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Cowboys News: Is This Underrated Draft Pick The War Daddy Cowboys Have Been Looking For?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Have the Cowboys found their War Daddy? Can Dak, Zeke, and Dez become the NFL’s best offensive trio? Cedric Thornton's improvement?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Scout’s Take: Have the Cowboys found their War Daddy? - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus tackles a wide range of reader questions in this edition of Scout's Take. This question stood out to me:

Question: Who has the most potential to already be our "war daddy"?

Broaddus: I am a huge fan of Maliek Collins and what he can bring to this group. Everyone was talking about the fantastic rookie seasons by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Anthony Brown -- but Collins was just as good. His ability to line up at both the one and the three-technique and create problems is impressive. Not many people can match the power of Zack Martin, but Collins can. If he can cause those types of problems against an elite guard like Martin, then everyone else needs to watch out. Collins was extremely powerful and quick last season, but it appears that he has even improved on that. So there’s your potential guy.

Maliek Collins wants to be next great DT in Rod Marinelli’s system - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
Collins has done his homework on the Marinelli defense, and knows who he wants to model his game on.

Collins plays the three-technique, one of the most important positions in Marinelli’s scheme. Hall of Famer Warren Sapp manned that position for Marinelli in Tampa Bay. Collins has studied some the best three-techniques ever, including Sapp, in hopes of becoming the next great one.

“The standards are basically written,” Collins said. “Me being a three-technique, the standards are in the history books of what three-techniques have done in this system. I like to say that’s the standard. The people like John Randle, guys like Warren Sapp or [Keith] Millard, who started the system. [Anthony] McFarland, those types of players.”

Overshadowed By His Own Draft Class, Maliek Collins Has Lofty Expectations -Jonathan Auping, Dallas Cowboys
Auping reflects on Collins' rookie season.

Ask a fan to name a player from the Cowboys’ 2016 draft class and “Maliek Collins” probably isn’t going to be the first name that comes out of his or her mouth.

It’s a testament to the strength of the Cowboys’ drafting that Collins, a defensive tackle and Dallas’ third-round pick last season, could fall under the radar. Collins did more than just avoid disappointment his rookie year; on a number of other teams he might be the most promising young player on the roster.

Last season, Collins played a higher percentage (61.9 percent) of the team’s regular season defensive snaps than any other defensive lineman on the Cowboys. He did all of this despite breaking his foot at the beginning of team activities as a rookie forcing him to miss all of OTA’s, mini-camp, and the majority of training camp. By any fair measure, he delivered on the expectations placed on him.

“He has pop and that snap to him,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said of Collins midway through last season.


Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott not resting on their laurels - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
Zeke and Dak are working hard to get the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1995 season, Cole Beasley explains.

“Dak’s the type of guy, he could be the best in the world at his position, he’ll still come in here and not be satisfied or complacent,” Beasley said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “He’ll come in here and grind like he’s a rookie. He’s one of the hardest-working guys I’ve ever seen.

“Zeke’s approach is just like it was last year. Both of those guys have a chip on their shoulders. They’re not satisfied until we get to where we want to be. All the guys in here are the same way."

"Until we get a Super Bowl, we haven’t done our jobs.”

Cole Beasley on what Dak, Zeke bring behind the scenes - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Cole Beasley offers some interesting inside perspective in this highly readable article. An excerpt:

"They brought a lot of young energy that we needed in this locker room, and it made it a lot more fun to play," Beasley said. "They kind of loosened it up in here a little bit. Like, we can still go to work and still do our jobs and work hard as ever, but we can still have fun at the same time. That kind of young energy, that kind of new swagger that they brought to the team I thought really helped us a lot last year.

"We needed that. It was more than just their talent that they brought. Their personalities and how they approach every day kind of translated with everybody."

Which NFL team boasts the best offensive trio in football? - Jonathan Jones, SI.com
In Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le'Veon Bell, the Steelers boast the best offensive trio in the NFL, Jones believes. Could Dak, Zeke, and Dez take the title of NFL’s best offensive trio away from the Steelers?

Prescott had one of the best out-of-nowhere rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. There’s also no getting around what Elliott accomplished as the first rookie to lead the league in rushing since 1999. To top it off, Dez Bryant could return to 1,000-yard form this season. What’s holding this Cowboys’ trio back from being higher on this list—and what will also hold the two teams above them on this last back—is the great unknown.

Together and healthy, this group offers the most potential of any on this list. But they also offer the most risk.

Ezekiel Elliott is Trying to Match Marshall Faulk in 2017 - Lauren Scullion, Pro Football Spot
Ezekiel Elliott has his eyes on a lofty goal for 2017.

“With now being more comfortable in this offense and not really worrying about having to learn what I have to do, I kind of want to grow more as an overall player,” Elliott said, via Matt Mosley and Ed Werder in The Doomsday Podcast. “One of the guys I looked up to growing up playing football was Marshall Faulk. You hear stories about him about how he was kind of like a second quarterback back there with Kurt Warner. So this offseason, I’ve just been focusing on kind of learning the offense outside of roles. I’m just kind of being able to be back there and be helpful to Dak [Prescott] and just kind of … learning what everyone else is doing and how I fit into my job.”

“For sure I think I can [do that],” Elliott said. “Just when you follow Marshall Faulk’s career you see in his earlier career he was definitely involved in the passing game, but he was more of a guy who kind of got grinded down. He had a lot of carries and really rushed for great numbers when he was in Indianapolis, and then kind of as he got older, he grew more as a player. I just like the fact that he was a guy who was great in all aspects of the game.”

NFL producer on Dak Prescott's peers ranking him 14th-best in league: I was 'utterly shocked' - Barry Horn, SportsDay
NFL Network producer Adam Ryan expected Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to be ranked somewhere in the 50s or 60s, but was "utterly shocked" to see Prescott at No. 14.

So you know: The 902 votes cast by players from all 32 NFL teams were the most in the seven years the network has conducted the poll. Players can vote for teammates. Cowboys' players cast 27 votes, slightly below the average of 28 players who voted per team.

Ryan said players' attitudes have changed towards the voting process over the years. When the voting began older players weren't eager to participate. But they have been gradually replaced by players who have never known NFLN not to hound them to get their votes in. Ryan estimated that as few as 300 players might have voted back in 2011.


Mailbag: Cedric Thornton's Improvement? - Bryan Broaddus and David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Interesting question from Cowboys fan Ray Hasper out of Orlando, and equally interesting responses, especially from Helman:

Question: Last season I believe it was Cedric Thornton that stated "they expect you to show up in shape here" when asked about his first days in Dallas. Did Cedric show up in better shape this season than last and how has it shown?

Bryan: I thought he played poorly last season overall. Been in starting lineup through these practices so it appears that he's taking things a little more seriously. Has some big shoes to fill with the loss of Terrell McClain.

David: I remembered that quote, as well, so I took the time to ask Cedric about it at some point during OTAs. He said he took his conditioning to another level this year, and the fact that he was here working out far before the start of the offseason program backs that up. I’m expecting him to take a step forward in his second year here.

LB Coach Turner West on Linebackers Poised to Make Big Jump in 2017 - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
Assistant linebackers coach Turner West talked to Scales about Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, and a guy they've started calling Big John.

Question: Is there an offseason addition that didn’t garner headlines and may be “flying under the radar” in terms of media attention?

West: “We call him ‘Big John’, that’s easier than pronouncing his last name, Lotulelie. He’s a 4-year linebacker in the NFL, but this is his first with the Cowboys. I had an opportunity to work John out back when we were thinking of bringing him in at the end of last year. I’m really, really excited about his movement. He moves really well in space, he’s real quick. But what really sets him apart, in my opinion, is his football instinct. The guy is really instinctive in zone coverage and the run game.

“He’s got good instincts and that will help us, help the younger guys, too, by watching him.

"He’s a good addition to the group. Because of his good instincts in coverage, he can play in the nickel & dime defensive packages as well as the base.”

Tentative Schedule For Cowboys’ Open Training Camp Practices In Oxnard - Rob Philips, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have released the tentative schedule for the 16 practices to be held in Oxnard this summer, Phillips lists all the dates and times.


When Bleacher Report sent out this tweet...

... the responses were swift.


Robert Kraft: Amazon deal shows where NFL is headed on TV - Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
Amazon will offer NFL games as part of its Prime package this season, and Robert Kraft praised the move as a chance to gain an audience that doesn't follow traditional viewing patterns.

Kraft is probably right about that: A younger generation of fans wants to watch football on phones and on the go, not while sitting in the living room in front of the TV. The NFL needs to figure out how to keep those fans involved — and how to bring in the same kind of revenue from those fans that it brings in from traditional TV viewers.

Mara: I wish Giants had another dozen players like OBJ - NFL.com
For once, I completely understand Giants co-owner and president John Mara. Because if the Giants had more players like Beckham, it would mean they had drafted more Pro Bowlers - which they haven't.

Of the 64 players the Giants have drafted in nine drafts since 2008, just four have made the Pro Bowl. Only three teams drafted less Pro Bowlers over that span (Jets, Colts, Jaguars). The Chiefs lead all teams with 12 Pro Bowlers drafted over that span, the Seahawks and Cowboys follow with 11 players each.


From The FanPosts

Our FanPost section is where Blogging The Boys members have the opportunity to write their own posts about the Cowboys. Take a little time to write a post about your thoughts regarding the Dallas Cowboys, and there's a chance it will be linked right here in our morning News roundup.

Which players from other NFC East teams could start in Dallas? - Blogging The Boys
BTB-member ScarletO takes a look at which players from the four NFC East teams would be the best fits for the very specific and well-defined Cowboys offensive and defensive systems. As you'd expect, the Cowboys are pretty much set on offense with their existing staff, but the defense is another story.

On offense, one player from New York, a solitary player from Philadelphia, and two players from Washington would start for the Cowboys. On defense, three players from New York, a couple from Philadelphia, and two from Washington would start for the Cowboys.

With eight starters on offense and five on defense, the Cowboys appear to have the best players for their system. I would like to see how many Cowboys players Redskins (3-4 defensive scheme) and Giants fans would insert into their starting lineups. It would surprise me if it were fewer than eight (six on offense and two on defense).