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Cowboys News: More draft scenarios taking a wide receiver early, plus intriguing free agents

Latest Cowboys headlines: When should the Cowboys draft a wide receiver? More draft prospects, and TO takes a shot at Jason Garrett

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

A way-too-early perfect pairing for the Cowboys' first two 2018 draft picks - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
Do you have your ideal draft scenario mapped out for the premium rounds of the draft? Oh, come on - you know that's the funnest part of mocking around with the draft. Draft guru Dane Brugler wets our whistle with a couple of intriguing names and you might be surprised to learn that neither of them play defense.

Question: What would be the perfect haul for the Cowboys' first- and second-round picks?

Brugler: It's early, but where we stand right now, I would love to see Alabama WR Calvin Ridley at No. 19 and UTEP LG Will Hernandez at No. 50. Two plug-and-play starters on offense who instantly help the quarterback and create a ripple effect. Hernandez will help stabilize the entire offense line. And Ridley will be able to create his own separation, giving Dak more confidence and drawing coverages from Dez, Witten and Beasley.

What is interesting about going this route is that the team could take a big step in helping bring back the explosiveness to the offense. They would then have a third-round and three, fourth-round picks (from comp picks) to throw darts at the defense.

Cowboys need to draft a wide receiver, but not in first round ... some WRs to consider in later rounds - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys may very well add a wide receiver in the draft, but when they do it is a big unknown. Would the team be better served to wait until at least day two before grabbing their pass catcher? Jon Machota provides his draft strategy on the WR position.

Where is the best draft value for the Cowboys needed wide receiver? Is the top talent worth a high draft choice or is it better to wait towards later rounds? In addition to Dez's lowered production, shouldn't his age be a factor to consider as Dallas tries to develop someone over the next 2-3 years?

Jon Machota: It doesn't appear to be a very deep wide receiver class right now. I think the Cowboys should draft an outside receiver at some point but not in Round 1. I think there could be some good value in the second or third round or later with guys like Equanimeous St. Brown (Notre Dame), Auden Tate (Florida State), D.J. Chark (LSU) or Deon Cain (Clemson). Even if the Cowboys drafted a receiver at 19, it's unlikely that player would be their No. 1 receiver over Dez. Receivers generally take a year or two to adjust to the pro game. Amari Cooper is the only WR picked in the first round over the last three years who has had legitimate success in his first season. Cooper was the fourth overall pick in 2015. I don't believe there is a receiver as talented as him in this draft. And if there is, he's not falling to No. 19.

Equanimeous St. Brown? Is that a real name or are we being punked by Key & Peele?

Shocking stats of first round wide receivers - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
With stars like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and DeAndre Hopkins, the appeal of taking a wide receiver in the first round is tempting, but those guys are actually rare instances of success. There has been an extensive list of first-round duds over the last several years. Steven Mullenax lays down some stats for us, including a 2017 group with zero, count them, zero touchdowns.

2017 NFL Draft Class, First Round

5th overall pick – Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans

2017 Stats: 34 receptions, 375 yards, 0 touchdowns

7th overall pick – Mike Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers

2017 Stats: 11 receptions, 95 yards, 0 touchdowns

9th overall pick – John Ross, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

2017 Stats: 0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns

Maybe the front office will look to free agency to find the right receiver to compliment this offense?

11 speedster, big play WRs Cowboys should pursue in free agency - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
K.D collected a bunch of free agent receivers, identified some key metrics, and gave out scores to help determine which players might be of interest to the Cowboys.

Using their age, Combine-times 40 speed, and yards-per-catch stats, we looked for the best candidates for Dallas to pursue.

Here are the results:

The Cowboys love building through the draft, but is it possible they would be willing to part with a known commodity on defense for a second-round pick?

Dallas Cowboys free agent rumors 2018: Would the Cowboys move David Irving for a high draft pick? - Danny Phantom, Blogging The Boys
If the Cowboys have their doubts about what type of player Irving is, then they could test the waters and still come away with a premium draft pick. I would slap the first-round tender on him and not give it another thought, but it's tough to say how the organization feels about this exactly.

Maybe the Cowboys want the draft capital. With the team looking for upgrades at several positions, a bonus second-rounder would come in handy. If the team placed a first-round tender on him, other teams would shy away as that’s a lot to surrender. Could the team tempt another squad by dangling only a second-round tender on him?

Irving was picked off Kansas City’s practice squad and has been a great contributor for his price. If the Cowboys give up on one of their sleeper gems, could they find another one later in the draft?

The Longhorn who's an underrated draft prospect; 2 pass rushers Cowboys could target with lower picks - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
The Cowboys have selected an edge rusher within the first two rounds in three of the last four drafts, but this might be the first year it's not high on their priority list. That's not to say they won't still be looking for a pass rusher with upside, but it might come later in the draft. Brugler offers up a couple names the Cowboys could target in later rounds.

Question: If Dallas were to add some pass rushers in the later rounds, who do you think they'd target?

Brugler: Kansas pass rusher Dorance Armstrong didn't have the 2017 season scouts expected (1.5 sacks), but he has an athletic skill set and you wouldn't have to draft him high. A player in the later rounds to keep an eye on: Arkansas State (and Mesquite native) DE Ja'Von Rolland-Jones. Has some tweener traits, but the production speaks for itself, setting the school and Sun Belt records for sacks.

NFL Draft prospect to know: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
Everyone talks about the Cowboys creating a Dak-friendly offense. Well, what about trying to create a Sean-Lee-injury-friendly defense? Just because Roquan Smith is likely to be off the board doesn't mean a first-round linebacker is out of the question. Our own Cole Patterson gives us some insight on Alabama's star linebacker.

As you can tell, Evans appears to be a prospect that many in the draft world are high on. With all of the Cowboys troubles defending the run — especially when Sean Lee was sidelined with injury — would Dallas consider the Alabama linebacker on day one? Sure, Jaylon Smith showed some signs of optimism after playing all 16 games following a devastating injury, but are the Cowboys ready to put all of their chips in his basket?

Evans goes from zero to sack in less than two seconds.

A clear sign Cowboys think they're close to being Super Bowl contenders - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Jon Machota answers a few questions about the Cowboys future and explains how Jerry Jones’ decision to retain his top coaches is a clear indicator that he believes this team is a lot closer to being a legit contender than some people think.

Why are the Cowboys making coaching changes around the board except at the top?

Jon Machota: Because the front office clearly still believes in Jason Garrett and his offensive and defensive coordinators. They obviously don't think this team is far away from making a Super Bowl run. They would have completely cleaned house if they didn't think the combination of Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli can deliver the sixth trophy. In regards to the assistants, a lot of change is happening there because many of their contracts were up.

But for the Cowboys to be real contenders, they have to do what real contenders do and that’s rise up when adversity strikes.

Cowboys always one injury or suspension from imploding ... what they need to do to avoid that problem - Matt Mosley, SportsDay
One of the biggest aggravation fans have this year is how other teams have been successful dealing with injuries, while the Cowboys have struggled. Whether it’s in-game adjustments or bolstering their depth, this team must improve in this department if they want to get to the next level.

Considering their key injuries, is the fact that the Eagles are still in the playoffs mean they were more built for the postseason than Dallas ever was?

Matt Mosley: Who have the Eagles lost to injury this season? Oh, maybe you're thinking of starting QB Carson Wentz, starting offensive tackle Jason Peters, starting LB Jordan Hicks and all-purpose back Darren Sproles? The Eagles had Blount in the backfield, but they went out and traded for Jay Ajayi to complement him. They somehow survived the stretch run without Wentz, although he'd already staked them to a great record. I think you can certainly say the Eagles were better equipped to handle some injuries. The Cowboys are always one injury or suspension away from imploding (see Zeke, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith). This team has to become more resilient and do a better job stockpiling talent.

Terrell Owens Tweets Rant About Cowboys, Jason Garrett, Steve Mariucci, More - Tim Daniels, Bleacher Report
Terrell Owens is a great receiver, but he's not a good teammate, and he doesn't hesitate to air out any bitterness he has towards any of his former players. But now, he’s taking shots at his former coaches, including Jason Garrett.

"Same issue I had with Garrett when he felt I threw him under the bus after we went 13-3 the year before and we needed to change our plays," Owens wrote. "[T]eams game planned Dak after his first year but Garrett doesn't know how to make adjustments. Can't keep running same plays over and over and over."

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