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Cowboys News: Dallas bolsters their defense with some pass rush in a new seven-round mock draft

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Plus, the Cowboys made two free agent signings on Wednesday afternoon.

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Film room: Cowboys reload on defense in 7-round mock draft, including the second-best pass rusher in the 2020 class - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Dallas upgrades their defense in a big way in this seven-round mock draft.

Some may lament that taking Wisconsin’s Zack Baun this early is a reach, but they’re wrong — oh-so wrong. Here’s why.

Listed at 6-2, 238 pounds, Baun is the best pass rusher in this class outside of Ohio State’s Chase Young, displaying great burst, bend, hand technique, footwork and rush IQ.

As a senior in 2019, Baun finished with 75 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. Over the last two years, he had the sixth-highest pressure rate in the 2020 draft class, generating pressure on 16.5% of his pass-rush attempts, according to Pro Football Focus.

But don’t just take my word for it, ask some of the top tackles in college football last year how dangerous Baun can be as a pass rusher.

Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell won the Outland Trophy (awarded to the country’s top interior lineman on offense or defense), is a projected top-five pick in next year’s draft and allowed just seven total pressures last season. Nevertheless, Baun displayed his elevated pass-rush ability against Sewell.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are reportedly talking about an extension again - RJ Ochoa, BTB

The Cowboys and Dak are talking again.

Wednesday brought with it the news that the Cowboys and their signal-caller have apparently opened the door of conversation again. A report from Yahoo initially noted that things were of a four-year, $35M per season variety, but throughout the day more information (not really) became available.

Obviously this is news in the sense that it is newly being discussed, but we have known for a long time now that the Cowboys and Dak Prescott’s team are seemingly both of a particular belief. Each side wants something different. That’s how negotiations work.

It has been reported before that Prescott would prefer a shorter deal and that the Cowboys want a longer one. Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, who was one of those part of the conversation on Wednesday, has discussed this before.

2020 NFL Draft: 5 Potential Travis Frederick Replacements for the Dallas Cowboys - Brian Martin, Inside The Star

After Travis Frederick’s surprise retirement, will Dallas opt to replace him in the 2020 draft?

Matt Hennessey, Temple (6’4″, 307) Rank: Draft Network (64) CBSSports (90)

Matt Hennessey doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as Cesar Ruiz or Lloyd Cushenberry, but he’s just as talented as either one in my opinion. He started at center for Temple the last three seasons and earned the prestigious single-digit practice jersey given to the toughest player. He’s arguably the most technically-refined center and plays with good mobility and football IQ. He’s probably a better fit in a zone blocking scheme and should be an immediate starter in the NFL.

Nick Harris, Washington (6’1″, 302) Rank: Draft Network (95) CBSSports (74)

Nick Harris has started over 40 games at both center and guard, but projects best as a center in the NFL. He’s extremely athletic and thrives when he’s asked to pull and block in space. He’s not overly physical as a run blocker, but he’s technically sound enough to get the job done. He might be a scheme-specific prospect for a zone blocking team, which might not make him the best fit for the Dallas Cowboys who use both the zone and man blocking scheme.

Sources: Dallas Cowboys agree to terms on a deal with DT Dontari Poe - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

Dallas finally reached an agreement on basic terms with DT Dontari Poe Wednesday afternoon.

In 11 games last season, Poe had 22 tackles, four sacks and six quarterback hits. Cowboys officials have been working on a deal this week with Poe as they try to bolster a defensive line with bigger players.

They’ve already signed Gerald McCoy, a 6-4, 300-pound defensive tackle. By adding Poe, who stands 6-3, 346 pounds, the Cowboys will line up more than 600 pounds to the interior of the line. It’s a sharp contrast to what they had in previous seasons when they went for smaller, quicker linemen.

New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said the team will have a four-man front, but Poe is more of a 3-4 nose tackle. The Cowboys will use multiple fronts this season as part of their scheme. In the base defense, the Cowboys will play a 4-3, but will use Poe in a 3-4 and 4-3 fronts if necessary.

The Cowboys also have 2019 second-round pick Trysten Hill and veteran Tyrone Crawford as defensive tackles on their roster, who should get significant playing time.

Ex-Cowboys FA grades: How experts view deals for Byron Jones (neutral), Robert Quinn (eh), Randall Cobb (yikes) - Staff, Dallas Morning News

Some experts grade the free agents deals of former Cowboys, Byron Jones, Robert Quinn, and Randall Cobb.

DE Robert Quinn Deal: Five years for $70 million, with $30 million in guarantees with the Bears, according to The News’ Michael Gehlken

B — The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia: “I think he’ll help them. And the salary is reasonable. Signing Quinn doesn’t solve all of the Bears’ issues, but it’s a move that makes sense.”

B-minus — CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: “The price was a little high and Quinn plays best with his hand as a down end, which he won’t be in the Chicago scheme.”

B-minus — ESPN’s Bill Barnwell: “Cutting Leonard Floyd created $13.2 million in cap space and made the Quinn deal work, but I wonder if this is money the Bears should have committed (at least in part) to a quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater, a guard or one of the many cornerbacks on the market.”

Mailbag: Having High Hopes for Clinton-Dix? - David Helman and Jonny Auping, Dallascowboys.com

Can Devin Smith make a positive impact in 2020?

Why is the staff not giving Devin Smith an opportunity to show case his talent, looked good in preseason to me, with speed. More chances in 2020?– JAMES MCGEE / ABILENE, TX

David: It was really baffling to me that, even in weeks when Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were both slowed by injury, the old coaching staff stopped giving Devin Smith a chance. I don't have a great answer for you. I'd be happy to see him get a new opportunity with Mike McCarthy's staff. But I'd also love to beef up the talent level at wide receiver. This is a loaded draft class, and the front office would be smart to take advantage of that.

Jonny: The Cowboys got more production from their first, second, and third receivers last season than most NFL teams, so I don't know that there was any world where Smith would have gotten more opportunities than he had, but I do think he'll get more chances next year. We all assume that the Cowboys will attempt to replace Randall Cobb at some point in the draft, but rookies aren't always ready to contribute right out the gate so that slot receiver spot will be a role that Smith has a shot at grabbing for himself.

Cowboys Agree To Terms With Veteran TE Bell - Staff, Dallascowboys.com

Former Kansas City Chief tight end Blake Bell is now a Dallas Cowboy.

Bell, known as "The Belldozer" at the University of Oklahoma, was a quarterback and tight end for the Sooners. He has played tight end on NFL four teams since the 49ers drafted him in the fourth round in 2015: San Francisco, Minnesota, Jacksonville and most recently Kansas City. Last season he had eight catches for 67 yards in the regular season, as well as one catch for 9 yards in the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory over the 49ers. Over his five-year career Bell has 38 catches for 424 yards.

The Cowboys re-signed Blake Jarwin to a three-year extension last week and have Dalton Schultz under contract for a third season. Reports surfaced last week that free agent Jason Witten – the 11-time Pro Bowler and all-time Cowboys receptions leader – plans to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, but the Raiders have not officially announced that move.

2020 Post-Free Agency Mock Draft: Chargers address quarterback concerns, select Justin Herbert - Michael Renner, PFF.com

The Cowboys once again go defense in this draft, but select a different pass-rusher.

17. DALLAS COWBOYS — EDGE K’LAVON CHAISSON, LSU

Not even 21 years old yet, Chaisson is a player who has a good deal of perceived ‘upside’ with his athletic traits. He’s got a long way to go to fulfill that, though, as he earned only a 78.9 pass-rushing grade this past season and racked up 35 pressures on 370 pass-rushing snaps.

BTB Podcast

Things have calmed down a little bit with regard to the current Cowboys, but how exactly did we get here? We discuss on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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