Last night proved to the Cowboys fan base that this team needs an influx of talent on the defensive side of the football. Primarily cornerback and a pass rusher are the needs that the Cowboys have to address this off season. Mike Jenkins is back to his 2009 self and is performing on a level that I know he has in him. Jenkins is our best cover corner and is one of the best in the league when he brings it. With Jenkins you have a player to build with at the cornerback position.
Orlando Scandrick is the only other keeper on the roster and he has to be more consistent. Scandrick has talent and the desire to be a good cornerback but I still have my doubts with him as a starter in 2012. Jenkins and Scandrick are the only cornerbacks salvageable on the roster. Terence Oldman started off hot and my theory is that he missed so much time and because of that he was fresh. Oldman had actually a good game coverage wise except for a few plays towards the end. Obviously his second dropped pick six of the season was a play the fan base will all remember and that is a shame because Newman did a good job actually.
The thing is Oldman is not Newman anymore. He is 33 years old and his contract is too much for his production. Oldman will not be a Cowboy next year unless he accepts a restructuring of his contract and a more limited role in the secondary.
This means the Cowboys will be looking at possibly replacing not one but maybe three cornerbacks on the roster. To win football games in the NFL you need at least three cornerbacks who can cover. It used to be different but now you need at least three guys who can cover these great wide receivers that are spread out through the league.
One area the Cowboys need to focus on is a secondary coach. Dave Campo is a great man and I respect him so much but his time has come. His cornerbacks do not look back for the football and to me that is one of the biggest problems technique wise on the team.
When you take a look at the outside linebacker position you see a clear problem as well. DeMarcus Ware is getting up there but I expect him to play at least three more productive seasons. The problem is the other outside linebacker position. Anthony Spencer has been through five position coaches and two head coaches. We have seen virtually no improvement from him and nothing to make us feel satisfied he will grow as a player. I truly hope the Cowboys don't panic and settle with him in free agency just to be secure at the position. He needs to go folks.
Victor Butler is in his third year and has not shown enough on the field that he can be a starter in 2012. He is a great backup and role player but that's it. There is nothing wrong with that but he just isn't what we are looking for.
This is a truly weak pass rushing class in my opinion. The cornerback position will offer quality players through the first three rounds. These three prospects intrigue me for a variety of reasons and right now I am placing them on the front burner for the Cowboys.
We don't know exactly where we will be drafting next April but we dropped from the 20-25 range down to the 15-20 range after last nights excruciating loss. One of my favorite players in the entire draft is Morris Claiborne from LSU. I will not include him in this post because he will be a top ten pick in my opinion. Players do fall in the draft but Claiborne is too good to drop to the Cowboys unless a miracle happens.
Okay let us first get this RKG thing out of the way because I think people are taking that way too far. Yes you want quality character football players on your team but this is a business. The goal is to win games not Nobel Peace prizes. The RKG is a player who works hard and loves football, people forget that aspect of the RKG theory. Janoris Jenkins made mistakes at Florida. He was immature and reckless off the field. People smoke marijuana folks and I bet you a lot of your favorite players do it. In college kids are going to be kids. He made a mistake, well mistakes and he paid dearly for them.
Everything that is being reported out of Northern Alabama is positive with Jenkins. He is doing and saying exactly all the right things and is on his road to redemption. His coach down there constantly praises him and this kid is the type of football player I want in my secondary.
The cornerback position is one of the toughest positions in football and maybe any sport. You are going to get beat, wide receivers know what route they are running, the cornerback doesn't. It's about how you limit those plays and come back from them that makes a cornerback what he is. Look at Mike Jenkins from 2009, 2010 and this year. Confidence plays a big part in a cornerbacks game. What Janoris Jenkins has is swagger, something that Jason Garrett clearly emphasizes on.
Bigger cornerbacks are hard to find and we will talk about one later in this post. I wanted a bigger cornerback but I cannot ignore how good Janoris Jenkins is. He is 5'10 and around 185 pounds. He fits the Cowboys criteria for cornerbacks because they like that size range and speed. Jenkins is a speed cornerback who has immense lock down capability. His technique is probably the best in the nation and his all around cornerback skills are the best in the draft this year.
This secondary needs a player of this caliber if it ever wants to be a contender. Jenkins is a corner that you can put on the other teams best wide receiver and completely take him out of the game. The Cowboys and Jerry Jones have taken chances on talented but troubled cornerbacks before. This time I don't see this kid as a risk because he knows exactly how great of a player he can be. Teams will do their homework on this kid once they conduct their combine interviews.
Dez Bryant had character concerns himself but didn't have the marijuana issues Jenkins has. The Cowboys gambled with Dez and it has worked out. The Cowboys have some of the best personnel people in the NFL and can take care of troubled players. They work with them and keep them under control. Janoris Jenkins should be a Dallas Cowboy if he is indeed available when we go on the clock in 2012. This team has had so many talented players fall to them with issues and they took a chance on those players, it worked out. If you take a chance with Jenkins your going to get one of the steals of the entire draft.
Plus it would be pretty cool to have a Jenkins and Jenkins law firm cornerback duo. Those two would be a great cornerback tandem.
Janoris Jenkins Highlights 2011 (UNA) (via DJYUNGKOOZIE)
Look at Jenkins at Cowboy stadium in the video above.
Last year a lot of people were gaga for Prince Amukamara, including myself. There were reports that many NFL scouts felt that Dennard was the better cornerback and eventually would be the better pro player. I think Prince has gamer skills but will take time to adjust to the NFL level especially because of his lack of press coverage capability. Dennard on the other hand excels at press coverage and is hands above Prince in that area.
Dennard is a physical cornerback that will use his size (5'10 205) to man handle you at the line and down the field. This is the type of big cornerback that the Cowboys should have added years ago. They believe that Alan Ball is their big cornerback but height isn't everything when it comes to the big cornerback that can match up with physical wide receivers. Dennard employs great technique and has a knack for getting his hands in there to break up the pass.
He doesn't possess great speed but he is no slouch in the speed department either. Trailing the wide receiver down the field does include speed but technique and intelligence is something Dennard understands. I really like this kid because he is big and physical. In 2010 teams were more willing to throw at Prince because Dennard was so physical he took the opposing teams wide receiver out of the game due to his physical technique.
When the draft rolls around this April we will see a lot of Dennard to the Cowboys talk. Dennard could be the second cornerback off the board but may slip to the Cowboys if we get lucky. Adding a cornerback of this caliber who could start right away is something I crave and desire.
It would be interesting to land Dennard and see him be the better cornerback over Prince. One Nebraska cornerback on the Cowboys and the other on the Giants. Now that would be something to laugh about down the road.
There are a few outside linebacker prospects that I think are worthy of replacing Anthony Spencer. Ronell Lewis, Courtney Upshaw and Bruce Irvin are the prospects that make sense but I really like Melvin Ingram. One interesting fact is that the Cowboys have been scouting South Carolina games this year and that tells me they are looking at the defensive prospects on that team. Of course Stephon Gilmore may be the target but something tells me Ingram caught their eye when they were scouting USC.
First off he has the size (6'2 276) to play the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defense. The non stop motor this kid displays is just simply amazing to watch and I had a lot of fun watching him play this year. Ingram gets after the passer because he has the speed to get there. Ingram has a rare combination of speed and strength that the great pass rushers in football possess. Because of his high pace motor, Ingram doesn't fade away late into games. That is something that cannot be taught. You simply either have it or you don't and Spencer does not have it.
The Cowboys desire versatile football players and Ingram is extremely versatile. He can line up as a down lineman and rush the passer or stop the run. He can stand up as pass rusher and get after the quarterback. The area that you don't see too much in premier prospects is special teams. Ingram is a force on special teams. He can block kicks, return kicks and be used on coverage units in the kicking game.
Ingram truly reminds me of a throwback football player, a jack of all trades type of player that gives you everything he has and is willing to do whatever. Bruce Carter is a jack of all trades type of player himself and I would love a defense that consisted of that type of pedigree.
As of right now Ingram isn't a first round pick in many eyes. After he blows up the combine, which he will because he is such a freak athlete, Ingram will become a hot name. He reminds me a lot of Jason Pierre Paul, you know the guy who abused us last night. He reminds me of JPP because people will say Ingram is raw and yes he will be raw as a OLB. He won't really be a great coverage guy but I don't care if my OLB can drop into coverage, I want him rushing the passer.
If the Cowboys want to take a chance with high upside, like the Giants did with JPP, you draft Melvin Ingram and replace Anthony Spencer with a real football player.
Melvin Ingram - Mid Season 2011 (via tmac20031)
Melvin Ingram - 2010 Tape (via BrownsOrBust)