Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Can Cowboys Ignore D-Line In First Round?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Latest Cowboys headlines: Talent too thin to ignore defensive line in 1st round; Romo throwing passes with 'same zip' as they've always had; Carr focusing on improving in third season.

Talent too thin to ignore defensive line in 1st round | David Moore, DMN
Moore has quietly become a must-read over the last few months, as he delivers articles that are more than just dressed up soundbites from Cowboys personnel. Today, Moore argues that the Cowboys must look to come away with a defensive lineman and day-one starter with their top pick, though that may not necessarily be the 16th pick. Here's what he suggests the Cowboys should do, and why.

Some will maintain this fixation [on defensive linemen] overlooks the very real possibility that there won’t be a lineman worthy of the No. 16 pick when the Cowboys are on the clock. If that scenario unfolds the team should move back in the first round, happily accept the additional selection it acquires to make the move and still commit to the front four.

The drop in defensive line talent from No. 16 to the late 20s won’t be nearly as severe as the drop to No. 47, which is where the Cowboys are slotted to pick in the second round.

The rationale heading into this year’s draft is no different than it was one year ago. Only the position has changed. The Cowboys knew they had to come out of the 2013 draft with a starter in the offensive line. With the top candidates gone at No. 18, the team traded with San Francisco, held its breath after an unexpected run of offensive lineman and took center Travis Frederick at No. 31.

Was Frederick a first round reach based on projections? Sure. But the Cowboys knew if they waited until the middle of the second round there would not be a Day One starter on the board.

Jason Witten says Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo is throwing passes with 'same zip' as they've always had | Raner Sabin, DMN
Romo has been participating in the team's voluntary workouts and is expected to be fully healthy by the start of training camp in July. And despite his back surgery in the offseason, Romo hasn't lost any velocity on his ball, Jason Witten told the DMN:

"He is throwing good," said Witten on Tuesday. "I have caught a lot of balls over the years and it's the same zip, same as always. He looks good."

Cowboys' Carr focusing on improving in third season | Jon Machota FOX Sports
Heading into his third season, Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr is focusing on improving with a new defensive coordinator in '14.

He took less time off following the end of the regular season and "incorporated some different people" into his workout regimen.

"This year I feel stronger than the last six years, stronger than when I came out of college," Carr said. "I'm learning my body and getting the functional strength so I can go out there and translate the weight room and everything I'm learning, as far as getting my body right, and putting it onto the field and putting it on film.

"This year, it's year seven for me and I feel like this is like the first day I stepped into the door. I'm feeling fresh, I got a bounce in my step, all the injuries have kind of died down and I'm just ready to play ball."

Dallas Cowboys protected in Anthony Spencer contract - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer brings us the specific and very team-friendly details of Spencer's contract. Here is the part that deals with Spencer's incentives:

Spencer has $1.5 million available through incentives. He can earn $250,000 for seven sacks, $500,000 for nine sacks and $750,000 for 11 sacks. If he plays 65 percent of the snaps, he earns $250,000, topping out at $750,000 if he plays in 85 percent.

Point: Orton’s Iffy Status Should Alter QB Draft Plans - Rowan Kavner, DallasCowboys.com
Kavner is worried about a scenario where Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie are the backup QBs for the Cowboys.

Counterpoint: With or Without Orton, Drafting QB Isn’t Crucial - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Why draft a QB if you don't have a role for him, Eatman argues, who is not sure any QB available in the later rounds would even beat out Brandon Weeden for a backup spot.

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Todd McShay: Good year for Dallas Cowboys to find Tony Romo’s successor in the draft | Jon Machota, DMN
In a conference call on Wednesday, Todd McShay weighed in on the Cowboys' QB plans with a very definitive maybe-maybe-not opinion.

"With Dallas, you pick at 47, who knows how they rank them, but if one guy falls, if they’re in love with Tom Savage and he’s there at 47, then I can understand pulling the trigger. If you’re going to use that pick then you really got to believe that he’s the guy you’re going to develop to be the heir apparent.

"If not, then I think you wait until probably 78 or the worst case 119. You still got a chance to get (Aaron Murray from Georgia, Zach Mettenberger from LSU, A.J. McCarron from Alabama, Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech or David Fales from San Jose State). [...]

"For Dallas, if you’re worrying about Tony Romo holding up, maybe that’s the right guy for you, maybe not. It just kind of depends on how they view the next couple years at that position with Romo and what they expect from him."

Developing the quarterback position | National Football Post
Former Bears GM wonders what happened to the era in which young signal-callers were given two years to watch and learn.

Bears interested in Princeton DT Reid - Chicago Bears Blog - ESPN
Hot an the heels of a CBSSports report from Jason LaConfora that the Cowboys have "liked what they have seen so far" from DT Caraun Reid, ESPN Chicago is all over Reid. I tell you, the overlap between the Cowboys and Bears interests is uncanny.

Dee Ford's pass rush plan - SBNation.com
Dee Ford explains his pass-rush moves to SB Nation's Dan Kadar.

"I do a one-two jab inside to make them stop their feet. I got that from DeMarcus Ware," Ford said. "Once you threaten an offensive lineman, he gets his hands up. But once he does that, he stops his feet. Once he stops he stops his feet, you club his hands down and beat him outside. I got a sack like that in the Senior Bowl."

"They see me first off rushing the passer," Ford said. "Whether it’s a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker, teams like me at both. It’s all just a matter of me getting adjusted. They all tell me it’s not going to be hard because I’m going to be rushing the passer. You just have to get comfortable.

"I’m naturally fast for my size. As far as what I do with my game, you have to have a plan as a pass rusher," Ford said. "I picked two or three moves that I really love to do, and I perfected them. I really perfected them."

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