Film room: 5 standouts from Senior Bowl week and how they’d fit with the Dallas Cowboys - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
The Senior Bowl practices are a great evaluation tool for the draft.
It’s usually really hard for safeties to stand out in a Senior Bowl practice setting, as they typically get the short end of the stick during individual and team drills; however, UCF’s Richie Grant was able to continually catch my eye because of his promising coverage ability in comparison to most of the safeties in Mobile.
During the WR-DB one-on-ones, safeties usually struggle mightily because they’re forced to cover shifty slot receivers in man coverage — a situation true safeties rarely find themselves in throughout the college football season.
Nonetheless, Grant was the one safety who didn’t really look out of place, as he was able to provide good coverage even against slot receivers. He is a fluid-mover who was able to minimize separation out of breaks while displaying the capacity to effectively contest the catch point. Grant’s fluid hips enabled him effortlessly change direction and stick with receivers regardless of where their route took them.
He wasn’t perfect, mind you, and did get beat, but it was with much less frequency than the other Senior Bowl safeties.
Unfortunately, Grant wasn’t challenged much when able to align at his best position — centerfield safety — during the scrimmage periods but still displayed the proper mental processing and range despite the lack of balls thrown in his direction.
If the Cowboys don’t re-sign Xavier Woods, they are going to be in desperate need of a free safety. And while it may be a down year for safeties in the draft, Grant may just be the best one in the class, making him an obvious potential Cowboys target.
Will McClay’s view on the Senior Bowl.
For the majority of the people who made the Senior Bowl an annual occurrence, whether it was NFL staff in coaching or scouting or media members or perhaps just fans of football, this year’s Senior Bowl is unlike any other.
And the main reason is that only just a selected few have gotten the chance to attend this year’s practices as the NFL limited each team to take only 10 members down to Mobile as they limit the contact to the players due to the pandemic.
But for someone like Will McClay, the Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel, it’s a business-as-usual approach this week as they watch the Senior Bowl practice.
1-on-1 with Will McClay | 2021
“At the end of the day it’s still watching football,” McClay said in a virtual interview with DallasCowboys.com. “The access is the same. There’s not as many people running around. It’s more of clear process of the player.”
The game will be played Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at NFL Network.
One might suggest this year’s Senior Bowl is as important as ever, considering the major changes to the NFL combine. This week’s evaluation is a chance to get a firsthand look at several players, including a few that didn’t even play this past season, due to Covid-19.
“It’s just great to see guys play and participate,” McClay said. “This year is so different with schools playing, not playing, guys opting out, opting in – all of those things. It’s digging to find that information and find out more about who these guys are.”
It probably won’t be an all-defensive draft for Dallas, so a look at the offensive side of the ball.
Amari Rodgers might be the best slot receiver in the class.
The NFL has become a league of specialists with teams featuring playmakers in roles that ideally suit their talents. Rodgers could tap into the imagination of offensive coordinators with his spectacular skills as a slot receiver. He is an extraordinary route runner with exceptional body control and impeccable timing. The Clemson product not only has a knack for setting defenders up with head-and-shoulder fakes and wiggle but he also flashes enough stop-start quickness to separate from tight coverage out of the break.
As a pass-catcher, Rodgers’ consistency and reliability should make him a potential difference-maker as a third-down playmaker. After watching him torch defender after defender in one-on-ones and seven-on-seven drills, he is primed and ready to occupy a major role as a WR3.
Dak has most of the leverage in these negotiations.
The Dallas Cowboys can no longer look at contract negotiations between Dak Prescott and his representatives as anything other than a hostage standoff. Prescott holds all of the power now and can bunker down while waiting for Jerry Jones and the rest of the Cowboys brass to meet his demands.
The Dallas Cowboys have no one to blame but themselves for this fiasco. This is the third consecutive offseason they will attempt to come to terms with Dak Prescott on a long-term extension, however, this year control of the situation shifts heavily in the favor of Prescott and his reps.
This is extremely bad news for the Dallas Cowboys. Until they can figure out exactly what to do with No. 4 any moves they might want to make in free agency pretty much have to be put on hold. They really can’t afford to sign any free agents until they figure out how they are going to retain Prescott for at the very least the 2021 season.
Whether it’s on a long-term extension or franchise tag, retaining Dak Prescott is going to be expensive and deplete the majority of the Dallas Cowboys 2021 salary-cap space. The longer this situation drags on the harder it is going to become to make any kind of moves in free agency. Given how this has played out in the past things could turn ugly.
The Dallas Cowboys‘ frugal negotiations have placed the franchise in a position where they almost have to give in to their franchise players’ demands or find themselves in quarterback purgatory. If you’re a young fan reading this, that is a place I do not want any part of.
I still remember placing my faith in this team on the backs of Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Chad Hutchinson, and Drew Henson. There are many more but I think you get the point.
The NFL is funny because no matter what your roster looks like if you don’t have a quarterback who is capable of putting the team on his back and carry you to a win, he is a placeholder. Let me break down the difference.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott won two games this past season. While the defense was figuring things out, Prescott was able to put the team on his back and win those contests. Sure they lost a few others but this is as good of a time as any to remind everyone that Prescott doesn’t play defense.
Cowboy’s backup quarterback Andy Dalton came in and won games for the Cowboys also but everything had to be perfect in order for him to compete. Has everyone forgotten the Thanksgiving game where he lost both tackles in the first quarter?
I haven’t and the two tackles who came in for the injured starters are the exact same two people Prescott started the majority season with. Agree or disagree, the hope in teammates and fans is different when Prescott is under center for America’s Team.
Dak not only showed off his mobile skills but he was also putting up video game passing numbers before he was placed on injured reserve. Dak’s passing yards in almost five games gives him the 32nd most passing yards in the entire league. This is your yearly reminder that there are only 32 teams in the league.
What Dallas Cowboys thing have you changed your mind on most over the last year? - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys
Hindsight 20/20, but what have you flipped on?
Trading away Michael Gallup is the worst idea ever
In the spring of 2020 we, as Cowboys fans, saw Michael Gallup’s name repeatedly thrown out in trade ideas concerning then-New York Jets safety Jamal Adams. While the Cowboys re-signed Amari Cooper and drafted CeeDee Lamb last year the shared idea was that Michael Gallup was a rising superstar, a point justified by the way that Gallup played this past season.
Still, though, there were many people incredibly opposed to the idea of trading away Michael Gallup (just look at the replies to this tweet). Speaking for myself I found it hard to even consider sending Gallup to the Jets for Adams and while that is not the best example, the point is that no Cowboys fan wanted to part with Gallup at all.
As noted in today’s discussion, time changes opinions. If the team were to trade away Michael Gallup this offseason it feels like that idea would not have the hardest of landing among the fan base as CeeDee Lamb showed what we thought he would and the team could theoretically use help at other points on their roster.
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