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Cowboys News & Notes: Robert Nkemdiche Interest, Dak Prescott Comfortable With Cowboys Staff

The latest news from interest in DT Robert Nkemdiche, talk of Dak Prescott, and a free agency offer that apparently went under the radar.

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The Cowboys already got some help for the middle of their defensive line when they picked up Cedric Thornton in free agency. But they might not be content to stop there. They recently met with Robert Nkemdiche who comes with huge athletic talent, but plenty of baggage. At one point it was thought he could be the number one pick in the 2016 draft.

As a senior in high school, Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche was expected to be a contender for the No. 1 overall pick whenever he decided to declare for the NFL draft. After an underwhelming college career that didn't live up to his high school hype, there's a possibility he could be had with the Cowboys' second round pick, No. 34 overall. Because of that, the Cowboys have reportedly met with Nkemdiche, sharing a dinner with him recently.

Nkemdiche is a freakish athlete who can be totally disruptive, but he's never been consistent and had a little bit of an issue a couple of months ago.

The former five-star recruit leaves a bit of a mixed legacy at Ole Miss, with his play starting to reach an elite level last season prior to a late-season concussion and his bizarre arrest in an Atlanta hotel. He fell 15 feet out of a window, needed stiches (sic) in his back and leg and was busted for being in possession of marijuana. It has raised questions about his character, and multiple teams came away with mixed impressions after interviewing him at the combine.

Would the Cowboys test the character-issue waters again after Randy Gregory last season?

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Apparently, the Cowboys made an offer to Saints restricted free agent guard Tim Lelito, but he turned it down to stay with New Orleans, mainly because he saw no opportunity to break into the Cowboys starting lineup.

His only offer coming from the Dallas Cowboys. However, they saw him as a reserve. Meanwhile, Lelito saw the considerable depth the Cowboys had accumulated along the offensive line. Those were just a few of the many reasons he found it easy to say no.

"You have to weigh your options and it’s a gamble," he said. "So you can go somewhere else and be a backup for a couple years with less money or you can try to go into a one-year tender and do the best you can and hopefully come out with a little better contract after it."

I guess they went with Joe Looney instead.

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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was one of the top cornerbacks in college football, then he tore his ACL at the end of the 2014 season. His stock tumbled and the Browns took a chance on him in the seventh round, but now they have released him. According to PFT, he will go on waivers Monday for 24 hours, then hit the open market if no one claims him. Should the Cowboys be interested?

Former Oregon cornerback Ifo-Ekpre-Olomu was released by the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. This fact should grab the attention of the Cowboys immediately, and I’m sure that it already has. Seems kind of early for that kind of move, but we are talking about the Browns, a franchise that’s fully committed to its bi-annual rebuilding process.

Not exactly fitting the profile of today’s highly coveted, tall cornerback, Ekpre-Olomu is considered a ball hawk that’s capable of the big play at any time. This is a true ‘shadow corner’ that’s got make-up speed and also plays the ball even after a receiver catches it – if he catches it, that is.

There is still questions about his recovery from the knee injury, but he's claims to be making progress and a doctor will examine him this week.

Ekpre-Olomu feels fine, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT. He's currently able to dunk a basketball again, and he's routinely working out with NFL-caliber players, covering receivers and otherwise performing at a high level. The Browns, however, became concerned about his ability to play 16 regular-season games based on the contents of a recent MRI of his knee.

Something to keep an eye on.

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Whenever the draft, quarterbacks, and the Cowboys come up in conversation, it seems like Dak Prescott's name is involved.

The Cowboys haven't drafted a quarterback in the first three rounds since taking Quincy Carter in 2001, and they have substantial needs elsewhere. But if an intriguing prospect is available in the third round or later, Dallas might want to consider the investment.

The fit: Mississippi State's Dak Prescott might present an intriguing option as a developmental quarterback for Jason Garrett's staff. He'll need plenty of time to refine his footwork and other elements of his game as a pocket passer, but he could bring value in the long term.

Prescott recently commented on the Cowboys staff and their workout with him.

"I feel like I know a couple of staffs pretty well, staffs I have a good feeling about, and the Cowboys are definitely one of them," Prescott said.

[Wade] Wilson arrived around 9 a.m. and showed Prescott some route concepts that are part of the Cowboys' offense. "He showed me some specifics about which dropbacks go with the routes, then we went in and watched some film for another 45 minutes or so," Prescott said. "They had some questions about our offense and what my responsibilities are on certain plays, my reads, my checks. Coach Wilson spent some time showing me where the similarities are between their offense and what I did here, just kind of making connections where they could be made."

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Kind of lost among the talk of defensive linemen, quarterbacks, and other positions is wide receiver. Dallas could certainly use one, the DMN has a list of 10 potential prospects, including Corey Coleman.

Expert: "Electric playmaker with exceptional speed, quickness and burst. Coleman is a touchdown waiting to happen when he gets the ball on the perimeter. He is capable of turning short passes into big gains with his explosive combination of speed and elusiveness, yet he also torches opponents as a deep-ball specialist. ... Although he has been successful on speed routes, Coleman will need to expand his repertoire to be a long-term star at the next level. In addition, he'll need to convince evaluators that he has a keen understanding of complex passing concepts after spending three years in a simple system."

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Interesting question from a fan in a chat with Matt Mosley.

Question: Who would you say has been the Cowboys' best value draft pick in the last 10 years or so?

Matt Mosley: I would have to think Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray would be at the top of that list. Murray shows why you don't necessarily have to take the Zeke Elliotts of the world early in the draft. Lee was in the second round because of a knee injury. When he's healthy, he's a tremendous player. They've actually done really well on undrafted players, too. But those are the best value guys that come to mind. I'd have to say Dez was a pretty solid value pick in the 20s, too.

Pretty good answers, but the best value the Cowboys have gotten in that time period is from a non-draft pick, UDFA Tony Romo!

star break recently ran an article on the 10 best defensive players ever. Two Cowboys made the list. One was a rental Cowboy, the other was Mr. Cowboy.

10) Deion Sanders, cornerback Perhaps the greatest cover corner to ever play the game, Deion "Prime Time" Sanders edges out Dick "Night Train" Lane for this spot. You could flip a coin on those two, as Lane was a better tackler and ballhawk, whereas quarterbacks avoided Sanders entirely. What puts the latter on this list is the instant offense he provided when he got his hands on the ball. See: His 19 return touchdowns, which was the NFL record until Devin Hester broke it in 2014. That's 19 scores off kicks, punts, interceptions and fumbles.

3) Bob Lilly, defensive end/defensive tackle Lilly was as good as any player on the football field any time he suited up in his prime. Forget that, immediately after he was moved inside to defensive tackle, Lilly was named first-team All-Pro seven times from 1964 through 1971. Or that he authored the most famous sack in Super Bowl history. Lilly, according to his peers (like Deacon Jones), was simply unblockable. His Hall of Fame coach said he was as fine a player as he ever saw. Tom Landry benefitted from Lilly's quickness and ability to disrupt blocking schemes for 14 seasons. Bill Walsh once told The Sporting News that Lilly was the third-best football player he ever saw. Enough said.

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