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Cowboys news: A new mock shows how C.J. Henderson could slide right down to Dallas

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Plus, will Dak show up for the offseason training program?

NCAA Football: Florida at Miami Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL mock draft 2.0 — Dallas Cowboys get lucky, fill big need with CB C.J. Henderson - Clarence E. Hill Jr., Star-Telegram

In the latest mock from the Star-Telegram, the Cowboys hit paydirt with pick #17.

17. Dallas Cowboys (8-8) – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida: Dallas’ troubled secondary gets a Christmas gift in April when Henderson falls to them.

Look for the Cowboys to address the receiver position in the middle rounds. It becomes an option in the first round if one of the top two players in Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb fall to them and make it a situation they can’t pass up.

With the 17th overall pick, teams are at the mercy of what’s left on the board but the Cowboys would be beyond excited if Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson was there for the taking, as the Star-Telegram Mock Draft 2.0 predicts.

Henderson would fill the biggest need and be the best fit, in addition to being a player worthy of the draft slot.

He is widely considered the No. 2 player at the position, though some general managers rank him as the best cover cornerback in the draft, ahead of Ohio State star Jeffrey Okudah.

Staff Writers Each Reveal Initial 7-Round Mock - DallasCowboys.com Staff Writers

The 2020 NFL draft is nearly upon us, and aside from the first overall pick of the draft there’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen. The Cowboys, under a new coaching staff for the first time in quite a while, have a lot of different directions they could go.

This year’s draft could be the most defensive-oriented in Dallas since 2005, when then-coach Bill Parcells loaded up for a 3-4 scheme switch with DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears, Chris Canty and Jay Ratliff. This year, the front office will do its best to cover all bases in free agency before draft weekend, but right now the defense has far more question marks.

That’s why it makes sense to shore up the secondary early. C.J. Henderson has good size at cornerback and was an NFL Scouting Combine winner, showing off terrific range. Antoine Winfield is versatile enough to play free or strong safety, and Davon Hamilton would add some size to the interior defensive line. K.J. Hill, a solid route-runner at Ohio State, could present good value as a slot receiver prospect on Day 3.

Frustrated with fallout from his weekend gathering, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott clarifies, says fewer than 10 people were at house - Todd Archer, ESPN

For most of his career, Dak Prescott has usually remained out of the headlines unless it has to do with his on-field performances, but Prescott recently came under fire for a social gathering that was thought to be in violation of social distancing guidelines. Prescott clarified what happened on Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, while acknowledging the role that he plays in the public eye, Prescott also expressed frustration for the media coverage surrounding the gathering, which he said had fewer than 10 people.

”I understand and accept that there are additional responsibilities and media scrutiny that come with being an NFL quarterback, but it is very frustrating and disappointing when people provide completely inaccurate information from anonymous sources, especially now,” he said in the statement. “To set the record straight — I know that we all need to do our best to socially distance and like everyone else, I am continuing to adjust to what that requires, but the truth is that I was with fewer than 10 people for a home dinner — not a party — on Friday night.

”I am very sensitive to the challenges we are all facing and making sure to support the first responders and medical personnel and everyone else putting in long hours. We are all at a time when we need to keep educating ourselves about the importance of health and isolation during this pandemic and I will continue to make sure to do my part by following the guidelines until we are approved to start returning to normal activities.”

Cowboys talked to Dak, Zeke about social distancing - NFL.com Staff

The current challenges that come with the coronavirus response are certainly unprecedented, and the blowback of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott holding social gatherings is somewhat uncharted waters for a team. Nevertheless, the Cowboys front office has apparently spoken to both of them about it already.

Speaking on 103.5 FM The Fan, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday the team has talked to Prescott and Elliott about not conducting gatherings while most of the country remains under quarantine.

”We’ve certainly communicated with Dak and Zeke,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “And I think they’re certainly aware now of how sensitive these situations are. I don’t think you’ll be seeing that any more. They are certainly guys that we have the utmost respect for. I certainly know they understand the sensitivity of the situation we’re in, it’s certainly very serious and something we know they understand.”

Dak Prescott won’t be participating in virtual offseason program, without a new deal - Mike Florio, NBC Sports

Dak Prescott still doesn’t have a long-term contract with the Cowboys, and is currently sitting on the franchise tag. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that rumors popped up that the quarterback may not participate in the voluntary offseason program, even though it will all be virtual this year.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Prescott will not take part in the stay-at-home preparations for the 2020 season, unless and until he has a long-term deal.

Prescott has every right to take that position, for two reasons. First, he’s not currently employed by the Cowboys. They’ve exercised their prerogative to keep him off the market via the franchise tag, and he has exercised his prerogative to not accept it. Second, the program is voluntary; even if he was under contract, he wouldn’t have to participate.

It’s unknown whether the Cowboys and Prescott currently are negotiating, with the goal of getting something done so that he can and will take part in the virtual offseason program. The ultimate deadline arrives on July 15, the last day for signing a franchise-tagged player to a multi-year deal. Before then, however, preparations for the first year of Mike McCarthy as head coach of the Cowboys will be limited by Prescott’s refusal to be part of it, unless the Cowboys finally give Prescott the contract he has earned.

Is Drafting Another Running Back A Possibility? - The Mothership, Staff

The Cowboys have a potent 1-2 punch at running back, but could they pick up another in the draft? A look at the “need” quotient on that possibility.

Need Meter (1 lowest, 5 highest): 1

Depth Check: It’s about as deep as you could expect. The obvious centerpiece is the $15 million man, Ezekiel Elliott. You can argue all day about the pros and cons of paying a running back, but it’s hard to deny Elliott’s productivity and availability since entering the league. In four seasons, he has played in 59 of 67 possible games. Six of those absences were due to his contentious 2017 suspension, while the other two were healthy scratches. He’s averaging 292 carries and 1,300 yards per season and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Behind him, the front office may have struck gold with the perfect complementary back. Tony Pollard was underutilized in his first pro season, but he still managed to rush for 455 yards and catch another 15 passes for 107 yards. His versatility as Elliott’s primary backup is awfully enticing.

After that, there’s Jamize Olawale. The Cowboys picked up the option on the veteran fullback’s contract this spring, which means he’ll be in place for two more seasons. Olawale hasn’t touched the ball often as a member of the Cowboys, but he does have 96 career touches and could tote the rock if need required it.

Cowboys’ Greg Zuerlein admits ‘bad year’ in 2019, but ‘looking forward’ to competition with Kai Forbath - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

Greg Zuerlein may be the presumed starting kicker for the Cowboys in 2020, but he’ll have to compete with Kai Forbath first. And while Zuerlein admits he wasn’t too good in 2019, he’s confident he can return to form.

As mentioned, Forbath was flawless in December for the Cowboys, while Zuerlein himself was struggling to put the ball between the uprights for the Rams. The latter registered a career-worst accuracy rate of 72.7 percent in Los Angeles, which includes missing eight field goals from 40 yards or greater. He’s two years removed from his career-best season of 95 percent accuracy in 2017, leaving some to wonder if his two-year downturn is similar to the one that eventually got Bailey ousted from Dallas.

”Obviously, I did not perform up to my ability last year,” Zuerlein said of his 2019 struggles, attributing them to several, undisclosed reasons. “It was a very bad year for me. But that’s in the past. I’m not going to let what’s happened in the past change what I do or get in the way of my preparation for this season.

“I know Kai from having him come in and working out at the Rams facility in the past, and he’s a great guy,” Zuerlein said. “I look forward to being around him, learning from him and, hopefully, we just have a good competition. Ideally, I win. ... I mean, you go anywhere and expect to win the job if you have any sort of confidence at all.”

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