Cowboys Tidbits

Cowboys Star

The closer I get to you
The more you make me see
By giving me all you got
Your love has captured me..

Yes Dallas Cowboys fans, I’m listening to “The Closer I Get To You” by Roberta Flack ft. Donny Hathaway, the rookie minicamp is upon us, the season is getting close and it’s safe to say that i’m a bit emotional.

On May 12 the Cowboys rookies and Jaylon Smith will see start the official start of the season.

I know….I know….free agency, the draft, etc…..etc…. in my eyes this could be the rebirth of the organization. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why the optimism all of sudden Big Rog Dog? You lost the heart of your defense with Barry Church leaving and Brandon Carr and his 144 consecutive games. Not to mention JJ Wilcox and Morris Claiborne left for riches and more importantly an opportunity to leave the ghosts of their draft positions and expectations behind them. If you’ve read my work in the past, you know that I have been a Wilcox fan for a while and I think that the Cowboys were impatient. I would go as far as say that he should have been resigned before Jeff Heath but we will be able to track both of their progress this year, especially now that the Cowboys are giving Heath a chance to win the starting strong safety position next to Byron Jones. Heath has shown flashes the last two seasons so I do not doubt that he can handle whatever Marinelli throws at him.

The Cowboys drafted three cornerbacks and one safety to replace our dearly departed free agents. I was mildly disappointed with the way the team drafted due to the moves they made in free agency, signing Nolan Carroll II and the sheer numbers that the team has at CB makes it hard for one of the rookies to make the team and it would be a mistake to get rid of Orlando Scandrick. In my humble opinion the team overreacted to the mass exodus and forgot about the other holes on the 2017 roster. Matter of fact, I hate to bring up old stuff but I will to prove a point. If you’ve been a Cowboys fan long enough, you remember one of the worst drafts in Cowboys history which is the 2000 NFL Draft. The team drafted Dwayne Goodrich, Kareem Larrimore and Mario Edwards and out of the three Edwards had the longest career. Goodrich’s career was cut short by an unfortunate accident, compounded by a poor decision and Larrimore only played two seasons for the team before getting cut. I understand that the organization has become better in the scouting department but I think they got greedy when they drafted Marquez White.

The reality is that the back end of the defense got young overnight, so expect growing pains. For every yen, there’s a yang and although you’re going to have growing pains, the defensive backfield will be a lot more athletic than it was last year. For all of Church’s experience and handwork, he’s not as dynamic as the young defensive backs will be. It was short-sighted to go as heavy defensively as they did considering that they passed on Jake Butt in the fourth round for Ryan Switzer. The Cowboys had a chance to have a legitimate heir to Jason Witten’s throne on the roster but decided to go for a special teams star. Unless Switzer returns at least three to four touchdowns on punt returns and replaces Lance Dunbar as the third down back in Linehan’s office I’ll be criticizing this pick for awhile. It seems that everyone is excited about Xavier Woods, the hard hitting safety from Louisiana Tech who in his college career was a turnover machine. I’m not sure that he is a better tackler than Wilcox but he’s not afraid to mix it up. With his ball skills and ability to diagnose plays, Marinelli shouldn’t have a problem playing Cover 1 when he needs to. I would be surprised if Woods earns a starting spot when the season starts but he will get more playing time during the middle of the season. We have a long way to go before this roster shapes up for the regular season but all the work starts now.

It’s about that time Cowboys fans.

So Mote It Be

Early 53 Man Roster Prediction – Pre-Training Camp

We are just a few days removed from the 2017 NFL Draft and the Cowboys will have plenty of new faces around The Star when OTA’s and Training Camp roll around. When you look at all the guys the Cowboys lost in Free- Agency then the players they brought in in Free Agency, all the guys the Cowboys drafted, and all the Undrafted Free-Agents the Cowboys signed after the draft this 53-Man roster will look a lot different than it did this time last year.

  1. QB – Dak Prescott
  2. QB – Kellen Moore
  3. QB – Cooper Rush
  4. RB – Ezekiel Elliott
  5. RB – Darren McFadden
  6. RB – Alfred Morris
  7. WR – Dez Bryant
  8. WR- Terrance Williams
  9. WR – Cole Beasley
  10. WR – Ryan Switzer
  11. WR – Brice Butler
  12. WR – Noah Brown
  13. TE – Jason Witten
  14. TE – Geoff Swaim
  15. TE – Rico Gathers
  16. OT – Tyron Smith
  17. OT – Emmett Cleary
  18. OG – Zack Martin
  19. OG – La’el Collins
  20. OC – Travis Fredrick
  21. OG – Jonathan Cooper
  22. OT – Chaz Green
  23. OT – Byron Bell
  24. FB – Keith Smith
  25. DL – David Irving
  26. DL – Tyrone Crawford
  27. DE – Charles Tapper
  28. DT – Cedric Thornton
  29. DT – Stephen Paea
  30. DT – Maliek Collins
  31. DT – Joey Ivie
  32. DE – Demarcus Lawrence
  33. DE – Taco Charlton
  34. DE – Benson Mayowa
  35. LB – Damien Wilson
  36. LB – Kyle Wilber
  37. LB – Jaylon Smith
  38. LB – Anthony Hitchens
  39. LB – Sean Lee
  40. LB – Mark Nzeocha
  41. S – Byron Jones
  42. S – Xavier Woods
  43. S – Jeff Heath
  44. S – Kavon Fraizer
  45. CB – Anthony Brown
  46. CB – Orlando Scandrick
  47. CB – Chidobe Awuzie
  48. CB – Jourdan Lewis
  49. CB – Nolan Carroll
  50. CB – Marquez White
  51. K – Dan Bailey
  52. P – Chris Jones
  53. LS – L.P. Ladouceur

The Draft Picks:

 Taco Charlton, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Ryan Switzer, and Xavier Woods will all be walk in contributors right away and I wouldn’t rule out all of the defensive players being starters or battling for a starting position right away. Charlton is likely the starting Right Defensive End, Chidobe Awuzie may be the starting Nickle Corner and play the boundary as well, and Jourdan Lewis will see a large workload right away in the Nickle and on the outside. Xavier Woods has competition but has the potential to let Byron Jones slide into the Strong Safety role and really allow him to play in coverage on tight ends and chase the football closer to the line of scrimmage. Ryan Switzer the Cowboys 4th round pick will unseat  Lucky Whitehead as the teams returner and I can see him having a big role on offense as a rookie.

In addition to these five guys I currently have Joey Ivie, Noah Brown, and Marquez White making the 53 man roster. Ivie is a penetrating defensive tackle that made more plays on film than you would expect from a 7th round pick. Ivie won’t be the most athletic guy in the meeting rooms but has a high  motor and uses his hands and arms to win with swims, swats, and bull rushes. Ivie is actually one of my favorite players the Cowboys drafted after diving in to more of his film. Noah Brown is a high ceiling receiver that really shouldn’t have been available in the 7th round. Brown is a big boy at 6’2 222lbs and style of play is a lot like Dez Bryant. Brown isn’t going to out run you and isn’t the most crisp route runner but he his a red zone nightmare with his physical style of play and blocks extremely well for a receiver. Marquez White will be in a training camp battle for the 6th Cornerback spot on the roster with Leon McFadden. White does not have the ideal size or athletic ability but has very good instincts and has an eye for the football. White is more so of a project than anything but has more than enough redeeming traits and is competitive enough to win that 6th Cornerback job in Training Camp.

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 The Free Agents:

Nolan Carroll, Damontre Moore, Byron Bell and Stephen Paea were the big name Free Agents that were brought in to bolster this Cowboys roster. Nolan Carroll will likely be a day one starting Corner but has a lot of competition behind him that will push him early. Damontre Moore is another guy who was brought in that isn’t guaranteed a roster spot. Moore has a lot of potential and has shown inconsistent flashes throughout his NFL career. If he does happen to put it all together Moore may be in the running for a roster spot, if not I have a hard time seeing him make the roster in a already crowded defensive line room. Byron Bell and Stephen Paea will likely be in Training Camp battles to win a starting spot. Bell will be looking to win the starting Right Tackle spot from Chaz Green and Stephen Paea and Cedric Thornton will slug it out to win the starting One-Technique Defensive Tackle job. None of the Free Agents brought in are game changing type of players but a few of them will win starting roles and a few of them will provide quality depth at their positions.

The Undrafted:

I see one guy who sticks out to me in this Undrafted Free Agent Class that I could see making a case for the 53 Man Roster. That guy is Quarterback Cooper Rush out of Central Michigan. Rush has a lot of developing to do but I could see him being a very good back up Quarterback in the NFL. Rush lacks athletic ability and arm strength to be anything more than a backup in the NFL but does make up for that by being very smart on the field with reading defenses and making good decisions. The Cowboys currently only have Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore as their Quarterbacks on the roster so adding a third guy is something I think they will look to do. Rush is young and has traits in his game that leads me to believe he could win that job.

The Summary:

When you look at the additions the Cowboys made in this off season you notice a completely rebuilt secondary. Time will tell whether they are improved from last years group but in my mind that position upgraded the talent level tremendously between bringing in Nolan Carroll via Free Agency and spending almost half of their draft picks on Defensive Backs. The Defensive Line in my opinion is still average at best. We still have yet to see what Charles Tapper, Damontre Moore, or Taco Charlton can add to the pass rush but I don’t see it being game changing. To me this Defensive Line will continue to be stout against the run and struggle to pressure opposing QB’s. Time will tell, and with Training Camp and OTA’s right around the corner we will find out sooner rather than later. Either way it looks to be very exciting time for Cowboys Nation as the youth movement has officially taken over.

Got a Lot to Say From RVA – Follow me on Twitter- @connorx147