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Cowboys news: If first pick is defense, could linebacker or pass rusher be in the mix?

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NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at East Carolina James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Possible Pick: Cowboys Would Likely Need To Trade Up For LB Edmunds - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys would love to have one of the elite linebackers in the draft, but are they too far out of reach? Roquan Smith has been talked about a lot as a possible trade-up candidate, but what if Tremaine Edmunds was the LB that slides down to striking distance?

Where He’s Projected:

If Edmunds makes it out of the Top 10, it will be surprising to most draft analysts. Although linebackers tend to drop somewhat, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Edmunds, who seems to be the ideal prototype at linebacker, and could really fit in any scheme. If it’s not Georgia’s Roquan Smith, Edmunds is likely to be the first LB taken off the board, long before the Cowboys pick at No. 19.

How He Helps The Cowboys:

If he were to fall that far to the Cowboys, or if Dallas decided to trade up and get him, Edmunds would be a great fit in the Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme. He has the ability to play all across the board, likely starting out as the SAM, but playing a lot on nickel and dime packages. He has pass-rushing ability with 10 sacks in the last two years.

Here is what Bryan Broaddus has to say about Edmunds...

Rang's Gang a bounty of middle and late-round steals - Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout
The Cowboys could choose to wait until Day 3 to address the linebacker position. What type of steals could be lingering around later in the draft? Rob Rang offers up some mid- to late-round steals, including a tackling machine from Virginia.

ILB: Micah Kiser, Virginia, 6-0, 238, 4.66

The hard-hitting, run-stuffing Kiser is a blast from the past, ranking among the nation’s leaders in tackles after each of his three seasons as a starter for the Cavaliers, topping out in 2017 with 145, including 50 solos, 9.5 for loss and five sacks. Kiser showed good speed in workouts, but may lack the jets and agility to handle third-down duties in the NFL. That fact could push him well into Day Three. Do not be surprised when the two-time All-American — who recovered eight career fumbles and recovered six — ultimately proves a steal.

If Cowboys go defense in first round, here's a player to consider - Jon Machota, SportsDay
The Cowboys would love to get another strong year out of DeMarcus Lawrence to solidify that he is the real deal. They also have a young up-and-coming talent in Taco Charlton. Would that be enough to bank on or are there still too many question marks where the team would consider making a play at another high-upside edge rusher in the draft?

Who's your favorite defensive player you could see being available when the Cowboys draft at No. 19?

Jon Machota: Since Derwin James, Bradley Chubb and Roquan Smith will likely be long gone by 19, I'll go with Boston College pass rusher Harold Landry. I watched him play a few times in college. His sack total dipped in 2017 to five but he had 16.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss in 2016. He's a little undersized (6-2, 250) compared to what the Cowboys like at DE but I think he'll eventually be a very productive NFL player. I understand they just took Taco Charlton in the first round, but Landry might end up being the best value at 19 this year. It would be difficult for me to pass up on that.

He's similar to T.J. Watt, but Harold Landry to the Cowboys can't be ruled out - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
While defensive end is not a position the team has a big need for, you can never have enough great pass rushers. Could the Cowboys surprise people by taking an edge rusher in the first round for the second straight year?

Q: If he's available at No. 19, wouldn't the Cowboys pass on Harold Landry since they passed on T.J. Watt last year?

Brugler: Conventional wisdom says if they didn't think T.J. Watt was a fit last year, they likely wouldn't be too interested in Harold Landry. But the Cowboys are doing a lot of work on the former Boston College pass rusher and I wouldn't rule him out as a possibility at No. 19. Landry and Watt have similar skill sets, but Landry is more experienced with his hand on the ground -- maybe that is enough for the coaches to be more comfortable with him. All I know is the Cowboys have shown plenty of interest in Landry ...

Dallas Cowboys: 5 post-free agency draft needs - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
The Cowboys have done a great job of filing voids in free agency, but they still have some holes to fill. What are their biggest needs entering the draft?

Linebacker

Despite having both Pro Bowler Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith on the roster, plus signing veteran Joe Thomas in free agency, the Cowboys still have a big need at linebacker. Both Lee and Smith come with heavy injury concerns. And with the former turning 32-years old before the start of the season, Dallas has to consider drafting his future replacement.

How Will the Loss of Anthony Hitchens Impact the Cowboys' Season? - Staff, Inside The Star
Anthony Hitchens was a key piece to the Cowboys defense, especially with the health concerns of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. Finding a quality replacement has to be a priority for this team, but how will they go about it?

Right now, Jaylon Smith seems to be the answer to the loss of Hitchens, but he’s still got some way to come before he’s at the level the Cowboys need. He continues to suffer from nerve damage in his foot following a knee injury sustained in his last game for Notre Dame, but it's said to be getting better continually. He has a very strong work ethic and can push for a starting spot, but he’s still somewhat of an unknown.

As the Cowboys have been looking at offensive tackles, guards, and wide receivers in the second phase of free agency, they may already be planning to fill their linebacker hole in the draft.

Picking at #19 overall this year, a stroke of luck may have placed an incredibly talented linebacker in the Cowboys’ lap.

Roquan Smith, standing 6’1’’ and 236 lbs, is a formidable inside linebacker and considered to be one of the very best of the class. However, he sustained a hamstring injury during the NFL scouting combine, which could see him drop just outside of the top 15 – into Dallas’ catch zone.

Inside The Dallas Cowboys Randy Gregory Reinstatement Story - Mike Fisher, Scout
There is always a chance the Cowboys get another pass rushing surprise if Randy Gregory somehow makes it back onto the football field. While the upside of such a thing is tantalizing, nobody is counting their chickens just yet, especially the Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones.

“I’m not confident, but I do see where his heart is,” Jones said this week, frankly noting the "circuitous route” the 25-year-old prospect must navigate in order to become an NFL player.

The track record is marred by missteps. In January 2017, the NFL suspended Gregory for at least one year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Gregory had just returned from a 14-game suspension to start the 2016 season when he failed another NFL drug test (his fifth such failure), all of which came after Dallas selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft ... despite having tested positive for marijuana in February 2015 at the NFL Scouting Combine and despite having tested positive for marijuana twice at Nebraska.

Dallas rolled the dice on his talent, on what they believe is a core of good character, and on the Cowboys' own seemingly-bloated opinion of their ability to "fix'' broken people.

“He’s really a good person,'' Jones said. "That goes a long way. He’s smart – that’s redeeming. In other words, is there a chance that he could get this figured out and be accountable and responsible? There is. There’s one other little thing: He’s a hell of a football player.”


Mailbag: Jeff Cavanaugh answers your Cowboys draft questions - Jeff Cavanaugh, The Athletic
The Athletic opened up their mailbag to find an assortment of good questions pertaining to the Cowboys and the offseason. Jeff Cavanaugh takes a moment to address those questions.

The Cowboys had a free agency reputation of shopping in the bargain bin. They were like that roommate that bought movies exclusively from the five dollar bin and subjected you to garbage like White Chicks, Eight Crazy Nights, and Rob Schneider movies. Now after years of inflicting this dreck on you they all of the sudden come out with Shawshank. After watching it you come to find that Shawshank somehow found itself in the five dollar bin. The question you end up asking yourself: if their tastes or buying habits changed or did they just find a better movie in the bargain bin?

-Chris D.

Cavanaugh: Cam Fleming and Allen Hurns are from the bin. They essentially staked out the bin for a few weeks and learned the delivery truck schedules, then pounced on the new (old) movie with a 61% Rotten Tomatoes ranking.

Any time you can work Shawshank into the conversation is a job well done in my book.

Predicting the Most Surprising Picks of the 2018 NFL Draft - Kristopher Knox, Bleacher Report
Despite Jerry Jones having a history of shocking people, the Cowboys didn't make the list for a potential surprise pick this year. However, there was one unexpected prediction that could impact Dallas when they are on the clock at 19.

Arizona Cardinals Take Mason Rudolph at No. 15

The Arizona Cardinals signed Sam Bradford to a one-year, $20 million deal this offseason, but they need a long-term answer at the quarterback position in the wake of Carson Palmer's retirement. Arizona will pull the trigger in the sixth quarterback in the top half of this year's draft.

Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph has the size (6'5", 235 pounds) teams want in a pocket passer. He has adequate arm strength and accuracy. He passed for nearly 5,000 yards last season and completed 65 percent of his passes. He'll probably remind Cardinals general manager Steve Keim a lot of Palmer. However, Rudolph is widely viewed as belonging to the second tier of quarterbacks in this class.

"If you believe a guy is the franchise quarterback, take him and don't look back," Keim told reporters at the NFL combine. "Don't worry about where he is projected to go. That position is so important it doesn't matter where you take him. Two years from now, no one is going to remember that."

The Cardinals gamble on Rudolph, and six quarterbacks are gone by pick No. 16.

If six quarterbacks are gone by pick 16, that’s going to leave some quality players still on the board when the Cowboys pick.

In case you missed it...

Cowboys Draft Poll: Of these seven players, who’s your pick at 19th overall? - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Not sure who the Cowboys should take at 19? There are so many interesting candidates for that pick and it's anyone's guess who it ends up being, but make sure to get your guess entered in our latest poll.

We’re less than a month away from the 2018 NFL Draft and now is as good a time as any to start narrowing down our favorite targets. In this series, we’re going to give you options for each Cowboys draft pick through round four to see who you believe is the best option.

We’re just going to assume that the Cowboys stay pat and pick so no trade options here. Using Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings at NFLDraftScout.com and hints from their pre-Draft visits, we’ll give you options of guys with a chance to be on the board. Let’s begin with the Cowboys pick in the first round at 19th overall.

Poll

Of these seven prospects, who is your pick for the Cowboys at 19?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    DT Vita Vea
    (3560 votes)
  • 9%
    WR Calvin Ridley
    (773 votes)
  • 1%
    G/C James Daniels
    (143 votes)
  • 19%
    LB Leighton Vander Esch
    (1685 votes)
  • 12%
    G Will Hernandez
    (1073 votes)
  • 6%
    WR D.J. Moore
    (587 votes)
  • 7%
    LB Rashaan Evans
    (610 votes)
8431 votes total Vote Now

Colin Cowherd doesn’t understand the negativity around Dak Prescott - THE HERD

We're not always a fan of Cowherd, but he has an interesting take here that's not going to sit well with the Dak Haters in every NFL city.

Trailer released for upcoming 'All or Nothing' season - Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
Hanzus writes that this year's All or Nothing season will please Cowboys fans and haters alike.

This should work because of the polarizing nature of Big D. If you're a Cowboys fan, you'll love to see how the major dramas of the season -- Zeke's suspension, Dak's growing pains, Dez's rough Week 16 -- played out behind the scenes. And if you're a Cowboys hater? Well, you get to see the Cowboys -- pumped up as a Super Bowl contender entering 2017 -- repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot en route to a dark January. Streaming schadenfreude, baby!

The Cowboys are like baseball's Yankees in that way; a franchise with a huge fanbase and an even greater base of haters. This show should provide plenty of entertainment for both sides of the aisle. And Dez, make sure your helmet is on prior to all friendly headbutts.

All eight episodes of All or Nothing will be available for Prime members on April 27.