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Cowboys News: Draft prospects that Cowboys fans should keep an eye on in the Senior Bowl

The latest links on the Cowboys for your Monday morning.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys 1st + 10: 5 Senior Bowl Players We'll Be Watching; Top 10 Storylines Of The Week - Matthew Postins, 247 Sports
Matthew Postins provides us his "list of 10" things of interest in Cowboys Nation and right at the top of the list is some key names to keep an eye on at the Senior Bowl. Are any of these players on your radar?

1. The Senior Bowl rosters are out and the Dallas Cowboys, along with the rest of the NFL, will descend upon Mobile, Alabama, next week. There are plenty of great players at the Senior Bowl next week. Here are five players that, if I were in the Cowboys’ shoes, I would pay a little extra attention to:

WR Allen Lazard, Iowa State: Likely to be a mid-draft prospect, he runs good routes, has a big body and had solid hands. A whole lot of receiver for not a lot of draft pick.

RB Jaylen Samuels, North Carolina State: A running back by position only, Samuels can play wide receiver, H-back or tight end. The Cowboys want more creativity in their offense? Here’s a chess piece.

DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA: I saw him dominate UNT in October. He’s a pass rusher with a deceptive first step and a frame that can add 10 pounds, which would get him to around 265.

S Quin Blanding, Virginia: I think he’s one of the surest things in this draft. Highly experienced, good around the football and stops the run.

LB Darius Leonard, South Carolina State: A fierce defender who has been one of the best linebackers in FCS the past two years.

The Senior Bowl always brings some intrigue to the player evaluation period. Expect a few players you haven’t heard of to see their stock improve after next week.

Senior Bowl watch: Six North roster players to keep an eye on this week in Mobile - Michael Sisemore, BTB
Our own Michael Sisemore has laid out six players on the North roster that we might want to pay attention to, including some offensive line help the Cowboys might be able to get in the third round.

OG/C Scott Quessenberry, 6’3, 310 lbs, UCLA

Quessenberry is among the better centers in this class of linemen that underwhelm for the most part. He’s got five years of experience coming back to UCLA for a fifth year to start at center for all 13 games. He’s a pretty decent athlete but could stand to improve his run-blocking skills. He did miss the entire 2015 season needing surgery on both shoulders. Quessenberry was an All-PAC-12 first-teamer in 2016 as well as being honorable mentions in 2014 and 2017.

Though he’s considered a better pass blocker, he was the starting center when Paul Perkins led the PAC-12 in rushing. Quessenberry will have questions about his power at the next level but he’s got plenty of experience in all three inside positions on the line along with great balance for a guy his size. He’s projected as high as a third-round pick but a team with needs may consider him early.

What if a top offensive tackle prospect fell to the Cowboys at No. 19 in the NFL draft? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
If the Cowboys configure their board and the best player available at 19 is a blue-chip offensive tackle, should the front office pull the trigger? We had a similar type discussion in 2016 about Jeremy Tunsil, but there were so many other great players in the mix that it never was a real issue. That might not be the case when pick 19 rolls around. Dane Brugler weighs in on this dilemma.

Question: Is there a first-round prospect who could drastically alter the Cowboys' strategy if he surprisingly fell to No. 19?

Brugler: If one of the offensive tackles (Connor Williams, Orlando Brown, Mike McGlinchey) fell to No. 19, the Cowboys need to be ready. Dallas seems confident to move forward with La'el Collins at right tackle, but will they have a high enough grade on one of these tackle prospects that could change their thinking? Or do they believe one of these tackles can make the move inside to guard? The debate about the value of another first-round offensive line is valid, but it is something Dallas needs to be ready for if Quenton Nelson is the only OL prospect to go in the top 18 picks.


Making the offense more 'Dak-friendly' is just the start of the Cowboys' needs this offseason - Brandon George, SportsDay
The front office will need to do something to help their young quarterback be successful. As Brandon George describes, this includes beefing up the depth on the offensive line.

The Cowboys also need to address their pass protection. They have one of the top offensive lines in the league but struggled to protect Prescott at times. That was especially true when left tackle Tyron Smith was out with injuries (see Chaz Green in the Atlanta game). A priority for Dallas should be finding a swing tackle who can fill in when needed.

The Cowboys front office will have some big decisions to make this offseason.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Franchise Tags and Realities for Dallas Cowboys - Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star
If you aren't sure the difference between exclusive, non-exclusive, and transition franchise tags, Mauricio Rodriguez provides an explanation. He also touches on something that makes some fans pause about giving Tank a big contract.

There’s a problem with giving him a big-time contract though. Lawrence had a great 2017 season, but before that, he hadn’t proved anything. Tank has provided one quality season for the Dallas Cowboys. Are they willing to pay him a lot of money and take the risk of seeing him play like in 2015 or 2016?

Numbers-wise, that's correct. But when you add what he did in 2015 when he was healthy and piece that together with just how significantly disruptive he was this season - there shouldn't be any reason for concern.

Cowboys Face Tough Decision with DL Tyrone Crawford - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star
It's no secret that as good as Tyrone Crawford can be at times, he hasn't performed anywhere close to his contract values. With other players now starting to emerge along the defensive line, is Crawford's place on the team becoming more uncertain? Jess Haynie looks at a couple different options in terms of when would be the right time to cut him loose.

Crawford is not the Cowboys’ best defender but he did have the highest cap hit in 2017, even more than linebacker Sean Lee. Crawford will count $9.1 million against Dallas’ salary cap next season, which is currently second behind Lee’s projected $11 million hit.

That fact alone would make you think Tyrone Crawford is likely to be released this offseason. It would seem even more likely when you consider how guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving have eclipsed him as impact players on the defensive line.


2018 NFL Mock Draft: Latest Prospect Predictions Before AFC, NFC Championships - Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report

Before the two conference championship games on Sunday, Timothy Rapp of Bleacher Report released his latest mock draft. He has the Cowboys selecting an interior defensive lineman with their first-round selection:

19. Dallas Cowboys: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

Read our profile of Payne here.

Why the 2017 season was really a massive success - Reid Hanson, SportDFW
If you're looking for a pocket full of sunshine this morning, then take a gander at Reid Hanson's list of silver linings to the 2017 season, including the remodeling of the Cowboys secondary.

Secondary overhaul

Perhaps the most successful element to this offseason was the overhaul to the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary. The Cowboys grew discontent with the standard quo in the secondary and decided to let their overpriced veterans walk. In all they sent three starters, one significant role player, and over 2,000 total snaps packing. They essentially replaced them with a handful of rookies.

It was pretty obvious there would be growing plains with an overhaul of this magnitude. But to get to where the Cowboys wanted it eventual get to, the growing pains needed to be endured eventually, so why not now? They bit the bullet and suffered through and now they are better off for it.

In case you missed it...

Deciding which Cowboys player will have a ‘breakout’ season in 2018 - Dave Halprin, BTB
Did you get a chance to make your selection for next season's breakout player? Check out the front page staff's picks, including the selection from DannyPhantom:

DannyPhantom - Jaylon Smith. Let’s not forget that Luke Skywalker didn’t become a bad-ass until Return of the Jedi. Consider this the season that Jaylon was stuck inside a dead tauntaun. It was tough to stomach sometimes, but he gained some valuable experience that he can build on as his health improves. And with Han solo tackle-mongrel Sean Lee beside him, he’s got a great partner to help restore order in the galaxy Cowboys run defense.

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