Catching Up With The Cowboys

Jason Garrett

It’s the doldrums. The middle of the offseason. Time to be catching up with the Cowboys.

As a player you’re not going to make the final 53 this week. Relax. Unless of course you’re a bottom tier player of the Dallas Cowboys. If that’s the case you better be bringing your “A-Game” every day unless you want to be on the street looking for work.

Actually, you may have brought your A-Game and it may not matter. The Cowboys personnel department doesn’t just watch the bushes for talent. They rattle, prod, poke and assess 24/7 – 365 trying to find the best 53 they can for opening day.

Veteran CB’s Terrance Mitchell and Brandon McGee were both waived. In the past weeks OTA’s the team gave draft selections Anthony Brown and Arjen Colquhoun extensive work. The cuts of the two veterans makes one believe the team likes what it sees at this juncture from the two rookies.

The first year players didn’t totally sell the team as the front office did bring veteran CB Brandon Boykin in for a look but the visit hasn’t produced a contract as of this time. Still it’s good news for the team they are pleased with their draft choices in the defensive backfield … so far.

Ed Note: Click here for the latest Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart

The club doesn’t make moves without reason. After the CB’s were released the team signed some veterans kicking the tires on OT Bryan Witzmann, ILB Brandon Hepburn and DE Lawrence Okoye.

The team learned a long time ago in order to properly assess players in preseason games they need veterans of a certain caliber around them. Otherwise the game falls apart and what you get on film isn’t that useful. Witzmann is probably a player along those lines. A “camp body” however he could surprise. ILB Brandon Hepburn and DE Lawrence Okoye fall into the next category, “kicking the tires on players with measurables.”

ILB Brandon Hepburn – 6’2″, 240 lbs, 32 1/2″ arms, 9″ hands, 4’68 second 40 yard dash, 21 reps bench press, 124″ broad jump. Another SPARQ score candidate Hepburn is a member of the National Honor Society and the Science Honor Society. The dude has offensive lineman smarts. A walk on starter at Florida A&M Hepburn carried a full load to get a degree in biochemistry while those around him dabbled in basket weaving. RKOG. Ya think?

Rolondo McClain still hasn’t shown his grill around Valley Ranch. I don’t believe Hepburn is in town for show.

Originally drafted in the seventh round by the Lions Hepburn could be getting his post football life in gear with his resume. Instead he’s out on the field grinding for the last two years trying to make it in the sport he loves. He’s a football player. Keep your eye on this kid.

DE Lawrence Okoye – 6’6″, 304 lbs, 34 1/2″ arms, 4.78 second 40 yard dash, 35″ vertical, 10’5″ broad jump. Another SPARQ eye candy athlete the British Olympian finished 12th in the 2012 London Olympic games in the discus. At 6’6″ you’re not supposed to be able to move like that. Okoye can and coaches eyes bugged.

49ers, Cardinals and the Jet’s all took a close look at Okoye. Now it’s the Cowboys turn. He lined up at DE during recent OTA’s and reportedly didn’t disappoint. A sure thing? Not even close. Intriguing with huge upside? Now you’re talking. Still only 23 years old the talent is there. Looking at what Rod Marinelli has been able to do with guys off the  street it’s more than a little bit interesting to posit what he can do with a bona fide Olympian. Bring it on.

Sean Lee is “on track” in his recovery from a knee “clean up.” Brandon Carr is seeing time at both right and left CB setting the stage for Scandrick to matchup with the other teams number one WR. Ezekiel Elliott is looking good. Randy Gregory has been kicking it into high gear. Ronald Leary is pressing for a trade and Dallas has been playing OT’s Chaz Green and newly signed Witzmann at OG to see what options they have inside.

Mid-offseason and if you don’t keep checking you may not recognize a lot of the players in the span of a week. It’s the 2016 offseason and Dallas has it’s eye on the prize. The latest cuts and signings won’t be the last ones you see before game one of the season.

Sleeper Alert – ILB Brandon Hepburn – A serious audition will be given.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Cowboys Rough Diamonds

Rough Diamond
This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series 2016 Cowboys Rookie Profiles

Late in the weekend, after the media was long gone the Dallas Cowboys front office participated in the NFL Draft sixth round. Like prospectors in days of yore the club’s front office proceeded to dig in the mound of clay known as the NFL Draft latter rounds and the items of interest uncovered may very well become key Cowboys contributors.

What was revealed? Are we talking about proverbial lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking or did the team uncover something a bit more shiny? Let us consider the possibilities.

Anthony Brown 5’11 190 lbs

Anthony Brown was an enigma for the Boilermakers starting all 12 games and intercepting four passes. Brown has some qualities that translate to being a starting cornerback in the NFL. He has the combination of speed and height to compete with most receivers. That statement might seem elementary but those of us that have been watching Cowboys games for awhile has seen the team line up with Cornerbacks who are over matched physically. Watching game tape of Brown playing against Indiana, you can see that he doesn’t have a problem carrying receivers around the field and he is a solid tackler. Brown has loose hips and solid footwork but at times he didn’t seem too eager to support the run. Like most late round picks, he will have an uphill climb in making the 53 man roster and if he does it will be by beating out Terrance Mitchell. Preseason will be the time for him to get his technique flaws corrected and showing the versatility to play in the slot wouldn’t hurt.

Kavon Frazier 6’0 217 lbs

Where would the Cowboys be without Barry Church?? I think we might be finding out shortly (at least I wish we would). I respect Church as a leader in the secondary as well as the entire team but it is time to get more athletic in the backfield. Unfortunately Kavon Frazier may not be the player to do that. Watching tape of Frazier was like seeing Church’s twin. Some analysts compare him to Seahawks Kam Chancellor and watching tape, I can’t see the connection. Frazier had 108 tackles in 2015 but was that indicative of him being around the ball or the defense not being that good? In the Michigan St. game his tackling was shoddy and he had problems when lined up against the tight end. If at anytime during last season you were ready to choke out JJ Wilcox for his missed tackles or taking wrong angles, be prepared to see it happen just as much with Frazier. If Frazier is going to make the team it will be by way of special teams.

Darius Jackson 6’0 221 lbs

I like this pick! Jackson has the perfect combination of speed, power and patience. He played predominately out of the spread rushing for 1,078 yards and 14 touchdowns. Could it be possible that running backs who have never lined up behind the quarterback struggle? He played predominately out of the spread. Maybe one of our readers can answer that question. Jackson has soft hands and if he can handle the mental aspect of the game and pass blocking, I could see the Cowboys using him as a 3rd down back. It’s of my opinion that this may be the most talent that the Cowboys have had in it’s backfield since Felix Jones, Marion Barber III and Tashard Choice. (I still think that Choice was a good running back and got a raw deal) As Parcells would say “Let’s not take out the anointing oil yet” but if I was to have a pet cat of the Cowboys draft class, Jackson would be it. The backfield is crowded as is and if the step up of competition isn’t too much for the young man, I would tell McFadden and his two million “Sayanora”. If the rumors of the Cowboys wanting to return to it’s zone blocking scheme is true, McFadden might be the odd man out. You can’t discount the fact that he had a solid year for team but it wouldn’t hurt to get younger and give Alfred Morris more carries. I’m not a betting man….Let me stop lying yes I am, but I would love to see the Cowboys give this kid a chance as a KR and see what he can do because if he performs during the preseason and the team tries to stash him on the practice squad. They could lose him.

Rico Gathers 6’6 273 lbs

I have no words for this pick but……..

Could we have signed him as a UDFA? Is this pick a make up for not drafting Thomas Rawls when they had the chance? Help me out Cowboys Fans!

 

So Mote It Be!