nickel OLB spot some too. But his best and most natural position would probably be SS, and you'd be pairing him with Earl Thomas, a true FS. With the young kids at CB we have, our secondary could potentially be pretty damn strong.

  13. Back To Top    #671
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoneandonly View Post
    Broaddus says he is hearing rumors from scouts about Derwin James falling to 19. I am not going to piss and moan if he is the pick, and that certainly ends the Earl Thomas talk, however, I would still rather go either of the trenches.

  14. Back To Top    #672
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    Cowboys expect to draw record crowd of 270,000 to draft
    Posted by Charean Williams on April 17, 2018, 6:03 PM EDT


    The NFL won’t use every seat at AT&T Stadium for its draft next week, instead creating an “end-zone theater.” But the Cowboys still expect around 25,000 fans to witness the selection process inside the stadium each day.

    The NFL’s draft lottery for free tickets set a record, and with a capacity of 108,000 each day at the Draft Experience outside the stadium, this draft could surpass last year’s numbers.

    “I would just say that we always hope to beat previous numbers,” Chad Estis, the Cowboys’ executive vice president of business operations, said. “. . . We have high expectations. The lottery for people to receive the tickets in the actual theater has exceeded what they had last year, so there’s some early indications that we have an opportunity to have some super large numbers out there.”

    Philadelphia drew 250,000 last year to the three-day outdoor event, setting the all-time draft attendance mark, while drawing rave reviews.

    The Cowboys expect thousands to attend the festival outside the stadium without seeing the actual draft, with total crowds somewhere around 90,000 fans in attendance each day.

    “Everything we do, I’m told a record is a must,” Estis said. “We’ve got a nice list going with NBA All-Star and WrestleMania and Academy of Country Music Awards. Add this to the list.”

    For the first time, each of the 32 teams will have a section just for its fans.

    “I think the NFL really views this event as an event for diehard football fans,” Estis said. “So I think having team sections like that, down on the floor, close to the stage to create all that really cool atmosphere of hardcore fans, I think that’s what the NFL wants, and I know they’re working hard to make sure that fans from each of those markets end up in those seats. I think that would just create this unique dynamic.

    “If you remember last year when our Drew Pearson stood up to announce our second-round pick in Philadelphia, and it created such a stir in the auditorium there. I think that’s something everybody looked to and said, ‘That’s actually the kind of atmosphere that you want at one of these events.’ So by having all the teams represented down right in front of the stage, I think we’ve just created some really interesting atmosphere.”

  15. Back To Top    #673
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    Where's the Love for Calvin Ridley? Why the Draft's Top WR Doesn't Get More Hype

    Matt Miller
    April 17, 2018

    In today's pass-heavy NFL, wide receivers are more important than ever.

    You see as much reflected in free agency, where players like Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins receive huge contracts to reward middling production. You see it too in the draft, where seemingly every year brings a handful of new hyped receivers to the league, including last year, when three (Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross) went in the first nine picks.

    In fact, since 2009, as many as six and an average of four receivers have been picked in the first round. So this year, when only one receiver is a lock to go in Round 1, how is there so little hype around him?

    Where's the love for Calvin Ridley?

    Ridley didn't have eye-popping numbers or get Biletnikoff Award recognition in his three seasons at Alabama, but among NFL executives, scouts and coaches Bleacher Report has spoken to, the consensus is that he's a level apart from any other receiver in this draft.

    They look at Ridley and see a silky-smooth route-runner with plus speed and hands who can be a part of a dynamic passing attack on Day 1 in the NFL. My mock draft reflects that opinion, projecting Ridley to go 16th overall (the only receiver I have in the first round).

    So why isn't he a household name?

    Part of it is that the hype might already have passed Ridley by. He signed at Alabama as the top wide receiver in the 2015 recruiting class (and 12th-best player at any position, according to 247Sports) and burst onto the scene, catching 89 passes for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman. But his numbers dropped in each of the next two seasons—72 catches as a sophomore and 63 as a junior—and he never got over that 1,000-yard mark again.

    That might look bad to casual draft fans, but the NFL knows there's context that explains it, most notably the play of Jalen Hurts at quarterback.

    "He had a running back throwing him the ball," says one longtime NFL wide receivers coach bluntly. "I don't know how anyone can look at his stats to judge him."

    The coach also noted Alabama's scheme changed so much in Ridley's three years—going from a Lane Kiffin passing system to a power run game and then to Brian Daboll's scheme in 2017—that Ridley never had a chance to showcase his skills like James Washington (Oklahoma State) or Christian Kirk (Texas A&M), players who put up flashier numbers but don't project as first-rounders.

    As scouts open up about Ridley's play, they do point out there are issues that go beyond the situation he was in at Alabama—and that explain why he's not considered a top-10 pick despite the value of the position and his relative value to other receivers in this year's draft.

    One weakness Ridley can't do anything about is his age.

    NFL clubs generally "red-flag" a player if he turns 24 during his rookie season, which Ridley will December 20. Age might seem like an odd thing to flag, but scouts have to evaluate whether the player's collegiate performance was due to being better than opponents or merely because his mental and/or physical maturity gave him an edge.

    Decision-makers also have to look at their rosters and see if an older player who might be more NFL-ready makes sense over a younger player with more upside but less pro-readiness. (Ridley isn't the only pass-catching prospect for whom age will be a factor; South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst turns 25 this year and also projects as a first-rounder.)

    Another common concern with Ridley is his size. He measured at 6'0 ½" and 189 pounds at the combine—not prototypical size for a No. 1 wide receiver. Last year's first two receivers picked were at least 6'3" and over 205 pounds. Ridley, compared to them, is tiny.

    Speed is a plus for Ridley, who tied for the sixth-fastest 40 among receivers at the combine. But it also isn't off the charts in a way that might jump off the page to a fan or convince the ghost of Al Davis to pick him two rounds too early.

    "Last year we had these monster receivers who all had speed—and Ross who broke the [40-yard dash] record," the wide receivers coach says. "This year the top guys are either small or lack speed. There's no Corey Davis here."

    That explains the lack of hype. But no one's saying Ridley doesn't deserve more love. Even if he is a little older, a little smaller and not the fastest guy in the draft, teams see him as can't-miss.


    An NFL scout says: "He isn't big. He isn't that fast. He's older. But damn it, he's smooth." Smooth is the best word to describe Ridley as he glides through a route and then snaps off a cut to leave defenders tripping over themselves to adjust.
    Says a coach, "All these big wide receivers and all these fast guys, but none of them can run routes like Ridley."


    The route running, again and again, is what they point to that sets Ridley apart as a prospect.

    "Look at the bust rate among wide receivers, and you see a common thread: guys who don't know how to get open on their own. He's the only one that can," a vice president of player personnel explains.
    '
    That's another common thread among executives, scouts and coaches: There's no threat to his status as the consensus top receiver.
    Courtland Sutton might be the closest. A team that is looking for a bigger receiver could fall in love with his 6'3", 218-pound frame. But scouts are concerned about his lack of speed down the field and his limited reps against top-tier competition while at SMU.

    Other challengers to the throne are D.J. Moore (Maryland), Kirk (Texas A&M) or potentially D.J. Chark (LSU). All three offer similar speed, with only Chark's 4.34 a significant difference over Ridley. None can compete with his route-running skills, though.
    Says the wide receivers coach: "If you're looking for a complete player, it's Ridley. And of the second tier of guys like Moore and Kirk, none are as refined as route-runners."

    The other thing NFL teams love about Ridley is that he's the rare college wide receiver who appears to be NFL-ready.

    Look back at the three receivers drafted in last year's top nine, and none made an impact. Davis, Williams and Ross combined for 45 catches and zero touchdowns in their first seasons. And we're still waiting for 2016 first-rounders like Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson to break out.

    Ridley, meanwhile, is the type of player you'll hear more about once he's on an NFL field making plays and bucking the trend of low-impact rookie receivers.

    That's especially true if the things that are keeping him off the hype radar put him in a better situation with an established quarterback and team.

    "It's hard to predict stats or impact until we know where he's drafted," says one AFC scout, "but he has the goods to be very special right away.

    "Imagine him in New England with Tom Brady or New Orleans with Drew Brees. He'd catch 90 balls."

    Now there's some hype.

  16. Back To Top    #674
    Administrator dbair1967's Avatar
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    Like Ridley for us there at 19, would even be ok with slight trade up if it didn't involve any day two picks.

    In addition to the above article I posted, you consistently see things about how hard he works, how mild mannered he is, how much he dives into film and the playbook.

    Couple that with the speed factor, the tremendous route running reputation he has and that he also isn't a body catcher, I like him for us.

  17. Back To Top    #675
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    We definitely need these kinds of plays on our O


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