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Cowboys News & Notes: Coming Out Of Combine, Running Back And Offensive Line Questions Abound

What to do about DeMarco Murray and who will start at right tackle were big items.

He is still one of the biggest questions for the Cowboys.
He is still one of the biggest questions for the Cowboys.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Machota: Top 25 Cowboys topics from the NFL scouting combine | Dallas Morning News

25 is a lot of topics, and Jon Machota hit on just about all the ones he picked. This one isn't quite chosen at random.

23.) Loaded running back class. If DeMarco Murray doesn't re-sign with the Cowboys, the franchise could find his replacement in a deep running back draft class. It wouldn't be a surprise to possibly see 6-8 come off the board in the first couple of rounds. Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi, Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman and T.J. Yeldon seem to be getting the most attention.

Could Cowboys go with committee approach at RB? - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN

The debate about how important DeMarco Murray is to the Cowboys rages on. This article is clearly in the "he is replaceable" camp, and points to how the team used the RBBC approach in the recent past, to good effect - and was also built on something the team has now.

In 2007, the Cowboys had three Pro Bowl offensive linemen in Flozell Adams, Andre Gurode and Leonard Davis, and Marion Barber and Julius Jones combined for 368 carries, 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns. 

In 2009, the Cowboys had two Pro Bowlers on the offensive line in Davis and Gurode, and Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice combined for 394 carries, 2,026 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Bob Sturm’s 2015 NFL Draft profile: What I see in Duke Johnson, RB, Miami | Dallas Morning News

You may have noticed a certain theme to start the news links. Given the depth of the running back class, the Cowboys might pull the trigger on a back in almost any round, so some of the names that are definitely outside the first round are worth taking a look at. And this guy sounds like a great "by committee" candidate.

There is a lot to like here with Duke Johnson, but it is understandable that he might be on that tier below the top with regards to some of the items listed above.  That said, as a zone runner with fantastic receiving skills and an attitude that you just have to love, he might be the type of guy who people wonder in 4 years why we were picking him apart when we should have been merely focusing on what makes him special.  If you were to focus on his strengths, you could really fall in love with what he brings to the table in so many regards.  But, if you want him to be your #1 RB, you might want to make sure your stable behind him is ready to pick up some of the workload just in case.

Five Wonders: Adrian Peterson trade hard to figure - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

The "AD trade to Dallas" story has developed something of a life of its own, with the latest word being that Adrian Peterson's agent had to be restrained during a face-to-face with some Vikings staffers at the Combine, and he told them that AD would never play for Minnesota again. But the whole idea of a trade has some financial issues involved.

For the Cowboys? It's not impossible but it would waste their cap management strategy of the last few years. Remember, Dez Bryant will have a cap figure of around $13 million with the franchise tag in 2015. Tony Romo's cap figure is $27.773 million and an acquisition of Peterson would require a huge restructure that would add significant proration to his contract that would add to the potential dead money when he retires or is cut. Peterson is a great back but a trade would require too many draft picks and too much cash, in my opinion.

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10 Free-Agent Questions: After Dez & Murray, Who Is No. 3 on FA Priority List? | Dallas Cowboys

Two of the three writers who try to answer this come up with the same name. David Helman explains why this is something a lot of us didn't see a couple of seasons ago.

For all the help the defense might need, I don't think there's one, single defender on this roster that makes the Cowboys more viable. I do feel that way about Doug Free. It's kind of surprising, because I remember when I first arrived at DallasCowboys.com, Free was a target of so much derision.

Another OL in first round for Dallas Cowboys? It's possible - ESPN

There was no more abrupt change in how the Cowboys approach things than the way the team started drafting offensive linemen in the first round. After going three decades without taking one, the team has now used the first round pick on offensive linemen three of the past four years - and it is certainly within the realm of possibility again this year, according to someone who should know.

"It certainly is," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said last week at the NFL scouting combine.

Why?

The Cowboys don't have a right tackle under contract since Doug Free and Jermey Parnell are set to hit the free-agent market. Parnell might command more money and thus be out of the Cowboys' price range. Free is a little older but arguably more important to the offensive line than Parnell, but Free is coming back from foot surgery.

Roster Rundown: Church Once Again Provided Consistency On Back End Of Dallas Defense | Dallas Cowboys

The defense had its share of problems last season, but one player who was there putting it all on the field all season was safety Barry Church. This look at his role pays him some high praise, indeed.

Church is a throwback player to the days of Darren Woodson where he starts on the defense but also contributes on special teams. As long as he is able to play down in the box and near the line, that is his best spot. He is always going to be a strong player at the point of attack and playing in limited coverage. You can see that he has taken more of a leadership role with the team and that his teammates look to him to be that type of player.

I Want The Cowboys To Draft This Guy " CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Kevin "KT" Turner is not afraid to openly campaign for the Cowboys to draft cornerback Marcus Peters from Washington in the first round, on the theory that cornerback may be the greatest need (which has been mentioned elsewhere), and Peters matches up as a legitimate first round pick.

If things play out the way I think they'll play out, then Peters will slide into the 20s and from there, i'll cross my fingers and hope that the Cowboys can snatch him up at #27. Carr and Peters on the outside, with Scandrick holding down the slot would serve as significant upgrade in the Cowboys secondary. Let Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore, and Tyler Patmon compete for the 4th cornerback role.

Dallas Cowboys believe in analytics, but instincts as well - ESPN

The Cowboys were one of the first teams to start using computers extensively. This article confirms some of the things about the current edition that we have suspected, but were not sure about.

The Jerry Jones Cowboys are not as focused on analytics as those (early Cowboys) teams, but the Cowboys use GPS-monitoring systems on players in practice to measure just about anything. They are also in a partnership with Pro Football Focus, like a good amount of teams in the NFL. 

Will McClay has attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in the past, and the Cowboys will be represented at it again this weekend.

Troy Vincent: Defensive pass interference could become a 15-yard penalty | ProFootballTalk

This is here because it is a move that is very long overdue. Giving a team 30, 40 or more yards of field position on a pass interference call has always seemed wrong.

NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent told Judy Battista of NFL Media that the league may explore making defensive pass interference a 15-yard penalty as an alternative to making pass interference subject to replay review.

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