Wake up and smell the world

I’m not a very political person and I don’t normally get involved when it comes to politics, but the news last night that our US Troops had shot and killed Osama Bin Laden made me think of a few things. I guess celebration isn’t the correct word to use as I watched people cheering in Times Square. Bin Laden was the one who orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks so I understand the reaction of people considering what a monster he was. I guess it would be more vindication than anything else because it does not relieve the suffering of those who lost loved ones on that horrific day, as well as so many more since the war started in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s been almost ten years since the 9/11 attacks and the US has been trying to find Bin Laden ever since then. To find him and bring him down was a great victory for the US. But let’s not forget how many women and men are still away from their families and will remain away for a long time. 

The sport side of this story is how Emmitt Smith played with a separated shoulder against the Giants in 1993 and was called brave or when it was called heroic when Phillip Rivers played with a torn ACL in the 2007 playoffs. Both are amazing sports stories that go along with so many other great stories, but let’s leave those kinds of words for the women and men who are out there fighting every day and never know what today or tomorrow will bring. Players with injuries such as those know that more times than not they will have surgery, go through rehab and live to play another day. The US Navy Seals who jumped on those helicopters could not say the same thing. They had no idea what was waiting for them or what the results would be. Whether or not they would survive and be able to see their families again. Those people are the brave ones and real heroes who deserve to be cheered and honored along with the rest of the women and men who continue to fight and who have given their lives. Ask the athletes in the sports world and they would be the first to agree with that.

Now with Bin Laden dead and buried it would be a real shame to see empty stadiums on the first Sunday of the 2011 season, which is also the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Every anniversary of 9/11 is emotional, but with this being the 10th anniversary along with the death of Bin Laden will make it that more emotional. These players and owners need to wake up and stop talking about how the fans are important to them as well as the game and start showing the fans that they are important by getting a deal done now! Sports are important to all the soldiers away from home as well. Watching sports brings them back home and it’s almost like an escape for them for the few hours they can watch.

What’s important in life is the women and men who put their lives on the line each and every day, as well as all the families who have lost loves ones in the war against terror and in the attacks on 9/11. Does anyone think these people care about the $9 billion that the players and owners are fighting over? Let’s face it, sports is entertainment and as much as many fans joke around that it’s life, myself included, it’s far from it. What sports fans do like however is to use sports to honor those who have dedicated their lives to protect and cheer them from the stands. Fans come together for a few short hours and show the pride they have in their country. Whether it’s waving the American Flag, shaking the hand of someone from the military or just chanting “USA” from the stands. This is how sports fans show their unity and it would be a real shame to take that away over something like how to share $9 billion.

So to the players and the owners…Lets stop making these negotiations out to be something that resembles conflict of major proportions and start thinking about what the important things in life really are. This is not a war! You are a group of people who supposedly love the game of football and all the great things it brings to your lives. Why all the battles? Why all the lawsuits? Watch the news today or pick up a newspaper and then maybe you’ll realize that the $9 billion is really a blessing to everyone involved and not something that should be fought over like you’re at war.

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Breaking News: Osama Bin Laden Is Dead


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WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead and the U.S. has his body, says a person familiar with developments.

President Barack Obama was to make the announcement shortly that after searching in vain for bin Laden since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist is dead, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Details of the death were sparse. He was killed in a military operation in Afghanistan, according to sources, though it was unclear which countries were involved. CNN reported that the al-Qaida leader was killed in a mansion outside Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

It is a major accomplishment for Obama and his national security team, having fulfilled the goal once voiced by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, to bring to justice the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


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Welcome To The Cowboys 2011 Draft Class

The 2011 NFL Draft is finally over and the Cowboys came away with some solid picks including their top selection, offensive tackle, Tyron Smith. Here is a quick rundown of each player, eight in all, including comments from ESPN or NFL.com. 

Tyron Smith – OT – USC

With the ninth pick of the first round, the Cowboys selected Southern Cal’s Tyron Smith on Thursday, putting the future of Marc Colombo, in question. Smith was a two-year starter at Southern Cal and is viewed as the best tackle in the draft with the highest ceiling because of his tremendous athletic ability. While some see him as a left tackle in the future, the Cowboys will likely plug him in at right tackle.

* * * * *

Bruce Carter – LB – North Carolina

The Cowboys selected North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter with the 40th overall pick in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday. Carter, who is 6-2 and weighs 245 pounds, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last November in a game against North Carolina State and had surgery the following month. Carter said he is confident he will be fully recovered at some point during training camp and added he has already started “cutting.”  When Carter was on the field, he flashed athleticism. He started 44 games with the Tar Heels, recording 9.5 sacks and 215 tackles — 24 of which resulted in a loss. In 2010, he was a Butkus Award finalist.

* * * * *

DeMarco Murray – RB – Oklahoma

With the 71st overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray. A physically talented skill player who has flashed dominance in the past, Murray runs with a smooth style, has good quickness, and displays the ability to bounce around piles and make defenders miss. He possesses the agility to turn the corner, finds cutback lanes, and quickly gets through them. He also keeps his feet moving on contact, runs with good lean, and shows a burst. Murray has displayed skill the past three seasons and at times makes scouts think he offers potential as a feature runner in the NFL. His penchant for injuries and occasional soft style will downgrade him, though Murray possesses all the skills necessary to produce at the next level if he plays up to his potential. 

* * * * *

David Arkin – OL – Missouri St.

With their fourth-round pick on Saturday the Cowboys went back to the offensive line in selecting Missouri State guard David Arkin. Arkin, 6-5, 300 pounds, played tackle but will move to guard with the Cowboys. He started 31 games at guard. He will be making a jump from FCS level of play to the NFL but the Cowboys like his potential. They also have a need for some depth. There have been rumblings about the future of right guard Leonard Davis and left guard Kyle Kosier is a free agent. Backup Montrae Holland is in the final year of his contract and Phil Costa is more of a center who can play guard.

* * * * *

Josh Thomas – CB – Buffalo

With the 143rd pick overall (12th in the 5th round), the Dallas Cowboys selected cornerback Josh Thomas from Buffalo. Thomas, who is 5-10 and weighs 196 pounds, started 24 games at Buffalo and completed the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL Combine. In four years at Buffalo, Thomas contributed 29 pass breakups and as a senior he accumulated 58 tackles, two sacks and an interception — the second of his career. Before arriving at Buffalo, Thomas was a standout player at Cedar Hill, where he was a member of the team that won the Class 5A Division II state championship in 2006.

* * * * *

Dwayne Harris – WR – East Carolina

With the 176th pick overall (11th in the 6th round), the Dallas Cowboys selected wide receiver Dwayne Harris from East Carolina. Harris was productive and an All-Conference USA pick after catching 101 passes for 1,123 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was fourth in FBS in all-purpose yards per game. While he does not have top speed, Harris can return punts and kickoffs. Harris could come in as a slot receiver. In some ways he could be similar to Patrick Crayton. 

* * * * *

Shaun Chapas – FB – Georgia

With the first of two seventh-round picks, the Cowboys continued to address their backfield depth by drafting Georgia fullback Shaun Chapas No. 220 overall. Chapas was the second back taken by the Cowboys this weekend, following third-round pick DeMarco Murray. At 6-2 and 245 pounds, he has the size and strength to be a sturdy blocker out of the backfield. He started for the Bulldogs for most of his career and served as team captain. Chapas presumably will compete with Chris Gronkowski at fullback and try to earn a spot on special teams.

* * * * *

Bill Nagy – C/G – Wisconsin

The Cowboys selected Wisconsin center Bill Nagy with the 252nd overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Nagy played guard and center for the Badgers and was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick by the coaches. He made two starts at center as a senior while spending the rest of his time at guard. He also lined up as a tight end in a jumbo package. He was the third offensive linemen selected by the Cowboys, joining tackle Tyron Smith and guard David Arkin. The Cowboys selected six offensive players and two defensive players.

84 Jay Novacek – Tight End – 1990-1996

One of my favorite all-time Cowboys, Jay Novacek first made a name for himself playing tight end for the University of Wyoming. He was selected to the All-American football team in 1984 after setting an NCAA record for receiving yards per receptions by a tight end. He had a team record 83 career receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns during his college career. Novacek also competed in track and field and earned All-American in the decathlon and pole vault.
He was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, but would later join the Dallas Cowboys in 1990. Some thought he was a hired gun and for a while the name stuck. He was known for his hard-nosed style of play and his athleticism. Novacek was a hard hitter and a tremendous blocker, but it was his pass catching ability that fans will remember the most.
He was one of the best tight ends ever to wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform, and was one of the key players on a Cowboys team that went on to win three Super Bowls in 1992, 1993 and 1995. In those three games alone, he posted a combined total of 17 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.
Jay Novacek’s remarkable pass catching and route running abilities gave him a total of 422 receptions for 4,620 yards and 30 touchdowns during his NFL career.

He was selected to five pro bowls and while he may not have had a long career with the Cowboys, he made each of his six seasons count, and was one of the best tight ends in the league throughout his Cowboys career.

In 2008, Jay was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his achievements as a top collegiate player. 

In February of 2010,  he suffered a great tragedy when he came home to find his wife LeeAnne had taken her own life and committed suicide. He now spends his time working with children and running a youth football camp at the University of North Texas every summer.

To me, he will always be one of the all-time great Cowboys and a big reason for our glory years in the 1990s. One day I hope to see his name among the other greats in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

NFL Draft Day 3 – Live Chat

Welcome to our exclusive NFL Draft Coverage Thread here at Lone Star Struck.

For complete coverage of all the big news, signings and trades, keep it right here as we will keep updating this thread with everything you need to know.

We also invite you to join us at our live Draft Chat where many members of our staff will be discussing the day’s events and answering questions.



Join the conversation or just stop in and say “Go Cowboys!” Let us know who you think the Cowboys should draft with the first pick.

It’s going to be a great weekend and I bet there will be a few surprises with Jerry Jones running the show.

Dallas Cowboys Picks

Round 1, Pick 9 (9) – OT Tyron Smith, USC

Round 2, Pick 8 (40) – LB Bruce Carter, North Carolina

Round 3, Pick 7 (71) – RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma

Round 4, Pick 13 (110) – OL David Arkin, Missouri St

Round 5, Pick 12 (143) – DB Josh Thomas, Buffalo

Round 6, Pick 11 (176) – WR Dwayne Harris, E. Carolina

Round 7, Pick 17 (220) (From San Diego) – FB Shaun Chapas, Georgia

Round 7, Pick 49 (252) (Compensatory Selection) – OL Bill Nagy, Wisconsin


NFL Draft Order

1. Carolina Panthers

2. Denver Broncos

3. Buffalo Bills

4. Cincinnati Bengals

5. Arizona Cardinals

6. Cleveland Browns

7. San Francisco 49ers

8. Tennessee Titans

9. Dallas Cowboys

10. Washington Redskins

Roughing The Commissioner: We Want Football! We Want Football!

I didn’t get to watch the draft last night, but the word around blogosphere is that this was the best part of the evening.

Football fans sacked Roger Goodell last night and really let him have it. The chants were so loud that they drowned out the sound system preventing Goodell to get things started.

Radio City Music Hall bellowed with loud shouts calling for the commissioner to step down, and when Goodell stepped to the podium to begin the draft he knew things were really getting ugly and that fans wanted an end to the lockout.

“We want football! We want football! We want football!”

There are now signs that Goodell has been forced into action. The NFL announced that team facilities and weight rooms are open for workouts again, and that coaches can hand out playbooks. Players can also receive treatment.

Were the Cowboys Right Last Night?

Let me start by saying I am glad I was right in my earlier post. Tyron Smith was the right pick to make. While it is not flashy or exciting and will not generate more interest or attention (like Dez Bryant did), it is what is right for a team trying to get back to the playoffs.

If you question taking an offensive linemen, take a look at which teams took OL in round 1. The Cowboys, of course, were the first team to strike at the position. Patriots, Colts, Eagles, Seahawks, Bears, Packers all drafted offensive linemen. Those teams all have in common that, minus the Packers, they all won their respective divisions, and then the Packers went on to win the whole thing. Maybe this is a sign that this is in fact how you build a franchise.

Who was on the board that really made sense to take? Reports this week were that the Cowboys did not like Nick Fairley and the belief was that even if he was there in round two, the team would pass on him. So he was likely never seriously considered. Cameron Jordan and JJ Watt both were considered here and I would believe Prince Amukamara. There are plenty of defensive ends to be had still and cornerback is not the teams’ greatest need.

I believe Jerry Jones did the best thing he possibly could. When the league year starts, Marc Colombo will be released and Doug Free, according to Stephen Jones on Tuesday, will get a nice contract extension. The Cowboys have their two long-term tackles now. Tony Romo should be very happy as should Jason Garrett. As should the fans.

2011 NFL Draft: What The Cowboys Should Do

(This is my first of hopefully many contributions to this site and I hope you enjoy my posts. Thanks for reading! Go Cowboys!)

Is offensive line the right move to make? Jerry Jones has never selected an offensive linemen in the first round since he has been the Cowboys owner. Even though he played o-line at Arkansas. Seems a bit odd. But even he found offensive line boring and not flashy, I believe it might be the safe and correct pick in this case.

Tyron Smith out of USC is one rumored possibility for the Cowboys along with some other tackles and defensive ends Cameron Jordan and JJ Watt also rumored as options. The running game really struggled last season and Tony Romo (when he played) and then Jon Kitna did not have that long to throw. Certainly you only have so long to make something happen but they were not even given nearly enough time.

Smith would start right away at RT, opposite Doug Free. This selection would spell the end for Marc Colombo of course. Smith can help protect Romo and hopefully improve the running game, especially short yardage situations.

The Cowboys have plenty of needs but when I watched this team in 2010, the main problems that I saw were all in the defensive backfield more than anything. That is why I would consider taking Prince Amukamara with the ninth pick. Terrance Newman is getting up there in age and Michael Jenkins was bad at times last year. Neither Gerald Sensabaugh nor Alan Ball should be trusted to start at safety again and I think the Prince would be the right selection.

Then you can grab an offensive lineman in the second round and go with safety and defensive end/linebacker later. I do believe Dallas is in pretty good shape all around but just have a couple holes to fill, which they can accomplish by drafting well.

So while I would consider improving the secondary, I do believe that offensive tackle is the right, safe pick in this case for the Cowboys mainly because my hope is that an overhaul of the o-line can improve the running game, which can improve the passing game, which can give the Cowboys the lead and hopefully take some pressure off the defense, and the secondary. Everything has a cause and effect and you are supposed to build from the inside out. The Cowboys are a flashy team and Jerry likes to make splashy picks usually but in this particular case, let’s just be safe.

Cornucopia of Scenarios on the Table for Boys as Draft Looms

With the 2011 NFL Draft now less than 30 hours away, it’s not difficult to envision Jerry Jones, a proverbial riverboat gambler on draft day, posted up in the “War Room” putting the last minute touches on the team’s big board.  Jones has to be as excited as ever for this year’s draft, with the abundance of studs available across the board at Dallas’ three biggest position needs (defensive back, offensive line, defensive line).  Couple that with the fact that the Cowboys are in prime position to move around and make some deals at the #9 draft slot, and countless scenarios immediately become plausible.  So, with the impending madness right around the corner, here is a “mock draft” of sorts to get the pre-draft excitement flowing.

Round 1, Pick 9

To me, there are three different scenarios that could take place when the Cowboys go on the clock at #9, largely depending on what players are still left on the board at that point.

The first and most simple scenario is the Cowboys standing pat at #9 and taking the best player available.  Two players that immediately come to mind for the Cowboys at #9 are tackle Tyron Smith and cornerback Prince Amukamara.  Either player would immediately fill major needs for the Boys, and would be expected to contribute from day one.  In an unexpected turn of events, defensive lineman Nick Fairley could fall to Dallas at #9, in which case they would have to seriously consider calling his name as well.

The second and least likely scenario is that the Cowboys move up several spots to take a player that has fallen farther than expected.  The most likely situation in which this scenario would occur in my mind would be Patrick Peterson falling to the San Francisco 49ers’ slot at #7.  If Peterson drops that far, I think it would be impossible for Jerry to not envision trading up to nab another playmaker like he did for Dez Bryant last year.

The third, and in my opinion, most likely scenario, is the Cowboys finding a trade partner at #9 and moving down several spots into the teens.  Jerry has made it no secret that he has been in touch with several teams about moving into Dallas’ #9 slot.  The most likely trade partner for the Cowboys is the St. Louis Rams.  The Rams covet Julio Jones, and it is highly unlikely that he makes it past the Washington Redskins at #10.  In this scenario, the Cowboys would acquire St. Louis’s #15 pick, likely an additional 2nd, and a 4th or a 5th round pick.  At #15, it is hard to envision the Cowboys not taking an offensive lineman.  They could still get the tackle they covet in Tyron Smith at #15, and I also think that guard Mike Pouncey would garner serious consideration here as well.  In the event that the Cowboys decide against taking an offensive linemen at #15, defensive ends J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan would seem to be legitimate picks as well.

Summary of scenarios

  • Stand pat at #9
    • Prince Amukamara
    • Tyron Smith
  • Trade up from #9
    • Patrick Peterson
  • Trade down from #9
    • Tyron Smith
    • Mike Pouncey
    • J.J. Watt
    • Cameron Jordan

Round 2, Pick 40

This selection for the Cowboys will probably be more simple and less complicated than round one.  Depending on which of the three major needs (DB, OL, DL) they decide to address in the first round, Dallas will likely address one of the two remaining major needs in round two.  This could also prove to be an exciting pick due to the fact that it is impossible to know which players with first round grades will slip into the second round.  Two players that could fall out of the first round that would be absolute steals in the second round are cornerback Jimmy Smith and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.  Other players that will be targeted by the Cowboys in the second round are: Ras-I Dowling, Brandon Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, Aaron Williams, Rahim Moore, and Martez Wilson.

Potential Picks

  • Jimmy Smith – Cornerback, Colorado
  • Ras-I Dowling – Cornerback, Virginia
  • Brandon Harris – Cornerback, Miami
  • Cameron Heyward – Defensive End, Ohio State
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – Defensive End, Temple
  • Aaron Williams – Safety, Texas
  • Rahim Moore – Safety, UCLA
  • Martez Wilson – Inside Linebacker, Illinois


Round 3, Pick 71

Like round two, the Cowboys’ selection in round three will likely be the last of their three major needs (DB, OL, DL).  Other players and positions could come into player however, depending on which players have dropped farther than where they were originally projected to go.  Because of the potential of higher rated players still being available in round three, the Cowboys could call the name of a player who previously may not have been on the radar.  My favorite potential pick here is Penn State guard/center Stefen Wisniewski. With an NFL pedigree, Wisniewski would bring youth and versatility to an aging interior line who’s skills are quickly diminishing.

Potential Picks

  • Stefen Wisniewski – Guard/Center, Penn State
  • Phil Taylor – Noseguard, Baylor
  • Christian Ballard – Defensive End, Iowa
  • Rodney Hudson – Guard/Center, Florida State
  • Marcus Cannon – Guard, TCU
  • Quinton Carter – Safety, Oklahoma


Round 4, Pick 110

With the top three picks hopefully addressing the top three needs of the Cowboys, value and potential starts to become the focus in round four.  As we’ve seen in the past few years, the Cowboys have hit on several key players in round four (Bradie James, Marion Barber, Chris Canty, Doug Free, and Tashard Choice).  This year should be no different, with the Cowboys attempting to draft a player with good value and skill with pick #110.  One player that I like with this pick is Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter.  While running back is not an immediate need, there is no telling what the future of Marion Barber is once player transactions resume.  In the case that he is traded or released, running back depth becomes an immediate need.  Hunter was highly productive in college and would provide fantastic value at pick #110.

Potential Picks

  • Kendall Hunter – Running Back, Oklahoma State
  • Kelvin Sheppard – Inside Linebacker, LSU
  • Quan Sturdivant – Inside Linebacker, North Carolina
  • Nate Irving – Inside Linebacker, North Carolina State
  • Edmund Gates – Wide Receiver, Abilene Christian


Round 5, Pick 143

Value and depth are the main focus in the later rounds, with every team looking to unearth gems and raw talent that could develop into potential starters.  Small school prospects and special teams contributors tend to go in these rounds, as well as players who’s stock has fallen significantly due to bad combine workouts, injury, or character. One name that I love here is Stanford fullback Owen Marecic.  Marecic is just the kind of player Jason Garrett covets; a four year college player, high character, intelligent, versatile (played fullback and linebacker), and able to contribute immediately on special teams.

Potential Picks

  • Owen Marecic – Fullback, Stanford
  • Brandon Fusco – Guard/Center, Slippery Rock
  • Ian Williams – Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
  • Cedric Thornton – Defensive Tackle, Southern Arkansas
  • Joseph Barksdale – Guard, LSU
  • John Moffitt – Guard, Wisconsin
  • Jeremy Kerley – Wide Receiver, TCU


Round 6, Pick 176

Round 7, Pick 220

Round 7, Pick 252

No telling what kind of strategy, if any, exists in the last two rounds.  Dallas will likely be looking for players that will provide depth at positions like offensive line and raw talent that could develop into contributors several years down the road.  These are also the rounds in which hometown prospects are drafted as well.

Potential Picks

  • Stevan Ridley – Running Back, LSU
  • George Salas – Wide Receiver, Hawaii
  • Kyle Hix – Tackle, Texas
  • Jake Kirkpatrick – Center, TCU
  • Wayne Daniels – Defensive End, TCU
  • Greg Lloyd – Inside Linebacker, UConn
  • Will Hill – Safety, Florida

2011 NFL Draft: If James Williamson was in Charge of the Cowboys…

To readers of Lone Star Struck: I’m sorry that I have not been here in a while. I’ve been swamped with school, and I knew that Kelly and the other writers have things covered mostly, so the breaking news pieces aren’t needed from me.

However, I needed to give my thoughts about the draft that is just tomorrow. Here is what I would do.

Everyone has a opinion. Everyone has an idea of what they would do if they were in charge. Many may have similar notions as others, but each one is somehow unique when it comes to detail.

Well, lets assume that I’m in charge of the Cowboys draft for one day. Lets pause momentarily while I laugh maniacally for several seconds.

Okay, now for some serious business.

I’ve been talking to a buddy of mine named J.D. He’s one of the most brilliant sports minds I’ve ever encountered, and we routinely text each other about sports, mainly our favorite football team, the Cowboys. But, we can talk about the draft or other players or even other teams.

So, today I was on the elliptical at the Fitness Zone when I get a text from good ole J.D. Well, I have ten minutes left to burn some calories on the machine, so I finished my workout, then walked over to the treadmill for a small walk and checked the message.

After the usual talking about Ryan Mallett, Blaine Gabbert and even a mention of previous drafts, the Cowboys pick came up, and J.D. and I both agreed that Dallas needs to trade the pick.

We also agreed on what players that he and I liked the most. We are both high on Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson, Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey, and Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castanzo. Despite rumors that Dallas wants University of Southern California offensive tackle, Tyron Smith, J.D. and I are not high on him.

So, as we are texting, and I’m on the treadmill, a lightbulb the size of the sun turns on over my head, and I relay my idea to J.D.

Since the Cowboys have the ninth overall pick, they are in a prime position to draft a quarterback in a quarterback rich draft. And not just quarterback, but also a position for Nebraska defensive back Prince Amakamura and Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones.

Teams with mid-first round draft choices would love to move up and draft a player they believe will not fall to them, so that makes Dallas a prime candidate for a big trade. Dallas does not have a giant need that can be addressed at just the ninth pick, so not only COULD they move back a few spots and get more draft picks in exchange for a trade, but they actually SHOULD do that.

Before I go further, let me give you a key part of  the draft order real quick, so that you can follow along with my points.

9: Dallas Cowboys
10: Washington Redskins
11: Houston Texans
12: Minnesota Vikings
13: Detroit Lions
14: St. Louis Rams
15: Miami Dolphins
16: Jacksonville Jaguars
17: New England Patriots (Originally Oakland Raiders)
18: San Diego Chargers
19: New York Giants

I’m telling J.D. that a lot of quarterbacks like Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett or even Blaine Gabbert could/will be there at the ninth pick, and there is something that every football fan needs to know about the draft, so listen up.

Teams that need quarterbacks tend to reach for quarterbacks. By reach, I mean they either draft a quarterback with a too high draft selection or they trade up to grab a quarterback and pay a king’s ransom for the rookie signal caller.

Dallas has one of the premier draft picks, and they also are ahead of the Redskins who have the 10th overall pick. The Redskins are likely to draft a quarterback, so a trade with a quarterback-needy team for the ninth overall pick and maybe some more picks, like a second round pick for 2011 or a first rounder from 2012 is very reasonable.

There are three teams that I would definitely consider trading with. The Minnesota Vikings at 12, the Miami Dolphins at 15, and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 16. Any other team past the Chargers pick at 18 is a no because as you can see the New York Giants possess the 19th pick.

The New York Giants most glaring needs are offensive tackle and offensive guard. The whole point of Dallas trading the ninth pick is to get some more picks while still getting the player they desire, which if I’m running the draft, is either Anthony Castanzo or Mike Pouncey. Those two guys will not last past the Giants at 19, so any team past the Giants is out.

J.D. and I both think the Cowboys should pick up the phones and call the Jaguars, Dolphins, and Vikings and let them know that if they want a guarantee that they’ll get the quarterback they want, and not the guy that the Redskins passed up, they’ll have to pay the right price. I’d definitely secure their 2011 first round pick, 2011 second round pick, and maybe even a 2012 first round pick.

The Minnesota Vikings have a talented team, but have made some bad decisions. They did not draft a quarterback to learn from Brett Favre, so they were expecting to be the champions and worry about the quarterback issue when Favre finally retired.

Well, their lotto scratch-off ticket did not earn them the top prize or any prize. The Vikings now have needs at an aging offensive line, a weak secondary, and a quarterback. They are not as high on Joe Webb as they’d like to be, so now there is a thought of them trading for Donovan McNabb from the Redskins.

However, since they don’t know if they can get McNabb due to the lockout, the Vikings will probably reach for a quarterback, making them prime candidates to trade with Dallas.

I’d definitely squeeze the Vikings like I’d squeeze an orange for juice. They would be more than willing to pay a very high price to get a chance to draft a quarterback before the Redskins.

It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, that’s for certain.

Next, the Miami Dolphins are being coy about wanting Ryan Mallett. Ryan Mallett has character issues building up, but the Dolphins took a chance on Dan Marino in 1983 when there was a huge rumor that he had tested positive for drugs. The test results had been kept hidden from the public, so Marino fell to the Dolphins 27th pick.

I think the Dolphins see themselves as being a legitimate quarterback away from being a real Super Bowl contender, and they are not wrong. The only needs they have are quarterback and running back. Mark Ingram is probably not worth the 15th overall pick, and they can attempt at free agency to secure Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown or replace them.

Also, before any Dolphin faithful announce to the world that Chad Henne is “the guy”, may I remind them that “the guy” is not doing his job right or else they wouldn’t have been 7-9.

Ryan Mallett, however, may not slip past the Washington Redskins or the Minnesota Vikings. I’ve been torn on this kid myself, and I used to think he’d be a bad choice, but recently, I’ve found myself wondering if Dallas should take him. I like how he was honest about making mistakes in the past and is willing to change. That’s a sign of maturity and change.

If he becomes even 1/4th of what Marino was, the Dolphins are in the playoffs.

Lastly, the Jaguars are a team that doesn’t need a quarterback “immediately,” but David Garrard is 34, and why not draft a good quarterback that can replace Garrard in a few years?

I think the Jaguars will be hesitant to make the deal because they’ll probably want a guy that will fall to them, but if Jerry can use his Texas charm on them and make them see that Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett is an amazing prospect, then they may take the bait.

From there, the Cowboys simply just make the teams sweat a little bit and keep the auction going. Whoever gives up the most gets the ninth overall draft choice, and the quarterback they want.

As I was working that through my mind on the treadmill, another thought, well actually it was a text from J.D., hit me. Not only do teams want quarterbacks, but the ninth pick also could secure other skill players, namely Prince Amakamura and Julio Jones should they fall.

After discussing with J.D., we came to the conclusion that there are four other teams that might want to trade up for the ninth overall pick should either Julio Jones or Prince Amakamura fall. Beside Minnesota, the Detroit Lions also have a need for a cornerback like Amakamura, and there is no way that Amakamura falls past the Houston Texans at 12. The Texans had the worst pass defense to possibly ever grace a football field. You can guarantee that Amakamura is not dropping past them.

The Detroit Lions are definitely a team that is on the verge of actually contending, and Amakamura could definitely help out there. So, if Detroit is willing to fork over enough, they can get the ninth pick and a possible shutdown corner. They definitely need one after ranking 16th in passing yards allowed.

Now, the likelihood of that happening is small because teams don’t generally reach for cornerbacks, but quarterbacks and wide receivers? Much more likely.

Which brings us to the idea that if Julio Jones falls to the Cowboys, the Redskins are also a prime target for him to go to with their best receiver, Santana Moss, hitting free agency whenever free agency occurs. Julio Jones is a very highly touted receiver, so teams that want that big wideout will definitely want to trade up to secure him.

The teams that need a receiver are: the St. Louis Rams at 14, the New England Patriots at 17, and the San Diego Chargers at 18.

The Rams have the biggest need for receiver out of them all. Their two top receivers had season-ending injuries last year, and Sam Bradford needs a real legitimate target to have besides Danny Amendola. The Rams may be willing to exchange a great deal for Julio Jones.

The Patriots are the ideal trading mate. They have so many draft picks that it is ridiculous. They have the 17th and 28th overall picks, and they have the 33rd overall pick, which is the top pick of the second round. If you want an ideal partner, it is them. I’d love to have those three picks. However, the Patriots have those picks because they are shrewd rather than stupid.

J.D. believes that Belichick would want a chance to draft a big play wideout in Julio Jones because they traded Randy Moss and nobody else stretches the field like him.

J.D., I have to disagree man. I just don’t believe that Belichick will want to trade all that or even part of that for Julio Jones. I wish he would, but I doubt the Patriots trade up when they’ve tried to trade down.

However, I’d still give Belichick a call and see if I don’t get a “No thank you” from him. Getting the 17th, 28th, and 33rd picks would be a huge acquisition. Heck, even getting the 17th and 33rd would be huge for Dallas.

Lastly, the San Diego Chargers are a team that had special teams mishaps cost them the playoffs. The 2010 Chargers are a perfect example forever of how special teams impacts the game. They were second in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense. With numbers like that, they should’ve made the playoffs and maybe even the Super Bowl, but they lost at least three or four games due to horrible special teams.

Instead of being 12-4 or 13-3, they were a 9-7 failure.

Now, the Chargers do need a real receiver for Philip Rivers. Vincent Jackson is still franchised, but he may hold out again, and A.J. Smith is like a bulldog with a bone in his mouth. He is not going to sway from his stance. Jackson will either not play or he’ll play on Smith’s terms.

That’s part of the reason why I highly doubt Dallas will squeeze the Chargers of anything. Not only are they already an elite team without a top wideout and since A.J. Smith is one of the most stubborn people you would meet in any walk of life, I have doubts as to the abilities of not just Jerry Jones, but anyone, to get that guy to budge.

He’s the guy who drafted Eli Manning when Eli Manning did not want to play for San Diego, and he held Manning in his grasp until the New York Giants traded Philip Rivers, a 2005 first round pick that became Shawn Merriman, a 2004 third round pick that was used to get Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding, and a 2004 fifth round pick that eventually was traded to Tampa Bay for Roman Oben who was a very good left tackle for the Chargers for about two years.

So, if Smith can gut the Giants when he was in a lose-type of a situation by drafting somebody who had publicly said that he did not want to play for the Chargers, then I don’t think even Jerry Jones could get that guy in a bad deal.

That’s what the Cowboys would do if I were in charge. Will they do it? It is possible, but is it probable? That remains to be seen.

Why should Dallas do this though? Can’t they just draft whomever they want at the ninth overall spot and not worry themselves with trades?

They could do that, but it would not be prudent. They need more picks people. It is the sixth rounders at the end of the day who put you over the top. They could get a few more picks for more players and more talent and still come out with the player that they want in the end.

Also, there is one more side. Rookie players are paid on a ratio to where they are drafted. If Dallas drafts a top 10 player, he’ll want top 10 player money, but if he’s draft 15th or 16th overall, he can only ask for top 20 player money.

Not only can Dallas get more talent, but they can save themselves money by trading down.

I won’t guarantee Dallas does trade, but I will say that I’ll be surprised if the commissioner announces Dallas’s pick at the number nine spot.

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This article was originally posted an NFLtouchdown.com here

Never Miss A Game – A Series of Cowboys Schedule Graphics

I proudly present to you our first series of Cowboys 2011 Schedule graphics. You can see all 10 new graphics in our graphics gallery – click here.

Designs include:


Save them, collect them, print them. Use one on your website, put one on your fridge, tack one on your bulletin board, or keep one in your wallet.

Hope you enjoy, and there’s more to come!


All times on graphics are Central Time and (like anything in the NFL) are subject to change.