Film room: Second-round draft targets for the Cowboys, including a Swiss Army knife in the secondary - John Owning, Dallas Morning News
While the first-round selection is where the attention goes, the Cowboys pick in round two may determine the course of their entire draft.
Holland spent most of his time in Oregon playing as an overhang and slot defender. However, he also saw time at deep safety in both single-high (mostly in 2018) and two-deep safety sets. Those single-high snaps in 2018 give me confidence he could function there in Dallas’ scheme if need be.
Holland could also function as a Swiss Army knife in the secondary for Quinn, as he can be a tight-end eraser in addition to his ability to function in the slot against possession receivers and around the box. Holland could be the key to unlocking the flexibility necessary to be successful in Quinn’s simplistic scheme in today’s NFL, as he could be effective in numerous roles in Quinn’s Cover-3 base defense.
Being able to find a defensive back with Holland’s size, versatility, ball skills and football intelligence would return great value for the Cowboys in the second round.
Breaking down Cowboys’ 10 picks in Dane Brugler’s latest 7-round mock draft – Jon Machota, The Athletic
The great Dane Brugler has Dallas loading up on defense in his latest seven-round mock.
Surtain is the favorite to be the Cowboys’ pick at No. 10. In Brugler’s mock, offensive tackles Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater went off the board at picks seven and eight. Things could get interesting if either of them is still available when Dallas goes on the clock. Surtain was the first defender selected in this mock and that seems like a strong possibility later this month. The Alabama cornerback would immediately step into a starting spot on the outside and help solidify a position group that needs upgrading. He possesses the ideal size (6-2, 208) and length (32.5-inch arms) that the Cowboys will be looking for in a first-round cornerback prospect. Brugler sees Surtain as a player with Pro Bowl potential.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields went to the Broncos one pick before the Cowboys. If by some chance Denver took Surtain or another player with that pick, teams like the Patriots or Bears could try to get up to 10 and grab their quarterback of the future in Fields. New England has the 15th overall pick. Chicago has Pick 20. Washington at No. 19 would also make sense. But would Dallas be willing to trade with a division rival with a potential future franchise quarterback involved? It’s unlikely, but if the offer was impressive enough, anything is possible. Of course, the Cowboys could always just take the next best player on their board, which could be South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn, who Brugler had going 12th overall to the Eagles.
Dallas Cowboys haven’t met about boycotting OTAs, according to WR CeeDee Lamb - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News
The second-year wideout spoke about teams planning to boycott OTAs.
With several NFL teams planning boycotts of voluntary workouts this spring, Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb said his team hasn’t discussed the issue and will continue workouts at The Star, for now.
“We haven’t really talked about it much,” Lamb said Wednesday morning. “A couple of guys are working out [at The Star] and a couple of guys are working out by themselves. It’s however you want to deal with it. As of right now, it’s no problem.”
Four NFL teams, the Broncos, Seahawks, Lions and Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, have announced plans to boycott any in-person organized team activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Patriots also released a statement Wednesday that said many of their players would not attend workouts.
“We find ourselves still in the midst of a pandemic with no comprehensive plan to keep players as safe as possible, yet teams are pressuring players to attend voluntary workouts” that begin next week, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, tweeted Tuesday.
How much work is left to do to upgrade the linebacker position?
What Changed? New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has a specific vision for the defense, and the Cowboys have added a few of his former players to expedite the transition. Keanu Neal was a Pro Bowl safety in Atlanta under Quinn but will start off at linebacker, head coach Mike McCarthy said. The 215-pound Neal has been an effective box safety when healthy, so he's comfortable playing near the line of scrimmage.
Even if Neal isn't an every-down linebacker, he's a sure tackler with coverage skills who could play multiple spots based on matchups.
What's Here? Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are still the foundation at linebacker, and they've been a productive duo when healthy and their strengths maximized. Surely that's a top priority for Quinn. Last year Smith and Vander Esch swapped positions – Vander Esch to middle linebacker, Smith to the "WILL" spot. Could that flip again, with Neal taking some snaps on the weak side too?
Should the Cowboys take a risk on any of these polarizing prospects?
Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami...If you go back to really early mock drafts, Gregory Rousseau was considered a top-10 pick. After opting out of the 2020 season, that isn't the case anymore, and the Cowboys shouldn't convince themselves it is. Rousseau has a collection of tempting physical traits. He's 6'7" 266 pounds giving him plenty of length to attack the outside shoulder of tackles and disengage blockers. But he opted out of the 2020 season and only played one year at Miami.
The production in that one year is great. He had 15.5 sacks for the Hurricanes, but even that has been called into question by scouts. "I don't really see a big-time NFL rusher. So much of his pressure came as a zero-technique and he won't see those looks in our league. He has very average juice and speed-to-power," an NFL scouting director told NFL.com.
Rousseau very well could put it all together and be a successful player. But that's a gamble the Cowboys aren't in a position to take. They need someone who can play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence sooner rather than later. Rousseau has a lot of learning to do and won't be ready for an immediate run in the league.
The 2018 draft class is clearly impacting what the Cowboys need to do during the upcoming draft.
The class of 2018 is far from a bust. The Cowboys have gotten good work at times out of everyone taken in the first four rounds, and of course a bonafide stud in Michael Gallup. We’ve seen far worse draft classes than this one in franchise history. The problem now though is that even the guys who are still here and playing significant roles like Vander Esch and Williams haven’t established themselves as long-term assets. To a lesser extent the same applies to Armstrong and Schultz.
And while he’s clearly proven his worth, Gallup presents a different problem as he’s probably priced himself out of Dallas’ range for 2022 free agency. That leaves the team having to factor his likely departure into their current draft strategy.
This has left positions like linebacker, guard, defensive end, and tight end as legitimate considerations for premium picks. While the 1st-round pick is probably going toward a cornerback or offensive tackle (or a certain Florida TE with exceptional athletic skills), these other spots all come into the conversation as soon as the 2nd Round.
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