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Cowboys news: More top college wide receivers are gaining attention from Dallas

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Going by the players they’re showing interest in, the Cowboys are planning on revamping the WR group with a big draft investment,

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Nicholls St. v Texas A&M Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

What you need to know about three top receiver prospects Cowboys spent time with this week - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys are looking closely at several of the top guys in this year's draft class.

On Tuesday, new special-teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn was joined by scouts Walter Juliff and Sam Garza at Texas A&M’s Pro Day. Aggies star receiver Christian Kirk was the main attraction -- well, if you don’t count Johnny Manziel.

Head coach Jason Garrett and his staff traveled to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday to check out Alabama’s top prospects. Calvin Ridley took part in that workout.

Garrett and new wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal worked with Courtland Sutton at SMU’s Pro Day on Thursday.

The team appears to be investigating the receiver position similarly to how they studied quarterback prospects in 2016, the year they selected Dak Prescott in the fourth round.

If the Cowboys have real interest in landing Kirk, they'll have to use the 19th overall pick. It's unlikely he'll still be available when the Cowboys get back on the clock in Round 2.

College Sports: Is Christian Kirk a legit option for the Cowboys at 19? - Ben Baby, SportsDay
Would the Texas A&M receiver be a legit candidate for the Cowboys first round pick? Aggies beat writer Ben Baby answers that question.

Is Christian Kirk a first round pick? Is he a legit option for the Cowboys at 19?

Baby: Great question. I don't know if he'll go in the first round, but I'd be shocked if he didn't go in the second round. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has Kirk as the No. 4 receiver in the draft and not in the first round as of the latest projection.

You wonder if the lack of hype during his junior year has affected the way teams have viewed him. I've always wondered how Kirk and Alabama's Calvin Ridley would be viewed if both players swapped teams. The two receivers have always seemed pretty comparable over the years. We'll find out if that continues to be the case when they turn pro.

Courtland Sutton talks SMU Pro Day, working out for Cowboys - Billy Embody, 247 Sports
Jason Garrett got some direct experience with SMU receiver Cortland Sutton. How did it go?

While Sutton has plenty of tape out for NFL personnel to go over, being able to be worked out by potential coaches gave him the opportunity to show how he can be coached on the game's biggest stage. Garrett told him that he still has to work on sinking his hips and keeping his shoulders over his toes when coming out of his breaks.

“One of the first things coach Garrett said when I saw him was he asked if I wanted him to sit back, let me do my own thing and don’t say anything or if I wanted him to actually coach me and get after me a bit. I said, 'Coach, you’re out here and that’d be awesome if you tell me I’m doing something wrong to go back and correct it.' To be able to show that work ethic was huge. Your film only sells so much.”

If Garrett was trying to gauge how receptive he was to the idea of extra coaching, the young receiver gave the right answer.

Dallas Cowboys are doing homework on wide receiver prospects - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Thursday afternoon the coaches got a good glimpse of what they'd get with Courtland Sutton.

Sutton left a favorable impression on the Cowboys coaches. Along with Garrett and Lal, there were representatives from 25 teams, including four wide receiver coaches.

“He can catch the ball like no other,” Lal said of Sutton. “He’s got a huge catch radius. Strong hands. So that’s a start. If a receiver can catch, obviously that’s key. Then, he’s coachable. We were giving him, on the fly, some coaching points and kind of coaching him a little hard, seeing how he would respond, and he responded. He’s not polished like most of these guys coming out, but a great athlete, and he’s a moldable piece of clay.”

Check out the video of Garrett coaching up the SMU receivers.

Do the Cowboys view 2018 Dez Bryant like they did 2017 Orlando Scandrick? - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
For years Orlando Scandrick was the best cornerback on the team as well as the most passionate player on defense. But in one quick offseason of remodeling, the veteran corners is now gone. Dez Bryant has been the team's best wideout over the years and his passion for the game is unmatched. Could an escalated WR overhaul put him on a similar path? Our own RJ Ochoa explains.

The Cowboys bet big on young players in the secondary, after watching four veterans leave in free agency, and it worked out well for them.

Of course, the then-veteran of the group Orlando Scandrick was kind of the wrench in those “let’s get younger” plans, was he not? Dallas reportedly shopped him around at the draft, denied it after the fact, but it hasn’t even been a year and Scandrick is now part of the Washington Redskins.

They’re not identical situations by any means, but is anybody else kind of feeling like the Cowboys are trying to do this year at receiver what they did with the secondary? And if this was the case, is Dez Bryant not the Orlando Scandrick of the analogy?

Who will decide Dez Bryant's future with Cowboys? More than likely, he will - Kristi Scales, SportsDay
Dez or no Dez? That is the question. But who has the answer? As Kristi Scales indicates, the answer could come down to Dez Bryant himself and just how willing he is to negotiate.

Would drafting a wide receiver signal the end of the Dez Bryant era?

Kristi Scales: The answer to your question depends on whether or not it's an early pick, especially a first-rounder. A mid-to-late round pick does not necessarily signal the end of Dez's Dallas career. But the investment in a first-rounder, along with the free agent additions of Hurns & Thompson, means the writing is on the wall.

Obviously, it depends on how Jerry's meeting with Dez goes. Jerry can be very persuasive. I've done live pregame interviews with Jerry for the past 19 seasons and have always said that he's such a good salesman, he could sell sand to Saudi Arabia. But Dez has a lot of pride, and who among us would want to take a pay cut?

I think whether or not Dez will be on the team in 2018 is ultimately up to Dez. Would he be willing to restructure his deal to stay in Dallas? Could he get more on the open market if the Cowboys let him go?

Right now, Dez has the 3rd highest salary cap hit ($16.5m) in 2018 of NFL wide receivers. He trails only the Bucs' Mike Evans ($18.258m) and the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald ($16.85).

Cowboys Seriously Considering Investing in a 1st-Round WR? - Brian Martin, Inside The Star
When the Cowboys signed Allen Hurns, that created a crowded group at the wide receiver position. Things can get even more crowded if the team uses a premium draft pick on one of this year's top collegiate receivers.

Calvin Ridley is the top-ranked wide receiver in the 2018 draft class by a lot of draft analysts, and it's not hard to see why. He is the most pro-ready WR to come out of college in the last few years. He is also an advanced route runner and is a natural catching the ball. I however have my concerns about Ridley. I think he has already peaked and doesn't have much more room for improvement. I think what you see is what you're going to get, which isn't a bad thing, but it is why I would personally choose D.J. Moore ahead of Ridley if I were the Dallas Cowboys.

I think D.J. Moore is just as talented as Calvin Ridley and has more upside. He already proved to be the more athletic of the two at the NFL combine when he bested the former Alabama Crimson Tide WR in nearly every event. Moore is very similar to Ridley in my opinion. He may not be as advanced of a route runner, but he is still pretty good and has room for improvement. What sets Moore apart though, is his physicality. He is sensational after the catch because of that physicality, and that's something the Cowboys value.

Although Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore are the only two WRs I feel comfortable drafting at 19, the Dallas Cowboys may not feel the same. That may be why they were at Cortland Sutton's (SMU) and Christian Kirk's (Texas A&M) Pro Day's this week. They are leaving no wide receiver stone unturned.

Dallas Cowboys better fit: Calvin Ridley or D.J. Moore? - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys are trying to get better at receiver and nothing to show that more than drafting a WR at 19. But if that happens, which receiver should they go after? There are two standout candidates, but which one would fit better in Dallas?

When looking at just the measurables, Moore is actually the better option. Both prospects come in at 6’0″ tall and have matching arm lengths at 31 5/8″. But Moore weighs in at 210 pounds, 21 more than Ridley. And that’s important as the latter’s slight frame is a concern. Moore also has bigger hands coming in at 9 5/8″ over Ridley’s 9 1/8″. Yet, both have had their issues with dropped passes.

During the Scouting Combine, Moore outran and out-jumped Ridley. D.J. posted a 4.42 forty and a 39.5 inch vertical jump. While Calvin ran a 4.43 forty and recorded a 31.0 inch vertical jump.

But in my eyes, Ridley has the edge when it comes to production. And that’s not due to his numbers, but the fact he performed on the biggest stage consistently as part of a Crimson Tide team that went 13-1 last season. Ridley recorded 63 receptions for 967 and five touchdowns in 2017.

Moore posted an incredible 80 catches for 1,033 yards and eight scores in only 12 games last season for the Terrapins. But he also played for a team that finished the year with a 4-8 record.


Cowboys Draft: Why an offensive lineman makes perfect sense in the 1st - Reid Hanson, Sport DFW
Whether or not to take another offensive linemen in the first round has been a hot topic among Cowboys Nation. It would certainly strengthen the team, but is that the proper use of resources? Reid Hanson seems to think so.

With so many weaknesses on the team, it seems absurd to use a first round pick on a strength like the offensive line, right?

Not so fast.

The Dallas Cowboys struggled on the offensive line last season. As a result, the entire offense bogged down. With everything on offense hinging on a dominant offensive line, ensuring that dominance is extremely important.

If the addition of an offensive lineman can change left guard from a weakness to a strength, the benefits will trickle down to all parts of the offense. And as we all know, a ball controlling offense keeps the defense off the field – essentially helping in all areas of the game.

Cowboys Draft Digest: Volume 8, Offensive Line - Bob Sturm, The Athletic
If the Cowboys do go with an offensive linemen in the first round, it could be one of the top guards in the draft. As Bob Sturm states, there's a lot to like about the the Georgia prospect.

Isaiah Wynn — Georgia — 6-2 – 313

Positives: Wynn is a player that really grows on you the more you watch him. He played left tackle for Georgia this year after playing plenty at guard in 2016 and before. Because he is 6'2, he is slated to move inside at the next level, but from the tape I studied, I think he could play tackle. When pass-protecting, Wynn is sternum to sternum on his man in almost every situation, meaning he concedes no edge to attack – a rarity that reveals fantastic feet. He can mirror his man wonderfully which makes me think he is a tackle, despite being a few inches short of the prototype. He has fine strength for a guard and is able to make blocks on the move and straight ahead. He just doesn't lose very often.

2018 NFL Draft: Top Sleepers Still Flying Under the Radar with a Month to Go - Doug Farrar, Bleacher Report
The Cowboys don't have to make a Day 1 investment in a guard in order to find a starting caliber player. Doug Farrar provides a good list of sleeper guys in the draft, including an offensive linemen would might be perfect for Dallas.

Braden Smith, OG, Auburn

Notre Dame's Quenton Nelson might be the best player in this class, and Georgia's Isaiah Wynn has the strength and easy movement that should make him a top-20 pick. Texas-El Paso's Will Hernandez is a pure mauler, perfect for a power-based scheme.

If your NFL team misses out on those guys, the sleeper pick among guards might be Auburn's Braden Smith.

The 6'6", 315-pound right guard and right tackle plays with great physicality and intensity, getting low in his stance and dragging defensive tackles around once he gets his hands on their jersey numbers. But the aspect of his play that's most impressive—and sorely lacking among many young interior linemen—is his ability to hit the second level and target a linebacker with an accurate block.


Free-agency grades: Cowboys lose Hitchens but play it smart overall - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys haven't been big spenders in free agency, giving out a few modest deals, and playing it smart overall, Archer writes. Archer also counsels to play it smart in the draft.

Most of the Cowboys' focus is on the upcoming draft. With 10 picks, they could be able to move around to fill specific needs by using late-round picks to move up in different rounds. If they make 10 selections in the draft, then they made a mistake because there is no chance they will have all 10 players make the roster out of training camp.