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The VRR: Cowboys Prepare for NFL Scouting Combine

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Just when we start dreaming about those prospects that can help take the Cowboys to the next level, the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine week arrives. Its time to shake up your mocks and find a few new pet cats!

40-yard dash times, bench press reps, Wonderlic Test scores, vertical jumps...these are some of the phrases that we can expect our collective diction to be comprised of here on BTB. But if you need a brushing up on your Combine vocabulary, take a tour with a virtual Mike Mayock as he guides you through the Combine's different workouts & drills.

More VRR after the jump.

When does the Combine begin?

The prospects will be in Indianapolis on Wednesday for preliminary evaluation. The NFL Network will begin covering press conferences on Thursday, February 25th at 2:30pm (EST). Live workout coverage will be aired Saturday the 27th at 9am (EST). The workout schedule is as follows:

Saturday, Feb. 27

Group 1 (OL, SPECIALISTS)
Group 2 (OL)
Group 3 (TE)

Sunday, Feb. 28

Group 4 (QB, WR)
Group 5 (QB, WR)
Group 6 (RB)

Monday, March 1

Group 7 (DL)
Group 8 (DL)
Group 9 (LB)

Tuesday, March 2

Group 10 (DB)
Group 11 (DB)


Who to watch...who to watch...

You can begin here with Pat Kirwin's list of 10 players to watch at the Combine. His list includes Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster.

Interested in one of the most dangerous players in the draft and not worried about size? McCluster is your man. Some draft grading systems will prevent him from being a top 50 player simply because he checks in at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds. But the college production, Senior Bowl practices and his combine testing should eliminate all fears.

He is speed training with Olympian Michael Johnson and should really run and jump in Indianapolis. McCluster has to get his shoulder checked out from an old injury, which shouldn't be a problem. Some GM looking for the next Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson is going to ignore the size and take this kid.

Another mock has the Cowboys taking a certain safety from USC. Grrr!

27. Dallas Cowboys: S Taylor Mays, Southern California. Their creaky offensive line needs help, but Mays would bring a physical presence and off-the-charts athleticism to the secondary.

In this video, Florida State safety Myron Rolle disusses how he's ready to impress NFL scouts.

WR prospect Golden Tate prepares for the NFL Combine and the Draft.

The NFL Scouting Combine has recently turned into a celebrated television event.

The prominence of the scouting combine grew with the advent of the NFL Network in 2003. Executive producer Eric Weinberger, who will produce his seventh combine this year, said he "can't even put a number on how much bigger" the event has become in that time. The network will air more than 30 hours of coverage this year. Live coverage will be 2:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

[snip]

In a new wrinkle, NFL.com will have cameras following two groups each day and stream video on the Web site, airing every throw, jump and lift. Quarterback Tim Tebow — who will not throw at the combine — is sure to get that treatment.

"It tells more of the story," NFL.com producer Laura Goldberg said. "Maybe a certain quarterback will have a slow 40 time but he's throwing great and does a good shuttle run."

Away from the tele? You can watch the Combine live here on NFL.com.

Jerry Jones smokescreen? He sure seems to like the potential of the young WRs already on this squad.

"We are, uh, really, impressively, ahhh, we're, we're in pretty good shape with our depth, with our young receivers all the way through to two receivers that are on the practice squad...Ogletree's a player that, that has some potential, and we've got a couple of others on our practice squad."

Matt Mosley doesn't think a team will offer Miles Austin a contract that Jerry Jones can't reasonably match.

Technically, another team could come in and try to make things difficult for Jones and the Cowboys. There's also something called a poison pill that I'll explain at a later date. But remember that a possible lockout looms in 2011. The owners need to be closer than ever at this point. I don't think Jeff Lurie or John Mara is going to sign off on a blatant attempt to make things difficult for a fellow owner. Jones is one of the most respected owners in the league and that's why he'll be a major voice in the negotiations between players and owners. So while your hypothetical is logical, it's never going to happen.

Calvin Watkins compares Roy Williams' snap count towards the season's end to that of Miles Austin's.

Williams' snap count the last five weeks: New Orleans 56, Washington 56, Philadelphia 47, Philadelphia 40 and Minnesota 51.

Austin's snap count last five weeks: New Orleans 56, Washington 54, Philadelphia 61, Philadelphia 69 and Minnesota 64.

Todd Archer breaks down Roy Williams' guaranteed money.

[C]utting Roy Williams make(s) little sense because of a $9.5 million bonus that is fully guaranteed. There's even more to it than that. Around $2 million of Williams' $3.452 million base salary is guaranteed as well, to bring the total guaranteed money to $27 million.

The guys at DC.com answer a question regarding Doug Free's role on the team next season.

Rob: My guess is Adams is back for 2010. Beyond that, who knows. They seem to like Free as much, if not more, at left tackle than right. But they should take a long look at tackle in the draft if one falls to them - if nothing else than to keep adding depth there. Pat McQuistan is a restricted free agent.

Josh: I don't know. I think the Cowboys probably project Free as a future starter on one side or the other, but he seems more like a left tackle because of his pass-blocking ability. I just don't know if he's that stud, franchise-caliber left tackle everybody seems to be looking for. Maybe his presence knocks left tackle down on their priority list. Or maybe they give him a chance before breaking down and drafting one. I don't think Adams' roster spot is guaranteed right now, but I don't think it would help to release him.

The DMN analyzes the Cowboys' running backs.

Tashard Choice discusses sharing the backfield with Marion Barber and Felix Jones.

I'm never gonna complain about what I'm not getting ... Marion, Felix – I love 'em to death, my two, you know, closest teammates ... we hang together all the time ... The competition part is cool 'cuz we're gonna, if they see me do well in the game, then they're gonna come back and do well ... Somebody's not gonna get the same amount of touches as the other guys ... I know the little chances I get, I have to capitalize."

With San Diego's release of LaDainian Tomlinson, Barber becomes one of the longest-tenured RBs to stay with the same team.

Tomlinson’s release ends a nine-year stay in San Diego, the longest active tenure with a single team among featured backs. Taking his place are Philly’s Brian Westbrook (2002), Oakland’s Justin Fargas (2003), Washington’s Clinton Portis (2004), St. Louis’ Steven Jackson (2004) – and, yes, Marion Barber, a fourth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2005.

Even though the Cowboys finished as a "final eight" team, released players are fair game to them.

NFL director of corporate communications Dan Masonson, who has been incredibly helpful to our efforts to understand the nuances of the labor deal, tells us that the final eight teams will be permitted to sign any players who have been released from their contracts, regardless of whether they had to pass through the waiver system before becoming free agents.

[snip]

So if, for example, quarterback Marc Bulger is released by the Rams, one of the final eight teams could sign him. Ditto for Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, and any other player who'll be dumped from his current deal.

Todd Archer asks: who will serve as the Cowboys holder in 2010? Obviously, the team wants an option other than starting QB Tony Romo on the placekicking team.

Jon Kitna can't do it, so the backup quarterback is out. Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd did it some during training camp, so maybe they get in the mix again. Mat McBriar, who took more of the blame than maybe he should have for some of Folk's misses last year, is probably the leading candidate. He can get the job done but the first hold that is slightly off will bring back all of these questions.

Nick Eatman lists the various individual awards won by Cowboys this past season.

Defensive backs coach, Dave Campo, will undergo neck surgery in March.

Remember, the Cowboys' Combine hero of a year ago? Kicker David Buehler.