Film room: Five early options the Cowboys could consider with a top-five pick in the 2021 NFL draft - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys are in line for a Top 5 pick in the draft. Time to look at some options.
Quarterbacks will always be king in the NFL, but there’s not a player in the 2021 draft who did their job better on a snap-to-snap basis than Sewell did in 2019, when he was still just 19. I trust that Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is telling the truth that Smith and Collins are expected to return and play at a high level in 2021. I think the nervousness about whether either returns next year (especially Smith) stems from an overreaction because of the unexpected retirement of Travis Frederick in March. Smith and Collins are still relatively young (Smith turns 30 in December), among the best players at their respective positions and have years of good football ahead.
Sewell’s presence would be great for the two or three games Smith/Collins miss every season, but besides that, Dallas would have to fit him in at guard for potentially his entire rookie contract. Smith isn’t slated for free agency until 2024 and Collins not until 2025. Sewell may be a generational talent and it would hurt to pass on him if Smith or Collins’ injury ends up being a much bigger issue than we are led to believe, but it’s hard to justify allocating more premium resources toward an offensive line that’s already slated to be the fifth-most expensive in 2021 in terms of salary cap dollars (23.8% of the expected cap). He’s not a bad option by any means, but his value early on is limited if Smith and Collins return.
When Dallas returns off the bye, the quarterback question for fans is still there.
Should They Consider Gilbert Over Dalton? Nick Eatman: I would consider Gilbert over Dalton ... if the veteran struggles or doesn't play well against Minnesota. I think Dalton deserves a chance to come back and start this week. Let's not forget how important Zack Martin is to the offensive line. He seems to bring a steadiness across the board. And Dalton hasn't really played with Martin, who was hurt very early in that Arizona game and didn't return until Philly. I think if you look at the last two games, just a tad better quarterback play in either game results in a victory. And even though Gilbert provided a spark, he wasn't that great – just better than what we've seen before. He led the offense to one touchdown and four field goals. They didn't take advantage of some short fields. I think Dalton should be better than Gilbert in those areas. Now, if it doesn't work out next week, then I wouldn't mind having a short leash and going back to Gilbert, especially since he'd give a different look that Washington didn't see the first time around. Overall, I was very impressed with Gilbert, and wouldn't mind seeing him again. But at this point, I'd give Dalton another shot.
Tony Pollard’s and Ezekiel Elliott’s touches are a topic of discussion.
Since Elliott has not been his typical dominant self and a division title looks more unlikely by the week, it may be time to give Tony Pollard an extended amount of touches in the backfield. Pollard outgained Elliott by seven yards on nine fewer carries against the Steelers, and he could be effective enough to support whichever quarterback the team starts in Week 11 and beyond.
Pollard proved in two 100-yard performances in 2019 that he is capable of thriving with a heavier workload. Handing Pollard more carries would allow the Cowboys to do two things to benefit their backfield for the future when Dak Prescott is healthy.
First, it would give Pollard more experience so the team could run with a two-pronged attack. Second, and maybe more importantly, it would take some of the pressure off Elliott and allow him to preserve his legs for the 2021 season. If the Cowboys split the carries, or give Pollard more work in some games, it could keep Elliott fresh for a 2021 season, in which they could have a much better chance to qualify for the postseason with Prescott back in the lineup.
Re-sign Dak Prescott or Draft, Examining the Future of Cowboys' QB Position? - Brian Martin, Inside The Star
The idea of drafting a quarterback will be out there until they either do it or not.
2021 NFL Draft: Benefits of a Rookie QB.Loss after loss continues to firmly cement the Dallas Cowboys draft position in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. As things stand right now they are slotted within the Top 5 (3rd overall), which puts them within striking distance of any of the top QBs. That puts both Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in the crosshairs, but don’t overlook Zach Wilson. He’s quickly rising up draft boards. Regardless of the name the Dallas Cowboys could possibly write down on their draft card, the benefits of having their starting QB on a rookie contract could possibly be too enticing to pass up. The biggest benefit of course for the Cowboys drafting a rookie QB would be the financial ramifications, which of course is one of the biggest factors in personnel decisions.
The Miami Dolphins are on the books for just $5.5M in cap for No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa this season. Cincinnati is on the hook for $6.5M for No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow this season. Now I’m no math expert, but that equates to approximately $31 million less the Dallas Cowboys would have to pay to retain Dak Prescott either on the franchise tag or long-term extension.
Forget the NFC East. The rest of the Cowboys’ season is all about the Jets, Jaguars and loss column - Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News
Team tank is about to be in full effect.
The No. 1 pick would be great, but there are prized quarterbacks beyond Clemson’s Lawrence. Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Brigham Young’s Zach Wilson figure to be at the top of draft boards, and who knows how high Florida’s Kyle Trask might elevate his stock with more performances like his showing against Georgia.
All of these presumably represent trade bait if available when the Cowboys are on the clock. I’m making the assumption here (and we know how dangerous that can be) that the Jones Boys will reframe their strategy to get Prescott tied to a long-term contract along with the notion that the quarterback will concede he might not get every penny he was seeking last summer when the clock expired and he accepted the $31.4 million franchise tag.
If you’re thinking the Cowboys' losing streak and parade of quarterbacks enhances Prescott’s value, yes, it does remind us of how much more competitive the club can be with him in the pocket. But Dak’s greatest ability — his availability — has been diminished significantly this season. Barring further injury this year, Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz will start more games in his first five seasons than Prescott. Who thought that was even possible when 2020 began?
What is most on your mind as the Cowboys head into the bye week?
1. The turnover dilemma..The Dallas Cowboys are not playing clean football. There’s no other way to put it. The team leads the NFL in the turnover department, and that’s nothing to blush about. Currently, the Cowboys stand at a -13 ratio in nine games. The next worst teams are the Broncos and Eagles at -7. Clearly, the Cowboys have some work to do.
It’s no wonder Dallas is at 2-7, and with a -13 turnover ratio, you’d expect that the Cowboys to be at a poorer standing. It’s simple: If the Dallas Cowboys want any shot of improvement this year, the turnover battle has to flip some. But can Mike McCarthy head coach his ‘Boys to play disciplined clean football?
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