The 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl kicks of next week and Blogging The Boys will be onsite for wall to wall coverage of the Senior Bowl practices. The Cowboys have used the Senior Bowl to evaluate multiple players they have drafted throughout the years. In 2018, wide receivers Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, and quarterback Mike White all participated in the Senior Bowl and had good performances down in Mobile.
In 2019, the Cowboys will be locked into the practices and game to hopefully find the next great Dallas Cowboy. Here’s who they should be interested in throughout the week in Mobile, Alabama.
With Rod Smith entering free agency, and the workload that the NFL’s rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott receives in Dallas, adding a mid-to-late round running back in the 2019 NFL Draft would be a wise move from the Cowboys’ front office. The Cowboys need a back that’s cheap, durable, and able to give Elliott a breather or two throughout a game, with the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Let’s see who might be available that fits that mold.
Bruce Anderson - North Dakota State (Sixth-Round option)
North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson is a really fun back to evaluate. Listed at 5’11” and 210-lbs, Anderson runs with a low center of gravity that allows him to run with great contact balance. Anderson is tough to bring down on first contact due to the strength in his lower half and ability to shake off defenders with a nice stiff-arm. Anderson showcases soft, reliable hands catching the football and has a good feel for how to run routes and track the football in the air. He showcased good vision when running in between the tackles, but also enough burst and athletic ability to test the outside perimeter of the defenses with success. Due to his vision, receiving ability out of the backfield, and strength in between the tackles, North Dakota State running back Bruce Anderson will be a guy the Cowboys’ brass should keep their eyes on all week down in Mobile.
With Cole Beasley’s time in Dallas possibly over, the Cowboys could be looking for a quick twitch slot receiver to take his place in the Cowboys offense in 2019. There will be multiple intriguing options for the Cowboys at the Senior Bowl as a do-it-all receiver that can primarily play in the slot.
Penny Hart - Georgia State (Fifth-Round option)
One guy I think is going to make a lot of noise next week is Georgia State wide receiver Penny Hart. Hart is a 5’8” and 180-lb receiver out of Georgia State that posted a ton of production in the Sun Belt conference. In his four years at GSU (39 games), Hart had two 1,000+ yard seasons (2015, 2017), and two 70+ catch seasons (2015, 2017). Hart lined up both in the slot, outside, out of the backfield, and has experience returning both kicks and punts in his four years at Georgia State. Penny plays with great short area quickness, route running ability, physicality when asked to block, showcased really nice hands and run after the catch abilities in college. He will get an opportunity next week to showcase his skills against tougher competition in front of the Cowboys’ decision makers.
Penny Hart wins outside and gets over the top on Troy CB Marcus Jones. Does a good job of keeping his inside shoulder over the CB so that he can maintain his leverage advantage. Secures the ball through contact for a 45-yard gain. pic.twitter.com/1VGlHpqsLw— Fed Scivittaro (@MeshPointScout) October 8, 2018
By the end of the season, the Cowboys started to see their tight ends produce. Second-year player Blake Jarwin really started to come into his own over the last month of the season, and rookie Dalton Schultz started to get more involved in the passing game, and showed improvements in the blocking game. With Geoff Swaim coming off an injury and entering free agency, the Cowboys might look to add another “complete” tight end to their roster via the draft.
Dax Raymond - Utah State (Fifth-Round option)
Enter 6’4” and 240-lb Dax Raymond. Raymond showcases good ball skills to make catches up and away from his frame, the ability to get up field after the catch, and the physicality to hold up in the blocking game. Raymond, a three-year player at Utah State, never blew up the stat sheet, but showcased traits as both a receiver and a blocker at Utah State that translate well over to the NFL. Dax lined up both in-line, and as a big slot in Utah State’s offense and had success getting open, catching the football, and blocking at both spots. Raymond would be the ideal tight end prospect to bring in to compete for the third tight end spot on the depth chart for the 2019 season.
Adding offensive lineman to the roster should be something all 32 teams look to do in every draft. The Cowboys have plenty of talent and depth along the interior of their offensive line, but that is not the case at offensive tackle. Tackle Cameron Fleming will be hitting free agency, and the Cowboys may look for young and cheap at the swing-tackle position after an up-and-down year from Fleming. There are multiple intriguing tackle options playing in the Senior Bowl this year the Cowboys should have their eyes on.
Andre Dillard - Washington State (Second-Round option)
Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard is one of the more underappreciated offensive lineman in this draft class. Dillard plays with tremendous athletic ability, good feet in the run and pass blocking game, and great mirroring skills to stay with quicker pass rushers when working the edge. He moves well in space and when asked to pull in the running game. Dillard rarely gets caught overextending, and always seem to be in the perfect position to recover when he does get beat with power. Possesses great length in his arms which allows him to reach defensive lineman with ease. Has the room to add some mass to his upper body which will help with some of the concerns regarding his strength at the point of attack. A three-year starter at Washington State at left tackle, Dillard is the perfect tackle option to bring in to groom as a future starter, while also serving as a valuable swing-tackle behind Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.
The Los Angeles Rams manhandled the Cowboys defensive line in the divisional round of the playoffs. With that still hot on their minds, the Cowboys will be looking to add some strong, disruptive defensive lineman to their roster for the 2019 season. With DeMarcus Lawrence likely to return in 2019, and Randy Gregory starting to blossom into a really talented pass rusher, they will likely turn to DT to beef up their defensive line talent.
Renell Wren - Arizona State (Fourth-Round option)
Arizona State’s Renell Wren is a guy Cowboys fans should become familiar with. The 6’4”, 295-lb defensive lineman has tremendous measurables, power, and explosiveness in his lower half that makes him a prime candidate to have an excellent week in Mobile. Wren is a interior defensive lineman that can play at both the 1-technique and the 3-technique for the Cowboys. Wren showcases an incredible first step, and great power in his hands and upper body. Showed the ability at Arizona State to shed and get off blocks to make plays against the run, and hold his ground at the point of attack. Tough guy to move in and out of gaps due to his size and athleticism. If Wren can work on developing true pass rush moves, he can take that aspect of his game to the next level, and really make himself some money this draft season.
Linebacker is a position the Cowboys will not need to spend a ton of draft capitol on due to the emergence of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. With that being said, Sean Lee’s future in Dallas could be coming to an end, and Damien Wilson is set to hit free agency — so drafting a linebacker late would be a wise move.
David Long Jr. - West Virginia (Sixth-Round option)
Drafting David Long Jr. would mean the Cowboys would be going against the grain from what they’re used to the last few years. David Long does not fit the big, physical, athletic freaks the Cowboys have targeted recently in the draft. What David Long Jr. brings to the table is a tremendous nose for the football, insane athletic ability, the ability to make plays sideline-to-sideline, and in the backfield due to his quickness. Listed at 5’11” and 225-lbs, it’s apparent that Long doesn’t have the ideal measurables for the Cowboys standards, but his play-making ability should certainly catch their attention. Long does a tremendous job of avoiding blockers, getting off blocks, and shooting gaps to make plays in the backfield. In his four years at West Virginia, Long tallied 246 tackles (39.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks, and 10 passes defended. Long is a guy who could come in and immediately make a difference on special teams, while also having success playing off the ball, and running to the football.
The Cowboys are pretty set at defensive back for the foreseeable future, but you can never have enough pass rushers, and you can never have enough cover corners. With Byron Jones entering an interesting contract situation, Anthony Brown going into the final year of his deal, and Jeff Heath on the wrong side of 30, the Cowboys should think long and hard about about drafting a DB in 2019.
Isaiah Johnson - Houston (Fourth-Round option)
With all signs pointing to Kris Richard returning to coach the Cowboys defense in 2019, we all know the emphasis he places on bigger, longer, more physical cornerbacks. 6’4” and 203-lb defensive back, Isaiah Johnson, fits his mold perfectly. Johnson has ideal height and length for an outside cornerback in the NFL. Johnson uses his length well to beat receivers at the line of scrimmage, but also to bully receivers throughout their routes by pressing them towards the sideline. Johnson plays with great athletic ability in coverage, but also showcases his athleticism when playing against the run. Johnson flashes fluid hips to turn and run with receivers vertically, but good feet to mirror receivers short and intermediate routes. Freakish wingspan that allows him to bring down ball carriers in the open field, but also blanket receivers all over the field. Raw in terms of footwork and technique, but his athleticism and size covers up a ton of of his weaknesses and allows him to recovery when he does get beat.
The Dallas Cowboys have used the Reese’s Senior Bowl as a tool to draft some of the star players on their team. Practices kick off next Tuesday, and the game will be on Saturday, January 26th, 2019. Make sure you’re following BloggingTheBoys.com for wall-to-wall coverage of the Senior Bowl practices, interviews, and game!