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Cowboys news: Dallas Cowboys inadvertently make their division rival “livid”

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Eagles’ DeVonta Smith trade made this division rival “livid” - Grey Papke, Larry Brown Sports

The DeVonta Smith trade help the Cowboys and Eagles, but in so doing made the Giants “livid”.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to trade up for wide receiver DeVonta Smith in the NFL Draft apparently set off some angst within their division.

The Eagles moved up from No. 12 to No. 10, trading with the Dallas Cowboys in order to draft Smith. In doing so, they jumped ahead of the New York Giants, who held the 11th pick and apparently were waiting eagerly for Smith to fall to them.

ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg spoke to a number of college coaches about the draft, and one SEC defensive coordinator revealed that the Eagles trade made the Giants furious.

“The Giants wanted DeVonta bad,” the coordinator said. “They were pretty livid when Philly moved in front of them.”

Donovan Wilson could be could be the Cowboys x-factor on defense - Jordan Schultz, Inside The Star

Donovan Wilson has a chance to shine in 2021 for the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite the influx of new faces and multi-positional talents, the Cowboys’ x-factor in the secondary may come from one of the few starters leftover from their disastrous 2020 campaign; Safety Donovan Wilson. It was easy to write off the defense as a whole last season, but Wilson played better on an individual level than a lot of people realize in his first season as a starter.

In 14 games he showed a knack for consistently putting himself in positions to make big plays, finishing with 71 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two tackles for loss, three passes defended, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and three QB hits (more on this later).

He has room to improve in coverage as he allowed completions on 66.7% of the passes thrown in his direction, but the additions of Kazee (one of the best coverage safeties in the game when healthy), Neal, and Mukuamu will free Wilson up to do what he does best; blitz the QB and attack RBs in the run game.

While 3.5 sacks and three QB hits don’t jump off the page as huge numbers, it becomes more impressive when you realize this was done on just eight total blitzes. Almost every time he was given the chance to attack he made something happen. Expect this number to go up in 2021 under Dan Quinn.

Cowboys rumors: Jeff Driskel won’t sign contract after ‘great visit’ - Mike Chiari, Bleacher Report

Jeff Driskel could just be the first QB the Cowboys kick the tires on to become Dak Prescott’s primary backup.

Free-agent quarterback Jeff Driskel reportedly had a positive visit with the Dallas Cowboys, but may not end up signing with the organization.

According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Driskel had a “great visit” Thursday, and there is a “strong chance” he will sign with the Cowboys and become the instant favorite to serve as starting quarterback Dak Prescott’s primary backup.

Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram followed up that report with a report of his own that the Cowboys will not be signing Driskel “at this time,” however.

Dallas Cowboys: Is Trysten Hill the odd man out this year? - Adithya Prabakaran, Fansided

DT Trysten Hill may need a strong offseason if he wants to stick around with the Dallas Cowboys entering Year 3.

Two years later and the selection has aged like rotten eggs. Hill had an incredibly underwhelming rookie season and got injured five games into his sophomore season; it is hard to say his sophomore season was that much better. He was considered one of the worst defenders on the team and he didn’t generate enough pressure as a starting pass rusher to feel confident in his projection moving forward.

To make matters worse, players like Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, DK Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and Chase Winovich were all drafted within the following ten picks after Hill. The pick was a reach then; hardly anyone is doubting that now.

As we look onward to the Dan Quinn era of the Dallas Cowboys defense, Hill is a scheme fit; well kind of? An under tackle carries great importance as a pass rusher but does so from a shade position compared to the fronts coach Marinelli used to run. The shade positions offer a bit of flexibility when running fire zone blitzes and adjusting to slide protections. As a run defender, the responsibilities are largely the same while playing with greater area in the front four.

The diversity that Quinn brings to his pass-rushing should make things more exciting for good athletes like Hill, first-round pick Micah Parsons, third-round pick Osa Odighizuwa, Randy Gregory, and Neville Gallimore to a degree. But for someone who didn’t have great production in college and hasn’t had much production since he’s been in the league, how much playtime does Hill receive?

NFC East in 2021: Cowboys are favored, but can Washington repeat? - ESPN

The NFC East crown is up for grabs.

Dallas Cowboys, Odds: +105

What’s the value (good, bad, about right)? About right. It seems as if there is buy-in that the Cowboys will be a contender in 2021. Maybe that’s just the way to draw in bets. There are questions around this team, starting with quarterback Dak Prescott’s health, of course, but they have not added big-time talent in free agency, and can rookies make a big difference in coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense?

Why the Cowboys can win: It’s possible if the talent comes together, if coach Mike McCarthy can punch the right buttons, if Quinn can make the defense better. That’s a lot of ifs. But talent-wise, the Cowboys are better on offense than any other team in the division. Prescott’s health shouldn’t be an issue by the time the season starts. The Cowboys are confident offensive linemen Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and Zack Martin will be at 100 percent. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has something to prove. The defense simply cannot be worse than it was a year ago. Of the division teams, the Cowboys would appear to have the most going for them.

Who should be the favorites: It can’t be the Eagles with a rookie coach and Jalen Hurts at quarterback, although they have made some solid additions. It can’t be Washington since no team has repeated as division champ in 16 seasons, although that defense will be exceptional. It might be the Giants, especially if that offense can get it going with running back Saquon Barkley’s return from injury and Kenny Golladay at wide receiver. That leaves the Cowboys as the favorite. Maybe the odds are right after all. — Todd Archer

Veteran EDGE Justin Houston still unsigned; should Cowboys be interested? - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Does Justin Houston still have enough left in the tank to help the Dallas Cowboys?

Houston has been one of the NFL’s most consistent pass rushers since entering the league 2011. Despite turning 32 in January, Justin continues to put up strong sack totals with eight last season and 9-11 sacks each year from 2017-2019.

Over his 10-year career Houston has been two four Pro Bowls and been named a First Team All-Pro twice. He’s spent the last two seasons with the Colts after a long run in Kansas City.

The Cowboys have benefitted greatly from giving older edges opportunities the last two seasons. In 2019 it was Robert Quinn, who came off a down year in Miami and went for 11.5 sacks in Dallas. He parlayed that performance into a lucrative contract last year with Chicago.

Last year, Dallas took a chance on Aldon Smith after a four-year absence from the NFL. While he only had five sacks in 2020, Smith contributed with pressures and other disruptive plays and gave the Cowboys a good return on their risky investment.

Quinn is still a Bear and Smith is now a Seahawk. If the Cowboys want to continue this trend of working with aging pass rushers, Justin Houston seems like a prime candidate.

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