The draft news continues apace, with the looming NFL Combine getting a lot of attention. Meanwhile, the review of the roster is still ongoing as the Dallas Cowboys still have a lot of decisions to make on their own players. Here are all the links you need to stay a well-informed fan, starting with the draft.
Myles Jack is a popular option for Dallas to take at four in many mock drafts. But due to injury, he is not going to be able to participate fully in the Combine.
Jack has been training in combine-specific drills, but hasn't been medically cleared for some of those drills at the combine, according to ESPN. Instead, Jack said his participation will be limited to the bench press testing, personal interviews and medical examinations. In other words, he won't perform in the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, or any of the agility drills that help NFL scouts measure speed, quickness and explosiveness.
Expect the UCLA pro day to be standing room only.
On the topic of the Combine, David Helman reminds us that it is when players, like Dallas' own Byron Jones, start to reshape opinions of them thought better or worse than expected showings.
As much as we think we know about the upper echelon of the draft, it seems like a safe bet there will be at least one or two late risers. Conversely, there likely could be one or two elite prospects - guys who seem like top 10 locks - who will drop over the next few months.
Rick Gosselin thinks the mindset of the Cowboys is all about winning now, and a QB in the first round doesn't fit that idea in his mind.
At 73, Jerry Jones is not a patient man. Romo will be 36 this season. He's not a patient man. Jason Witten will be 34 this season. He's not a patient man. All saw their friend DeMarcus Ware win a Super Bowl ring this month to provide his career an exclamation point. All want a ring of their own. All need a ring of their own to validate their careers, as Ware has done. Their clocks are ticking. Drafting a quarterback with the fourth overall pick would not be a forceful step in that direction.
In his latest draft profile, Bob Sturm looks at a player who may be a prospect for Dallas past the first round.
I like Jarran Reed quite a bit. The question is what price is too much to pay for a fantastic run stopper who could really lock down the Cowboys 1-technique spot and make that defensive line a real force to be reckoned with inside? I am sure he would be very high on their list with that third pick in Round 2.
Draft guru Dan Brugler lists some players whose first day at the Combine might be important to their draft stock, including one that our own Ryan Ratty has just put on our radar.
Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State
Due to an injury, Blair did not participate at the East-West Shrine Game so scouts were unable to get his official measurements in St. Petersburg. He lacks ideal height for a pass rusher, but plays with excellent length so his official arm size will be interesting. Blair is a highly intriguing prospect and isn't talked about nearly enough.
Another well-known draftnik, Lance Zierlein, offers some interesting comparisons between top draft prospects and current players. Several names are of interest to Dallas fans, like this one.
Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
The NFL comp: Sean Smith
The skinny: Neither is absolutely clean from a coverage standpoint, but Ramsey and Smith have great size and speed. Each players' length is an additional premium feature of the position. Ramsey, unlike Smith is being considered as a safety as well.
Meanwhile, there are many other items dealing with the Cowboys.
It was expected. There just aren't any players for the Cowboys that would justify using any tags.
That's a significant departure from last offseason when the Cowboys tagged Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant. The club used the non-exclusive franchise designation, meaning it retained the right to match any offer Bryant received or receive two first round picks as compensation if it allowed him to depart.
Mackenzy Bernadeau is another player that the Cowboys have to make a decision on. His biggest value is that he can back up all three interior offensive line positions.
Chance to return: Low to moderate. It all depends on what the Cowboys do in the draft. Frederick is signed through 2017, once the Cowboys pick up his fifth-year option this spring, but they don't have another center in the pipeline. Bernadeau's price should keep him in the Cowboys' ballpark.
There are a lot of problems for the Cowboys, but the offensive line is not one of them.
David Helman: People look at Doug Free's $5 million salary and his lack of Pro Bowl nominations and seem hell-bent on replacing him in the starting lineup. I can't count how many times I've fielded questions about cutting Free and moving Chaz Green or La'el Collins into his position. Simply put, I don't really understand it. No, he's not the best tackle on this team. He's probably the least-talented member of the starting line. But that's much more an indicator of the talent level on the line than Free's ability. Aside from a troubling tendency for false starts, Free enjoyed a solid 2015 season on the right side, and he's clearly proven he's a preferable option to an unproven Green.
Everyone hopes that Tony Romo will be able to perform this year more like he did in 2014. Besides him, only Kellen Moore is likely to be returning at the position, and that is a concern. An upgrade is needed.
Clearly, it's a backup quarterback they feel can capably move the offense if ever called into action. Moore showed flashes in two and a half games replacing Cassel to end the season, posting four touchdowns but also six interceptions. He should be in the mix for the No. 2 job in training camp, but the team very well could attempt to add competition through the draft or free agency.
Archer lists five things Dallas has to do, and the top one on his list is hard to argue.
There will be injuries. Every team has injuries. Every team has a lot of injuries. This will sound cold, but the key is making sure the right guys don't get hurt. The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant in the opener. They lost Tony Romo in the second game. The offense wasn't the same. Losing Bryant was a blow, but the feeling was Romo would be able to lift up the remaining receivers and still make the offense go. And then he got hurt. And the offense went stagnant. Every team has a player or three they can't lose. The Cowboys lost two of the three guys they couldn't lose last season. It's easier for teams to lose a cornerback or linebacker and survive.
Our old friend rabblerousr is gone from the front page, but he is still keeping his hand in writing for WFAA's website. He offers up his take on how the Cowboys have focused recently on the periphery of the defense, and need to change their focus this year.
The middle of the defense is a different story. At various times in 2015, the Cowboys defensive tackle corps featured a third-round pick (Tyrone Crawford), a seventh-rounder (Ken Bishop), a low-budget free agent (Terrell McClain), three street free agents (Nick Hayden, Jack Crawford and David Irving) and an undrafted college free agent (Davon Coleman). Their primary safeties were a third round selection (J.J. Wilcox) and two UDFAs, Barry Church and Jeff Heath.
Bonus: You can all find out what rabble's real name is!
Brandon Carr has come in for his share of criticism as a player, but you cannot fault him as a caring human being.
MLive.com reported Tuesday morning that the Community Foundation of Greater Flint said Carr is donating $100,000 to create the Carr Cares Fund for Flint and $10,000 for the Safe Water Safe Homes Fund to help with replacing pipes and plumbing.
Finally, just because we all love the commish so much.
Admittedly, he received his compensation before the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy scandals broke. But there is no question that he has done quite well for himself in this gig.
Since being named NFL commissioner nine years ago, Goodell, 57, has earned a total of $180.5 million in salary.
Interesting note: The NFL has changed from non-profit to for profit status, so these little details are no longer going to be public knowledge.