Sunday, April 29, 2007

FB Deon Anderson is now a Cowboy

Height: 5-103/4 | Weight: 243 | 40-Time: 4.

Has adequate size and bulk with a cut physique...Extremely strong...Decent timed speed...A real hard worker...Powerful runner...Plays with a nasty demeanor...Has good hands out of the backfield...Smart and aware...Has special teams potential.

Has some major off-the-field and character concerns...Only an average blocker at best and he needs to work on his technique...He doesn't deliver blows...Might be a 'tweener without a true NFL position...He is not overly elusive as a ball carrier.

He has run afoul of the law on a couple of occasions, including disorderly conduct, and those issues led to him missing the entire 2005 season...Versatile prospect who will likely fall further than he normally would...A sleeper who could surprise.

Jones gambles, invests in Cowboys' future - Deals land Purdue end, first-round pick in '08

Tom Orsborn

IRVING — For much of Saturday afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys' draft headquarters looked like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
"We had our wires crossed, we had four or five phones operating, all at the same time. ... There was a lot of action," said owner Jerry Jones, a notorious draft-day gambler.

By the time the smoke cleared, Jones and new coach Wade Phillips were elated because they snatched the pressure player they coveted and another major prize that already has them thinking about next year's draft.

The Cowboys traded their first-round pick — No. 22 overall — to Cleveland for the Browns' second-round pick — No. 36 overall — and their first-round pick in 2008.

Dallas then sent No. 36 and its third- and fifth-rounders to Philadelphia for the Eagles' No. 26 pick and selected Purdue defensive end Anthony Spencer, who will play outside linebacker in the NFL.

Later in the day, the Cowboys made another deal with Cleveland, swapping their second-round pick (No. 53) and a sixth-rounder for the Browns' third (No. 67), fourth- and sixth-rounders. Dallas used No. 67 to select 6-foot-7, 303-pound Boston College offensive tackle James Marten.

"This is my first draft with Jerry," Phillips said, "and he's a wheeler-dealer."

Said Jones: "There is really no gain without maximum risk."

The 6-foot-2, 261-pound Spencer is expected to compete for the starting job opposite Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware. Greg Ellis began 2006 as the starter but tore his left Achilles' tendon in Week 10 and missed the rest of the season.

Bobby Carpenter, last year's first-round pick, also should be in the mix.

"The more pressure players you have, the better," Phillips said.

The same goes for first-round draft picks, Jones said. Despite using the No. 22 pick to draft Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, the Browns are expected to suffer another losing season, which means the Cowboys could enter next year's draft with a top-10 pick to go along with their own first-rounder.

The last time the Cowboys had two picks in the first round was 2005, when they selected Ware and defensive end Marcus Spears. Other players selected in years Dallas had two first-rounders include Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland and Alvin Harper.

"It's a little strange talking about next year here in just the first few hours of this year's draft," Jones said, "but I can't help but get excited when I think of the times we've had two No. 1s."

Jones said the draft began with him considering a proposed blockbuster deal into the top five that would have involved the Cowboys parting with one of their Pro Bowlers.

"Our blood got hot early, and we spent at least an hour or so really entertaining whether we wanted to get right up there at the top of this thing," said Jones, who declined to discuss the particulars of the proposed trade.

After nixing such a move, the Cowboys began listening to offers from two teams interested in trading for the No. 22 pick and selecting Quinn.

"We agreed our best opportunity to take advantage of (Quinn) wasn't in the conventional way of putting him on our roster but to see how bad somebody wanted him at that spot," said Jones, who noted he's happy with Tony Romo at quarterback.

The Cowboys' brain trust also agreed any deal would have to include them receiving a first-round pick in 2008.

"Obviously, someone who needs a quarterback is someone you want to talk to about next year's No. 1," Jones said.

He found a willing partner in the Browns. After completing the deal with Cleveland, the Cowboys began searching for a way to get back into the first round to grab Spencer. Philadelphia, a division rival, made for a surprising trade partner.

"Jerry and Jeffrey (Lurie, the Eagles' owner) are very close friends and they got on the phone together and finalized it," said Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones.

Joked Jerry Jones: "I hope (Lurie) can sleep tonight."

Spencer vaulted up the draft board after a senior season in which he recorded 93 tackles, 101/2 sacks, five forced fumbles and 261/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

"I've hardly ever heard of a defensive end having 93 tackles in one season," Phillips said. "He gets to the football, and he's also a really good pass rusher. A lot of the tackles we talked to said Spencer was the best player they played against."

Phillips, who was San Diego's defensive coordinator the last three seasons, is known for bringing out the best in pass-rushing linebackers.

"(Chargers linebacker) Shaun Phillips is another guy that he coached from Purdue, and he told me great things about him," Spencer said. "I'm really excited to get under his wing."

OL Doug Free is now a Cowboy


Has good size with long arms and a big frame...Has outstanding feet...Very good athlete for the position...Agile and quick with great mobility...Superb balance and body control...Can pull, get out into space and reach the second level...He rarely gets beat outside and can recover from mistakes...Extremely durable and will play through pain...Smart and a hard worker...Great motor...Has a ton of experience.

Needs to get stronger and bulk up...Is not overly powerful or dominant and lacks a great initial punch...Does not always finish plays and lacks a killer instinct...Has to play with better leverage...Can get knocked back as a pass protector and does not get a big push in the run game...Did not always play against top competition.

Former tight end...Was a four-year starter...May be looked at as a guard by some teams...He battled groin and foot injuries as a senior which led to a decline in play but to his credit he didn't miss any games...Much better prospect than former NIU Husky and current Indianapolis Colt starter Ryan Diem was coming out...More of a finesse blocker but has the physical tools and ability to potentially play left tackle.

Stanback looking forward to future in NFL

By Scott Eklund
Posted Mar 1, 2007

As one of the best athletes ever to play football at the University of Washington, QB Isaiah Stanback suffered through coaching changes, offensive philosophies and a lack of confidence. Heading into his senior season, the expectation was that he would lead the Huskies to a winning record and he was on his way to doing that until a foot injury put an end to his best season on Montlake.

Because of his injury, Stanback was unable to run at the NFL Combine that recently concluded in Indianapolis. He did throw the ball for the coaches and scouts on hand and lifted as well, but his most impressive attribute, his speed, was not on display. Even so, he impressed several teams during his time at the Hoosier Dome this past weekend.

“I'm on track,” Stanback told the assembled media in attendance when asked about his rehab from the Lisfranc injury he suffered in October against Oregon State. “I'm following doctor's orders. I've been throwing the ball, dropping back and throwing, doing drills.

“I was in a boot for four months, so I just got out of that a couple weeks ago and I'm just following orders to get back and start running again. In about three weeks I get to start running, doing drills. My doctor is going to release me for that.”

Stanback measured in at an impressive 6-2 and 218 pounds of solid muscle. He was a bit tentative in the passing drills that were run by Seattle Seahawks QB coach Jim Zorn, appearing to be more worried about completing passes instead of letting it rip. However, some of the scouts on hand came away impressed with his athleticism.

After missing the final month and a half of the season, Stanback said it was helpful to get away from the game that has given him so much. Although it was tough, he said he learned some things about himself.

“It kind of humbles you and makes you really appreciate everything that you are involved in,” Stanback said. “It makes you appreciate your body. You learn a lot. It's a process that I've gone through now and it's something I've learned from, definitely.”

Inevitably, the questions turned to what many think could be a change of position once he enters the league, very similar to what current San Francisco 49ers RB Michael Robinson did after he finished his career as a quarterback with Penn State.

“I'm very open (to changing positions) but I definitely want the opportunity to play quarterback,” Stanback said confidently and with the trademark smile on his face. “That is one thing I really want to push for, but I'm not going to be closed-minded and against it.

“I'm a team guy. I'll do whatever it takes to get ‘Ws’. I've helped out at receiver and kick returner earlier in my career when I wasn't able to play the position of quarterback, because Cody Pickett was there. It was something I've done before and I'm still willing to do, but I have my goals and I have things I want to get accomplished and I think I'm more of a threat at quarterback. There are a lot of guys in the league that can get out there, line up and run fast. There are not that many quarterbacks that can make the plays and really bring change to the game like I believe I can.”

Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham and his staff, notably offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Lappano, have helped improve the confidence of players like Stanback and the young man who played his high school ball at Garfield High School in Seattle said he hopes to continue that development in the pros.

“For me personally, I love playing quarterback,” Stanback said. “I'm passionate about the position. I don't' see any reason why I can't play the position. I've been through a lot of changes in the past few years and haven't been comfortable to get established at that, but the past two years, where I have had a consistent staff, I have made great jumps.

“I'm just looking for an opportunity to do that.”

Looking back on his roller-coaster career, Stanback recalled his favorite play, a game-changer against Arizona in 2005.

“It was a 70-yard touchdown to end the half,” Stanback said with a chuckle. “That was probably my biggest play.”

Stanback also noted that Willingham has the Washington program on the right track.

“He is a great coach,” Stanback said. “He brought in a great staff. The players that were already there, he has their minds right and the guys he is bringing in are good athletes and good players.”

Stanback will now focus on individual workouts for the 32 NFL teams who will be looking to draft him on April 28th or 29th and he’ll be waiting with anticipation to see what lies ahead for his future.

We’ll have more from him as the weeks lead up to next month’s Draft.

Isaiah Stanback

Height: 6-23/8 | Weight: 216 | 40-Time: 4.50

Official Bio

A terrific natural athlete...Very good speed and is extremely mobile...Arm strength is excellent and he snaps the ball off quickly...Pretty good size and bulk...A strong runner and he's tough to tackle in the open field...Throws well on the run...He is a team leader with solid intangibles...Very versatile and has experience at another position...Was showing major improvement as a senior...Still has a lot of upside.

Might have to change positions at the next level...Still very raw as a passer and only has about two years of experience...Still needs a lot of work when it comes to mechanics, technique and fundamentals...Was not overly productive...He's still recovering from a serious injury so health and durability are concerns...Makes too many mistakes...A long-term project regardless of which position he settles in at.

Also a member of the Huskies track team...Excelled in baseball as a prep and was chosen in the 45th round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles...Some teams are looking at him as a wide receiver prospect and that is where he played as a freshman...Suffered a season-ending foot injury as a senior...An intriguing developmental guy as either a signal caller or wideout but will need a lot of work.

Clayton- Winners and Losers

1. Cleveland Browns: All right, they gave away a potential top-five pick in next year's draft to get Quinn at No. 22. We all realize the Browns may not be very good next season. The roster has age in the front seven of the 3-4 defense and numerous other holes. The reason the Browns are the big winners is because they potentially filled two of the five major building blocks of a team, getting Quinn and left tackle Joe Thomas. Teams win with quality players at left tackle, defensive end, cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback. If the Browns lose next season, general manager Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel might not be around to reap the rewards of this draft. Regardless, Savage did a great job despite the price.

2. Lane Kiffin and Al Davis: They had to take a quarterback. The franchise was set back by not taking Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler a year ago. The 31-year-old coach and the ageless Davis played catch-up Saturday. They had to take JaMarcus Russell instead of playing around with second- or third-round prospects. Getting TE Zach Miller in the second round was the right call, too. The Raiders topped the day off by acquiring quarterback Josh McCown and wide receiver Mike Williams from Detroit for a fourth-round choice. McCown, who comes to the team on a one-year contract, can carry the team into the season as the starter, buying Russell time to learn the offense and feel comfortable in the NFL. The Raiders' quarterback problems will be solved for the start of the 2007 season with McCown, and hopefully in the future with Russell.

3. Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm: Grimm is one of the best offensive line teachers in the NFL and he usually doesn't go into the personnel office asking for high draft picks. But Grimm believed Levi Brown of Penn State was a better fit for his offensive line than Joe Thomas. With the fifth pick, Grimm got his tackle. Remember, the Cardinals are a left-handed team because they have a left-handed quarterback in Matt Leinart. Brown can protect his blindside at right tackle. Plus, he gives Edgerrin James a bigger, more powerful blocking style to get some power runs to the right. Thomas might be the better long-term pass-blocker and probably would have beaten out Brown for the No. 5 pick if he was available. But Grimm got the guy he wanted. The Cardinals also came out ahead in getting defensive tackle Alan Branch in the second round. The team is moving to a 3-4 alignment in 2007 or 2008, and he can be the nose tackle to eat up space and draw extra blocking attention.

4. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin: It was a bold move to chase away Joey Porter, whom the Steelers believe lost some of the speed that made him the No. 1 linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. The Steelers drafted linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the first round and defensive end LaMarr Woodley in the second round. Woodley could develop into a No. 1 pass-rusher. Tomlin also wanted to get some youth and quickness into the linebacker corps to give him the flexibility to use some 4-3 alignments at times. Timmons has that type of speed and quickness, but he also has experience in the 3-4 with some of the schemes used at Florida State.

5. The Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones wasn't really looking for much as far as impact in the 2007 draft. The Cowboys have a young group of 3-4 defenders that didn't need much attention. With age at wide receiver (Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens) and Flozell Adams and Tony Romo both in the last year of their contracts, major changes are ahead for the offense. But for 2007, the offense is in good shape. The Browns could be bad next year, so getting the Browns' No. 1 pick could put the Cowboys in position for a left tackle, top receiver or a quarterback if Romo stumbles this season. To move back into the second round, the Cowboys gave up the chance to draft safety Brandon Meriweather. But they turned back around and traded back into the first round and got a great pass-rusher in Anthony Spencer. Touchdown, Cowboys.

1. Brady Quinn: Not since Aaron Rodgers has an NFL draft seen a quarterback lose as much as Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. Financially, slipping from a top-three pick to No. 22 could cost him as much in $33 million in contract dollars and maybe $18 million in guarantees. The Browns considered him with the third pick but took Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas. He could partially understand the Vikings passing on him. Halfback Adrian Peterson was available and coach Brad Childress invested time and draft choices to get Tarvaris Jackson last year. The killer was the Dolphins at No. 9. Television cameras caught him flabbergasted by the Dolphins' selection of Ted Ginn Jr. Vince Young, the third pick in last year's draft, received a six-year, $48 million deal that included $24.9 million in guarantees. The 22nd pick, being a quarterback, might get a five-year deal that could max out at $15 million or maybe $20 million, although Quinn's agent, Tom Condon, can be creative. Regardless, Quinn was the biggest loser on the first day.

2. NFC North: The NFC North is a big loser with Adrian Peterson going to Minnesota. Peterson is angry he was bypassed by six teams, and as Larry Johnson proved over the past two seasons, an angry runner is a dangerous runner. Also, Peterson will be going up against three Cover 2-type defenses. Other than Chris Henry of Arizona, Peterson is the fastest running back in this draft. On the artificial turf in the Metrodome, he will appear to be even faster. Peterson slipped to No. 7 because he's 90 percent healed from a collarbone separation. He doesn't plan to have surgery to insert a plate, but if he does, he's going to be sidelined for only six weeks. Six games against him in the division could be very painful for opponents.

3. Brett Favre -- for now: Favre came back from potential retirement for a playoff run, but he's waiting for a big push from the Packers' personnel department. The wait netted him backup cornerback Frank Walker in free agency. That's it. Unless he was cutting the grass on his tractor, Favre might have been sitting around waiting for the Packers to acquire a big, fast receiver like Robert Meachem or find the running back to replace Ahman Green, who left for Houston to reunite with former Packers head coach Mike Sherman. The first round gave him defensive tackle Justin Harrell, a good lineman who fills a need. Brandon Jackson, a running back from Nebraska, went to the Packers in the second round but many thought he would go in the third, just like Green did years ago. Don't get me wrong: Jackson is a good sleeper back, better than people think. He's tough, he runs hard, and he should help. But sleepers may not wake up a quarterback waiting for greatness. Sounds to me like the Packers need to make that final push to get Randy Moss to satisfy Favre. That could happen Sunday. Favre might stop weeding the garden for that.

4. The Mile High Brownie defensive line: Remember how Mike Shanahan put together two years of playoff runs by accumulating the greatest collection of former Browns defensive linemen? You remember the group: Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown, Ebenezer Ekuban, Amon Gordon, Alvin McKinley, Kenard Lang and Michael Myers. Shanahan continues to serve notice that Cleveland may rock, but former Cleveland linemen could be out in the cold. The Broncos drafted two defensive ends: Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder. Brown and Myers are gone. Lang should stay, but Ekuban will have to fight for his job. McKinley was just signed, so he's in, and Warren is under a long-term contract. However, if the Panthers trade Kris Jenkins, don't be surprised if they move on Warren.

5. The 2008 draft: What is it about the 2008 draft some teams don't like? The Browns and Colts gave up first-round picks next year in trades. The 49ers gave their No. 1 pick next year to the Patriots, but got the Colts' No. 1. The Texans gave away a No. 2 next year in the Matt Schaub trade. Now, the Cowboys and Patriots have good teams in 2007 along with having two No. 1s next year. That's dangerous. As precious as draft choices are these days, maybe some of the teams are tipping off the class of 2008 might not be overly great.

Some news on our new RIGHT TACKLE PROJECT

James Marten
Height: 6-7
Weight: 303
Position: Offensive Tackle/Guard
College: Boston College

Positives: Has a tall, thick frame with room to add at least another 25 pounds of bulk … Has thick thighs, very long arms, adequate muscle tone and good timed speed … Shows a competitive nature and good toughness, staying with the play until the whistle … Durable player who will not hesitate to mix it up in the trenches … Fights on every play and makes every effort to spring the running back … Smart player who knows his assignments, but is more alert picking up the defender at the line of scrimmage than on the move (lacks second level awareness) … Holds ground when setting up in pass protection and does a decent job of picking up adjustments on stunts … Lacks suddenness or quick-twitch moves, but shows patience waiting for movement to come to him … Generally will finish his blocks, as he knows how to gain position and use his long arms in attempts to sustain … Has the big body to occupy the defender and hold ground at the point of attack … Better as a position blocker, as his feet are too sluggish moving in space (has good short-area quickness, but speed tapers off considerably moving to the second level), but is a decent plodder who knows how to lean, push and hold the rush lane … Has the long arms to make reach blocks, extend, anchor and hold off the pass rusher … His best asset is his punch and lockout ability with his hands, as he keeps them active, gets good placement and is quick to reset and recoil (may overextend at times, but usually recovers) … When he extends those hands to punch, he puts enough force behind his hits to control the defender … Not used on pulls and traps due to stiff hips, but does take good (but slow) angles … Stays with the play and uses his reach to ride defenders away from the pocket … Does a decent job picking up stunts and blitzes, using his hands effectively to defeat counter moves. Negatives: Very slow coming off the ball into the second level and is too tall in his stance to be used on pulls and traps, making him a liability at offensive guard … Lacks the quick feet to mirror edge rushers in pass protection at left tackle, but will need to add bulk to his frame for a possible move to right tackle (so they can cover up his pass protection deficiencies vs. the speed rush, he is better suited for the right side) … Lacks suddenness to gain movement on contact … Too clumsy moving in space and will generally cross his feet and fall to the ground due to poor balance issues on the move … Plays with a wide base and his feet tend to die when he has to retreat in pass protection (often beaten off the edge) … Too stiff in his hips to redirect, and while he has a strong hand punch, he needs to use it more often as he lacks consistency shocking the defender with pop on contact … Is too tall to sink his weight and with marginal leg drive, he can be pushed back into the pocket … Lacks knee bend and drops his head too much on the move, struggling to locate second level defenders. Compares To: Jeremy Trueblood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers … Marten is a Trueblood clone -- a college left tackle who is too slow-footed to pull and trap as a guard and has some strength and lateral movement issues that make him a liability at left tackle … With additional bulk, Marten might be a better fit at right tackle … He is a good short-area drive blocker with a strong hand punch and placement, but at right tackle his pass protection deficiencies against edge rushers can be covered up better than when isolated on the left side.

ESPN Experts on Anthony Spencer

26. DALLAS COWBOYS (from Eagles)

DE ANTHONY SPENCER, PURDUE ? Profile | Highlights
CZAR'S FRONT OFFICE TAKE: Well, the Eagles proved me right ? they coveted Meriweather ? and ended up trading out of the first round with one of their NFC East competitors, the Cowboys. Dallas has had a good day, making that trade with Cleveland and getting Spencer, the only player in the Big Ten to give Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas any trouble. If you watched a lot of Thomas film, this Spencer kid showed up. Spencer fills a need with Greg Ellis (Achilles tear) on the sidelines and who can forget how awful the Dallas defense played down the stretch in December, especially at home? There is no doubt that Dallas had to make the trade because Spencer was being eyed by a couple of teams at the bottom of the round.

SCHRAGER ON THE SCENE: Wow. What a turn of events. This place was going wild with Philadelphia brotherly love. The Eagles fans were singing the "Fly, Eagles, Fly" song, the "Rocky" theme blasting, and that bizarre rip-off the "J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS" chant in full effect. And then?Philly traded the pick to the Cowboys. Quick on his ipod, the dejay goes to the Dallas set ? cueing up the "Dallas" theme song as fast as you can say mash-up. The Eagles fans look defeated. One guy dressed in McNabb regalia, has the palms up, doing the whole upward palm "Why? Why?" routine. Pretty sure he's the same guy who booed McNabb when the Eagles passed on Ricky Williams to take him back in '99. Dallas takes Anthony Spencer, and the Cowboys fans applaud approvingly. After all, since that Quinn trade with Cleveland, they likely have a top ten pick for next year. Why not clap? Meanwhile, the Giants, Eagles, and Redskins fans join hands and sing an NFC East version of "Kum Ba Yah"?belting out a three-team-wide version of "Cowboys Suck." Really Touching. Kinda like that "American Idol" episode last week, minus the Sanjaya.

Pete Prisco at CBS Sportsline rates Cowboys first pick an A

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips had Shawne Merriman in San Diego. Now he has another. This kid will be a force off the edge. Joe Thomas said he was the toughest opponent he faced. That's special. A

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Browns traded their 2008 first round pick to Boys!

The Browns traded their 2008 first round pick and the No. 35 overall pick to the Cowboys to move up and draft Brady Quinn with the No. 22 pick in the NFL draft.

Even the most optimistic Browns fan couldn't have imagined landing Joe Thomas and Quinn. This was a huge score for the Cowboys, but quarterback is the one position that it's worth making this bold a move for. Quinn isn't guaranteed to start over Charlie Frye right away, and he could be limited by Cleveland's traditionally poor offense for a while.

Cowboys selected Purdue DE Anthony Spencer with the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL Draft

Spencer excelled strictly as a 4-3 end in his Boilermaker days, but if Wade Phillips thinks he can play with his hand up, he'll likely be able to. A relentless pass rusher and hitter, Spencer will vie with Greg Ellis to start opposite DeMarcus Ware. Bobby Carpenter's role is uncertain.

The Hidden DANGERS of Trading Down

By SouthernStar
DCFU Guest Writer

Let me begin be saying that I've always been a great proponent of trading down. In most years, this can be a good thing. You can get more players and let's face it, the draft is a crap shoot. You can perhaps sacrifice a wee bit of quality to get more rolls of the dice, and pay less for each roll in the bargain. But this year is different.

A lot of NFL personell think that this year's draft has only 17 or 18 players worthy of a first round pick. With our selection at#22, that means there is a good posibility that that we're going to get "second-round goods" with our first round pick. If one of those 17 or 18 players falls to us, we'd best "nab him" at #22. If nobody falls to us, then there is the incentive to trade down. But do we really want to do that? Let's examine it a bit more closely, shall we?

I've seen a lot of posts around here advocating that the 'Boys trade down "a few places" to pick up maybe an extra second round pick.

In the first place, that's impossible. There is no way that we can stay in the first round and pick up an extra 2nd. Do the math. We have the #22 (which is worth 780 points) the LAST pick (#32) is worth 590 points. Thats a 190 point difference. The 2nd round picks range in value from a high of 580 to a low of 270 points. It quickly becomes apparent that we'd have to "sweeten the pot" to get any willing trade partners (for us to stay in the first round). How much sugar will we have to toss in? Let's take a look:

Picking up an extra 2nd (and what it costs)
If we trade down just ONE place (and get that teams 2nd), We have to give up the ENTIRE REST of our picks (and that still wouldn't get the job done). Prohibitive, isn't it? Of course we could always trade with the LAST team in the first round and get their 2nd), and it would only cost us our 4th and 5th picks. But, you can now see the "range" of how much sugar we'd have to toss in to gain that "extra 2nd" that everyone talks about. But what about an "extra 3rd". Now you're talking!

Picking up an extra 3rd:
We'd have to drop down at least 5 places in order to get an "extra" 3rd. If we dropped down all the way to #32, we could pick up an "extra" 3rd AND 4th rounder.

That takes care of the math lesson for today. But what I really want to talk about is the "hidden" dangers of trading down. Back to square one.

Again, I'll repeat that most NFL folks say that there are only 17 or 18 players worthy of a 1st round pick. Odds are (that picking at #22) we won't get one of them. "Okay", you say, "then (if all the players we can select are '2nd tier talent'..), why NOT trade down?" For several reasons, that's why. Let me give you a few examples.

Danger #1
First of all, lets think about ALL of the players that posters have been talking about. I don't care if it's a wide receiver, offensive tackle, or a linebacker. If you trade DOWN, chances are that he won't be availabe when you "new turn" comes around. Especially since your "pet player" is probably one of those golden 17 or 18 folks. Sooo, you'd have to resign yourself to selecting a guy with LESS talent (than the guy you've been raving about).

Danger #2
But what if he's NOT one of those 17 or 18 players worthy of a 1st round pick? Let's say that he's slated (by the draftniks) to go in the range of #18 to #28. see that there are still about 3 players available that are on your "acceptable list" of players that you'd be pleased to get. What then?
Why not drop down a few spots and THEN pick and you'll still be assured of getting one of those guys, right?

What posters DON'T think about:

Say that you DO drop down 4 spots. From #22 to #26. That gives only 3 teams a chance at the players you're targeting, right? WRONG! It gives 90 teams a chance to take those players!

How can this be, you ask? Well, let's take a look at it realistically. First, we'll "rule out" you and the team that you traded with. Both of you are content with the trade (and wouldn't have traded if you weren't). But what about the other 30 teams in the draft?

At #23, 30 teams will have a "crack" at trading UP to get one of your guys. At pick #24, 30 teams will get another chance at trading UP to get one of your guys. And, finally, at #25, 30 teams will get a "last chance" to nab your man.

So you have to divide (by a factor of 30) the chance that your guy will still be around when you select with you "new" pick. I don't lke the odds, do you?

Of course it's safe to say that ALL teams won't be interested in your guy. That "helps" a little doesn't it? But now consider that most NFL draft boards will have players rated "fairly equally". And (with the emphasis on drafting the BPA and not necessarily for NEED) there's a good chance that they'll "forget about their guy" and take yours. Especially if they have him rated somewhat "higher" on THEIR board.

Danger #3

What posters DO think about:

Money. I don't know why they do (because it isn't theirs). But it doesn't concern owners nearly as much as it does the fans. Sure, owners (and NFL people) talk about "value" all the time. Owners are rich and there is a tendency for rich folk to "feign poverty" at every opportunity. Ever notice that?

My sister had a heart of gold and would loan me anything (until she suddenly became a millionaire). When I got married and moved back to Texas and began looking for a job, she loaned me the money to buy some new suits, so I would look good for the interviews. At the time, she was single, working a 40 hour week, and supporting two kids. A couple of years later, she had married a millionaire, owned 12 houses, of her own, (and over 100 jointly) and was complaining that the IRS would let her sell....ONLY 5 Houses per year...BEFORE she had to start paying taxes on them. Yet (when I asked her for a loan of $40) she "feigned poverty" like a pro.

But let's get back to the business at hand. The Dallas Cowboys are in good shape with the salary cap. I don't even want to think about what shape Jerry is in, personally.

That said, money sometimes comes into play when thinking about what you'll have to pay a particular draft choice. But these concerns are with the TOP 10 players in the draft. At that height, the difference in a few slots can become weighty factors in WHERE you select a certain individual.

A rough (very rough) example of this can be learned by studying the Draft Pick Value Chart. (if you've got one handy, pull it up on another screen). Economics 101 is now in session....

As you know, each draftee is paid less and less (as the order of their selection descends). So, too, go the point values on the Value Chart. Just for example, let's say that the #1 overall pick gets paid $50 million. Now look at the chart. We'll divide that $50 million by 3,000 points and we see that each point is worth $16,666 dollars.

Using this method, we see that, by trading down 3 places (#1 to #4) a team can SAVE $20 million dollars on a players contract.
$16,666 x 1200 (difference between #1 and #4)....= $19,999,200
(be sure to read the disclaimer a little further down)

Let's move on to OUR pick. If WE trade down 3 slots, the difference is only 80 points. Meaning WE save only $1.3 million.
80 x #16,666 = $1,333,280

What's a million dollars here or there? Remember that this figure must be divided over the life of the contract (4 or 5 years) so it becomes a difference of only $266,000 dollars per year.

Are YOU willing to take a chance on losing the opportunity to get a good player for only a $266,000 savings each year? Owners won't be, regardless of how much they talk about "value". Scouts and coaches won't be, because they'd rather have the better player on the team.

$266,000 is a "drop in the bucket" when considering trying to save money on a $100 million salary cap (that goes up "automatically" every year).

I am in no way saying that the salaries paid to rookies follows the Value Chart. There are too many outside factors that must be considered. Such as how good of an agent the player has, etc. But (in general) the picks are signed by teams in the order that they were drafted. This is because agents want to wait and see what the pick before got and begin negiotiations from there. And remember that the teams have and use a Value Chart. If they have a method of determining how valuable a pick is.....then they certainly have an idea of how much they're willing to pay that pick. Surely, there must be some "rough correlation" between the two. Otherwise, the term "value" would be unknown in draft circles.

Also, those picks at the extreme upper end of the draft (say Top 5) are in a world all their own. One might get "almost as much" as the one BEFORE, but it it will still be less.

When you get down to the last half of the first round (and especially beyond) however, signings start picking up speed and fall more easily into place. And the $$$ numbers are more quickly agreed upon and you can "pretty well predict" what each player will sign for.

Tomorrow morning, when you're having your coffee and waiting for the NFL Draft to begin, think about some of these things. Reflect on how some "little things can be BIG things".....and how a "good thing can go bad".

Then sit down in front of the TV set and SCREAM LIKE HELL that the 'Boys get the player you want!!

Real work starts in Round 2

Todd Archer
Dallas Morning News

IRVING – Sometime Saturday afternoon, when the Cowboys are close to being on the clock with the No. 22 pick of the first round, a buzz will encompass the draft room. The phones will ring a little more. The conversations will have a little more urgency.

Finally, when they pick – or if because trading down is always an option for the Cowboys with Jerry Jones running the show – the cameras will catch Jones, his son, Stephen, the team's director of player personnel, Jeff Ireland, the vice president of pro and college scouting, all shaking hands or high-fiving with huge smiles on their faces.

Undoubtedly, the Cowboys will get the player they want because that's what they will say. You'll also hear them say they were surprised Player X was still available at No. 22 and he was rated much higher on their draft board.

But after the handshakes and high-fives are done, the real work begins. A successful draft is not determined by a first-round selection. It helps, but a successful draft comes in Rounds 2 through 7. How well a team selects players in the later rounds separates it from the competition. There's too much attention paid to the first-round pick.

Jones said he would like to have seven rookies make the final roster coming out of training camp this summer. The Cowboys have 10 draft picks and are likely to sign a half dozen or more players as free agents when the picks end.

The bulk of the team's depth comes from the latter rounds. In 1995, the Cowboys were still a Super Bowl team, but they ended up, "drafting for backups" that year with Sherman Williams, Kendell Watkins, Shane Hannah, Charlie Williams, Eric Bjornson, Alundis Brice, Linc Harden, Edward Hervey, Dana Howard and Oscar Sturgis.

How did that work out for the future? The Cowboys quickly fell in the next few years because of free-agent defections and poor drafting. The drafts in the mid- to late '90s were OK at the top but weak in the middle and bottom.

Now the Cowboys believe their roster is set to play right now. Jones would like to draft a starter at No. 22, although it's hard to picture a spot for a guy right now with a healthy roster. But depth is and will always be a concern. Injuries are the great equalizer. Free agency is also an issue with players scheduled to hit the open market. And so is age.

They have two thirty-something receivers (Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn), a thirty-something nickel corner (Aaron Glenn), a thirty-something nose tackle (Jason Ferguson) and a thirty-something left tackle (Flozell Adams).

Whomever the Cowboys select Saturday and Sunday, they have to make sure those players aren't just "backups." They need the seven players – or more – who make the final roster to be a bridge to the new stadium.

If they aren't, then the Cowboys will be in trouble.

Cowboys remain interested in trading Jones?

Julius Jones, RB — Dallas Cowboys April 27, 2:18 p.m.

The Cowboys remain interested in trading Jones if they can get a second- or third-round pick. They're not really shopping Jones, but they're certainly listening to offers. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the Cowboys have little interest in offering him a big-money deal.

Fantasy Source Spin: Jones could become a target for teams that aren't able to get Michael Turner from the Chargers.

Source: Sporting
for more updates visit

Trade Waters Rising . . . Again

Mickey Spagnola Columnist
April 27, 2007 8:33 PM

IRVING, Texas - Who's trading up, who's trading out, all because of what they might need or don't want to pay for.

Welcome to the NFL Draft, where every Friday and then again early Saturday morning these trade rumors rise to flash-flood proportions before dissipating as the clouds began to clear once the draft begins.

As of early Friday evening, the Cowboys have not been swept up into these swelling rumors, which surely will at least wet their toes by Saturday morning when the Cowboys officials assemble in the war room for a long weekend, having 10 picks over the seven rounds. And while you can be sure Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been burning the phone lines, setting up possible scenarios for beaucoups of what-ifs, there really is nothing he will - nor should - do until this draft begins unfolding at 11 a.m. (CDT) Saturday.

Why, at this point, no one really is sure what the Oakland Raiders will do, and for heavens sakes, if they don't know - or at least aren't saying, and you know Al Davis has to be loving this - then how is anyone else really know what they are going to do? I mean come on, of the top 10 teams, we could make a case for eight of them needing either JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn.

And for sure, the Raiders do. Look, I read this in the morning, and didn't believe it: The Raiders scored 12 offensive touchdowns last year. Twelve! You kidding me? I looked it up. That's correct. They finished seven games with no touchdowns, not even from any sort of return. And for the entire season, only three times did they score more than 14 points. Like, did they play 16 games?

Who's kidding who here? The Raiders desperately need a quarterback, but again, Davis isn't saying. But let's give him a pass on this since it's the first time since the merger he's had to deal with the first pick in the draft. He just might not know how to do.

Well, let's move on quickly. It's almost time for the Cowboys to pick . . . .

Really, really starting to get the feeling that the cottage-industry draft experts have overvalued the likes of wide receivers Robert Meacham and Dwayne Bowe. They might not even be first-round picks, and if they are, really late, like after the Cowboys at 22. Maybe that's why Cowboys owner Jerry Jones keeps saying you can get a really good receiver capable of playing in the second round . . . . I'm guessing the Raiders know this about JaMarcus Russell, that he had a 25-4 starting record at LSU and that he led the Tigers to eight fourth-quarterback comeback victories . . . .

Let's not get all hot and bothered over recent reports citing complications with Adrian Peterson's collarbone. This is nothing new to team officials, including those from the Cowboys, and you know what, no one is really overly concerned with the findings.

Guarantee you if Peterson starts tumbling out of the top 10, the Cowboys will be going crazy trying to move up. And if they should snag him, they ought to immediately send him to a public speaking class. In a maybe five-minute interview Friday on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket, Peterson said "you know" at least 100 times. Not exaggerating. Maybe that class is available only to seniors at OU . . . . One story I read today quotes Browns GM Phil Savage as saying of Peterson's shoulder, "Reports haven't affected our opinion of him for the draft." Here's the only thing that would affect me: In three seasons at Oklahoma, his per-carry-averages were 5.7, 5.0, 5.4. Sign me for a little A.P. please . . . .

Speaking of running backs, San Diego's Michael Turner signed his $2.3 million restricted free-agency tender, meaning the Chargers now can more easily trade him. And evidently they still are talking with the likes of Tennessee and Buffalo . . . . Let's stay with the RB's. Agent Leigh Steinberg says Ricky Williams has successfully completed his one-year suspension for repeated violations of the NFL's substance abuse program and is eligible for reinstatement. Williams, who turns 30 next month, must go before the Commish after his files are reviewed before anything can be happen. Hmmm, if the Cowboys were willing to work out Trung Canidate, who has not played the past two seasons, would they even consider . . . naw, they wouldn't, or, uh, would they? . . . .

And let's see, one trade rumor just won't die: Houston, which denies having any interest in this, trading the 10th pick to Denver for the 21st spot in the first round and then some . . . . Neither will the notion of Washington swapping picks in the first round with Chicago, the Redskins' sixth for the Bears' 31st and linebacker Lance Briggs. Sources are now saying there is a 50-50 chance of the deal being consummated on draft day . . . .

Now we're hearing how Detroit might be trading out of the No. 2 spot so Tampa Bay can move up from No. 4, presumably for Calvin Johnson. Probably means the Bucs don't feel comfortable about staying put to land the Georgia Tech wide receiver at No. 4 for fear of someone else trading with the Lions to land Johnson . . . .

Now here is a name to remember over the weekend: Walter Thomas, and if you catch yourself saying, "Who?" don't feel bad. Ol' Walter, from Galveston, Texas, played for Les Miles at Oklahoma State as a freshman, but apparently didn't study much, flunking out before his sophomore season began. He went off to Northwest Mississippi Junior College in Senatobia, Miss., but played in only two games there before getting arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and never played another down of football. But get this, Walter is 6-5, 370 pounds. Yes, a nose tackle. He can bench 475 and squats 800. He ran a workout 40 recently in 4.9. And the dude can do a standing front flip - and land on his feet - thank goodness. In a recent NY Times piece, the head coach at Northwest Mississippi says, "The guy is a dadgum Russian gymnast." Hey Jerry, take a shot. You got three sevenths . . . .

And let's conclude with more trade talk. Maybe Buffalo indeed wants out of No. 11 if guys it covets are gone. One would be linebacker Patrick Willis. The other? Well, if Peterson slips by Houston. Imagine that, the Texans passing on Vince Young one year and Adrian Peterson the next? Nawwww . . . . Might the Raiders really be shopping Randy Moss? Wonder what you would get for him? Maybe they are, too . . . . And then there is Minnesota, which everyone figures will take Peterson, talking to teams about trading out of No. 7. Could the Cowboys . . . look, here's the deal. The No. 7 pick is worth 1,500 points on the value chart. The Cowboys' 22nd pick is worth 780. My subtraction tells me that's 720 points the Cowboys would have to compensate the Vikings, and maybe some more for good measure if anyone remembers the Herschel Walker deal up there. If the Cowboys gave them their second, third, fourth and fifth, they'd still be 75 points short - like a mid-fourth. Maybe next year's? That would be a heavy bundle now . . . . Lot cheaper to stay put.

OK, have fun Saturday, and don't get your feet wet.

Cowboys may just fill in blanks


IRVING -- In the days leading up to the NFL Draft, only one thing is certain.

Nobody is going to be completely forthright about their intentions.

So when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones volunteered information about his plans to hopefully move up in today's draft to get a "wow" player, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

Heading into this draft, the Cowboys don't necessarily need anything.

They filled all their major needs during free agency. Questions about the offensive line were addressed with the re-signings of center Andre Gurode and right tackle Marc Colombo and the signing of free-agent guard Leonard Davis for a team-record $16 million bonus.

The Cowboys think they solidified the free safety spot with the signing of veteran Ken Hamlin.

As a result, the Cowboys might be a better team on paper than they were at the end of the 2006 season.

But the goal for the Cowboys is not just improving on last season -- a 9-7 record and a wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

With 10 picks, including the 22nd selection in the first round, the question is can the Cowboys find the final pieces to make them "Super" again?

They've gone through five coaches and have won only one playoff game since their Super Bowl title in 1996.

Jones believes the Cowboys can break that drought in 2007 because of what they did in free agency and what they hope to do in the draft.

"We believe we have a chance to make a run," Jones said. "If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't have signed Leonard Davis. With the players we have before the draft, I feel like we could line up and play next week. As we go into this draft, we do not have to have a player, in my mind, to be competitive or to have our roster put together. But we need to do the right job on the draft or we will pay the price."

But because having success and making a run this year "is critical," Jones is open to trading up in the draft to possibly select a "wow" player.

Topping Jones' wish list is Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson, who is considered by many to be best player in the draft. He would be first offensive player drafted by the Cowboys since 1997 and could solve any questions about the future at receiver beyond aging starters Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens.

To get Johnson, the Cowboys would have to move into the top five, possibly as high as No. 2. Trading up high in the first round is very difficult to do if the Cowboys aren't willing to sacrifice picks from next year's draft or trade their entire 2007 picks -- two things Jones said he is not going to do.

"We really have to have something good happen," Jones said. "Hopefully somebody falls. I think there are a couple of teams that would like to move down and can't get down right now. You just want to steal something."

Next up on the Cowboys' wish list of steals would be Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, who is rated among the top five players in the draft, but could fall out of the top 10 because of team needs and questions about the shoulder he injured as a senior.

The Cowboys made a point to get contact numbers from Peterson on Friday so they could get in touch with him if they needed to on draft day. And Jones said the team has no concerns about his collarbone.

Jones breaks the first round of the draft into three categories: nine elite prospects, a second tier from 10-20, and then the rest.

The Cowboys could put together a package and trade up, stand pat and take the best player available at 22, or trade down. Jones acknowledged that he has two offers to trade out of the first round for a first-round pick in next year's draft.

Most draft experts have the Cowboys targeting a receiver at No. 22 -- possibly LSU's Dwayne Bowe, Ohio State's Ted Ginn, Southern Cal's Dwayne Jarrett or Tennessee's Robert Meacham.

The problem is that Jones wants a starter in the first round and there are no openings in the starting lineup with Owens and Glenn on the team, at least not with the players likely available at 22. The Cowboys brought only two receivers to their headquarters for visits -- Jarrett and Ohio State's Anthony Gonzalez. Both are considered late first-round or second-round talents.

Based on their needs and the players who might be available, the Cowboys are likely targeting a cornerback, safety or defensive end with the 22nd pick. Florida's Reggie Nelson, Texas' Michael Griffin and Miami's Brandon Merriweather visited the Cowboys.

Signing Hamlin would not preclude them from taking a safety because Hamlin signed only a one-year deal. A safety can play in the nickel or dime defense and also have an impact on special teams. Nelson, Griffin and Merriweather all fit that criteria, especially Griffin.

Texas cornerback Aaron Ross and Arkansas cornerback Chris Houston are possibilities.

In the know

Multiple choice

The Cowboys have a lot of flexibility in the draft. They have the 22nd pick in the first round. Some of their options:

If they move up ...

WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech, right

RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma

RB Marshawn Lynch, California

CB Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh

CB Leon Hall, Michigan

If they stand pat ...

S Michael Griffin, Texas

S Brandon aMerriweather, Miami, Florida

CB Chris Houston, Arkansas

If they trade down ...

OT Joe Staley, Central Michigan

WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC

DE Anthony Spencer, Purdue,

CB Aaron Ross, Texas

Cowboys' positions of interest

Wide receiver: Starters Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn will be 33 next season

Offensive linemen: Depth needed at guard and tackle for next season and the future.

Defensive tackle: There is no one the Cowboys can count on behind starter Jason Ferguson

Quarterback: A prospect who can be developed will be targeted

Cornerback: Anthony Henry could move to safety and nickel corner Aaron Glenn will be 35

Free safety: Free agent Ken Hamlin was signed for only one year

Tight end: A blocker is needed, as well as depth behind Jason Witten and Anthony Fasano

Defensive end/linebacker: Teams can never have too many pass rushers

No. 22

A look at the 22nd overall pick in the past five NFL Drafts:

2006: Manny Lawson, linebacker, San Francisco

2005: Mark Clayton, wide receiver, Baltimore

2004: J.P. Losman, quarterback, Buffalo

2003: Rex Grossman, quarterback, Chicago

2002: Bryan Thomas, defensive end, NY Jets

Cowboys Insider: Ware feels like he's arrived

Tom Orsborn
Express-News Staff Writer

Ever since the Cowboys selected him in the first round two years ago, DeMarcus Ware has associated the draft with sleepless nights.

“You’re not going to sleep at all,” Ware said when asked to describe what Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss and the other players the Cowboys could draft Saturday are going through this week. “And you are going to be really, really nervous the night before.

“Basically, you are about to find out how your life is going to unfold. It’s a great sense of apprehension.”

For Ware, life is good. After recording a team-high 11.5 sacks in 2006 en route to earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl, the former Troy State standout was selected to participate in the Campbell’s Chunky Soup Mama Boys’ advertising campaign along with seven other NFL stars, including LaDainian Tomlinson.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Ware via telephone from Toronto, where the commercials are being shot.

“It feels real good to be involved in this,” the linebacker said. “I had a good season, which was great, and now I’m in the commercial spotlight, which is great. I feel like I have arrived.

“Now the question or challenge is, can I stay consistent and can I stay the same player.”

With that in mind, Ware is determined to arrive in San Antonio for training camp in July in the best shape possible.

“It’s all about the offseason,” Ware said. “The skill level is there. It’s just about training a little harder to stay comfortable and to be the best player you can be.”

Ware said he’s excited about playing for Wade Phillips, the former San Diego defensive coordinator who helped make linebacker Shawne Merriman a star.
The Cowboys drafted Ware with the 11th pick after deciding to pass on Merriman, who went to the Chargers at No. 12.

“He puts players in position to make plays,” Ware said of Phillips. “That’s one of the things he’s really good at. He’s aggressive and that’s how players like to play.”

Phillips’ predecessor had a conservative philosophy. But that doesn’t mean Ware didn’t enjoy playing for Bill Parcells.

“What did I learn from Bill?” Ware said, repeating my question. “This game is a mental game. The main thing is it’s very physical, but if you can outwit the guy you are going up against, you win the battle. That’s what I learned from Bill.”

Joining Ware in Toronto was his mother, Brenda Ann Ware. She said she’s excited about being in a commercial with her son.

“I’m very proud of him,” Brenda said. “He’s worked really hard all of his life. Football was always very important to him.”

That was evident the night before the 2005 NFL draft, Brenda said.
“He was nervous, real nervous,” Brenda said. “Everybody was real happy when the Cowboys drafted him. I love the Cowboys.”

The Dallas Cowboys signed backup guard/center Joe Berger, an exclusive-rights free agent, to a one-year deal worth $435,000

Cowboys re-signed exclusive rights free agent offensive lineman Joe Berger to a one-year contract.

Berger, whom the Dolphins were once high on, can play every position on the line except left tackle. He's a good bet for a roster spot in Dallas.

Football: Cowboys may forget players' past - Jones considers certain players who have had character issues

Tom Orsborn

IRVING — Long before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced his crackdown on violators of the league's player-conduct policy, the Dallas Cowboys pledged to continue efforts to stock their roster with nothing but exemplary citizens.
"I'm a big proponent of a heavy emphasis being placed on character, be it the draft or free agency," Cowboys scouting director Jeff Ireland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The worst drafting mistakes a team makes usually involve character."

Considering Ireland's comments, the likelihood of Dallas selecting a player with character issues in the first-round of the NFL draft today would seem remote.

So why does Miami defensive back Brandon Meriweather, whose background includes two incidents that resulted in embarrassing headlines, remain on the Cowboys' draft board?

A cynic might say it's because the team needs to improve its secondary and is intrigued by Meriweather's ability to play free safety, nickel cornerback and special teams equally well.

In other words, Dallas is willing to overlook his potential for problem behavior because he also has the potential to be a problem for opposing offenses.

Or is it because the Cowboys have been diligent in their research and are confident Meriweather won't be a problem.

"He's a pretty unique player," owner/general manager Jerry Jones said of Meriweather during the team's pre-draft news conference Monday. "I don't want to in any way get into the details, but we haven't taken him off the board."

The major black mark against Meriweather is his one-game suspension last season for stomping on and kicking the heads of Florida International players during a brawl between the teams. He also was scrutinized for firing a handgun he legally owned to defend a friend and teammate who'd been shot in the buttocks.

Every prospect with a blemish in his past was concerned about his stock falling after Goodell suspended Tennessee's Adam "Pacman" Jones for a year and Cincinnati's Chris Henry for eight games.

"That makes it more risky to draft a player if he proves to make bad decisions," said Jerry Jones, who noted it's not unusual for the Cowboys to take players off their board because of character issues.

In light of Goodell's hard line on player discipline, some league observers say teams would be wise to avoid players with a history of misbehavior.

"They're going to run the risk that the commissioner may carry a heavy hand when it comes to teams that draft people who have known character issues," former Titans general manager Floyd Reese, who drafted "Pacman" Jones last year, told the Associated Press. "As a franchise, you're probably putting yourself in harm's way if you draft somebody with character issues.

So why hasn't Dallas ruled out drafting Meriweather? Or, for that matter, Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss, who served a one-game suspension last season for marijuana use?

In Meriweather's case, one draft analyst says the answer probably stems from the Cowboys' interview with the soft-spoken player at team headquarters in Irving.

"I talked to a guy who interviewed him for another team and was told Meriweather does a real good job looking people in the eye and saying, 'Talk to my coaches and talk to my teachers. I'm a good guy,'" Mike Mayock of the NFL Network said.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN's long-time draft guru, said Meriweather could fall under the category of a kid who made a mistake, learned from it and has moved on.

Thanks to extensive background checks conducted by the NFL, the Cowboys are quite familiar with Meriweather, Moss and any other player on their board. Among the information gathered by the league are police records, driving records and financial records.

"You review these things on a case-to-case basis," Kiper said. "I'd be more concerned if there was (an arrest) in the last six to eight months."

But even if the Cowboys do select a player with character flags, Jerry Jones is confident the team has a support system that can help him steer clear of trouble.

"Calvin Hill has done a great job since he's joined our organization," Jones said of the former Cowboys running back turned counselor. "He has always been able to get me real comfortable that we've got a good read on where our players are with their character situations."

In the case of Meriweather and Moss, the Cowboys apparently already know all they need to know.

Cowboys contacted Peterson yesterday

per Matt Mosley and also FWST...wanted to verify his contact phone numbers for today...


Friday, April 27, 2007

Dallas wants DE Anthony Spencer

ESPN Mosley Blog: Dallas wants DE Anthony Spencer

4:30 p.m.: I was thrilled to see the number of a Cowboys assistant coach show up on my phone, but it turns out he was asking for tickets to the Byron Nelson Championship, which is going on in Irving, Texas, right now. From everything I can tell, the Cowboys will attempt to trade down and select Purdue defensive end/linebacker Anthony Spencer. Director of scouting Jeff Ireland and his staff love how much ground the kid covers, and the Cowboys need another pass-rusher.

You may recall Jerry Jones saying last week that he has two offers for his 2008 first-rounder, but I don't think he wants to do it.

5:37 p.m. Jerry Jones finally faxed his draft board over to the hotel. The bellman is on his way up with it as we speak. Here's what I'm able to tell you: All the Brandon Meriweather talk has started to die down. I still don't think the Cowboys will take a wide receiver, but the guys they really like are LSU's Dwayne Bowe and Tennessee's Robbie Meachem, who grew up roping calves in Tulsa.

And don't think the signing of Brock Berlin will have any impact on whether the Cowboys go after a quarterback in this draft. The guy they really like is BYU's John Beck, although the most attractive member of the club's p.r. staff has thrown her support behind Houston's Kevin Kolb.
Tomorrow we'll have several Cowboys-free entries for those of you who might prefer other teams. And at 10:30 a.m., I'll be releasing my mock draft in Times Square. More details to come on that.

Cowboys set to visit draft-day Fantasy Island

By R. Carlos Zepeda on April 27, 2007 12:05 AM

"The plane, boss! The plane, the plane!" Every year near the end of April, the NFL draft flies overhead to drop off bundles of every team's most desired fantasy. Some want that franchise quarterback; some want that giant wide receiver who can outrun a coyote.

This year, the Dallas Cowboys might not be asking for much from the fantasy plane. In a recent press conference, owner Jerry Jones made it known that he was confident in the Cowboys' chances to win with what they have.

There are no glaring needs on either side of the ball for Dallas, but finding some premium backups now could reward the team in the future. As it stands, the best option with the No. 22 pick would be finding a wide receiver who can eventually take over for Terry Glenn or Terrell Owens.

The duo was very productive last year, with Owens leading the league in touchdown catches with 13, and Glenn finishing with six. Both will be 33 this year, and T.O. is infamous for his seasonal outbursts. The question remains as to whether he will last the entire season or self-destruct and take the offense with him. With so much talent at WR in this draft, the Cowboys can buy some T.O. insurance in the first or second round.

The next backup and eventual future starter who needs to be found is a defensive tackle. The three first-round tackles might be long gone by the time Dallas picks. Justin Harrell from Tennessee could be available because some teams are worried about his past injuries.

The talk around draft rooms is that Michigan DT Alan Branch might fall into the middle of the draft because teams are questioning his intensity and work ethic. Jones hasn't ruled out the option of trading up in the draft, and if Branch falls far enough, look for Jones to pull the trigger.

At 6-foot-5, 321 pounds, Branch would be perfect for the 3-4 defense, giving the Cowboys a mountain to plug the middle. They are desperately thin at DT with starter Jason Ferguson as the only dependable player. New coach Wade Phillips might only need one more tackle to make a solid rotation.

Phillips actually does have some experience with troubled DTs. In 2005, San Diego (for which Phillips was the D-coordinator) drafted Northwestern D-tackle Luis Castillo, who dropped down draft boards after he admitted to using steroids. Castillo's rookie season ended with 49 solo tackles, 3½ sacks and an NFL All-Rookie team selection.

Whatever Jones does in this draft, it may very well cause a lot of commotion. And he wouldn't want it any other way.

Cowboys | No deal for Canidate

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 14:06:23 -0700

Clarence E. Hill Jr., of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys will not sign unrestricted free-agent RB Trung Canidate (Redskins) at this time, but he could be an option in the future.

Division rivals eyeing defense

Washington Times
By David Elfin
April 27, 2007

What Washington will do with the sixth pick in tomorrow's NFL Draft is the subject of much speculation. But what about its NFC East rivals?

Division champion Philadelphia lost backup defensive backs Michael Lewis and Roderick Hood to free agency. With free safety Brian Dawkins nearing 34 years old, the Eagles must address that position. Miami's Brandon Meriweather and Texas' Michael Griffin could be on the board at No. 26. So could cornerbacks Chris Houston of Arkansas and Aaron Ross of Texas. At 6-foot-1, Ross has the size the Eagles would like behind 5-10 starters Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown.

Dallas, a wild card team in 2006, needs an heir apparent to 30-something receivers Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn. But owner Jerry Jones hasn't selected an offensive player in the first round since 1997. So, Dallas could land a defensive back such as Ross or Florida safety Reggie Nelson at No. 22.

While the Cowboys have a new coach in Wade Phillips, the New York Giants, also a wild card, have a new general manager. Jerry Reese was promoted from director of player personnel upon Ernie Accorsi's retirement.

Reese said he likes the value at No. 20 but wouldn't say if he plans to address the Giants' biggest concern with an outside linebacker like Penn State's Paul Posluszny or Florida State's Lawrence Timmons.

"You can't just leave a guy [like Mathias Kiwanuka on the board]," Reese told reporters, referring to the 2006 first-round defensive end. "I said, 'I know we don't need him at this point, but at some point he's going to be a good player for us.' But you just don't say that we are going to pick the best player. You're conscious of your needs."

Pacman protests -- It's no surprise Adam "Pacman" Jones didn't agree with his year-long suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But someone needs to tell the troubled Tennessee cornerback there's a difference between being charged and being convicted.

"It was a little bit harsh," Jones said on ESPN. "I expected the suspension, but a whole year for a guy that hasn't been charged with nothing, I really didn't agree with it."

The Titans signed cornerback Nick Harper away from Indianapolis in anticipation of losing Jones for a significant period, but No. 2 corner remains a weak spot with either Reynaldo Hill or Cortland Finnegan. The latter figures to replace Jones as the punt returner with receiver Courtney Roby the top candidate to return kickoffs.

"It's unfortunate that [Jones'] decisions are probably going to end up costing us games in the long run," Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said bluntly on Sirius NFL Radio.

Blacksburg on their minds -- Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, the NFL's most prominent Virginia Tech product, donated $10,000 to help the families of the victims of the April 16 massacre.

Cleveland safety Justin Hamilton, a Virginia Tech student as recently as last spring, was especially shaken by the tragedy.

"I had class my sophomore year and my junior year [in Norris Hall where 30 of the murders took place]," Hamilton told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I had class in the building right next to it, too. If I'd have been there, what would I have done? I've really been struggling with what decided those people's fates and why it wasn't me."

Williams waits -- Ricky Williams was eligible for reinstatement Wednesday, but the Miami running back -- suspended for a year after failing a fourth drug test -- is waiting on Goodell's review of his case. The commissioner has until June 24 to make a decision.

Williams' agent, Leigh Steinberg, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his client has been passing all his drug tests. Williams and starter Ronnie Brown combined for 1,650 yards and 10 touchdowns as the Dolphins went 9-7 in 2005. Brown and Sammy Morris, who has left for New England, teamed for 1,408 yards and six touchdowns as Miami slipped to 6-10 in 2006. Third back Travis Minor also departed via free agency, making the position a need for the Dolphins, especially with Williams' future uncertain. Williams will turn 30 in May.

NFL is considering a 17 game regular season

The NFL is considering adding a 17th regular season game to the schedule, in part to accommodate more games overseas.

The idea here would most likely include a full week of games overseas each season, with one fewer preseason game. The idea is only in its formative stages and could be a long way from being implemented.

Source: Washington Post

Flexibility gives Cowboys 'best' option

Thanks to solid core, team can draft top players available


– The Cowboys find themselves in good position as they prepare for this weekend's NFL draft.

By signing free agents Leonard Davis and Ken Hamlin to shore up the offensive line and secondary, the Cowboys do not have an obvious need to fill. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones used a baseball analogy earlier in the week when he said his team has "the bases covered."

With the 22nd pick in the first round, the Cowboys can take a player at just about any position.

According to Jones, the last time the Cowboys' roster was set up in such a prime way was in the mid-1990s, when his team was winning Super Bowls.
"We were in a spot where if we didn't draft a player that was a pretty dominant player, that he had trouble making our roster," Jones said. "That's just not the case today because of free agency and the turnover.

"I would say when we were at the bottom of the draft winning those Super Bowls during those times, we pretty much could draft the best player."

Best player available. It's one of the most-used draft terms around.

On Monday, Jones went through the team's evaluation process, starting with the reports of the area scouts to the cross-checking done by national scout Mike Murphy, assistant director of college scouting Tom Ciskowski and vice president of college and pro scouting Jeff Ireland, to the opinions of the coaches.

This week, the Cowboys ranked players on their draft board so that when the time comes for their first-round pick, they can easily take "the best player available."
But picking the best player available isn't that easy.

According to scouts, personnel directors and coaches, there is a flow to draft day that does not always include taking the best player on the board.

Sometimes, the composition of a roster forces a team to go in a different direction. Some teams will build their draft boards to fit their needs, pushing, for example, cornerbacks higher than they should be graded.

With the 38th pick in the 2003 draft, the highest-rated player left on the Cowboys' board was tight end Jason Witten. But the Cowboys were unsettled at center and selected Al Johnson.

With a number of tight ends still available, the Cowboys felt they could get one they liked in the third round. Luckily for them, Witten was still available, and they scooped him up with the 69th overall pick.

But in 2005, the Cowboys tried to stick with the best-player-available theory. The fourth round that year was the most telling. With the 109th pick, the Cowboys picked running back Marion Barber, nearly two rounds after he was expected to be taken. He led the NFC in rushing touchdowns last season with 14.

Knee and eye injuries kept defensive end Chris Canty from projecting as a possible first-round pick, and the Cowboys nearly chose him instead of Barber. But instead of waiting 39 more picks and hoping Canty slipped to the fifth round, the Cowboys gave three draft picks to Philadelphia for the 132nd slot to get him. Canty started every game last season.

Teams get into trouble when they draft for need.

"The worst picks I've had were the picks I made because you needed somebody," said former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese, now an ESPN analyst.

"You have a guy who is 20th, and you end up taking him 15th because you need to fill a spot. When you have three or four holes, it's really hard to have a good draft because you have to fill holes."

The Cowboys don't have that worry this year, according to Jones. But he's not ready to say they will take the "best player available."

"I'd like to just rephrase it," Jones said. "There's a little more to it unless you want to say, 'safest player available.' "

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why America’s Team?


The thought occurred to me the other day, why America’s team? After all, Dallas Cowboy fans have been the most spoiled of any other in the NFL. Even before the moniker America’s team was applied. I might add that we fans were not the ones who gave this tag to our own team. See NFL films for that one.
Well before the time of Superbowl Glory, the Cowboys were the media’s darlings. Next year’s champions, they were called. Bridesmaids, lovable losers. Where the Cowboys went, the media followed. Back in the day, the likes of Meredith, Lilly, Hayes, Howley, Jordan, Renfro, Pugh, Andrie, etc., were a colorful cast set against the Wild West backdrop known as Dallas, Texas. For heavens sake, they played in the historical confines of the Cotton Bowl, which has hosted numerous NFL stars to be.

It seems to me anyway, that destiny has been on the Cowboys’ side from the beginning. The love’em or hate’em attitude can be traced back to the inaugural campaign of 1960. That season, they shared the city with the Dallas Texans of the AFL. It was a struggle, to say the least, to put people in the seats. The organization mailed out 200,000 letters to potential season ticket holders. 2,165 accepted the initial offering. Yes, the Cowboys were loved and hated by their own kind. That season, the Cowboys faithful waited till December 4th to taste victory, sort of. A 31-31 tie with The New York Giants. The Love-Hate affair was on. Maybe it was the squeaky clean image of Tom Landry. Maybe it was the innovations that organization contributed to the game, such as computers for scouting purposes. Maybe it is the infamous stadium with the hole in the roof. Whatever the reasons, the Cowboys were destined for success.

The sixties yielded success, but the seventies would put the Cowboys on the Radar to stay. The rivalries with the Redskins, Eagles and Giants, mixed with the 49ers, Rams and Vikings only added to the love –hate relationship. The Cowboys were always a part of the media’s focus pro and con. The media generally are con when it comes to the Cowboys. Look no further than the lack of Cowboys in the Pro football hall of fame. Live with them, but the media just can’t live without them. What other NFL organization can boast the exposure the Dallas Cowboys have had? Even when they are down, the spotlight still glares. The success of the seventies, yielded to the downturn of the eighties. Still, the Cowboys were in sight. The brash new owner and coach along with a number one draft pick got things going again. A 1-15 season was a delight to those who hated the Cowboy way. Still America’s team was poised for its long anticipated return to the big stage. Success still breeds success. Jerry Jones has not settled for second best, when it comes to America’s team.

Once again, the Cowboys stand on the brink of another run to glory. The cast of characters has changed throughout the years, but the results are sure to be the same. Doomsday, Jolly Roger, TooTall,

Too Mean, the Manster blended into the Triplets, the Playmaker and the Kitchen. The newest cast has the makings of something special. Time will tell. Destiny has always been on their side. Why America’s team you ask? Because love’em or hate’em, Sunday afternoon would not be the same without the Dallas Cowboys.

Source : Dallas Cowboys, The first twenty five years

On the Clock: Dallas Cowboys

By Keith Kidd
Scouts Inc.

There have been some major changes in Dallas since quarterback Tony Romo's botched snap in last year's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. New head coach Wade Phillips replaces the legendary Bill Parcells. Even though the Cowboys didn't accomplish the ultimate goal of winning championships under Parcells, Phillips will inherit a very talented team that has a chance to do some damage in 2007. Owner Jerry Jones has been active this offseason in finding ways to continually upgrade this roster. First-time offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be under the gun as the Cowboys start the season in Year 2 of the Romo era. Can Romo be the franchise quarterback this organization so desperately needs? How will the circus that surrounds wide receiver Terrell Owens be handled by Phillips? Defensively, the Cowboys have a lot of talent but underachieved due to the inconsistencies on the back end in coverage. Phillips was hired to solve these problems on the defensive side of the ball.

Key additions
The Cowboys entered free agency with the idea of addressing two major needs -- the offensive line and the free safety position. They were very aggressive in their pursuit of LT Leonard Davis. In a weak offensive tackle market, Davis was easily the best player available. However, Davis has never reached the elite status that many expected since he was drafted by the Cardinals as the second overall pick in 2001. Another solid addition was the signing of FS Ken Hamlin. Even though Hamlin must play with more consistency, he is a huge upgrade for a Cowboys secondary that finished 24th in pass defense in 2006. Backup quarterback Brad Johnson was another solid addition based on his prior starting experience. He should work well with Romo.

Key losses
The Cowboys have done a solid job of identifying their own key players and signing them to contract extensions (TE Jason Witten, SS Roy Williams, C Andre Gurode and LB Bradie James). As a result, the Cowboys have not suffered any key losses this offseason. Backup quarterback Drew Bledsoe was released, while backup restricted free-agent LB Ryan Fowler signed with the Titans. Starting RG Marco Rivera has yet to be released, but could be a cap casualty due to his age and durability concerns.

Remaining questions
The Cowboys are in a position to take the best available player with the No. 22 pick in the draft. Even though wide receivers Owens and Terry Glenn are still productive, they are starting to show their age. No. 3 receiver Patrick Crayton is a restricted free agent who could be playing under a one-year deal in 2007. Also, the Cowboys will continue to address the offensive line with youth. Defensively, the Cowboys will address their corner situation, add depth to their linebacker corps and try to find another pass rusher off the edge. However, the addition of Phillips should improve a defense that finished 13th in the NFL last season.

RECAP: Norm Hitzges Draft Chat-04/26/07

Recap from nasbahcowboys88 from a sports forum:


Things constantly move in the draft. The Cowboys may have an opportunity to take a player that they thought would never, ever be there. Alan Branch was at one time considered a top 10 pick. At 326 pounds, teams are concerned he will turn in to just another fat guy.

Here are the players I think the Cowboys will choose from. Two will be longshots, Marshawn Lynch of Cal, although I think he goes before Dallas drafts and Dwayne Jarrett of USC. I don't think Jarrett should go that high. My list is all defense. CB's Aaron Ross of UT, Darrell Revis of Pitt, safeties Reggie Nelson of UF and Brandon Meriweather of UM, Anthony Spencer of Purdue and Justin Harrell of Tennessee.
Jerry has said he wants an impact player. What are the impact positions? QB, RB, Top WR although I don't think we go here as they feel they can get one in the second, LT, CB, pressure lineman. Of all of those, which is more likely to be there? CB and DL.

I don't think Revis will get to the Cowboys. I just don't think he makes it.
Ross, Nelson, Meriweather, Spencer and Harrell are the five names I have narrowed it down to, but bear in mind this can change at a split second if a player starts to fall. Next, I'll take your calls.

Caller Questions:
There is concern out there among teams concerning Adrian Peterson's shoulder. It may cause him to drop just a bit, but not too far.

Caller: I think these players are sleepers sleepers. OLB Justin Durant from Hampton, WR Jacoby Jones of Lane, ILB Zak DeOssie of Brown and CB Usama Young from Kent State. Norm: DeOssie in the 5th Durant in the 4th and Usama Younga FA.

Norm: Heres a few sleepers from me. DE named Ikaika Alama-Francis from Hawaii. He is moving up. OT James Marten from BC and Jermon Bushrod from Towson State.
I doubt Meriweather falls to the second because of the FIU incident although it was ugly. He's a first round talent.

I wouldn't worry about Phillip's drafting. He was part of a SD team that was very good at drafting players.

Caller: I heard a rumor that Dallas has a deal with GB to trade Julius Jones and move up to 16 to take Meachem.

Norm: No. If they move up to 16 they take Lynch.

Caller: I disagree they should pick up Gary Russell of Minnesota. He was just as good as Maroney.

Norm: THat;s just crazy Russell is not even close to Maroney and I can show you 32 GM's in this league that agree with me. That's just crazy.
Jarvis Moss is very athletic but is inexperienced and a bit non-instinctive.
I would not take Ted Ginn with your money. I don't like him at all at WR. He's not a top 10 WR in this draft although I do think he is a good all around player.
In the second round I would look at WR's Sidney Rice of South Carolina, Jason Hill of Washington State or Craig Davis of LSU. Later on Aundrae Allison at ECU but he is a former basketball player that is very raw. I don't think Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarret from USC make it to Dallas in the second so I would focus on the other guys.

Polite re-signed

Cowboys | Polite re-signed
Thu, 26 Apr 2007 14:03:13 -0700

Clarence E. Hill Jr., of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reports the Dallas Cowboys have re-signed exclusive-rights free-agent FB Lousaka Polite to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson (collarbone) says he'll be ready for minicamps

"The injury was not a re-break," Peterson says. "It wasn't completely healed at the time, but it was solid. I hurt it, but I didn't break it again."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cowboys | Owens' option to be picked up

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 15:31:48 -0700

ESPNews reports the Dallas Cowboys will pick up WR Terrell Owens' $3 million option bonus for 2007.

Teams wary of Peterson's health

Oklahoma RB re-injured his collarbone in Fiesta Bowl
Posted: Wednesday April 25, 2007 5:57PM; Updated: Wednesday April 25, 2007 7:13PM

Former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson, an almost certain top-10 pick in the first round of Saturday's NFL draft, re-injured his collarbone in the Sooners' loss in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day -- an injury that has not been previously disclosed except to NFL teams.

Peterson broke his collarbone on Oct. 14 against Iowa State and missed the rest of Oklahoma's regular season, returning for the first time in the bowl game against Boise State. Peterson made NFL teams aware of the re-injury at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

But at least two teams that spoke to acknowledged that Peterson's health was a consideration in their draft analysis.

A high-level source on one team said the evaluation of his team's medical staff was that Peterson will require a surgical procedure, which would delay his availability at the start of training camp and perhaps longer. That team estimated Peterson would be sidelined after the procedure for "two or three months." That would likely mean Peterson would miss the entire offseason workouts of the team that drafted him and make him questionable for the early part of the preseason.

"Because of him re-injuring it in the bowl game, it's not as far along as it should be, it's not healed," said a team executive. "He lost three months with the re-injury. The question is, will it be healed enough to take a hit. Or will he hurt it again, the way [ex-Detroit receiver Charles Rogers] kept doing.

"It's not enough to take him off anyone's board, but it's a concern because of his straight-up running style. He has been a bit injury-prone and now you've got a situation where you're drafting damaged goods."

A source on a second team stressed that Peterson's re-injury was a "minor" consideration in the grand scheme of things.

"If we take, we take him because he's a good football player," the source said. "If it takes him time to heal, it takes him time. We're looking at his skills. But it's one of those things that everyone in the league knows about. He re-injured it in the Fiesta Bowl, but he kept playing."

Peterson told SI last week that he was "completely healthy," and that his collarbone injury had suffered no setbacks during the course of his rehabilitation. Peterson underwent a re-check from NFL medical personnel earlier this month at which time the status of his recovery was forwarded to NFL teams. That is a common step in the league's medical evaluation process for draft prospects with injury concerns discovered at the combine.

Peterson, the top-rated running back in the draft, is a candidate to go as high as No. 3 to Cleveland and is not expected, in any scenario, to last past No. 10 Houston.

Adrian Peterson reportedly could need surgery

Adrian Peterson reportedly could need surgery after re-injuring his collarbone at the Fiesta Bowl.

He disclosed the injury at the NFL Scouting Combine, although it didn't slow him down during drills. A second team thought the re-injury was "minor" in the scheme of things. He still seems to be a surefire top ten pick.


Trung Canidate workout on Thursday

Cowboys looking at new RB candidate


The Cowboys plan to bring in former St. Louis Rams running back Trung Canidate today for a workout Thursday.
Canidate, drafted 31st overall by the Rams in 2000, has been out of football since 2003 because of a foot injury.
He is now healthy and trying to make a comeback. According to a source, the Cowboys view his workout as more of a look-see, but if Canidate is impressive he could get an invitation to training camp.
The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Canidate has recently been timed in the 4.4-second range in the 40-yard dash.
He rushed for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns in 46 career games with the Rams and Washington Redskins.
-- Clarence E. Hill Jr.

The NFC East: Who needs what

By David Aldridge
Inquirer Staff Writer

The last time you may have paid attention to the rest of the NFC East, the New York Giants were certain to fire Tom Coughlin as head coach, Dallas' Bill Parcells was warning that Tony Romo could not yet walk on water, and Washington stunk.

A few months later, Coughlin is still on New York's sideline, Romo has a new head coach in Wade Phillips, and the Redskins . . . still stink. But last year's trash often becomes this year's treasure. The gap between first and fourth isn't that large, and this weekend's draft will be the latest competition in a division that sent three of its four teams to the playoffs last year.

Like Parcells, Phillips runs a 3-4 defensive alignment, so there won't be significant changes in defensive personnel.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told local reporters last week that he was hoping to take a starter with the 22d pick overall in the first round if he did not move up.

"If you're going to use the one, then you really want it to be someone that impacts things a lot," Jones said. "Candidly, I'd like it on the offensive side of the ball. I'd like to see if we could create some impact over there, do something to juice it up."

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock believes that even though the Cowboys gave $18.75 million in guaranteed money to free-agent tackle Leonard Davis - who will move inside to play guard - as part of a seven-year, $49.75 million deal, Dallas could still take an offensive lineman in the first round. He has mentioned Auburn guard Ben Grubbs and Central Michigan tackle Joe Staley.

Failing that, Mayock said, the Cowboys could also go for a safety, even though they signed free agent Ken Hamlin from Seattle.

"If there's a guy like Grubbs that you really love and he's better on your board than what else is out there, then you take the guard," Mayock said by telephone yesterday. "But just because they picked up Hamlin doesn't mean they solved their safety problem. They signed him to a one-year deal, and he's similar to Roy Williams. He's not a centerfielder."

The most glaring need of the Giants, who pick 20th, appears to be at linebacker, where their gamble on LaVar Arrington failed after Arrington tore his Achilles tendon last season; New York released him in February. The Giants then almost got a deal done with Denver for veteran linebacker Al Wilson, but Wilson flunked his physical.

The left side of the Giants' offensive line is in flux, with converted guard David Diehl starting at left tackle next season. Diehl replaced the injured Luke Petitgout, who was released. Veteran Grey Ruegamer is penciled in at left guard.

"You invested your first draft pick in getting the quarterback [Eli Manning], and used a few more for it, too," Mayock said. "It might make sense to protect him."

The Giants acquired veteran running back Reuben Droughns, a 1,200-yard rusher in 2005 for Cleveland, in exchange for wide receiver Tim Carter, and bullish back Brandon Jacobs is still on the roster as well. But it wouldn't be a shock if New York went for another back on the first day.

The Redskins, picking sixth, have been rumored to covet Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but moving up would require sacrificing future draft picks, something that hasn't worked out well for Washington in previous seasons. The Redskins have only five picks in the draft this year.

Washington shored up its linebacker position by signing free agent London Fletcher from Buffalo, but the Redskins have needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, and could use another cornerback. A safe pick for the Redskins, Mayock said, would be Louisiana State safety LaRon Landry.
"You're looking at a situation with them where they need a pass rusher off the edge to go with [Andre] Carter," Mayock said. "Maybe they take a guy like [Arkansas defensive end] Jamaal Anderson, with [Clemson's] Gaines Adams certainly off the board with Detroit," which picks second.
"At that point, you start talking about, Is there a marriage with them and Atlanta at six and eight? - and I think there could be," Mayock said. "If they want to still get the guy they want and get an extra pick or two out of it, that would make a lot of sense."

In Jones' mind, Cowboys' bases covered

By Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- To hear Jerry Jones tell it, the Cowboys are in such good shape that they might be using the highly underused "best nickel corner available" approach in this weekend's draft.

In an hour-long news conference Monday, the owner-general manager listed a variety of options, some of which actually seemed plausible. Jones said the Cowboys could "line up and play next week," an indication the club isn't beholden to filling a specific need for the first time in years.

He expressed regret that he hadn't been more aggressive in trading up during the Super Bowl year and said there's a possibility the Cowboys might "bundle up" some picks and try to move up and grab an impact player Saturday.

Of course, this is the time of year when people across the league work on their bluffing skills.

The Cowboys haven't traded up in the draft since 1999, when they moved up two spots to select defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban. Two years before that, they moved up to take tight end David LaFleur. Don't look for Jones to do it Saturday unless something unforeseen occurs.

On Monday, he indicated there were seven "wow" players in the draft. In his mind, these players are talented enough to consider trading up for.

Reading between the lines -- something you have to do with Jones' doublespeak -- the Cowboys would start bundling picks together if, say, Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson somehow slipped out of the top 10.

"When you have your bases covered in your mind, that allows you to think like this," said Jones, whose club has 10 picks in the draft. "It allows you to think about going up. It allows you to think about doing something and really putting yourself in a position for next year's picks."

The one thing Jones ruled out completely was trading one of his current players. Last year, the club considered trading running back Julius Jones during the draft, but on Monday the Cowboys' owner said a player's value actually decreases during the draft.

Sensing the team's fan base might be concerned about him wielding too much influence in the post-Parcells era, Jones delivered the comforting news that former Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer will be stopping by Valley Ranch this week to help him evaluate running backs. No word yet on Chan Gailey's appearance.

Jones also said that Larry Lacewell, his close friend and the club's former director of scouting, has been watching film. Lacewell was forced into early retirement two years ago because Bill Parcells never cared for his work.

Jones indicated that he might seek some input from Parcells this week, but I doubt that happens. He was never comfortable in Parcells' considerable shadow -- as evidenced by an exchange Monday.

When Jones said he'd consulted with Lacewell and Switzer over the past couple of years, one of my quick-witted colleagues asked, "Did Bill know about that?"

After the laughter died down, Jones responded, "Bill was the football coach, not the personnel guy."

It was a revealing moment that indicated how uncomfortable Jones had become with the perception -- and the reality -- that he was second in command. With the laid-back Wade Phillips taking over as head coach, that's no longer a concern.

On Monday, he said Phillips places more emphasis on speed than Parcells. He also said Parcells believed in prototypes (6-3, 260-pound linebackers) while Phillips is more willing to take a talented player at any size and fit him into the system.

In other words, he'll do what Jones tells him.

Based on what the Cowboys' owner said Monday, I wouldn't expect Dallas to take a wide receiver in the first round. Jones thinks he can land a quality receiver in the second round such as South Carolina's Sidney Rice, and the Cowboys already have some talented young players at the position.

Jones acknowledged that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's tough stance regarding off-field behavior has put teams on notice, but it doesn't sound like Miami safety Brandon Meriweather's character issues will scare off the Cowboys. If the club stays at No. 22, there's a good chance they'll choose Meriweather. If they trade down, look for them to target Purdue defensive end/linebacker Anthony Spencer, who would give then a much-needed pass-rusher.

The Cowboys are convinced Tony Romo is their quarterback of the future, but that won't prevent them from drafting a quarterback in the third round.

Jones said one club has already made an offer to trade the Cowboys its 2008 first-round pick for their No. 22 pick this weekend. Jones would ask for an extra second-round pick in this year's draft.

From the sound out of it, he's making up for lost time.