Interesting comments from Stephen Jones.
Some mock drafts have you trading down. How many teams are calling you right now?
Jones: “It’s really just starting to pick up in terms of — I’m sure up at the top it’s hot because you could — we’ve already seen one trade been made. But probably where we sit it’s we’re starting to get a few calls, and I think it will only pick up as we get closer to next Thursday. It will only pick up. They finally give you the call, ‘hey, if our guy’s there, we’d be interested in moving up to the pick’ and maybe even want to fill out a few things like what would it take and those type of things. So, you start to get yourself in a mode where you’re prepared that a particular team could call if their player, whether it’s a quarterback or an offensive lineman or a defensive player. They won’t divulge that usually, which shouldn’t surprise you. But they do say, ‘hey, we got a player, two, or three, that if they’re there, we might be willing to be aggressive and give you something to move up to that pick.’”
Do you need help along the defensive line or the secondary in the draft?
Jones: “I think defensively it’s across the board. You can’t ever have enough defensive linemen. Certainly we lost Chidobe [Awuzie] in free agency. So, it’s obviously our ongoing annual need for safety, which never seems to end in terms of draft pick resource or dollar resource. We just — it’s been at the low end of the totem pole there. But then of course with the game becoming such a game that’s played in space, you can’t have enough of those linebackers who can cover and, as I mentioned, these tight ends are really create challenges, these long, athletic tight ends. And you certainly, if you get opportunities to find guys who can help. Certainly Jaylon [Smith] and Leighton [Vander Esch] are athletic and long. And you can’t ever have enough of those guys either. So, I really don’t know that we have necessarily say, ‘hey, it’s got to be skilled or the front.’ But I think defensively we have to get better. Certainly that’s one of the goals in this draft is to improve defensively, and, as you said, if the right guy presents himself, not unlike CeeDee [Lamb] did last year, you just got to be in a situation where he’s by far the best player left on the board, then you’ve got to have confidence that you can make that selection.”
To trade or not to trade, that is the question.
It’s a fascinating thought, and it likely depends on how the top of the draft order shakes out. More so than any other year, this is a draft that figures to be dominated on offense at the top of the board – specifically, the quarterback position. As many as five quarterbacks could go before the Cowboys come up on the clock on April 29.
And on top of that, there are several blue chip prospects – such as LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts – that could spark a conversation or two between the Cowboys and another club.
“They kind of give you the call – ‘Hey, if our guy’s there, we’d be interested in moving up to the pick,’ and they may even throw out a few things like ‘What would it take?’ and those types of things,” Jones said. “So you start to get yourself in a mode where you’re prepared that a particular team could call if their player is there – whether it’s a quarterback they’re after or an offensive lineman or a defensive player.”
It’s a tough thing to bank on. The Cowboys haven’t traded down in the first round since 2013, when they agreed to a trade with San Francisco that saw them fall back from No. 18 to No. 31, acquiring a third-round pick in the process. The trade eventually netted them All-Pro center Travis Frederick with their first-round pick, as well as a multi-year starter at receiver with Terrance Williams being the eventual third-round pick.
Cowboys: Mike McCarthy prepping for major competition to protect Dak Prescott - Alicia de Artola, Fansided
The interior of the line could be in for some old-fashioned competition.
The Cowboys can lead on sure-things and competition to renew the line
Dallas’ offensive line could turn out fairly simple to put together.
Tyron Smith and La’el Collins should be back healthy at the tackles spots. Their injuries in 2020 sent the entire offensive line into disarray, which was a shame for McCarthy, who called the tackles part of the attraction of the job in the first place.
Right guard Zach Martin also missed much of last season. The former All-Pro will slot back in so long as he’s healthy.
Three of the five positions are locked down. A fourth might be as well if McCarthy and company are truly committed to Tyler Biadasz at center.
The rookie started four games at the position in 2020 before missing four games with injury. With Joe Looney gone in free agency, he’s the only real option.
Jerry Jones could address center in the draft if he wants more competition there.
Over at left guard, there could be a valuable battle between Connor Williams and Connor McGovern.
Williams made strides in his third year on the job, particularly in pass protection.
Could Oklahoma’s Ronnie Perkins be a 2nd Round Option for the Dallas Cowboys? - John Williams, Inside The Star
It will be interesting to see what direction the Cowboys go in the second round.
One, in particular, is Oklahoma Sooners EDGE Ronnie Perkins.
Perkins comes to the NFL after three seasons at the University of Oklahoma. In 32 games (just six in 2020 due to a suspension), Perkins amassed 16.5 sacks and 32 tackles for loss. He was an incredibly disruptive presence for an Oklahoma defense that was not very good in 2018 but improved in each of his final two seasons with the Sooners.
Perkins can play as both a standup edge rusher or with his hand in the ground. He displays a good balance of quickness and power to get around the edge and is able to beat his man outside or with inside rush moves as well. For Dallas, he would fit in well as a weak side EDGE rusher, playing in a similar role to Randy Gregory.
He shows a strong ability to set the edge. Perkins shows good speed and determination in pursuit when the run goes away from him.
Perkins presence and play was a catalyst for an Oklahoma team that suffered two early losses in Big 12 Conference play to Iowa State and Kansas State. Though they held on to beat Texas in overtime, the Sooners’ defense didn’t really hit their stride until Ronnie Perkins returned to the starting lineup.
Cowboys report to 2021 voluntary workouts amid ongoing NFL, NFLPA offseason negotiations - Patrik Walker, CBSSports
The Cowboys are reporting to workouts thus far.
That remains the case as the start of of the voluntary program officially lands on Monday, April 19, with players continuing to file in to get an early start following a disappointing 6-10 finish to last season. Players are not allowed to meet physically with coaches, however, and must do so in virtual sessions that must not last longer than two hours; but strength training can continue for those who’ve already been doing it, and commence for those who hadn’t yet begun theirs inside the team’s facility.
With the firing of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and others, seeing them replaced by Dan Quinn and newly hired defensive assistant coaches, the Cowboys hope to avoid the debacle of last season that was largely fueled by their inability to successfully install a new coaching regime virtually. In parting ways with longtime head coach Jason Garrett to hire Mike McCarthy, the club was scheduled to begin their offseason program two weeks prior to teams that hadn’t made a change at head coach, but instead found themselves without an in-person offseason whatsoever — a truncated and slimmed down version of training camp notwithstanding.
There’s also an element of finances to this as well, with several Cowboys having contract language tied directly to workout bonuses.
For example, players like DeMarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and the aforementioned Prescott (who inked his historic four-year deal in early March) all have $500,000 de-escalators in their contract that would trigger if they don’t participate in the bulk of offseason workouts. And with the NFL having opened the door for a return to traditional conditioning, teams could penalize players for not showing up. It’s undetermined if that will actually take place around the league, given the reason driving the decision by entire rosters and/or small pockets of players to stay virtual, but it remains a possibility.
Cowboys draft help for Hill, Gallimore could come in any of the 7 rounds - Tim Lettiero, CowboysWire
Defensive tackle help is likely coming, but when the Cowboys pounce is up in the air.
Round 5: Darius Stills, West Virginia
Stills is a very similar prospect to Twyman in many regards but plays with more finesse. He is an aggressive and disruptive presence who uses his quick mobility and very hot motor to get up the field in a hurry. His downfalls come with the concerns around his frame, standing at 6-foot-1 281 pounds, as well as his plan of attack after his initial pass rush move. Stills will scare some fans off as a Trysten Hill repeat however Stills brings a motor and pass-rush upside that Hill cannot match as a third-year player.
Round 6: Mustafa Johnson, Colorado
A player in a similar mold of recently retired Tyrone Crawford, Johnson played as an edge defender as well as a 3-tech for Colorado. He is purely a developmental player but brings great effort and natural abilities to the position. His length allows him to get into the chest of the offensive linemen and solid mobility. Johnson is not overwhelmingly powerful however he is can pack a punch which shocks blocker. His college production was limited due to playing in a system which was not ideal for his game.
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