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Cowboys news: Wide receiver rankings - does your pet cat make the list?

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UCLA v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Mike Mayock Top 5 by position for 2018 draft: Looking at a Cowboys perspective - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
The great Mike Mayock provides his "Top 5 by position" for this year's draft class. It's always fun to see how he stacks certain players, particularly at positions the Cowboys should be interested in this year. Our own Dave Halprin keys on the spots that could garner attention from Dallas come April, including the highly-opinionated wide receiver position.

Wide receiver

The Cowboys have three players at wide receiver who are their starters, but last year they were kind of exposed (along with other parts of the offense) and the Cowboys offense as a whole stalled. There is a huge debate about Dez Bryant’s future with the team, and whether these particular set of receivers are what is being called “Dak-friendly.” The need here isn’t that they don’t have players at the position, but that they might not have the right kind of players.

Here is Mayock’s Top 5:

1. Calvin Ridley, Alabama

2. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

3. Courtland Sutton, SMU

4. James Washington, Oklahoma State

T-5. Dante Pettis, Washington

T-5. DJ Moore, Maryland

T-5. Anthony Miller, Memphis

Cowboys Draft Digest: Vol 1 – Wide Receivers – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
If you got a hankering for more wide receiver rankings, then you got to check out Bob Sturm's evaluation of some of the top prospects in the draft, including the route arsenal of Memphis' star receiver.

Anthony Miller — Memphis — 5-11, 190

Overall: This is my guy. He is as fun a prospect as I have watched for this draft, and I must confess that there is little I will offer you that won't appear to be glowing. I think he would be perfect underneath but can also go vertically and win with regularity. If I am going to take a smaller WR, I need one that has an aggressive disposition underneath. I have Miller as a first/second and would be quite fired up if the Cowboys could find him available on Day 2. Probably a long shot.

Cowboys draft digest: Volume 2 – more wide receivers – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
And part two of his installment includes five more prospects who are likely to include many of our favorite pet cats, including the electric punt returning from Washington.

Dante Pettis — Washington — 6-1, 195

Overall: Dante Pettis is a highlight film. He takes games over in just a few seconds. He separates and makes spectacular catches. He has very impressive tape and I find him very difficult to defend. I have him in that Round Two/Three range and I probably need to bump him up higher because of those punt returns. He should be a very good pro.

On The Clock (VIDEO): LSU Wide Receiver D.J. Chark - Staff, Dallas Cowboys
Over at the Mothership, Dave Helman and Bryan Broaddus break down LSU Wide Receiver D.J. Chark in their daily draft profile.

Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Get Bigger Role in 2018? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star
It would be great if a talented receiver (especially one with speed) fell into the Cowboys lap during the draft, but that might not happen. How bad do they actually need a WR? Could the team look for a young receiver who's already on the roster to step up and fill a void?

While only a seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, receiver Noah Brown was on the Cowboys' roster for all of his rookie season. He returns in 2018 hoping for a bigger role in Dallas' offense, and with some good possibility to get one

Brown was not a big part of the 2017 offense. He was at the bottom of the WR depth chart, inactive for three games and not seen much even when in uniform.

Noah was only targeted nine times last year. He caught four passes for 33 yards.

There are a lot of different ways the Cowboys could go regarding the wide receiver position, including Calvin Ridley if by some stroke of good luck, he made it to 19. But would he be your favorite option for best-case scenario in the first round?

Cowboys' best-case scenario with 19th pick, plus second and third-round thoughts - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
The Cowboys are hoping a gift falls to them at 19. But if such a thing happens, what player do you think could be wrapped inside that present? Dane Brugler offers up his best case scenario for when the Cowboys are on the clock in the first round.

What’s your best-case scenario at No. 19?

Dane Brugler: Best case scenario (and most realistic) at No. 19 is for teams to be worried about Roquan Smith lacking ideal size, knocking him down the board. Highly unlikely, but that would be best case.

How important is linebacker in the draft? - Reid Hanson, Sports DFW
Based on what happens with Anthony Hitchens, the importance of targeting a linebacker in the draft could change significantly. But even if Hitch departs, the team still has Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. How important is it to secure a SAM linebacker?

Linebacker is extremely important to the Cowboys this coming draft but we have to accept it’s nothing more than a part-time gig right now and falls behind other positions of need that may be full-time roles. If the Cowboys draft a linebacker high, he needs to be capable of playing SAM now, with the ability to back-up at WILL and MIKE.

He would even go as far as using some reliable numbers from a guy I hear is pretty smart to help make his case. You can never go wrong referencing The Cool One.

Dallas Cowboys free agency 2018: Top 5 targets - Joe Romano, Fansided
While fans have conditioned themselves into thinking the Cowboys won't make any big splashes in free agency, that doesn't mean they won't dabble a bit. If they really like a player and the price is right, who knows - they could swindle a starting-caliber player at say, strong safety?

4. Kenny Vaccaro, S

Former team: New Orleans Saints

Dallas has a very young secondary with three rookies earning significant playing time a year ago and second year player Anthony Brown regressing. Chidobe Aquize, Xavier Woods and Jordan Lewis all were key pieces in the back end for Dallas last year. Starting opposite Jones was Jeff Heath, who was solid but not the level of player they would have in Vaccaro. Getting a more experienced player to man the back end would be big for the Cowboys, especially if the move of Jones to corner happens.

Vaccaro may not wow in any particular area but he is a solid tackler with good ball skills. With New Orleans having rookie safety Marcus Williams playing well, they could see Vaccaro out the door. Growing up in Texas, and coming off a season ending injury, Dallas may find that he comes at the right price for a team that is not flush with cap space at the moment.

Cowboys candidates in free agency and the draft to improve the safety position - Ryan Ratty, Blogging The Boys
The Saints safety has come up before in free agency talks and he makes Ryan Ratty's list of possible candidates for the Cowboys this offseaon.

Kenny Vaccaro

Texas product Vaccaro as a Cowboy? Hmm... sounds familiar. No really, the Cowboys have been linked to him for a long time. Even in the 2013 draft, the Cowboys liked Vaccaro a lot. That interest has continued in Vaccaro’s short NFL tenure. Just last year, the Cowboys were reportedly linked to him when he was on the trading block.

Dallas was wise to hold back, as Vaccaro now enters free agency and will likely head elsewhere after an off-and-on relationship with the Saints. In 2017, Vaccaro was quietly having a solid year. A groin injury led to a prolonged absence and a lesser version of himself.

With the Cowboys looking for a center-fielder in their defense, Vaccaro’s range and ability to leave the back-end of the defense and come down and cover options in the slot could be massive for Dallas.

Or could it be possible that the Cowboys future starting strong-safety is already on the roster?

Will Kavon Frazier be Cowboys Version of Kam Chancellor? - Brian Martin, Inside The Star
The Cowboys sixth-round draft pick in 2016 did next to nothing his rookie season, but showed great progress in year two. And if he continues to improve, his role on the team should expand even further. With a new defensive coach in town, could the team shift to more reps for the hard hitting Kavon Frazier?

Kavon Frazier did start to receive more playing time at the tail end of the 2017 season when he started splitting repetitions with Byron Jones. That playing time could increase next season if Kris Richard believes he could become the Cowboys version of Kam Chancellor.

I know it's a stretch to believe right now and there is a lot that can happen to change things between now and the start of the 2018 season, but all we can do is speculate at this point in time.

If the Dallas Cowboys are trying to emulate the Seattle Seahawks defense, then Kavon Frazier is probably the best suited to fill that Kam Chancellor role in the secondary. At least for now…

Predicting the Biggest Contracts in 2018 NFL Free Agency - Brad Gagnon, Bleacher Report
Everyone make sure to get in the pool as to how much it will cost the Cowboys to re-sign DeMarcus Lawrence. Brad Gagnon from Bleacher Report offers up his predictions on what this year's crop of free agents will cost, including the Cowboys dynamic edge rusher.

What might a long-term deal look like for a 25-year-old Pro Bowl pass-rusher coming off a season in which he was the only player in the league with 13-plus sacks and four-plus forced fumbles?

Lawrence's agent should look to start with the five-year, $85 million deal Olivier Vernon signed with the New York Giants two offseasons ago. That was a huge contract to give a defensive end who had 29 sacks and no Pro Bowl nods in his first four seasons, but it set the market for players not named Von Miller, J.J. Watt or Justin Houston.

Chandler Jones and Melvin Ingram signed similar deals last offseason (albeit with less guaranteed cash, and with a four-year term instead of five in Ingram's case ). But cap inflation, age and momentum could get Lawrence beyond the $17 million mark this offseason, unless the Cowboys decide to take their chances and give him that amount for only one year via the franchise tag.

Contract prediction: 5 years, $88 million ($40 million guaranteed)

A couple of my fellow writers who also like to predict contracts currently have these figures penciled in for Tank.

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