<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Tue, 03 May 2016 11:25:00 -0500 Tue, 03 May 2016 11:25:00 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Doctor, Mom, Author is a Cowboys Cheerleader Hopeful]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:57:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cheerleader+Hopeful+050316.jpg 50-year-old Chiufang Hwang is a doctor, a wife, a mom, an author and she hopes to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys See "Worthwhile Opportunity" in Project TE Rico Gathers]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:50:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-516379688.jpg

With their final pick of Draft weekend 2016, the Dallas Cowboys drafted a tight end who hasn’t actually played football since junior high.

Rico Gathers played basketball, not football, at Baylor, before deciding to change his sport and enter the NFL Draft this year. When you’re a super-athlete and you stand 6-foot-8 and weigh in at 275 pounds like Gathers, you can do that.

The Cowboys were one of over 20 teams to attend his Pro Day, and they ultimately drafted him 217th overall, in the sixth round. He is a project, certainly, but a worthwhile project, as Jason Garrett was quick to point out when discussing the addition of Baylor’s all-time leading rebounder.

He is just very impressive physically,” Garrett said, per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. “Clearly he is determined to do this, and so we just felt at the bottom of our draft, this was a worthwhile opportunity.

“His style as a basketball player is one that's very physical; prolific rebounder. We felt like that could translate. Clearly he is a developmental player, but if he turns into something, it might be something we really like.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jaylon Smith Won't Rule Out Playing in 2016]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:32:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JaylonSmith2.jpg

It’s generally assumed that the Dallas Cowboys’ second round pick, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, will not play until 2017.

Smith suffered a devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl last year that involved tears to his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral cruciate ligament, as well as damage to his peroneal nerve. He underwent surgery on the knee back in January.

But Smith isn’t ready to rule himself out of 2016. He was asked in an introductory conference call if there’s a chance he could play at some point this season.

Absolutely,” Smith said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Never doubt God."

Whenever Smith does get on the field, be it in 2016 or, more likely, in 2017, he’s confident he’ll reward the Cowboys for betting on him.

"They're getting a heck of a player,” Smith said. “A guy who knows his football IQ, very intelligent, but also a playmaker. That's something that I'll be able to compliment, be able to pass rush, both sideline to sideline. Looking forward to playing with Mr. (Sean) Lee.”

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<![CDATA[Jerry Was Really Disappointed Cowboys Missed Out On Paxton Lynch]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:11:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461342082.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones tried and failed to trade back into the first round on Thursday night to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, and he was apparently so disappointed, he spent much of the weekend talking about it.

Jones roundly applauded the Broncos getting Lynch the night of, then said he lost sleep over his inability to grab the Memphis product the next day—specifically he said he only managed three hours of sleep before waking up and venting to several people about the ill-fated move on Friday morning.

I was still mad about it,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Actually thought we had it done.”

He also said publicly that he should’ve overpaid, if it took overpaying to get Lynch in Dallas.

“When I look back on my life, I overpaid for my big successes every time,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And when I tried to get a bargain, get it a little cheaper or get a better deal on it, I ended up usually either getting it and not happy I got it. Or missing it.

“And I probably should have overpaid here.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Fail To Fill Holes in Disappointing Draft]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 10:12:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-stadium-generic722.jpg

Did I miss something?

Best I recall the Cowboys were 4-12 last year. Aside from Tony Romo’s injury, they were beset by a glaring lack of defensive playmakers that led to a record-low 11 takeaways. Entering the draft they had well-defined defensive needs, and the pick ammunition to adequately and immediately satisfy them.

So why did the Cowboys draft like a 12-4 team?

They drafted running back Ezekiel Elliott, although they have the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher and just signed a solid veteran backup in free agency.

They attempted to trade two primo picks to select quarterback Paxton Lynch, even though owner Jerry Jones expects Romo to play as many as five more seasons.

They spent a high pick on injured linebacker Jaylon Smith, who likely won’t step on the field in 2016 and is not guaranteed to ever return to 100 percent.

After failing to trade up to draft Lynch and Connor Cook, they stubbornly settled for Dak Prescott in the 4th round.

And with their last pick in the 6th round they drafted, yep, a guy who hasn’t played football since the 6th grade.

In between the confusion, I like the picks of defensive linemen Maliek Collins and Charles Tapper, cornerback Anthony Brown and safety Kavon Frazier. But otherwise, the Cowboys drafted like a team that could afford the luxury of taking risks. And they can’t.

In Elliott they didn’t fix a problem, but merely strengthened a solution. With Elliott, Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar on the roster, they totally wasted a pick in the 6th round with yet another running back in Darius Jackson. Prescott is a talented athlete, but it's difficult to fathom him beating out Kellen Moore to be Romo’s backup this year. (Stop with the Cowboys "like him all along" rhetoric. Yeah, I really liked my prom date, too. Especially after the first two girls turned me down.) And I know Antonio Gates started his Hall of Fame, tight-end career as a basketball player, but does Rico Gathers have real potential or did the Cowboys draft a player that otherwise would have gone undrafted?

Bottom line: The Cowboys drafted nine players. Four of them – Smith, Prescott, Jackson and Gathers – have no chance of getting on the field and helping them in 2016.

High risk-reward picks are well and good for 12-4 teams or defending Super Bowl champs that can afford the luxury of patience. But the Cowboys haven’t sniffed a Super Bowl in 20 years. They need help. And they need it now.

This was the draft where the Cowboys needed to better their team. Instead, it feels like the front office tried to prove to the NFL how clever it could be.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Class Celebrates on Twitter]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 20:16:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zeke-jersey1.jpg

As each of the nine players drafted by the Dallas Cowboys found out they were picked in the 2016 NFL Draft, here's how they celebrated the news on social media.

Round 1 (4): Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Round 2 (34): Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame

Round 3 (67): Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska

Round 4 (101): Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma

Round 4 (135): Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Round 6 (189): Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue

Round 6 (212): Kavon Frazier, S, Central Michigan

Round 6 (216): Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan

Round 6 (217): Rico Gathers, TE, Baylor

Photo Credit: Noah Bullard, NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Meet the Cowboys 2016 Draft Class]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 18:23:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525782468.jpg Meet the nine players selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Baylor's Rico Gathers]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 13:53:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-516379688.jpg

The question before the draft was “is Rico Gathers serious?” Now the question is “are the Cowboys serious about Rico Gathers?”

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They apparently are after selecting the Baylor basketball standout in the 6th round (217th overall) of the NFL Draft. Yes, the NFL Draft.

Size isn’t an issue with Gathers at 6’7 and 276 pounds. Learning the tight end position will be the challenge. He toyed with the idea of playing one year of football with the Bears but decided to stick with basketball.  He declared for the NFL draft despite not playing football since the age of 13.

The Cowboys have no shortage of tight ends on the roster so taking a flier on Gathers in the 6th isn’t too much of a gamble.

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Other 6th round picks by the Cowboys:

Kavon Frazier – Strong Safety

Scouts compare the former Central Michigan standout to another Cowboys safety, Barry Church. Has the ability to support against the run game and could compete for a starting spot in the secondary later down the road.

Darius Jackson – Running Back

The Cowboys stayed in the state of Michigan to select Jackson. Original thought of as an undrafted free agent, his pro day numbers may have been the key to landing him on the board (sub-4.4 40-yard dash, 41 inch vertical leap). Has buildup speed and the size to slip through arm tackles.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cowboys Select CB Brown in 6th Round]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 13:45:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-493072288.jpg

The Cowboys needed some help in the secondary going into this draft, so they used a sixth round pick to address it by taking cornerback Anthony Brown from Purdue with the 189th overall pick.

Upside: Brown had four interceptions last season. He has the hands to finish with the interception when given the opportunity. One of his strengths is his tackling ability. Brown is willing to throw his body into a play.

Downside: Doesn’t seem to trust his technique at times and can be too willing to grab and pull rather than work the feet. Reads passes quickly but the burst to the ball is limited. Pass tackler with inconsistent effort against the run.

Bottom line: To earn playing time, Brown will need to play to his size (5’11, 192 lbs) and improve his aggressiveness on the next level. He has the combination of good athleticism mixed in with physicality to not only be a corner but also a potential special teams contributor right away.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Take Dak Prescott in 4th Round]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 13:47:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dak-prescott-cowboys.jpg

No shortage of chatter for months about the Cowboys getting a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft to be the back-up and possible heir to Tony Romo. The Cowboys waited until the fourth round to grab someone on the board, selecting Dak Prescott from Mississippi State.

Prescott was the best quarterback in Bulldogs history, holding all of the major passing records for the school. Many felt he could’ve been a second or third round pick. He did falter weeks before the draft, arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Prescott did apologize but that could have contributed to sliding into the middle rounds.

Upside: Excellent awareness with a strong arm. Continues to show a level of growth as a passer and was mentally tough enough to carry a heavy offensive workload for the Bulldogs over the last three years.

Downside: Still a raw passer and lacks consistency. Worry that he depends too much on his legs for an NFL-type quarterback. He took plenty of hits at Mississippi State due to poor protection.

Prescott has the NFL size, mobility and arm. Cowboys could utilize him on short-yard packages right away.

<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Oklahoma DE Tapper]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 12:47:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-489652058.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys finally addressed their pass rush early in the fourth round of the NFL draft, taking Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper with the 101st overall pick Saturday.

Tapper started 38 of 39 games over his final three seasons with the Sooners, recording 15 1/2 sacks and 26 1/2 tackles for loss. He was a first-team All-Big 12 pick by The Associated Press in 2012.

The Cowboys took Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick before getting Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith and Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins in the second and third rounds.

Dallas has finished in the bottom third of the league in sacks in recent seasons and won't have any proven pass rushers when the season starts.

DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, second-round picks each of the past two years, will be serving four-game suspensions. Also, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Friday the team has ruled out bringing back polarizing defensive end Greg Hardy after one tumultuous season with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys also face the question of drafting a potential backup to quarterback Tony Romo after slipping to 4-12 last season when Romo missed 12 games with a twice-broken left collarbone.

Dallas made a strong push to get another first-round pick and take Paxton Lynch before Denver got the deal done and grabbed the former Memphis quarterback at No. 26.

Michigan State's Connor Cook went to Oakland a pick before the Cowboys drafted Tapper.

Dallas has another pick in the fourth round and four sixth-round selections.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tapper selected by Cowboys in 4th round]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 13:48:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-186970794.jpg

The Cowboys started Saturday’s draft by addressing a need on defense, selecting defensive end Charles Tapper out of Oklahoma in the fourth round.

The Cowboys need a pass rusher and feel Tapper can immediately come in and compete for a starting job. His strengths include good size and build at 6’3 and 271 pounds. Technique may be flawed in many areas but the team likes his penetrating ability and the ability to set the edge against the run. Tapper was a heavy tackler for the Sooners who can just thump runners.

Scouts feel if Tapper can improve his pad level and hand usage, he can be an effective pass rusher in the pros. He was a Sports Illustrated honorable mention All-American with 7 sacks last season (15.5 over last three years) for Oklahoma.

Bottom line: Raw talent with room to develop.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Nebraska Defensive Tackle in Round 3]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:16:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MaliekCollins.jpg

In the third round of the NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins.

In two years as a starter for the Cornhuskers, Collins compiled 21 tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hurries and 6.5 sacks. He was also named a team captain.

Collins opted to leave school after his junior year enter the 2016 NFL Draft after he said the Draft Advisory Board gave him a Day 2 grade.

Maliek Collins was a state champion wrestler and an all-state two-way football player as a Missouri high schooler.

In a scouting profile, we reported that Collins blends agility, balance and hand use to make him an intriguing penetrating defensive tackle. We rated him as a second rounder.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Elliot Arrives at Valley Ranch]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:40:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Elliot_at_Valley_Ranch_1200x675_676594755852.jpg Cowboys first round pick Ezekiel Elliot arrives at Valley Ranch and says he's ready to go to work.]]> <![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Not Taking Myles Jack in 2nd Round]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:26:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/myles-jack-cowboysdraft.jpg

We still don’t know who the Dallas Cowboys are going to select in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft tonight, but per a report, we may know who they won’t draft.

According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team will not use the 34th overall pick on UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, a player who was once viewed as a high first rounder but who has fallen to the second day of the draft due to health concerns. Jack tore his right meniscus in a practice in September and could need microfracture surgery early on in his pro career.

“Since we're third, we want to be a little cautious about where we show our interest here,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday, via the Morning News.

But Jones expects to leave the second round smiling.

“I like where we are,” Jones said. "We've really got four or five ways to go that I'll be smiling from ear to ear.”

<![CDATA[Jerry: Cowboys Tried to Trade Back Into 1st Rd for Paxton Lynch]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:18:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/PaxtonLynch.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys left the first round of the draft on Thursday night with an exciting new running back, but they almost had an exciting young running back AND a quarterback of the future-type.

According to multiple reports that surfaced while the draft was still going on and confirmed afterward by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, the Cowboys attempted to trade back in late in the first round to select Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

We were working real hard to get up there for the quarterback—Paxton Lynch,” Jones told the team’s official website.

The only problem was, the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos had the same idea, and put together an offer that got them there. In a trade with the Seahawks, they moved up from No. 31 to No. 26 and scooped up Lynch.

“Frankly, give Denver credit,” Jones said. “I thought we had it done. It was that close.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys RBs Coach: Elliott the "Most Complete" Back I've Ever Scouted]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 12:02:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ezekiel-elliott-thedayafter.jpg

Suffice it to say Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown is happy with the team’s first round pick.

Despite the much talked about devaluation of running backs seen in the NFL in recent years, the Cowboys selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the draft on Thursday night. He was the only running back taken on the first day.

Position coaches always want their teams to draft good prospects in the positions they coach, but Brown said he didn’t exactly have to sell the team on Elliott.

Well, I think he did most of the work,” Brown said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He put it out on tape... It wasn't just me, it was everybody on board, the whole coaching staff was on board. We just wanted this guy because we felt he could help our whole team. Not just the offense.

“I’ve been coaching in the NFL for eight years. He's the most complete back that I've been able to scout...When you get a guy like that, and you get an opportunity to get him, you got to go get him because they're going to elevate everything around you.”

<![CDATA[Ezekiel Elliott: My Top 10 Whitty Comments]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:14:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525782584.jpg

And to help their woeful defense, the Cowboys with their top draft pick add a ... running back?

10. Hate to be Buzz Killington, but I’m not about to cut my old Joseph Randle No. 21 jersey into a crop top and dive into your celebratory mosh pit over Ezekiel Elliott. Why? Because the Cowboys had - have! - much bigger holes to fill than running back.

9. They apparently had identical draft grades for Elliott and Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey. If so, shouldn’t the tie be broken by need? With Joey Bosa shockingly going to the Chargers at No. 3, maybe they couldn’t take a pass-rusher. But it’s clear a team that was 25th in sacks and forced an NFL record-low 11 takeaways needs playmakers on defense. Elliott simply doesn’t help in the area the Cowboys need the most help. Hard truth: In the 1st round the nine best pass-rushers, five best cornerbacks and two best safeties were all drafted. Poof. Gone.

8. Allow me to merely echo the initial sentiments of a certain someone who wanted the Cowboys to draft Ramsey. Tweeted Dez Bryant to Elliott: Welcome … Let’s see what happens. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Elliott might be a slight upgrade over Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris/Lance Dunbar. But is that really going to be noticeable when the defense surrenders 30+ points per game?

7. Hope all these fans slobbering “Zeeeeeke!” over the pick are happy when in Week 1 the Cowboys attempt to stop the Giants’ passing game with pressure on Eli Manning from Jack Crawford, and coverage on Odell Beckham by Brandon Carr. Good. Luck.

6. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the importance of running backs has been greatly diluted in today’s NFL. Sorry, Elliott isn’t Emmitt Smith and this isn’t 1995. No. 4 for a running back is just too high. Why? Because 25 of the league’s 32 starting running backs weren’t drafted in the 1st round. Because the last six running backs drafted in the Top 5 have combined to make exactly one Pro Bowl. Because the Broncos just won a Super Bowl with Ronnie Hillman, and because Adrian Peterson has won only one playoff game in his career. The NFL now converts 3rd downs and scores points via the pass, and it crowns champions with defenses that rush the passer and create turnovers. In a drag race that favors big tires and huge horsepower, the Cowboys just paid for a shiny new paint job.

5. A former Cowboy was also miffed by the pick. Said Deion Sanders on NFL Network, “I love Ezekiel Elliott. But this is my dilemma. The teams that have gone to the Super Bowl and fared well, they got there by defense. Now you have the opportunity to get a real corner and you pass that up? See, that's one of those guys that is really gonna change the game. That's what I feel. I don't know about that one Cowboys.” Making the pick even more confusing: The 2017 draft will feature blue-chip running backs Leonard Fournette (LSU), Nick Chubb (Georgia) and Darwin Cook (Florida State).

4. If you were going to draft Elliott, why did you just sign Morris as a free agent? The former Redskin rushed for 1,600 yards as recently as 2012 and gained 1,000+ in three of his last four years. And, oh yeah, McFadden last season rushed for 1,000 yards in only 10 starts and without a healthy Tony Romo or Bryant. In 2015 McFadden was the NFL’s 4th-leading rusher and the Cowboys’ ground game finished in the Top 10. I mean, seriously, was this a broken running game that needed repairing? And we’re not even factoring in Dunbar, who was on a record pace for receptions by a running back before tearing up his knee. I dunno, maybe the Cowboys are going to run the Wishbone?

3. I’m less than half-joking when I say this: Cowboys fans are giddy at the pick because they saw highlights of Elliott running into the end zone a lot in college, because “Zeeeeeke!” is really fun to yell/Tweet, and because they are warped Fantasy Football owners who greatly overvalue running backs.

2. I’m sitting here lamenting the lack of defensive help, but apparently it could’ve been much worse. Owner Jerry Jones admitted to reporters last night at Valley Ranch that he attempted to trade picks No. 34 (2nd round) and No. 67 (3rd round) for Seattle’s No. 26 pick in the 1st round to draft Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. The Broncos, fortunately, beat them to the punch. Said Jones, “We were working real hard to get up there for that quarterback.” What the what?! That would’ve left the Cowboys with no picks until the 4th round and without a drop of defensive help.

1. Elliott is a good player, but a bad pick. Just not the right fit. The Cowboys have a loaf of bread but no water. So what’d they do? Went to the grocery store and bought … another loaf of bread?

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Watkins, Gosselin Break Down Cowboys Pick]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:56:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525782468.jpg NBC 5's David Watkins and Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News break down the Cowboys selecting RB Ezekiel Elliot in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Select Fourth Overall in Thursday's Draft]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:33:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys-Star-on-Helmet.jpg Who will the Dallas Cowboys select in the first round of the NFL Draft? NBC 5's Pat Doney is in Chicago to find out.]]> <![CDATA[Elliot Talks On Running Behind Cowboys O-Line]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:58:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NFL+Draft.png Running back Ezekiel Elliot talks to NBC 5's Pat Doney about the NFL Draft and possibly running behind the Cowboys offensive line.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[College Football Reporter Talks Up Florida State DB]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:55:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-496171772.jpg

I talk college football with Michael Felder each Thursday on my NBC Sports Radio show, so I asked him for his opinion on a potential Cowboys draft pick.

I asked Felder, a college football reporter for Bleacher Report and former defensive back for North Carolina, for his take on Florida State's Jalen Ramsey. Felder watches a ton of video and I asked him what the Seminoles All-America defensive back does well, because many people in the draft analyst world have knocked him for only having one interception and others wonder what his true position is: safety or cornerback?

Here’s Felder’s breakdown:

"What doesn’t he do is my question? No interceptions? That’s not a thing that fazes me Newy. He makes pass breakups, he denies the ball exceptionally well which means they are not throwing the ball over to where he’s at.  I think that says a lot about why he is not getting some of those interceptions.  Watch Florida State play from his freshman year where he played a safety to his sophomore year at the star position to his junior year where he played the cornerback spot, he’s a guy who is active behind the line of scrimmage — that’s not something you say a lot about people who are sometime projected to play at the cornerback spot at the next level."

Felder kept on with his praise emphatically telling me, “He can be behind the line of scrimmage as a blitzer. He’s willing to come up and make hits in the run. This is a guy that was playing the safety and playing the star position in the ACC championship game in 2014 and they had an injury and he kicked out and played corner but was also a guy that was forced to play some cover two and was a force against the option of Georgia Tech so my answer is what can’t he do because I think he is exceptional at every single part of the job of playing defensive back. Whether it’s corner, whether it’s slot corner or it’s the safety spot."

I asked Felder if Ramsey was the best defensive player in the draft and he went further, saying, "He’s the number one player in the draft. I've thought the last couple of years he was the number one player in college football. I think Jalen Ramsey is the number one player in the draft."

If the Cowboys have a chance to draft Ramsey fourth overall, the junior defensive back may be too good to pass up.

I asked Chris Landry of LandryFootball.com on my NBC Sport Radio show who Ramsey reminded him of. The former NFL scout told me Charles Woodson in his prime years in Green Bay. That is high praise, because Woodson is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The recently-retired defensive back made nine Pro Bowl teams and was named All Pro three times, starting off as a corner before becoming a safety.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Texas Players Attend NFL Draft]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 21:49:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/local-guys-draft.jpg

Three football players with North Texas ties were invited to attend the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago.

TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson, Richardson J.J. Pearce High School alum Corey Coleman and Fort Worth Arlington Heights High School alum A'Shawn Robinson arrived in Chicago ahead of the first round of the draft Thursday night.

Coleman was one of the most productive wide receivers in college football last season, winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. He was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 15th overall pick.


After playing a season at Wyoming, Doctson transferred to TCU for family reasons. The Mansfield Legacy High School graduate then worked his way into first-round consideration before the Washington Redskins selected him 22nd overall.


Robinson was a highly-regarded defensive line recruit who originally committed to Texas before flipping to Alabama, where he helped the Crimson Tide win a national championship after the 2015 season. He was drafted in the second round, 46th overall, by the Detroit Lionis.


Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Players Helping Out Before NFL Draft]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:15:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NFL_Draft_Shriners_1200x675_675737155767.jpg Prior to tonight's NFL Draft, players spent their time helping with a good cause. NBC 5's Pat Doney spoke with Chauncey Wulf, a patient at the Shiners Hospital for Children in Chicago. Got a question about the NFL Draft, ask it here.]]> <![CDATA[Why Travis Moen Could See More Action in Round 2]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:01:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/travis-moen-veteranpresence.jpg

Veteran Dallas Stars forward Travis Moen didn’t appear in a game in the first round series with the Minnesota Wild until the decisive Game 6, but his style of play could buy him a lot more ice time in the second round, as the Stars face a big, physical St. Louis Blues team.

He's a good, heavy body, big body," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff, per the Dallas Morning News. “I thought he played really good in the nine or 10 minutes he played in Minnesota. He's proved effective when we've gone against the bigger, heavier teams.”

Moen put two shots on goal and blocked a shot in the Game 6 victory over the Wild.

"My game hasn't changed since I broke into the league until now," Moen said. "It's play good defensively, cycle pucks down low and play playoff-style hockey."

That’s just what the Stars will need in a series in which they can’t really afford to make a lot of mistakes.  

"I think we're going to be in a lot of real tight games. Sometimes it's not what you create, it's what you end up giving up," Ruff said. "You have to put the puck in the right place, you have to make sure that you don't hand the opposition some of the opportunities that allow them to either get back in a game or seal a game on you."

<![CDATA[Irvin To Cowboys: "Go Get Ezekiel Elliott"]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:55:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-504229246.jpg

Hall of Fame receiver and Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin has been vocal for much of the offseason about his desire to see his old team draft Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 overall pick on Thursday night.

So it was no surprise that in an appearance on 105.3-FM The Fan on Wednesday, the day before the draft, Irvin was campaigning for the reigning Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year.

“… I’m telling you, the Dallas Cowboys have to right here, right now, go get Ezekiel Elliott and make all the difference in the world,” Irvin said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He is the one person that will protect Tony Romo, since we're all worried about that. He will protect Tony Romo and he will give us what we need and that is touchdowns. … This is a huge moment for them. They got to get this kid right now."

No running back has been drafted in the Top 5 since Trent Richardson in 2012 (and that didn’t really work out), but Irvin doesn’t buy the idea that you should never draft a runner so high.

“… Certain guys are worthy of it. You just gotta go get those certain guys. Emmitt Smith, worthy of it. And this kid has those kind of skills. And we're wasting a great offensive line if we don't get the rest of it and make sure they get to show the people who they are."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bosa Believes He Can Make Immediate Impact for Cowboys]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 17:56:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-460418903.jpg

Former Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa believes he can step in and make an immediate impact for the Dallas Cowboys, should America’s Team select him with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft Thursday night in Chicago.

"… It would be awesome to play for the Cowboys,” Bosa said, per the Dallas Morning News. "I feel like I fit in there really well just as I do in Jacksonville. They run a 4-3 and they're missing some D-linemen right now, so I feel like I can go in right away and have a good impact."

Like everyone else, Bosa is aware that Cowboys’ pass rushers Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence have been suspended for the first four games of 2016 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. That dearth of pass rushers only figures to help his case going into the first round tonight.

"They're really the only team to that extent or that has two guys on suspension," Bosa said. "It's hard not to hear that and think about that only helps your case more. Who knows? Anything can happen."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ronald Leary Signs Tender ]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 13:08:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460479452.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys’ final restricted free agent, guard Ronald Leary has signed his restricted free agent tender, the team’s official website announced on Thursday.

Leary got the second round-level offer worth $2.553 million, which means the team would have received a second round pick in compensation had he departed for an offer sheet elsewhere. Instead, he’ll be a Cowboy for a fifth season.

A University of Memphis product, Leary came to Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He has started 35 games since then, and spent two seasons (2013 and 2014) as the Cowboys’ starting left guard. He lost that job to La’el Collins last year but still started four games.

The only other Cowboys restricted free agent going into the offseason was safety Jeff Heath, and he signed a four-year deal a couple weeks ago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL's 4th Overall Pick Has Wide Spectrum of Performance]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:38:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/200*120/WRESTLEMANIA+ATT+STADIUM.jpg

In the spectrum of the NFL Draft’s No. 4 overall picks, the Cowboys will tonight select everywhere from a transcendent Hall of Famer to a compulsive gambler spending his life in prison.

Or somewhere in between.

With the Cowboys on the clock in Chicago tonight some of us are hoping they bolster their deficient defensive line by taking Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. The history of the 4th overall pick suggests the pick will sway a franchise, either way.

For example, in 1975 the Bears drafted a running back named Walter Payton. But in 1982 the Colts thought they were picking their quarterback of the future in Art Schlichter. Payton is the NFL’s 2nd all-time leading rusher, while the former Ohio State quarterback is serving an 11-year sentence for scamming NFL fans in a ticket scheme.

Notable 4th overall picks have included multiple Pro Bowl players such as Charles Woodson, Jonathan Ogden, Derrick Thomas, Chris Doleman, John Hannah, Joe Greene, Desmond Howard, Bob Griese, Gale Sayers and Otto Graham. Some of the most high-profile flops have included former Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams, ’00 Bengals’ pick Peter Warrick and troubled linebacker Keith McCants.

Receiver seems to be a hot pick at No. 4, with Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins and A.J. Green going in that spot over the last five years. The Cowboys already have a No. 4 overall pick on their roster, running back Darren McFadden (’08).

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

<![CDATA[5 to Know at the NFL Draft]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:34:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DONEY_5_THINGS_TO_KNOW_1200x675_675095107854.jpg NBC 5's Pat Doney is in Chicago, where the Dallas Cowboys have the fourth pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He tells you 5 to Know before the draft begins Thursday.]]> <![CDATA[Newy's 2016 NFL 1st Round Mock Draft]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:04:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/nfldrafttele.jpg

In my mock draft there are no trades, but we know that teams will be active when it comes to making moves. I would love to see Dallas draft Zeke Elliott the running back out of Ohio State but it is not who I drafted for the Cowboys at number four.

1. Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB, California

2. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

3. San Diego Chargers: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

4. Dallas Cowboys: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State

5. Jacksonville Jaguars: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

6. Baltimore Ravens: Laremy Tunsil, OLT, Ole Miss

7. San Francisco 49ers: Ronnie Stanley, OLT, Notre Dame

8. Cleveland Browns: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

10.New York Giants: Jack Conklin, RT/LT, Michigan State

11. Chicago Bears: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

12. New Orleans Saints: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

13. Miami Dolphins: Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

14. Oakland Raiders: William Jackson III, CB, Houston

15. Tennessee Titans: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

16. Detroit Lions: Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama

17. Atlanta Falcons: Ragland, ILB, Alabama Reggie

18. Indianapolis Colts: Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State

19. Buffalo Bills: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

20. New York Jets: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

21. Washington Redskins: A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

22. Houston Texans: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

23. Minnesota Vikings: LaQuon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

24. Cincinnati Bengals: Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

25. Pittsburgh Steelers: Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State

26. Seattle Seahawks: Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M

27. Green Bay Packers: Vernon Butler, DT, LaTech

28. Kansas City Chiefs: Noah Spence, OLB, Eastern Kentucky

29. Arizona Cardinals: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

30. Carolina Panthers: Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

31. Denver Broncos: Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys "Aggressively" Pursuing a Second 1st Round Pick]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:47:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457124394.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves shaking things up, and if a recent report holds true, that’s exactly what he’ll do to in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft on Thursday night in Chicago.

According to Ben Rogers of 105.3-FM The Fan, the Cowboys are “aggressively looking into having TWO 1st round picks tomorrow night.

Considering they’re generally expected to stay put at No. 4 overall, this would mean them trading back into the first round afterward.

Our immediate thought is that the Cowboys will have either defensive back Jalen Ramsey or running back Ezekiel Elliott after their original No. 4 pick, leaving them free (if they trade back in) to go after one of the defensive ends who’s a no-doubt first rounder, but may have been a stretch at No. 4.

Of course, that’s assuming they’re targeting either Ramsey or Elliott at No. 4, and there’s no guarantee they will. They might also go after Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa or even Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner at that spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys VP Says Elliott Worth Top 10 Pick, But What About Top 4?]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:27:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-504229246.jpg

Whether the Dallas Cowboys believe running back Ezekiel Elliott is worth a top 4 pick, we’ll likely find out on Thursday night, when the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft opens in Chicago.

But in the very least, they think he’s a Top 10 pick.

Yeah, I think he’s worthy of being in the top 10 for sure,” said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, per ESPN Dallas. “Where we ultimately end up with him is still a work in progress. He’s obviously a very quality type player and seems like he’s pretty much universally looked at as a guy who deserves to be in that category.”

There’s no debating Elliott is a rare talent, but his case is hurt by the devaluation of the running back position in recent years. No running back has been taken in the Top 5 since Trent Richardson went to the Browns with the No. 3 pick in 2012. Reggie Bush is the only other runner to have been taken in the Top 5 in the past 10 years, having gone second overall to the Saints in 2006.

“I think it certainly comes into play,” Jones said. “I think at the end of the day that’s what you measure. You measure what kind of value you’re getting under the cap cause these top picks are a lot less than what they used to be in terms of what they counted toward your cap and you measure it as to what a top player might be making if you had to go out and get him in free agency. So, you know, at the end of the day, obviously, you’ve seen that running back market come back rather than move forward.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jalen Ramsey Likes Idea of Battling Dez in Practice]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:03:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-496171772.jpg

Potential first round draft pick and former Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey seems pretty keen on the idea of going against Dez Bryant every day in practice, should he be taken by the Dallas Cowboys with the fourth overall pick on Thursday night.

The best want to go up against the best because iron sharpens iron,” Ramsey told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday in Chicago. “If that’s the case, then me and Dez are gonna work each other. He’s gonna be the best receiver and I’m gonna be the best defensive back.”

Ramsey has been linked to the Cowboys through more than a few mock drafts, and he does seem to be on the short list of players the Cowboys are considering with their first pick, along with defensive ends Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner, and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Of course, this is assuming Jerry Jones doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve.

The first round of the draft kicks off on Thursday night in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Draft Needs, Ranked By Position ]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:45:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JERRY_JONES_2_KXAS76UT_1200x675_538439235592.jpg

Never been a big fan of “best player available.” In the draft. Or in life.

Stockpiling for the future never makes sense to me when you are enduring a mediocre present. If you’re thirsty and in your kitchen is only an empty jug and a loaf of bread, would you go to the store and buy a fresh loaf of bread?

Of course not. Tempting as it might be, you have bread. You need water. Shop wisely. Or else.

After a 4-12 season, the Cowboys need lots of help in a lot of areas in tomorrow’s NFL Draft. Let’s rank each position in terms of urgency:

1. DEFENSIVE LINE – Last year they produced zero rush and have lost Greg Hardy and – for four games each – Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence. The No. 4 pick screams for Joey Bosa.

2. CORNERBACK – This team will again be fatally flawed if Brandon Carr is a starter. Gotta be an upgrade out there somewhere, and its name isn’t Morris Claiborne.

3. LINEBACKER – Assuming Sean Lee and Rolando McClain can stay on the field, there’s still room for a playmaker that can step in front of Anthony Hitches and Kyle Wilber.

4. SAFETY – Byron Jones looks headed for stardom. But Barry Church is merely solid and J.J. Wilox regressed significantly in 2015.

5. RECEIVER – Without Dez Bryant opposite him, Terrance Williams looked lost. Unless you think Brice Butler is the answer, you need help here.

6. QUARTERBACK – Tony Romo is your starter for at least 2-3 more years. This team has too many imminent needs to use a high pick on a seed that might not be harvested until 2020.

7. TIGHT END – Jason Witten’s on the decline, but James Hannah and Gavin Escobar need a chance to permanently fail before a draft pick is used on this position.

8. OFFENSIVE LINE – With three players in the Pro Bowl flanked by solid veteran Doug Free and rising star La’el Collins, you might draft here for depth but nothing else.

9. RUNNING BACK – For all the hoopla surrounding DeMarco Murray’s record season in 2014, Darren McFadden rushed for only 400 fewer yards in 2015 without beginning the season as the starter. Alfred Morris is the proven backup and Lance Dunbar the change-up at a position that has been addressed and upgraded.

10. PUNTER/KICKER – Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. And neither Dan Bailey nor Chris Jones are anywhere near broken.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

<![CDATA[Scouting the NFL Draft: Fits at Quarterback]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:31:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fits-qb.jpg

If you think other games better reflect these players' abilities or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

If you want a franchise quarterback, you'd better draft him in the first round.

There are many examples of quarterbacks drafted later becoming some of the best in history, but there are many, many more examples of picks amounting to nothing.

The Cowboys aren't likely to take a quarterback at No. 4 overall Thursday night, but they are a candidate to move back into the late first round for one. If they opt to wait until the later rounds, there will be a few interesting players to consider:

Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State
Ht. 6'4", Wt. 231, Arm: 32 ⅞", Hand: 9 ½", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.94, 10 yd.: 1.80, 3 Cone: 7.17, Vertical: 31", Broad: 9'5"

After transferring from Florida to N.C. State, Brissett started every game for the Wolfpack for two years, completing 60 percent of his passes for 5,268 and 43 TDs against 11 INTs. He also rushed for nearly 900 yards and 9 TDs, earning all-conference honors last season and a trip to the Senior Bowl.

• Pros: Ideal size, pocket presence, arm strength, ball placement, anticipation, confidence
• Cons: Mechanics, feel for pressure, flat/frenetic feet, progressions

Brissett needs reps with NFL coaching to fix a few mechanical issues, but he has size, athleticism, arm strength and makeup to become an NFL quarterback. He had a chance to impress the Cowboys coaches at the Senior Bowl, and he could hear his name called by them in the middle rounds.

Verdict: Round 5

Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Ht. 6'3", Wt. 218, Arm: 32", Hand: 10 ⅛", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.78, 10 yd.: 1.65, 3 Cone: 6.90, Vertical: 32.5", Broad: 9'5"

Andrew Luck was a tough act to follow in Palo Alto, but Hogan performed admirably. In his four years starting for the Cardinal, he completed 65.9 percent of his passes for 9,385 yards, 75 TDs and 29 INTs and added 1,249 yards rushing with 15 more TDs.

• Pros: Size, intelligence, toughness, athleticism, on the move, feels pressure, deep ball
• Cons: Arm strength, mechanics, drops eyes v. pressure, pocket presence

Hogan went into his senior season looking undraftable, but he significantly improved his stock. Although he still winds up at times, he shortened his release and clearly made an effort to improve himself as a player.

Verdict: Round 6

Jake Rudock, Michigan
Ht. 6'3", Wt. 207, Arm: -, Hand: 9 ¾", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.85, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: 7.06, Vertical: 29", Broad: 9'3"

A graduate transfer from Iowa, Rudock joined the Wolverines after the hiring of coach Jim Harbaugh. After a slow start, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,017 passing yards (second best in school history) and 20 TDs against 9 INTs.

• Pros: Confidence, athleticism, footwork, poise v. pressure, arm strength, ball placement
• Cons: Frame, missed open throws, lacks elite traits, body of work

Rudock showed marked improved in his sole season under Harbaugh, capped by an efficient Citrus Bowl performance against Florida where he made some wow throws. He showed more promise than several highly-regarded prospects, but did so in less than one season under a quarterback guru.

Verdict: Round 6

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Jerry Jones: Finding Romo's Successor Not a High Priority in This Draft]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:35:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/492293078.jpg

Whether influenced by a pair of moves that virtually guarantee the top two quarterbacks in the draft will go with the first and second picks or not, finding Tony Romo’s successor isn’t much of a priority for the Dallas Cowboys at this going into the 2016 NFL Draft this week, according to owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

"In this draft, it's not a high one," Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. "Certainly not a high enough priority to make a bad decision or a forced decision."

Jones has been openly optimistic about Romo’s future, saying (many times, actually) that he believes the four-time Pro Bowler has four to five good years left. Considering, he’d hate to draft a quarterback now just to leave him on the bench for the next half decade.

"And you have a multi-million dollar decision to make and you really haven't seen him under fire," Jones said. "That decision might deal you an awkward place 36 months down the road. I like to say in months just to remind me how quick that decision will come, rather than years.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys CB Brandon Carr Takes a Pay Cut]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:08:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brandon-carr-2015-preseason.jpg

After months of discussion about how Brandon Carr would likely have to take a pay cut or risk being cut by the Dallas Cowboys, Carr has taken a pay cut.

Carr will earn a base salary of around $6 million in 2016, the final year of that five-year, $50 million deal that brought him to Dallas from Kansas City in 2012. He was originally scheduled to earn a base salary of $9.1 million next season.

The move reduces Carr’s cap number in 2016 from $13.8 million to $10 million.

Carr has started all 16 games in each of the four seasons he’s been in Dallas, but his production dropped off hard in the last couple of years. In 2012 and 2013, Carr had six interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and 23 passes broken up. In 2014 and 2015, he had no interceptions and 13 passes broken up.

2016 will be Carr’s ninth season in the league. 

<![CDATA[Nick Hayden Visiting Seahawks]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:52:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nick-hayden-3.27.15.jpg

Free agent defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who has spent the past three seasons as a starter with the Dallas Cowboys, is in Seattle visiting the Seahawks this week.

Hayden has started 47 of 48 regular season games for the Cowboys over the past three seasons and, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN, he could have a chance to compete for the starting nose tackle job if he winds up with the Seahawks.

Seattle lost veteran defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to the Chargers this offseason in free agency.

Hayden never recorded a sack in his three years in Dallas but he had 130 tackles, including 10 for a loss, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

The Wisconsin product came into the league as a sixth round pick by the Panthers in 2008, and spent three years in Carolina. He also spent a season in Cincinnati, in 2011.

<![CDATA[Scouting the NFL Draft: Fits at Running Back]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 12:16:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/fits-rb.jpg

If you think other games better reflect these players' abilities or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

The Cowboys are in decent shape at the running back position for the upcoming season, giving them flexibility in the draft.

The team should look for high-ceiling runners that slip. Three candidates that could be good values in the middle rounds include:

Devontae Booker, Utah
Ht. 5'11", Wt. 219, Arm: 31 ⅝", Hand: 8 ⅝", Bench: 22
40 yd: -, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: -, Broad: -

Booker transferred from American River College to Utah before the 2014 season and then tore up the Pac 12 to the tune of 2,773 yards and 21 TDs in two seasons. His senior season came to an early end when he tore his meniscus in November, but he was still named second-team all-conference.

• Pros: Size, pad level, hands, pass protection, laterally shifty, vision, burst
• Cons: Stops feet, injury, workload, long speed

Booker is a well-built bowling ball that runs violently once he gets a head of steam. He's not a home run threat, but he looks like a three-down back with the traits to be a feature back in a zone scheme.

Verdict: Round 2

Paul Perkins, UCLA
Ht. 5'10", Wt. 208, Arm: 31 ⅝", Hand: 9", Bench: 19
40 yd: 4.54, 10 yd.: 1.62, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 32", Broad: 10'4"

Perkins was one of the most productive backs in the country, racking up 2,915 yards, averaging a shade less than 6 yards per carry, and 23 TDs in his two full seasons as a starter. Football is in his blood, with his father, Bruce, playing eight seasons as a fullback and his uncle, Don, spending eight seasons with the Cowboys.

• Pros: Quickness, cuts, pass catching, vision, patience, maximizes runs
• Cons: Maxed out size, pass protection, durability

Perkins lacks the size of a traditional bellcow, but his exceptional vision and undeniable quickness should earn him NFL carries. He's a dangerous change of pace back at worst, but his traits make him a good candidate for the Cowboys zone-based attack.

Verdict: Round 3

Keith Marshall, Georgia
Ht. 5'11", Wt. 219, Arm: 31 ⅝", Hand: 9 ⅜", Bench: 25
40 yd: 4.31, 10 yd.: 1.53, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 30.5", Broad: -

Marshall was the other 5-star runner that committed to Georgia before the 2012 season, spelling Todd Gurley at 6.5 yards per carry and scoring 8 TDs as a freshman. A knee injury suffered during his sophomore season derailed the remainder of his career with the Bulldogs and he opted to enter the draft rather than seek a medical redshirt.

• Pros: Upside, size, speed, strength, burst
• Cons: Injury, hesitant, slower cuts

Marshall looked like a future first-round pick as a freshman, but he ran much more tentatively in his return to full action last season. He looked like a Day 3 back on film, but he's worth a pick in the fourth or fifth round on the chance that he'll look more like he did as a freshman with time.

Verdict: Round 4

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cowboys Should Gamble on Notre Dame LB]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:58:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JaylonSmith.jpg

Sean Lee. Bruce Carter. Jaylon Smith?

The Cowboys have a history of taking risks on injured linebackers. Later in this year’s draft, it makes sense to select the Notre Dame star.

If healthy, Smith would be a legitimate consideration with the 4th overall pick. But he tore up his left knee in the Irish’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State on Jan. 1. A major nerve in his leg has yet to “awaken” from the trauma, leaving him unable to lift his foot. He may never be the same. He certainly won’t play in 2016.

But he might be worth the chance. Considering the Cowboys’ recent late-round picks such as Ryan Russell, Will Smith and B.W. Webb, surely Smith makes sense.

The gamble on Lee has obviously paid off. Carter’s did not, as he never truly flourished in Dallas and is now with his third team in three years. Smith’s surgeon was none other than Cowboys’ team doctor Dan Cooper, so they more knowledge on his injury than any other NFL team.

At one point last fall some experts marked Smith as the best player in the draft. Now he’s a mystery. Will he make a full recovery and become Von Miller? Or in three years will he be selling insurance with a slight limp?

If I’m Jerry Jones, I find a late-round pick to take Smith.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Machota Norman]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 07:30:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Machota_Norman_1200x675_673552963569.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Machota Cowboys Later Rounds]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 17:30:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Machota_Cowboys_Later_Rounds_1200x675_673549891828.jpg ]]>