We've made it to the first compensatory pick for the Dallas Cowboys at selection 137. For a team with a ton of holes relative to their depth chart, having two in the fourth round can net them some solid contributors on either side of the ball. It's not too farfetched to think there just may be a guy or two that can turn into something a whole lot better. Late in the fourth is shaping up to be a place they can look for extra help on that defense. We all know they could use it. Let's dive in folks.
Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida, (CBS 135th)
Morrison is becoming one of my favorite prospects because he seems likely destined to have a bigger role once he's fully healthy. If not for a scary knee injury in the 2014 bowl game, Morrison would be a lot higher on many folks draft boards. The upside on this kid is tremendous and the Cowboys are looking for intelligent linebackers that play integral roles for them. Morrison has all those traits and more. It's no question that he plays with a ton of intensity, sometimes a little too much. However, Morrison can be explosive as a middle linebacker. For what he lacks in prototypical size, he makes up for with intelligence and an extreme feel for the game.
He'll have to go through some extensive medical checks after returning from a 10-12 month injury in just six. However, Brugler has gone as far as to state that if Morrison is healthy, we're looking at a top 40 prospect. Morrison led the Gators with 97 tackles, 56 for loss, and a forced fumble. He also was named to the 2015 All-SEC Second Team.
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama, (CBS 136th)
Jones exudes confidence on the field when he plays and you can see the fluidity in his hips. He can turn an run with a certain smoothness that some corners just don't have. He plays very loose and that can't be stressed enough to most young players. Though he's only 5'10, 196 lbs, he's got very long limbs which allow him to disrupt receivers and defend passes. He's a naturally motivated type of player that obviously loves the game and is very competitively-driven.
Jones is admittingly small and has maxed out his form and that can stand out big against the larger receivers in the NFL. Jones is a finisher though in every aspect and uses the sidelines as a weapon for him. He understands that it's about being consistent and does so with a relentless effort. He has some value as a punt returner having returned four for touchdowns. He's aggressive in run support and off the edge.
Keanu Neal, S, Florida (CBS 138th)
He certainly has the build of a safety with his chiseled physique and long limbs. He's very physical and is a huge striker when he's on the field. He's not blazing fast or anything but plays with consistent speed. He's a very violent player and very intelligent as well. He wraps guys up and doesn't miss too many tackles but there are concerns with his physicality at times. He gets locked in on the backfield too much showing that he may have a little tunnel vision which will need to be corrected.
He's always looking to lay the wood much like former Cowboy Roy Williams. However, if a good safeties coach can come in and help him elevate his game, he could compete for a starting role rather quickly. He'll certainly show up on special teams for any takers but must learn some discipline in the NFL.
Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas (CBS 144th)
This may come as a surprise but Ridgeway may be among the best 1-technique in the draft as far as the Cowboys are concerned. He's super intelligent with a high football acumen and never loses sight of the play. He's almost immovable and models his game after Vince Wilfork. He's schemeless because he fits whatever you want him to do. He's very athletic for his size and uses excellent momentum to knock blockers out of their shoes. He can stay in and take the punishment often reaching through blockers to grab the runner.
Ridgeway needs some work on his technique but his combination of power and instinctual effort make him a very intriguing product. His violent nature and attitude on the field remind you of a Charles Haley. He's playful but boy is he mean, that gets into people's heads. Ridgeway is a pet cat and would be absolutely perfect next to Tyrone Crawford.
Kevin Peterson, CB, Oklahoma State (141st)
Peterson was one of the leaders of his Cowboys' defense and is a nice job starting opposite side of Justin Gilbert. He's long but could stand to put on a little more weight (5'11, 176 lbs). He does use his length very well to make receivers quite uncomfortable. He's physical by nature but knows how to steer clear of penalties. He's got good vision to come back on receiver routes and make the breakup. He can turn and move well with good squared up hips to not lose sight of the tackle area.
He's got some work to do in the technique like any cornerback in the fourth round would, but he has the right attitude and made the All Big-12 First-team. He's also got to work on his backpedal and using his speed correctly. He's not really that fast but he doesn't waste movement. He's had solid production throughout his time at Oklahoma State and there aren't many negative things you can say about his game.
SS Jayron Kearse 6'4, 220 lbs, Clemson (CBS 152nd Prospect)
Coming from a bloodline of good NFL prospects, Kearse looks to take his intimidating frame to the NFL. This is a classic case of a thumper but with the athleticism to play in coverage.
He's got some scouts excited because his measurables and ball skills are off the charts. Kearse has great instincts and really shows his speed first and foremost. He's got a knack for causing turnovers but can get a little over-excited at times. Kearse is going to need to learn to keep his good awareness for the game but play with more control. He can anticipate routes and is a fine tackler but still needs work on some of his angles.
Tajae Sharp, WR, Massachusetts (CBS 150th)
He's a very young receiver having started college at 17 years old and played well as a true freshman. He consistently improved over his time at UMass. As a junior he had 85 catches for 1,281 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2015, he left school with just about every receiving record. He made the Walter Camp All-American Second-team after recording 111 catches. He also set the record for most receiving yards with 3,486.
He will have to learn to make those contested catches without having to use his body so much in the NFL. He's got the right frame and mental awareness to see the whole field and find the perfect window to stay open. He's only got average speed but he's fearless and can make incredible plays with his intelligence and ball control.
Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple (CBS 168th)
Ioannidis started every game at defensive tackle for the Owls in his senior season. And he didn't disappoint, with 11.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 42 tackles, and two fumble recoveries. After being named to the AAC First Team, he received an invite to the Senior Bowl where he stood out again.
Watching those televised practices myself, you see a guy with tremendous effort and strength at the point of attack. He straight attacks blockers with relentless effort and forces his way into making the play. He's tenacious and can be downright nasty in the trenches. He creates great momentum as a pass rusher with the heavy hand ability to grip and rip at blockers. His vision is outstanding and he used every ounce of effort to disrupt in his time in Mobile. With as good an effort as he showed, I see him rising on a lot of people's boards.