It’s June, which means a few things:
- Last month was May
- Next month is July
- Silly things are being said as far as NFL teams go
This is the driest month of the year as far as football activity goes. People struggle for things to do (I’ve thought about getting a ping pong table personally) and they struggle for things to talk about.
Despite the fact that all students between kindergarten and high school are on summer vacation, this is also the biggest time of year for grades. Those are never wrong, right?
It’s like clockwork at this point. We get offseason grades, the ESPYs happen, it’s Little League World Series time, and bam we’re suddenly in the middle of preseason football. While it’d be a lot easier if we could eliminate some of the procedures, the nature of humans forbids it.
The grades in question today come from the worldwide leader. ESPN polled various NFL executives and factored in things like coaching changes, free agency, the draft and more to determine where each team ultimately stood. They gave the Cowboys a C. That’s a C as in Cowboys.
“I probably would feel better about Dallas’ offseason if they got Watkins, to be honest with you,” an exec said, “just because when you’ve got those young quarterbacks, you’d better try to get them some kind of weapons. Allen Hurns to me is a big slot receiver. He is almost like a tight end. Losing Witten was painful -- just very painful to lose him.”
Dak Prescott has ranked among the NFL leaders in QBR on third-and-2 or longer, a proxy for obvious passing situations. Witten was on the field for every one of these plays over the past two seasons. Overall, Prescott ranked fourth in QBR last season, but you’d never know it from watching the Cowboys’ offense when Ezekiel Elliott and/or Tyron Smith were unavailable.
”Prescott takes a lot of guff, but his receivers aren’t that good,” an evaluator said. “Allen Hurns will not be as good as Dez Bryant. He is just cheaper and a name because he caught 60 balls three years ago. He is beat up. He was a slow college free agent, then he got hurt and he’s not getting faster.”
It’s true that the Cowboys lost Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this offseason, but the former was a choice. It’s not like the rug was pulled out from under the Cowboys and they were left flabbergasted and in a mess.
There’s no denying that Sammy Watkins is a sexier name than Allen Hurns, but is he necessarily the difference between a C and whatever else that would be a high grade? A few months ago we took a look at both players' respective productions throughout their careers. There’s more to the story than this data, but Allen Hurns is far from chump change.
It’s also worth noting that Hurns is knocked for being slow, especially coming out of college. At the 2014 combine he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash. Dez Bryant, who the exec feels Hurns can’t be (no one said he could), ran a 4.52 four years earlier. Dez was hardly known for his speed.
Ultimately all of this is going to continue until the Cowboys give whoever is grading them a reason to believe.
Hurry up ESPYs, you’re next on the offseason checklist.