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Cowboys news: Three small-school prospects the Cowboys could target in the 2021 NFL Draft

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Film room: 3 small-school draft prospects the Dallas Cowboys could target next week - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

A player doesn’t have to go to a big school to have a quality NFL career.

At his pro day, which Cowboys assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett reportedly attended, Williams measured in at 6-3 and 284 pounds with 31.5-inch arms yet performed better than most prospects 30 or 40 pounds lighter than him, as Williams tested above the 90th percentile in every metric except the bench press compared to defensive tackles drafted since 1999.

At Louisiana Tech, Williams played predominately as a 4i (inside shade of the offensive tackle) technique on a three-man defensive line; however, in the NFL, he projects best as an undersized yet twitched-up three-technique (outside shade of the guard) defensive tackle — though some evaluators think Williams could thrive as a big defensive end (much like J.J. Watt) due to his supreme athletic ability.

Louisiana Tech’s defensive scheme blunted Williams’ impact in multiple areas but especially as a pass-rusher. Because Williams was the only major threat on Louisiana Tech’s three-man defensive line, he was forced to deal with a consistent stream of double teams. In addition, Williams was utilized on a ton of stunts, twists and contain rushes, which also blunted his ability to produce as a pass-rusher.

The Cowboys’ defense can’t be fixed in one offseason, but it must make significant strides under Dan Quinn - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys are counting on Dan Quinn to have a big impact on the defense.

Do you remember that five-week stretch when the team allowed an average of 39.6 points? What about the 307 yards on the ground it gave up in a loss to Cleveland after the Browns leading rusher went out early with an injury? No, this defense can’t be fixed in one offseason. But it must make significant strides. A reasonable expectation was established in the not so distant past.

The Dallas defense ranked last in the NFL for the 2013 season. One season later, it jumped to No. 19 with minimal changes to the starting lineup. The difference was Rod Marinelli taking over for Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator. Quinn commands the same sort of respect in the building and around the league. The belief the organization had in Marinelli has now been transferred to the former Atlanta Falcons head coach for this extreme makeover.

McCarthy’s faith in the impact Quinn will have is unwavering. “I really like the way the staff has come together,” McCarthy told reporters several weeks ago in a news conference at the Ford Center. “The energy, the enthusiasm, the diversity of some of the assistants, it’s an opportunity for improvement.

Possible Pick: How Parsons Fits Into This Scheme - Nick Eatman, Dallascowboys.com

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons is one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft.

How He Helps The Cowboys: The Cowboys need consistency at the linebacker position. They also need a playmaker. Parsons seems like he would fit the description for both. The Cowboys are planning on using converted-safety Keanu Neal in a linebacker-role this year, although he signed just a 1-year deal. All teams, regardless of scheme, want a sideline-to-sideline linebacker that chases the ball and makes plays in the process. If the Cowboys play a 3-4 scheme, a 4-3 defense or a mix of both, Parsons would fit into either style.

Bucky's Bottom Line: Parsons is a five-star player with a dynamic combination of size, speed and explosiveness that enables him to take over games from the second level. The Penn State product is a rare find as a sideline to sideline linebacker with A-plus pass rush skills and cover skills. He terrorizes opposing quarterbacks on blitzes and his knack for splitting creases could make him an unstoppable force as a pro. Parsons has a unique skill set that could enable him to play at an all-star level from Day 1. - Bucky Brooks

Cowboys Players Who Will Be Most Impacted by 2021 NFL Draft Picks - Alex Ballentine, BleacherReport.com

When new picks are made, older veteran players can be affected.

OT Tyron Smith. Tyron Smith has been an elite left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys since they drafted him with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft. Ten years later, it's possible the team could be looking for his replacement early in the 2021 draft. Smith had missed three games in four consecutive seasons before suffering his first major injury. He played in just three games last season before undergoing surgery to fix a cervical neck fracture.

Entering his age-31 season, all those little injuries that have forced him out of games combined with a major neck issue could have the Cowboys developing an exit strategy for their franchise tackle. After his contract was restructured, the club can still cut him and save money next season. If the Cowboys are looking to find their heir apparent, this is a good draft to do it. The latest edition of the Bleacher Report big board features six offensive tackles in the top 32 players.

Should Penei Sewell make it to the 10th pick, the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to pass on the value. If someone like Liam Eichenberg is on the board with their second-round pick, Smith's expiration date in Dallas could be nearing.

Darren Woodson Believes Cowboys Should Invest "Early" in Playmaking Safety - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star

If you want a playmaker, you likely have to use some premium draft resources.

Darren Woodson won three Super Bowls, was a four-time First-Team All-Pro, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and is the Cowboy’s all-time leader in tackles (1,350) while playing the safety, which makes him more than qualified to speak on the position. He recently joined the K&C Masterpiece on 105.3 The Fan, and when asked how he could convince team owner Jerry Jones and the organization to value his old position, he was very candid in his answer.

“I think if you want a safety and you feel like you need to fill the void of playmaker in that position, then you probably have to get one a little early,” Woodson said. “If you’re looking for a playmaker, go get one early instead of thinking through the process of, ‘I can turn a special teams player into safety,’ or ‘I can go in the fourth, fifth round and find a guy that’s serviceable to play that position.’ If you want a big-time playmaker, it’s just part of it. You roll the dice and go early and hopefully, you get a playmaker.”

Tony Romo makes return to professional golf this week at Veritex Bank Championship in Arlington - Scott Bell, Dallas Morning News

The former Cowboy signal-caller will be back on the links this week.

Romo will tee off at 9:15 a.m. for Thursday’s first round and 2:15 p.m. for Friday’s second round. Romo has played in four PGA Tour events in his career, all coming after his retirement from the NFL. He has missed the cut in all four events, with the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson being his only local appearance. Romo made his Korn Ferry debut last July when he played in the Price Cutter Charity Championship. He ended up withdrawing from that tournament with a wrist injury.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to play at the Veritex Bank Championship against the future stars of the PGA Tour,” Romo said in a release last month. “I was really looking forward to competing in the event last year before it was canceled, and I have been working hard on my game over the last few months. I can’t wait to play in front of a home crowd at Texas Rangers Golf Club, and I hope to make a little noise during the championship.”

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