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Cowboys News: Cowboys Pick Up Zack Martin's Option, Continue Prepping For The Draft

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Cowboys pick up Zack Martin's 2018 option but want long-term deal - Todd Archer, ESPN

We knew this was going to happen. The only question now is how much will it cost Dallas long term? With Romo coming off the books, this will soften the blow for a couple of years, and keep Dallas from having to convert salary to bonus and push cap hits into the future.

Smith signed an eight-year extension through 2023 that was worth $98 million and included $40 million in guaranteed. Frederick signed a six-year extension through 2023 that was worth $56 million and included $28 million in guarantees.

Martin will be looking at a deal in the $12 million a year neighborhood and more than $30 million in guarantees.

Two years later, David Irving a first-round talent? - Todd Archer, ESPN

Archer is just picking up on a piece we'd already covered here. My question on Irving is will he outplay everyone else on the defensive line? He has the talent, just not the consistency.

In a 2015 re-draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had David Irving going to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 12 overall pick. That’s quite a leap for an undrafted player the Cowboys signed off the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad in 2015, but it speaks to the potential many see in him.

He had four of his 4.5 career sacks last year. He was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week when he forced three fumbles, picked up a sack, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup against the Green Bay Packers. He was the first Cowboys defensive end to win the award since Charles Haley in 1995 and the first defensive lineman to be so honored since Leon Lett in 1996.

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay: If Cowboys take this pass rusher who visited, they'll get 'really good value' - DMN

Tak McKinley, TJ Watt, and Charles Harris. All familiar names.

McShay on UCLA DE Tak McKinley: If he learns how to use his hands, he's going to be really good. He's explosive. He plays with the best motor of any defensive player I've watched the entire year.

Cowboys do need pass rush help, but here's why they need to take DB in draft's first round - Kate Hairopoulos, DMN

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Pass rush, or coverage? Seems like a false question. The answer is both. So the answer here is to take the best player when you are on the clock.

So when the draft opens April 27 in Philadelphia, the bill comes due. Dallas needs to find at least one corner who can contribute right away, and it could use its first-round pick, No. 28 overall, to do just that.

Yes, yes, the Cowboys need a pass rusher, too. Duh, says anyone who has watched the playoff defeats of the 2014 and 2016 seasons. But the truly elite defensive ends will be gone by the time the Cowboys make their selection from their digitally glitzy new "War Room" at The Star. Dallas already has rushers with talent and potential not yet realized, such as Demarcus Lawrence and David Irving. It's likely to add only more of the same at the bottom of the first round.

The need is glaring at cornerback, as the Cowboys can't go into the season depending on just Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown and free-agent addition Nolan Carroll. Dallas could use some juice in the secondary, particularly with safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox departing in free agency, too.

Two Dallas Cowboys draft visits show offensive visions - Todd Archer, ESPN

Of the known national visitors to The Star, only two have been on the offensive side of the ball: Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel and Southern Cal wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

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Samuel, 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, can do for the Cowboys what they envisioned Lance Dunbar doing the last three seasons but never saw in full effect because of injury. He was Elliott’s backup at Ohio State and moved into a prime-time role in 2016 and averaged nearly 130 yards a game in total offense. He scored 15 touchdowns, including seven of the receiving variety. He had 97 carries for 771 yards and eight touchdowns last season to go with 74 catches for 865 yards.

Tracking the Cowboys' pre-draft workouts, visitors: Boom-or-bust DL prospect latest to visit Dallas - DMN

An up-to-date list of pre-draft visitors. The boom or bust guy?

Malik McDowell (DT) -- Another huge presence at 6-6, 295, McDowell is widely considered one of the boom-or-bust prospects of this class, given his obvious physical talent and an apparent lack of motivation at times. On McDowell, Sturm wrote: "He has all sorts of ability and looks like a real high-end talent if everything falls right. He is very young and after watching his tape, I feel quite strongly about his ceiling." Projected draft range: 1st-3rd round.

2017 NFL Draft: How Using A Tiered Big Board Can Help Clarify Cowboys Draft Strategy - OCC, BtB

Another one of OCC's very insightful articles.

But if we stick with McShay's ranking, Tier 3 shows players that, if they were to fall all the way to No. 28, the Cowboys should draft irrespective of need, simply because they would be the only players left with a first-round grade. It's particularly noteworthy that of the ten Tier 3 players, seven are offensive players. You may not want to hear it, but a dropping offensive skill player like Corey Davis, Mike Williams, David Njoku, or John Ross will destroy all your carefully configured mock draft plans. But a dropping offensive player may also offer another option for the Cowboys: chances are a team would come knocking with an offer for the Cowboys to trade down.

Cowboys 2017 schedule to be revealed Thursday: Dallas will get AFC West, Green Bay at home - DMN

The schedule looks much tougher this year, with stronger defenses due up outside of the Giants.

Though Dallas will face 2016 bottomfeeders like San Francisco and Los Angeles, playoff threats like Atlanta and Kansas City give ample challenge to the schedule.

Dallas' 2017 opponents combined to go 108-97 this season, winning 52.7 percent of their games.

Is Jason Witten's greatness part of reason Cowboys haven't developed another pass-catching TE? - DMN

The answer is yes.

I think part of it is that Witten never comes off the field, so there are not many chances for others! But we've seen James Hanna and Geoff Swaim make an impact as blockers. As more of a pass catcher, Gavin Escobar didn't block enough to get on the field much and his chances were limited. Witten may not want to invite a teammate to come in and take his job, but he's not doing anything to sabotage other tight ends.

Position Series: LB Position Has Young Talent, But All Eyes Fixed on Smith - Dallas Cowboys

Here's a few words on Damien Wilson, who needs to continue elevating his game.

While the obvious answer here is Smith, it’s still unknown when he will be cleared to practice at full strength. Until then, let’s focus on a guy such as Wilson, who is entering his third season and should compete for a starting job on the strong side. He’ll likely be asked to handle more special teams duties with his running ability and athleticism. Last year, Wilson started to play more and more on the base packages and nickel. He can fly to the football and is gaining a better understanding of Rod Marinelli’s scheme. This could be the year he shows the Cowboys the kind of player they were hoping for back in the 2015 draft.

Want Cowboys to trade for Richard Sherman? A couple things to consider that could change your mind - DMN

Sherman to the Cowboys is just hype. He's certainly better than any corner the team has, but who wants Sherman's contract, declining play, and locker room distractions? He's no Greg Hardy or Rolando McClain, but it's hard to see Dallas going there.

Barry Horn: What would the Cowboys be getting in Richard Sherman?

Mike Sando: Wow, that's just a really fascinating question. Richard Sherman, I think, has somewhat worn out his welcome a little bit in Seattle. I think what happened last year when he called out the offensive coordinator was straight out of the sort of stuff that Dallas went through for awhile with Dez Bryant when he was kind of a little bit of a sideshow. Very good player but there was always something going on.

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