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Cowboys news: Standout WRs at the combine; Jerry says contract discussion with Dez coming shortly

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More news from the combine in your latest dose of Cowboys goodness.

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NCAA Football: Howard at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Standouts & Surprises From The Early NFL Combine Workouts - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
It should be interesting to see how the Cowboys feel about the wide receiver group in the draft. If they are in the business of collecting good players, then the right WR at the right spot is a possibility. Bryan Broaddus discusses the WR dilemma in his latest edition of Scout's Notebook.

What we learned on Friday in visiting with the wide receivers is that the Dallas Cowboys are hunting some talent. Guys like Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, Maryland’s D.J. Moore and Clemson’s Deon Cain had formal visits lined up with the club. Others, like Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk and LSU’s D.J. Chark, were just meeting on the informal side. You can read into this a couple of different ways. Is the talent at the position just that good or are they making some plans to adjust their current group? Ridley and Moore are the top two receivers on my board so if either were available at their spot at 19, I wouldn’t have an issue adding either to the roster.

While many Cowboys fans are high on D.J. Moore, it was another D.J. that blazed through the 40-yard dash with an amazing time.

2018 NFL Scouting Combine: Live updates from Indy - Analysis Team, Pro Football Focus
The PFF team is at the combine and they are watching the prospects closely. They provide their take on the participates, including what they like from the wide receiver group.

D.J. Chark, WR, LSU

Chark is having a spectacular draft season thus far as he was one of the stars of the Senior Bowl week in Mobile – including a five-catch and 165-yard performance in the game – and one of the players we highlighted as helping themselves the most that week. Chark has subsequently followed that up with a strong performance at the combine. He had a 4.34u 40-yard dash showing that his long speed on film was not a fluke and capped it with a 40-inch vertical leap. Chark’s strong showing since the end of the season should see him moving up draft boards. – @PFF_Jordan

Mike Mayock's takeaways from Day 2 of combine - Edward Lewis, NFL.com
Draft guru Mike Mayock discussed what he saw from Day 2, including a few wide receivers that caught his eye.

Receivers

DJ Chark, LSU: Chark's blazing 4.34 40 time impressed Mayock, but after he smoothly caught passes in the gauntlet drill, Mayock really liked what he saw: "He had a real good Senior Bowl week and he's coming out and competing today."

Michael Gallup, Colorado State: One of the question marks on the Colorado State standout, who's largely projected to land somewhere in the second round, was his top-end speed. With a 4.52 40, Mayock said the time eased some of those concerns: "That is good. At 205 pounds, he's a competitor."

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: Mayock wondered whether Kirk would run a sub-4.5 40 time, and when both of Kirk's unofficials came in under that mark, Mayock called them "really solid." The draft analyst compared Kirk to former Green Bay Packers wideout Greg Jennings, saying they're both "tough" wideouts with "outstanding hands" who run good routes.

Running backs who made a splash at the combine - Carl Daley, Sport DFW
While Penn State running back Saquan Barkley put on quite a show at the combine to secure his spot atop the draft boards, there were some other RBs that performed well also, including a possible Day 3 sleeper target for the Cowboys.

Kalen Ballage (Arizona State)

4.46 40 Yard Dash/15 Bench Press Reps/33.5 Vertical/122.0 Broad Jump:

This guy will be the biggest sleeper running back in the draft hands down. Ballage has scored eight touchdowns in a single game, there is something about him that is incredibly special. Like Hines, Ballage is also a kick returner who has gotten into the end zone plenty of times.

He never had a 1,000-yard season with Arizona State predominantly because he split carries. He has been said to be an indecisive runner and has a trouble with his vision on the field however he has pretty decent hands for catching the football. He also has some familiarity with lining up as a wide receiver. He is the type of gem the Dallas Cowboys could score late in the draft with.

Could OL Billy Price's Injury Drop Him To Cowboys' Reach in Day 2? - Mauricio Rodriguez, Inside The Star
Ohio State offensive lineman Billy Price suffered a pectoral injury at the combine. While a player like Price wouldn't likely make it to 50, this small setback could be enough to keep him on the board until the Cowboys pick in the second round.

The Dallas Cowboys could use some help at left guard, but it really shouldn't be a Day 1 priority. Billy Price's situation might end up being something that makes this team wait until how the board looks like at pick #50.

If the injury isn't as serious though, it's tough to think such a great prospect like Price falls all the way to the 50th pick.

Cowboys Stock Report for 2018 Scouting Combine offensive linemen - Donrey Marinas, Cowboys Wire
How did the offensive linemen do? Donrey Marinas of Cowboys Wire provides a summary, including one prospect who had himself a nice workout on Friday.

Miller was one of two OL from this year’s batch who had a complete athletic profile without any red scores. He performed very well in the 3-cone and broad jump displaying outstanding agility and lower body explosion.

If not for the lack of need at the OT position, the former Bruin would be a much more likely candidate for the Cowboys. His draft stock has been rising lately, but is almost guaranteed to be off the board by the time Dallas is ready to select depth players for the OL. Unless Dallas is convinced he can convert to LG and play in a starting role.


Jerry Jones wants Dez Bryant to stay - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
At some point the Cowboys and Dez Bryant will have a discussion about his contract as many expect some type of adjustment is on the horizon. The Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, spoke out about it.

Asked if he is still a top receiver why does a conversation need to be had about his contract, Jones deflected.

If he is still No. 1, why is there a question or need to talk to him?

“I can give you reasons. I am not going to address him. But I can give you reasons. We have addressed guys in the prime of their careers on their contract before. We have made adjustments in their contracts. We continue to look for ways to improve your value on your roster.

"We are going to always continually work the economics of our roster so we can get more mileage out of our cap space. We will always be looking to do that. Guys like Dez have worked with us. And in his particular case, I will repeat I have more history working with Dez and his economics than most players that we've got history during these cap economic times.”


Cowboys Draft Digest: Volume 4, Edge Rushers – Bob Sturm,The Athletic
There are a couple defensive linemen prospects who could land right around the 19 spot in the draft. Bob Sturm provides a detailed report of the top five edge rushers.

Harold Landry – Boston College – 6’3 – 250 -#7

Positives: Landry is going to be one of the more interesting studies in this draft, because he stayed in school through the 2017 draft where he would have been a sure Top-10 selection. He then had a bit of a disappointing and injury-marred year, but when you look at the right games there is little question of Landry’s ability to provide pressure off the edge. He led the NCAA in two categories in 2016 when he had 16.5 sacks and an absurd 7 forced fumbles. Landry comes off the edge with tremendous speed and can perform the “rip and dip” around most tackles. He is ready to engage hard despite size issues, has strong hands, a punch, and is an all-around heat-sealer. He has ability that is very hard to find. He can just flat-out dominate games and is extremely impressive.

Does Cowboys' philosophy of ignoring 'pure' nose tackles in Round 1 rule out Vita Vea, Da'Ron Payne? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
Draft expert Dane Brugler weighs in on the legitimacy behind Stephen Jones "dismissing" the possibility of a NT at 19, but he also shares what he is most interested in seeing today at the combine, including a fan-favorite defensive tackle.

Question: Cowboys fans should probably be keen on Sunday's combine workouts, with D-linemen and linebackers scheduled to work out. What will you be most interested in that day?

Dane Brugler: At 347 pounds, will Vita Vea get below 5.0 in the 40-yard dash? I also want to see Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch work out. I really like him as the "Plan B" in the second round if the Cowboys don't get Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds in the first. I expect him to work out well, which could take him out of reach with pick No. 50.

Michigan's Maurice Hurst, a possible first-round pick, diagnosed with heart condition - Kyle Meinke, MLive.com
It was a day of bad news for one potential Cowboys draft prospect.

The former Michigan star was diagnosed with a heart condition during the medical testing here at the NFL combine, according to ESPN. The severity of the condition is not yet known, nor whether it could impact or imperil his career. He has pulled out of the rest of the events and is expected to undergo further testing in the coming days.


Four Downs: NFC East - Vincent Verhei, Football Outsiders
Football Outsiders takes a look at each NFC East teams and determines their biggest hole entering free agency. You will be surprised by what they chose for the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys

Biggest Hole: Secondary, as usual

The Cowboys' constant failure to find quality players in their defensive backfield is getting ridiculous. Three Dallas cornerbacks -- Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and Orlando Scandrick -- qualified for Sports Info Solutions' charting tables in 2017, but none made the top 40 in success rate.

For whatever reason, the Cowboys regime has completely failed to scout, acquire, and develop talent here for the better part of a decade now.

I’m not sure I agree with this “constant failure” in the secondary comment.

The Cowboys can certainly improve in how they approach free agency, particularly when it comes to signing players from other teams.

Will Cowboys Make A Free Agency Splash? Depends On Your Definition - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys biggest offseason decisions will center around DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, and Anthony Hitchens. Retaining those guys will be a big win for Dallas. But when it comes to acquiring talent from the outside, they've been terrible. Is it going to get any better this offseason?

They also know they need more contributions any lower-cost deals they might strike in the future. Last year, four free-agent signings (Robert Blanton, Nolan Carroll, Damontre’ Moore and Stephen Paea) were off the roster by mid-season. The team also cut defensive Cedric Thornton at the end of preseason, a year after giving him a four-year deal worth roughly $18 million.

“Obviously it didn’t work out for us, and we missed. You certainly want to be better,” Stephen Jones said. “That's one thing I admire about Will (McClay) and our staff, is certainly since it didn't work – why not? And how do we fix it?”

Pro Football Focus: Some names to look for if Cowboys decided to go after other teams' free agents - Staff, SportsDay
The staff over at PFF offer up some free agent candidates that the Cowboys should consider pursuing.

Gayle writes that Seattle defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson would be a fit for Dallas: While he may not be the game-changing player he once was, Richardson's consistent play in the trenches could fit the bill for a Dallas team in need of a dose of consistency on the interior of the defense.

Falcons interested in Cowboys FB Keith Smith - James Parks, 247 Sports
The Atlanta Falcons are still looking for someone to replace the departed Patrick DiMarco and they might have their targets set on the Cowboys free agent fullback.

A converted linebacker who went undrafted from San Jose State four years ago, Smith has appeared in 32 contests for the Cowboys over the past two seasons and has made four starts, serving largely as the lead blocker for starting back Ezekiel Elliott. In total, he appeared on 128 snaps in 2017, or 12.02 percent of Dallas’ offense.