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Cowboys News: Who are some potential draft and free agent targets for America’s Team?

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The links for Wednesday morning.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Todd McShay mock draft 2.0 has the Cowboys beefing up the defense with Maurice Hurst - Dave Halprin, BTB

Maurice Hurst of the Michigan Wolverines has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys by many this draft cycle. In fact, that’s who ESPN analyst Todd McShay has the Cowboys selecting with the 19th pick this April.

Cowboys fans should be getting used to the name Hurst by now. Just yesterday we posted a roundup of mock drafts in which Hurst was the pick in six of the 11 mocks.

The Cowboys definitely need some help at the defensive tackle, but where they really need the help is at the 1-tech position, not the 3-tech, where they could play Maliek Collins or David Irving. Adding Hurst only gives them a glut of 3-tech tackles and no real solution at the 1-tech. The only way to solve it and get playing time for all three would be to move either Collins to the 1-tech or Irving out to defensive end.

Hurst may be a quality player, but is he the right fit for Dallas?

Maurice Hurst name to watch for Cowboys but don’t forget Maliek Collins - Todd Archer, ESPN

Hurst has been a hot name in many mock drafts in regards to the Dallas Cowboys; however, Archer reminds us about 2016 third-rounder Maliek Collins.

With Hurst, he would fit with the Cowboys as a three-technique, the under tackle in Marinelli’s scheme. He is not the biggest, but he was productive. His sack total and tackle for loss total increased each season at Michigan. He is active. He is a good athlete. He can be a good fit.

One quibble I would have with this pick is the Cowboys already feel good about their three-technique in Maliek Collins. He played out of position last season after Stephen Paea was lost to a knee injury, moving to the nose tackle spot. His sack and tackle numbers dropped from his rookie year in part because of the position change and in part because of a foot injury that required surgery after the season.

The Cowboys believe Collins can be a top three-technique in this scheme. Would it make sense to draft another three-technique at No. 19 overall? Maybe not.

Mock draft experts are trending toward Cowboys taking this defender with ‘Gerald McCoy-like potential’ - SportsDay

Yeah, it appears that Maurice Hurst is the early-February favorite to be the Cowboys’ selection at 19.

Miller: “My top need for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason is wide receiver, but with Calvin Ridley off the board, I have Jerry Jones and friends going after the team’s second-biggest need: defensive tackle. As long as free agent DeMarcus Lawrence is re-signed, the Cowboys can focus more on DT than pass-rusher. And Michigan’s Maurice Hurst has Gerald McCoy-like potential.

”Hurst won’t fit the size profile for a lot of teams given his 6’2”, 282-pound frame, but his first-step quickness should be something every defensive line coach wants. Hurst is fantastic at generating pressure from the middle of the defensive line with his quickness and leverage. He’s also a high-motor player who consistently hustles to run down outside plays.” (Previous Cowboys pick: Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk.)

Overall, Hurst is starting to become the consensus Cowboys pick among the draft pros tracked by our Mock Draft Tracker. Eight of the 13 experts now have their Cowboys projection on Hurst at No. 19.


Possible Pick: UTSA Pass-Rusher Still Needs Work But Loaded With Upside - Nick Eatman, The Mothership

One of the more intriguing prospects of this draft cycle happens to come from a school in the state of Texas.

How He Helps The Cowboys:

If he’s available at No. 19, it would be a player the Cowboys could and should consider, mainly because pass-rushers are always coveted. He’d help the Cowboys with his athletic ability and rush off the edge. Even if he didn’t start right away, the Cowboys could always use him in a rotation, especially on third downs and passing situations.

2018 NFL Draft: If the Cowboys can trade back in Rd. 1, they should target this player - Ryan Ratty, BTB

What if the Cowboys decide to trade back? Here is one target to keep an eye on.

With Ronald Leary leaving in free agency and Doug Free retiring, Dallas’ offensive line struggled a bit and took a step back in 2017. The Cowboys are at their best when their offensive attack is running (literally) through their offensive line. With that being said, the Cowboys should have their eyes on Isaiah Wynn around this area.

I understand that there are needs across the roster, but a strong offensive line is the Cowboys’ identity. Drafting another offensive line talent like Wynn could immediately make this unit an elite one, like it has been in years prior. Jonathan Cooper was serviceable this past year, but Wynn would simply an upgrade next to Tyron Smith and Frederick on the left side of the line. Wynn is a guy that exploded during the week of practices for the Senior Bowl. In a draft where the Cowboys could go in a variety of directions, Wynn is certainly a target.


5 free agents the Cowboys could target at RB: Is Rod Smith enough of an insurance plan behind Ezekiel Elliott? - Brandon George, SportsDay

We know some draft prospects to look out for, but what about some free agent targets? Brandon George has you covered. Could we see former LSU Tigers running back Jeremy Hill in Dallas?

Jeremy Hill, Bengals (6-1, 230)

Jeremy Hill appears ready to move on from the Bengals. He tweeted last month “on to the next chapter.”

Hill just finished his fourth season in Cincinnati but had to undergo ankle surgery after starting the first seven games.

Hill to the Cowboys makes more sense now after Dallas hired former longtime Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander.

Hill, who turns 26 in October, has started 43 of the 54 games in his career. He had a standout rookie season for the Bengals, rushing for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. Hill rushed for 29 touchdowns over his first three seasons but didn’t score in his abbreviated 2017.

Cowboys 2018 Free Agency: Five under-the-radar players - Ryan Ratty, BTB

Ryan gives Cowboys fans five free agents to keep an eye on. Could Dallas add another weapon for Dak Prescott?

John Brown, Wide Reciever

There are options in free agency that could provide more of an “throw-it-up and come-down-with-it” type of receiver. However, with the offense the Cowboys have deployed over the last couple of seasons, the offense’s goal is to wear you down, sustain long drives, and keep the defense off the field. That is why John Brown’s name is here.

At some point in time, Brown was budding as a superstar in Bruce Arians’ scheme. With his speed and ability to get open, Brown was a productive No. 2 receiver in Arizona that was out-shined by future first-ballot Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. The problem with Brown is that he has not been able to stay healthy.

Out of the guys on this list, Brown may be a little more costly given that his name is the closest to ‘household’ status. But the Cowboys would be wise to give Brown an incentive-laden deal, providing a chance for him to make closer to market value if he stays healthy and performs up to the level he can.

Cowboys free agents most likely to depart in 2018: Can Dallas keep LB Anthony Hitchens from moving on? - Katie Hairopoulos, SportsDay

We love reading about potential free agent targets, but who could potentially leave the team this offseason?

Why Hitchens is unlikely to return: The Cowboys will certainly prioritize bringing back Hitchens, but whether he returns could depend on what other teams are willing to pay the 25-year-old. Dallas this offseason also is looking to lock up defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and right guard Zack Martin, which will be expensive.

Spotrac.com estimates that Hitchens could demand a four-year extension worth about $25 million, or $6.4 million a year. If that’s the case, it could bode well for the Cowboys keeping the player they drafted in the fourth round in 2014. If it goes higher, his return isn’t as certain.


Josh McDaniels stays in New England, Matt Eberflus reportedly will stay in Indy - RJ Ochoa, BTB

With the news that Josh McDaniels pulled out of the Colts gig, there was brief speculation about the fate of Matt Eberflus. Turns out he is staying in Indy.

It is being reported that Matt Eberflus will stay in Indy. While nothing can be certain with any coaches future in Indy at the moment, sources say he will be the defensive coordinator.


How Dak Prescott says his mother once shut down Nick Saban on the recruiting trail - Staff, SportsDay

National Signing Day for college football is today. SportsDay ran a story on how Dak’s mom shut down recruiting mastermind and Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban.

And Peggy was unwavering in her principles. When Nick Saban (then the football coach at LSU, now at Alabama) visited the Prescotts’ high school to recruit Dak’s older brother Jace as an offensive lineman, Jace was out sick and missing practice.

Their coach called Peggy to let her know of the visitor.

”He’s sick,” she told the coach.

”It’ll only take 15-20 minutes,” the coach pleaded. “Just bring him up here. This is the Nick Saban. This is the LSU. I mean, we’re in Louisiana, this is the head coach of the LSU Tigers.”

Dak said his mom couldn’t care less.

Drew Pearson, DeMarcus Ware named Cowboys’ community ambassadors for NFL draft - Barry Horn, SportsDay

With the 2018 NFL Draft coming up, Cowboys legends Drew Pearson and DeMarcus Ware were named ‘community ambassadors’.

Pearson and DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys’ No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft, have been designated “community ambassadors” for the franchise’s youth outreach initiatives that will complement the hoopla of the April 26-28 NFL draft road show that lands at AT&T Stadium April 26-28.

Pass rusher extraordinaire Ware, without question, completed the most storied career of any Cowboys No. 1 draft choice this millennium.

The Cowboys announced they have drafted Pearson and Ware for their ambassadorships on Tuesday. Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer, heads up the team’s involvement in the draft that ultimately will be run by the NFL.