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Cowboys News: Cowboys “Fired Up” About Jaylon Smith, Expected To Be Ready For OTAs

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Lots of optimism about Jaylon Smith; Cowboys don't want to trade up; how many CBs will Cowboys draft?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Jones is 'more fired up than ever' that Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith - Jon Machota, DMN
During a Friday appearance on 105.3 The Fan,  Jones said Smith should be ready for OTAs and minicamp this year and that the team still has high hopes for his future with the franchise.

"He's doing great," Jones said. "He's making great improvements. We're certainly more fired up than ever that we picked him last year."

Although it's unclear how much Smith will be able to do during organized team activities and minicamp, the Cowboys are optimistic he'll make a significant contribution this season.

"When you look at how we improve our defense over last year, him and [fourth-rounder Charles] Tapper both, as we all know, were high picks for us that didn't contribute last year," Jones said. "We certainly have high hopes for both of those guys and feel like they're going to be ready to go here when OTAs and minicamp start."

Sources: Irish to Officially Announce Change in Base Defense - One Foot Down
Here's a humorous take on why some Notre Dame fans have taken to calling Jaylon Smith the "Godbacker." Includes this "Mayock breakdown of Smith coverage duties."

How does NFL Nation view Cowboys in 2017? - Todd Archer, ESPN
Interesting exercise by Archer, who predicted a 10-6 record for the Cowboys when the schedule came out on Thursday. He went and looked at what the ESPN beat writers for each of the Cowboys' opponents predicted for their game against the Cowboys.

When you go through the pages of the 13 other opponents the Cowboys face this year, they magically came up with the same record as me: 10-6.

Four of the losses will come in the NFC East. Eagles reporter Tim McManus had Philadelphia pulling off the sweep. Giants reporter Jordan Ranaan and Redskins reporter John Keim predicted season splits, although Keim had Washington winning at AT&T Stadium and the Cowboys winning at FedEx Field.

The other two losses came at the Denver Broncos in Week 2 and at the Oakland Raiders in Week 15.

Vaughn McClure, who covers the Falcons, had the Cowboys winning at Atlanta, which was something of a surprise. Rob Demovsky, who covers the Packers, had the Cowboys winning the playoff rematch at AT&T Stadium in Week

No surprise that the Eagles writer just had to be that guy.

With Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys can be picky at running back - Todd Archer, ESPN
In his position-by-position look at potential roster holes, Archer argues that the Cowboys' deep group of running backs, led by last year's draft success, Ezekiel Elliott, makes them unlikely to draft another running back before the third day.

This is a deep running back group but the Cowboys won’t take a look at a runner in the first two days of the draft and they might way until late in the third day. They had the perfect back to develop last year in Darius Jackson, a sixth-round pick, but they lost him to waivers when they made room for McFadden off the non-football injury list. It’s a move they regret at the moment, but they can find a back to help them on the third day who can offer the same potential as Jackson.

Question isn't if Dallas Cowboys draft a cornerback, but how many - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer suggests the Cowboys take not one but two corners, and has just the prospect for the Cowboys:

The question isn’t whether the Cowboys will draft one cornerback, it’s whether they will draft two cornerbacks. The last time they took two corners in the same year was 2009, but those selections came in the fifth and seventh rounds. In 2008, they selected Mike Jenkins in the first round and Scandrick in the fifth round.

Best fit: Kevin King, Washington. At the start of the draft process his teammate, Sidney Jones, drew more attention than King, but as the process winds down, King is finding himself as a first-round lock. He has good size (6-3) and is aggressive. He can make tough plays and has good body control. He led Washington with 15 pass deflections and picked off two passes. He plays with an attitude, and that’s something the secondary needs.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones: Unlikely we will trade up in first round of NFL draft - Jon Machota, DMN
Cowboys fans will be pleased to know Jones the younger doesn't really want to give up any picks to move up.

"I do think there's enough depth at all these positions that I don't think we necessarily have to push the move-up button," Jones said. "At the same time, I'd never rule anything out. If we think there's a right end that we really didn't think would ever be there or a secondary, a corner, that we never thought would make it down to even that range then obviously you've got to start that discussion in your draft room, in terms of, is it worth it now to start to give up picks?

"I think this year it's tougher than ever because I do think there's great depth in this draft at positions of need for us. To give up one of those guys for a player, to give up two for one, is a tough deal for us. I would never rule it out, but at the same time, I don't necessarily say it's likely, especially with our first-round pick."

Stephen Jones: La'el Collins is an option at right tackle, but our preference is to keep him at guard - Jon Machota, DMN
Chaz Green and Byron Bell are  penciled in as the first options to replace Doug Free at right tackle.

If neither is able to hold down the job, Jones mentioned Collins as a possibility at tackle, a position he played in college.

"I'll be real clear here, our first preference and still is is to have him play guard," Jones said. "But we also know that if there's a guy on our team who might have that flexibility to move out to tackle then he certainly has that skillset."

Mailbag: Room On The D-Line? - Dallas Cowboys Staff
Worried that the Cowboys don't have enough open spots on their D-line to draft a lineman or two? Broaddus and Helman aren't.

Bryan: I think you will see them carry 10 if they have to. You will likely be light at a couple of positions, namely quarterback, so it's never a bad plan to carry extra defensive or offensive linemen -- hard positions to find during the season.

David: We’ve seen them carry 10 before, so I wouldn’t rule it out. On top of that, they aren’t heavily invested in some of these guys. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them cut Tapper, Moore or Paea if they have to. It just depends on who they draft and how training camp shakes out.

5 Fun Things to Know about Newly Signed Cowboys Safety Robert Blanton - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
I did not know this:

Blanton is a proud graduate of Notre Dame University where he earned his undergraduate degree in finance. In July, 2016 he received his Executive MBA from the University of Miami.

The Giants have a big schedule disadvantage, but no one should feel bad for them - Brandon Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation
No love lost between these two fanbases. While the Giants fans are up in arms about their schedule, Eagles fans tell them to "cry me a river."

The G-Men have to play a total of four teams coming off bye weeks this upcoming season. ESPN also notes New York will have a "net total of minus-22 days of rest compared to their opponents" which is the worst in the NFL. These inconveniences have led to an outcry.

There’s no denying the Giants are at a disadvantage. But the truth is ... no one should really feel bad about that.