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Cowboys news: How rookie linebacker Damone Clark’s approach will help his rehab

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

Mississippi State v LSU Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

How Damone Clark’s Approach Will Help His Rehab - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com

If he can get healthy, the rookie linebacker has a chance to be one of the best value picks of the draft.

Having initially met with him at the Senior Bowl in January, Cowboys executive vice president of player personnel Will McClay said that attitude shined through. "When you sat down and talked to him, he was all business, he was all about ball," McClay said. "He wore that number at LSU for a reason, and you got that feeling when you met with him."

Clark was the 16th player to wear that number since LSU started the tradition back in 2004, and several of those have gone on to extend that success into the NFL. "The other guy that wore it for two years before me was Tre'Davious White, so it's great company to have," Clark said.

The obvious drawback is that the Cowboys will have a bit of a wait to see Clark bring that attitude to the field. He underwent surgery at the end of March, and the recovery time is estimated at about six months. Though it's interesting to note that Cowboys officials have expressed optimism he could be available at some point during the 2022 season.

The Best Player Who Could Be Cut from Every NFL Roster in 2022 Offseason - Ian Wharton, BleacherReport.com

Trysten Hill could find himself on the outside looking in come training camp.

Dallas Cowboys: Trysten Hill, DT. It's often painful for a front office to cut bait on a top-100 pick. However, at some point, teams have to pay no heed to draft stock and cut dead weight from their roster. The Dallas Cowboys are at that point with 2019 second-round pick Trysten Hill, who has been a complete non-factor in three seasons. He's played in only 18 games and notched 27 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

The 24-year-old may be an interesting reclamation project for another team, but Dallas is too deep at the tackle position to continue developing him. The Cowboys need their depth at other positions, not to keep a third nose tackle. They could save nearly $1.2 million by releasing him and would be left with less than a $400,000 dead cap hit.

Free Agents Cowboys Should Pursue After 2022 NFL Draft - Kristopher Knox, BleacherReport.com

Adding another pass rusher, wide receiver, or offensive linemen would be a wise move.

Edge Jadeveon Clowney. It would likely take some work to fit pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney into Dallas' financial plans, as he's not going to be cheap after a bounce-back season with the Cleveland Browns. The 29-year-old finished 2021 with 37 tackles, nine sacks and 32 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Reference.

Dallas might also have to exercise patience, as Clowney doesn't appear eager to get under contract. "Jadeveon Clowney, as I understand it, doesn't have a great deal of interest in being under contract right now and either voluntarily reporting to OTAs or having to report to mandatory minicamp in the first, second week of June," Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports HQ said (h/t Matt Howe of 247Sports).

However, Clowney would be an excellent addition in the way of the Cowboys losing Gregory. The Cowboys added Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency, but he's been underwhelming away from the Los Angeles Rams. They didn't draft a pure edge-rusher either. Dallas logged a solid 41 sacks in 2021, but six of those were tallied by Gregory. Signing Clowney would help replace his production and then some.

3 roster bubble candidates the Cowboys should keep an eye on - Terence Watson, The Landry Hat

Some low-profile free agents the Cowboys could target.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, Defensive End/ Defensive Tackle. Height: 6’7″ Weight: 289lbs. Career Stats: 93 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 2 forces fumbles

After being taken in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Kpassagnon hasn’t lived up to expectations of a player taken that high in the draft. After signing with the New Orleans Saints last offseason, he was only able to suit up for eight games before an injury kept him off the field the rest of the season. He recently restructured his contract to help the Saints get back some cap space, but that may not be enough for him to stick on the roster.

The reason this could benefit the Cowboys is due to his size. Position flex is a big thing to this front office and Kpassagnon could give it to them along the defensive line. He reminds me a bit of David Irving during his time in Dallas and I could see this team using him the same way. Moving to Dallas could allow him to explode off the line against slower guards and centers to make plays in the backfield instead of dealing with the more athletic offensive tackles he’s been facing so far.

Don’t expect the Cowboys to change how they use Ezekiel Elliott in 2022 - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys

As long as he is on this team, Ezekiel Elliott will likely be Dallas’ RB1.

During the NFL Draft, Dallas also tipped us that they were very intent on improving the running game by taking Tyler Smith in the first round with the intent of moving him from tackle to the guard position. As a first-round pick, Smith is expected to be a starter, preferably from the very start of camp. His college history indicates that he is an impressive run blocker but sketchy in pass protection. That in itself hints that the move inside will be good for all involved. If he does work out the way the team is counting on, the running lanes should be much better when the Cowboys have the ball. The selection of tight end Jake Ferguson in the fourth round also showed that the run game is going to be relied on, as he showed some real value as a run blocker in his college career at Wisconsin, which does a good job of teaching players how to do just that. Further, the early talk about some competition for the starting center job also may be driven by an attempt to get better run blocking there.

The idea of just moving Pollard to the starting job is not a workable one. Pollard is not the kind of back you want taking the handoff 15 to 20 times a game. He is the same height as Elliott but nearly 20 pounds lighter. While he shows surprising ability to break tackles and run through traffic, he is just not built the way Elliott is. The starter’s mass allows him to survive the pounding expected on early down runs. Remember that the injury he suffered last season occurred when he fell on a pylon on the sidelines, not in a collision in the middle of the field. If he is back to full health as expected, Elliott should be the early down back.

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