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Cowboys news: One name keeps popping up for the Cowboys in early mock drafts

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Will the Cowboys’ 2020 NFL Draft focus heavily on defense?

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NFL Draft Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

PFF predicts first draft pick for McCarthy era Dallas Cowboys - Nick Kosko, 247Sports
Who will be the first player drafted to the Cowboys in the Mike McCarthy era?

Pro Football Focus released their first 2020 NFL Mock Draft and point towards the defensive secondary as a logical selection for the Cowboys.

With the No. 17 overall pick, PFF predicts Dallas will select LSU safety Grant Delpit.

“We’ve talked a lot about his missed tackle problem, but when it mattered most, Delpit wrapped up admirably,” Pro Football Focus wrote. “In the conference championship and through the playoffs, Delpit made 10 tackles and didn’t miss a single one.”

Delpit decided to forgo his senior season at LSU and enter the NFL Draft after many pre-draft projections pinned him as a first round selection.

In the National Championship win over Clemson, Delpit logged six total tackles, including five solo stops, with a sack and a forced fumble. In the game prior against Oklahoma he had three tackles, and he matched that same total in the SEC Championship against Georgia, adding a sack.

Cowboys Draft: What can we Learn From Mike McCarthy's Past Draft Picks? - Brian Martin, InsideTheStar
What do past drafts say about Mike McCarthy and what he may like to do in his first year with the Cowboys?

What did we learn, if anything?

I don’t know what you made of Mike McCarthy’s former first-round draft picks, but I noticed he likes drafting players for the defensive side of the ball. 10 out of 12 of his former first-round picks were defensive players and six of those were along the defensive line (yes, I included Clay Matthews). The next highest position drafted were defensive backs (3). I think it’s safe to say we can expect the Dallas Cowboys to go defense with the 17th overall pick. Could it finally be a DT?

Report card: Grading Cowboys Roster, Should Cowboys reset at DT?– Jon Machota, The Athletic
The Cowboys underperformed in 2019, but how did each individual player do? Should the Cowboys worry about retaining their DE's and replacing their DT's?

Maliek Collins, DT. Grade: C+. The Cowboys’ three-technique tackle started every game, recording four sacks. Collins has set himself up pretty well to cash in during free agency. Depending on the system the Cowboys plan on running, it would make some sense to bring Collins back.

Michael Bennett, DE/DT. Grade: C. Dallas was looking for a spark when signing Bennett mid-season, hoping he could replace what they lost with Tyrone Crawford out for the year. Bennett made some nice plays, but the defensive line just never quite clicked despite all the talent the group had on paper.

Antwaun Woods, DT. Grade: C. The Cowboys needed Woods to repeat what he did the year before at the one-tech spot when he started 15 games as a run-stopper up the middle. But he missed six games because of injury in 2019, leading to an inconsistent season.

A look inside Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan’s old playbook - David Howman, Blogging The Boys
Obviously things will change a bit, but this gives us a better idea of what to expect on defense for the Cowboys.

While in San Francisco, Nolan ran a 3-4 but as this image shows, it functioned nearly the same as a 4-3. It includes a nose tackle in a 1-technique and a lineman in a 3-technique (though it’s labeled as a defensive end here). Another lineman is sitting in a 4-technique, meaning he’s lined up directly over the right tackle. Nolan then has his two outside linebackers, named SAM and WILL, on the edges, with inside linebackers in 20 alignment, or off the ball in the box.

Here, the SAM and WILL linebackers are more or less interchangeable. In the responsibility column, you can see that they’re both tasked with chasing the ball-carrier if it’s run in their direction, and if it’s run away from them then they’re tasked with shooting their corresponding gap. But either way, one of these two defenders is crashing down as they would as a 4-3 defensive end in a similar alignment.

NFL coaching hires: Pros/cons for each of the five new head men - Marc Sessler, NFL.com

Marc Sessler provides pros and cons for each of the new head men, including the Panthers' Matt Rhule, Cowboys' Mike McCarthy and Giants' Joe Judge.

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys

Pros: Armed with a stellar 125-77-2 career mark, McCarthy is an old-school warhorse armed with a Super Bowl ring. His heavily publicized “growth year” away from football came doused in self-reflection, leading to a flurry of interviews and the hand of Jerry Jones. This feels like a fit. McCarthy brings the requisite skills to grow Dak Prescott under center and make the most of a talented Cowboys roster. It’s encouraging that McCarthy is open to keeping promising offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. The Cowboys job is a pressure-cooker unfolding under a white-hot national spotlight, but Jones has proven to be a patient owner. McCarthy has a strong opportunity to rise again.

Cons: McCarthy’s Q-rating crumbled in Green Bay as his offense grew stale and predictable while the rest of the league zoomed by. The “revamped” McCarthy sold himself by telling the Jones clan he pored through every snap of the Dallas campaign, only to admit that was a fib, saying: “I need to confess: I told Jerry I watched every play of the 2019 season. I wanted the job. You do what you gotta do, right?” I’m willing to chalk that up as a media-friendly anecdote, but questions loom: Has McCarthy truly evolved? What about his offense? If both prove true, the Cowboys have pulled off a well-fitting hire.

Ankle Surgery For Pro Bowl Guard Zack Martin - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Zack Martin had minor clean-up surgery on his ankle this week but should be back to participate in the voluntary offseason program this spring.

Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin had minor clean-up surgery on his ankle this week but should be back to participate in the voluntary offseason program this spring.

The Saints announced Wednesday that guard Larry Warford has been tabbed as Martin’s injury replacement in the Jan. 26 Pro Bowl in Orlando.

Cowboys have big decision to make on CB Byron Jones- Todd Archer, ESPN
Byron Jones makes the Cowboys a much better defense but will they prioritize re-signing him this offseason?

Yes, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper are set to be free agents, but Prescott isn’t going anywhere, and it is unlikely Cooper will test the market either, so let’s skip those two. Jones has not had an interception in two seasons, but he does not give up much, either. Trying to put a value on that is difficult. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he was the nearest defender on 30 catches for 356 yards during the season and was targeted 60 times. That 50% completion percentage was ninth best among players with 50 targets as the nearest defender.

The Cowboys would have cap space to sign Jones if they can get Prescott and Cooper signed to multiyear deals. Without the multiyear deals, it might be a little more difficult but not impossible. Jones is the Cowboys’ best corner and they also could lose Anthony Brown to free agency this offseason and Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis next year.

‘They Broke My Heart’: Cowboys Legend Drew Pearson Upset Over Not Making Hall Of Fame – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth
Drew Pearson has been waiting over 30 years to hear his name be called and take his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Pearson made many game-winning catches in his 11-year career, but his most famous was the 50-yard “Hail Mary” catch from Staubach to seal a 1975 playoff victory over the Vikings.

Pearson helped lead Dallas to three Super Bowl appearances and one win in Super Bowl XII at the end of the 1977 season.

Many, including himself, believe he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame alongside his fellow teammates. He’s been eligible for over 30 years after retiring in 1983.

Pearson was visibly upset after the NFL Network finished listing the names for this year’s Hall of Fame Class of 2020, which includes former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson and former safety (and Pearson’s teammate) Cliff Harris.

“Can’t catch no more damn passes. Can’t run no more routes. It’s there!” Pearson said. “What upsets me more is when they say you don’t deserve it, they sought negative about you. There’s nothing negative about my career in the NFL. Nothing!”

“You put your hands into fate, your fate in the hands of people and you trust them to do it right… it hurts. They broke my heart,” Pearson said.

Eatman: No Reason To Leave Drew Pearson Out - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
It's hard to find an explanation for how the Pro Football Hall of Fame has snubbed Drew Pearson time and time again.

There’s something really special about being in the Hall of Fame, and the exclusivity of it has to be protected.But all that being said, the door has already been opened rather wide. If you’re an All-Decade player, I just can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be good enough to be in the Hall of Fame.

Pearson was clearly one of the best players from his era, especially at wide receiver. On the All-Decade team, he is the only skill player that isn’t going to Canton. The Hall of Fame voters just put in Harold Carmichael, a second-team All-Decade player who was really good for the Eagles. Now granted, the Eagles didn’t have the same success as the Cowboys (nobody did other than Pittsburgh and they’ve got 10 guys from that era now in the Hall), but he still had a remarkable career. His numbers are actually better than Pearson in catches, yards and touchdowns.

But wait, I didn’t think it was about numbers alone. Correct me if I’m wrong but Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame mainly because of his two acrobatic Super Bowl catches that earned him MVP of Super Bowl X. Other than that, he’s got 336 catches. I understand that was a different era, but Peerless Price and Mohammad Sanu both have over 400. Michael Thomas got in the league the same year as Dak and Zeke and has 470.

I’ve never understood why Swann got in. If it’s the Super Bowl plays alone, then cool, let’s get David Tyree in next year.

I have nothing against Swann, or Carmichael or really any of those guys from that era. But if you’re going out of your way to leave out one guy from that group, why Pearson?

BTB Podcast

A lot of Dallas Cowboys-related news concerning the Pro Football Hall of Fame has dropped recently. Check out the latest episode of The Ocho as Chris Weaver from NFL Films discusses Jimmy Johnson and Cliff Harris.

Make sure that you never miss an episode from Blogging The Boys by subscribing to the Blogging The Boys podcast feed!