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Cowboys News: Cowboys Grab Jaylon Smith Away From Patriots; Still Took Big Risk

Latest Cowboys headlines: Patriots were going to take Jaylon Smith if Cowboys didn't; why the Cowboys will consistently side with offense over defense; can current pass rush "hold the fort"?

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

2016 NFL Draft: Patriots Were Going to Take Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith if the Cowboys Didn't - Rich Hill, Pats Pulpit
The Patriots were going to take another risk on a top tier prospect and Pats fans are lamenting that they let this one get away.

The Cowboys are banking on Smith returning at some point, while the Patriots would have liked to have Smith around in case one of Jamie Collins or Dont'a Hightower departs in free agency. Head coach Bill Belichick is all about acquiring talent, and there are none more talented than Smith.

If only he were now on the Patriots.

Why Cowboys took big risk in Round 2 on Jaylon Smith, who is unlikely to play in 2016 - Brandon George, SportsDay
The Cowboys felt Smith's potential upside was worth the very real risk that he may never play again.

The Cowboys, however, had Smith evaluated as a Top 5 player and felt the risk-reward was well worth it.

"We're not buying bonds here," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "This isn't risk-free. When we've got a player that we think can be a cornerstone defensive player ... to get a player like that not be able to live with the nerve firing, that's a risk ... that you don't even know about. It's certainly within our tolerance level of risk-taking."

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said Smith can play either middle our weak-side linebacker in their 4-3 scheme.

"His tape just leaps off the screen. In our system, the way we'll use him, he'll be pretty special," Marinelli said. "You look at a guy like this and you look a year from now we got one of the best players in the draft. He's well worth it."

Cowboys rely on Dr. Dan Cooper's expertise in selecting Jaylon Smith - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys took a risk drafting LB Jaylon Smith, who's coming off a knee injury, but it was their team doctor who performed reconstructive surgery.

No team knows the condition of Jaylon Smith's surgically repaired left knee better than the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys’ head team physician, Dr. Daniel Cooper, performed the operation on Smith’s knee one week after Notre Dame’s appearance in the Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl, where Smith suffered the injury.

While every team had the same information, Cooper’s intimate knowledge of the torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments and recovery, plus the attitude of the patient, gave the Cowboys an edge.


The real reasons why Cowboys ignored defense and drafted Ezekiel Elliott - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore calmly explains why the Cowboys will side with offense over defense in virtually every high-profile decision.

The Cowboys don't ignore defense. They simply don't place a premium on acquiring blue chip talent on that side of the ball the way they do offensively.

This isn't an indictment. Every team in the league operates with an offensive or defensive bent. The goal is to excel on one side, establish an identity and make sure the other side doesn't drag you down. It can become a partner in victory, but is rarely an equal partner.

In the Cowboys world view, Elliott is more significant than Ramsey. It's about offense first. It's part of their DNA.

"We just felt like Zeke Elliott was the kind of guy who could help our team the most right now," Garrett said.

Why the Dallas Cowboys believe Ezekiel Elliott also helps the defense - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys drafted an all-around back in Ezekiel Elliott. But his contributions on offense should have a positive effect on the defensive side of the ball as well, Davison explains.

The Cowboys feel strongly that Elliott is a special type of running back in today’s game, a guy who will allow them to control the line of scrimmage and control the clock. That, in turn, will keep the defense off the field and limit how much it might get exposed.

And the thought is that Elliott will help make the offense more explosive and put up points in a hurry. That will force opponents to play from behind and take more chances, opening up takeaway opportunities on defense.

10 Thoughts from Draft Day 1: No disagreement about Zeke Elliott among Cowboys staff - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Hill sets the record straight on a couple of topics that have had Cowboys Nation in a tizzy. One example:

A lot of storylines came out before the draft that Jerry Jones wanted Elliott and others wanted Ramsey. Well, the truth is there was no disagreement at all. This was not Jones getting his way. There was a true consensus on Elliott from the offensive coaches, the defensive coaches, the scouts and the front office.


2016 NFL draft: Dallas Cowboys believe Maliek Collins fits scheme perfectly - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys appear to have found more interior defensive line depth in Nebraska's Maliek Collins.

The Cowboys value position flexibility and could look to play Tyrone Crawford, their starter at under tackle the last two years, at defensive end more in the first month of the season. Free-agent signing Cedric Thornton could also play end more than expected when he joined the Cowboys.

Rating the NFL draft prospects: Maliek Collins - Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
McGinn provides an assessment fro Collins based on the analysis and opinions of a panel of (anonymous) NFL scouts.

Third-year junior, two-year starter primarily at NT in a 3-4. "He’s a 3-technique," said one scout. "He’s quick and can shed. Gets bounced around some. Does get covered up and plays a little high at times. Has some twitch." Finished with 86 tackles (23 for loss) and 8 sacks. More effective rushing in 2014. "He didn’t have as good a year as he could have had," another scout said. "He has yet to live up to his measurables and consistently harass the quarterback. Not an underachiever. He just seemed a little bit lost." State champion wrestler from Kansas City. Wonderlic of 24. "He’s a little guy," said a third scout. "He just plays small. Has to be a penetrator."

Front Office Confident Current Pass Rush Can "Hold The Fort" If Need Be - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Widely regarded as one of their biggest needs, the Cowboys haven't done much to address their pass rush, which will be missing Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory for the first four games.

"We’ll just have to see what’s the best way to put our line together for the first part of the season, knowing that we’re going to probably get some help as we go," Stephen Jones said.

"We have some veteran players. We have some position flex," Garrett said. "Now you start putting the piece of the puzzle together and now you say, ‘Ok. We see this guy as this. Pure evaluation. This is how he would fit into our team. This is the role he would play. This is how we would move the pieces around.’ So you have all those discussions, very thorough discussions. I think the flexibility and the versatility of those guys on the defensive front allows us to make a decision like this."

"Obviously we had a good year two years ago with Mincey and Selvie, who you maybe might not put at the top of right ends in the world, but you can certainly get by. And you can hold the fort," he said.


20 intriguing prospects still out there for Dallas Cowboys in final day of NFL draft | SportsDay
The Cowboys have two more picks in the fourth round and four more in the sixth. Here are the top five names on Machota's 20-name list:

1.) Ronald Blair, DE, Appalachian State
2.) Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
3.) Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
4.) Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor
5.) Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State

Quarterback? Defense? What Cowboys should do in Rounds 4-7 - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm explains what he would do with the Cowboys' final picks today.

If there are some sacks to be found and Ronald Blair of Appalachian State is the one I have my eyes on, that would be really exciting.

The Cowboys could look at Dak Prescott and Connor Cook, Cardale Jones and give them some youthful talent they could develop. I’m not in love with any of these quarterback prospects but that doesn’t mean they aren't. That’s a real possibility to start Round 4.

From there, if they want to make a smart move or two, continue to add to your defense. Focus on the secondary. Add one more young corner to move on.


Greg Hardy era with Cowboys is over: Jerry Jones rules out re-signing him - SportsDay Staff
Jerry Jones ruled out re-signing Greg Hardy, something we have consistently been saying for the last four months and getting a lot of heat for.

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