Dear Jerry Jones: Your instincts are right this time. Go get J.J. Watt - Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News
An attempt to talk the Cowboys into doing the right thing.
Dear Jerry Jones,
If I know you, this letter is a moot point. You’ve probably already called J.J. Watt. Heck, you probably sent the Pork Chopper to pick him up. Tell the pilot to be careful coming back. Houstonians aren’t too happy about losing a local icon, to say the least. Might look like the last helicopter out of Saigon.
Speaking of which, what’s up with the Texans? First they make Deshaun Watson so unhappy, he demands a trade. Then Watt asks for his release and gets it. One of the best defensive players in NFL history and a guy whose Hurricane Harvey relief fund rebuilt nearly 1,200 homes. Gone, just like that. A hurricane couldn’t drive Watt out of Houston, but Jack Easterby did.
This wouldn’t have happened under Bob McNair’s watch. But Easterby got a leg up as the Patriots’ character coach, and now he’s got Bob’s boy, Cal, under his spell. Seems like Easterby’s not building a football team so much as a cult.
Anyway, think of the possibilities, Jerry. Think what Watt could do for your pass rush! Think of the leadership he’d bring!
Think of the Cowboys jerseys you’d sell in Houston!
Consider this your opportunity to make amends for a grievous mistake. No, not for taking Tyron Smith instead of J.J. Watt in 2011.
For taking Taco Charlton instead of T.J. Watt in 2017.
Cowboys 2021 mock draft roundup: One name returns to dominate the mocks - Dave Halprin, Blogging the Boys
What are the mocks around the internet suggesting for Dallas?
We’re back with our weekly Dallas Cowboys mock draft roundup for the 2021 draft. This is our first roundup post-Super Bowl where all 32 teams are now in official offseason mode. Some years there isn’t a real consensus on who the Cowboys might draft. This year is not one of those years.
In our weekly mock draft roundups, the same names keep appearing; that will tend to happen when you pick near the top of the round. But out of those names, one particular player is dominating the mocks for the Cowboys at pick #10.
That guy is Caleb Farley, cornerback out of Virginia Tech. The Cowboys defense certainly needs help, and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis entering free agency, cornerback becomes a position of need. That has brought Farley and Patrick Surtain, the consensus top two corners in the draft, into the Cowboys’ orbit in many mocks. Five out of ten of our mocks have Farley as the pick.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Big D needs help on D. Last year’s second-rounder, Trevon Diggs, looks like a solid find for the Cowboys, but that secondary is still problematic — especially now that Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis could be headed elsewhere in free agency. The Cowboys allowed 34 passing touchdowns this season, tied for the third-most in the NFL. Farley (another opt-out) is a ball hawk who could turn some of those TD passes into interceptions.
Improving the defense is a given if they want to win.
The Cowboys defense must improve
The 2020 season saw the worst defensive performance in franchise history. There is not much room to play worse, so the only way is up.
The record 473 points given up is something that I never thought would happen. The defense was supposed to be better than the season prior.
The 2019 defense needed to be more aggressive, and Dallas hired a new defensive coordinator to implement it. That did not work out as planned. Thankfully, owner Jerry Jones replaced the defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach after only one season.
Dallas gave up 35+ points from Week 2 to Week 6. That put a ton of pressure on the offense, more specifically, the passing attack. Of those games, Dallas won two games while losing one game by one score. The other two games were losses by 11+ points.
The high octane offense was able to keep up despite the defensive difficulties. Imagine what would have happened if the defense was just average.
The Cowboys either need a return to form from their linebackers, or they need replacements.
Jaylon was vocal last year about displeasure with the new defensive scheme under Mike Nolan. The Cowboys seemed to agree as they fired Nolan quickly after the season, but there’s no guarantee that the change in coordinator will solve all the issues identified in Smith’s 2020 performance.
Even when he was healthy last year Vander Esch also struggled. Neither player was making the kind of backfield disruptions, quick stops on runs, or athletic plays in coverage that we enjoyed back in 2018.
Interesting decisions lie ahead for the Cowboys regarding their fading binary star. They have to make a choice on Leighton’s 5th-year option for 2022 in a few months, plus they have to weigh keeping Jaylon’s big contract on the books when they have a reasonable opportunity this year to escape it.
If Dallas picks up the option on Vander Esch for 2022 then it could pay him around $13 million for that one season. That wouldn’t be bad if he’s back to 2018 form but could be a major albatross on the salary cap if Leighton is still struggling.
That contract would also be guaranteed against injury, which is an even bigger concern given Vander Esch’s recent history.
As for Smith, Dallas could make him a June-1st cut in 2021 and clear over $7 million off the cap. While it wouldn’t help during free agency in March, it could help pay for rookies or for Dak Prescott’s next contract.
Neville Gallimore, DT1?
The Good: When the Cowboys drafted Neville Gallimore in the third round last year, they never dreamed he would still be on the board. In fact, when the Cowboys were to pick in the second round at No. 51 overall, there were plenty of discussions on whether to draft Gallimore or Trevon Diggs, who was the eventual pick. But landing Gallimore in the third round was an added bonus, especially since he would get the chance to learn from veterans such as Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. For different reasons, those two guys weren’t able to provide that kind of leadership but it took Poe finally getting cut for the door to open for Gallimore. The rookie from OU took full advantage. He showed why the Cowboys were so high on him. His quick first-step is abnormal for a 300-pounder. Gallimore found himself in the backfield a few times later in the season and was a handful around the goal-line.
The Bad: Not a lot to really list in this category. By the middle of the season, Gallimore started getting more playing time, especially after Tyrsten Hill’s injury and then started the second half of the season. The only negative on his stat line might be that he had just 0.5 sacks as a rookie. Obviously, you’d like to see a few more there, but at his position, stopping the run is the top priority and he showed an ability to do that.
What happens if the Cowboys are left with Kyle Pitts at the top of their available players at pick #10 on draft night?
A Very-Early Draft Hypothetical?
Eleven weeks until the NFL Draft, it’s definitely speculation season. Who might be on the Cowboys’ wish list with the 10th overall pick? Who might be available?
It’s too early to know on either front. The club usually doesn’t start constructing its draft board for weeks, and we won’t know until Thursday, April 29 what nine teams in front of them will do.
One thing seems certain: the tight end position, on paper, is far down their list of needs. Blake Jarwin is working his way back from last year’s ACL injury, and Dalton Schultz had a breakout season as a fill-in starter. The logical top priority is revamping a defense that gave up the most points in franchise history in 2020.
That doesn’t stop a popular hypothetical question from fans two-and-a-half months out: what about offensive help if a top tackle, receiver or even a tight end is available at 10? For instance, former Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is widely considered a top 10-15 prospect.
Last year, Dallas went best-available in the first round when wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the sixth prospect on their board, fell to No. 17. The Cowboys do have one question mark on the current tight end depth chart: Blake Bell, No. 2 behind Schultz last year, has an expiring contract.
But a tight end in the first round this year, given all their other needs? Hard to see.
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