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Who Would Leave You Starstruck?

How many Dallas Cowboy fans have met a player and was so in awe that you where Starstruck?

My granddaughter asked me if I had ever met a player and if I passed out. Well, I didn’t pass out, but close to it when my parents surprised me by being taken back stage when Danny White was singing in Tulsa.

I couldn’t speak.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Daryl Johnston and I talked to him about the picture I brought to sign of his first touchdown.

Another time, Ken Norton Jr. asked me about my Zuba pants when he was signing my football card, and Nate Newton was a sweetheart when he signed a picture for me.

That made me wonder, what player would actually leave me Starstruck now?

I would have to say it probably would be Emmitt Smith, Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware. I don’t think I would be speechless, but I sure would be shaking in their presence.

What we want to know is which current or past player would leave you Starstruck?

Tell us your Starstruck stories.

I know I am not the only fan that has had that experience, so please share your own experiences with us. I can’t wait to hear your stories.

Vote For The LSS Cowboys Rookie Of The Year

The Dallas Cowboys 2011 Rookie class was one of the best in recent years. The Cowboys drafted a lot of talent, but even the walk-on players were a pleasant surprise.  I have learned so much over the years writing our “New to the Silver and Blue” columns.   Let’s have some fun… We are going to have a contest for LoneStarStuck.com readers to help us elect the winner of our 1st Annual LSS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD. :-)

There were 15 rookies on the team this season, but only a few of them took advantage of their opportunities and ran with it.  When those rookies were called on, it gave the starters some pause to look over their shoulders and sweat a little.

We want to know who you think deserves the honor of ” LSS Rookie Of The Year” !

Here are you five candidates:

Out of the fifteen I feel  these  five are  the most deserving of this honor.

[polldaddy poll=”5956424″]

May The Best Cowboy Rookie Win!

Last Mock Off Season Of January 2012

I have been busy with my off season addiction of researching free agents and draft hopefuls again. Right now I am knee deep in mock drafts and have completed a few complete off seasons as well. I am also currently finishing up my defensive analysis, which I will post in a couple days before leaving for Florida to work for a bit. Here is the last off season mock I made and posted on my Facebook page a couple days ago. Keep in mind this is just fantasy, but I try to be as realistic as possible, keeping in mind salary CAP and position needs as well as player availability both in free agency and each round of the draft. I do this for fun and hopefully you all will have some fun reading this and coming up with your own ideas as well. It’s a long off season and we have to keep busy some how. Enjoy…
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I want to preface this one by acknowledging the fact that there is no way to make everyone happy. The moves (or non-moves) in this one that people will complain about is not resigning Laurent Robinson and Tony Fiammetta. Also, not having better depth behind Victor Butler and Bruce Carter, so this one is a gamble. Then again, aren’t they all? Let me explain my thoughts before getting into free agents signed and the draft.

In this scenario, Laurent Robinson finds a much higher payday than Dallas is willing to shell out for it’s 4th option on offense, and decides it’s a much better idea to fortify other positions with that money. As for Fiammetta, his health concerns cause Jerry to wait until camp to see if he is an absolute need. There is no doubt, his blocking skills were directly related to Murray’s rookie success, so this one will be closely monitored. For now, the money is used to backup Romo, with the economical choice of Brady Quinn. Anthony Spencer finds a Chris Canty-like deal that is too rich for the Cowboys blood and Ryan decides he can roll with Victor Butler and a new young player from the draft. This decision also indirectly influences the first round pick in the draft.

Free Agents Signed:

Carl Nicks OG 7 years $57 million with $15 million signing bonus (contract comparable to former Saint’s teammate Jahri Evans)

This is the big move of the year. Nicks will pair with Tyron Smith to protect Romo’s blindside, giving him the time needed to make the critical reads.

Richard Marshall CB 6 years $28 million with $10 million guaranteed (contract similar to Scandrick’s)

Marshall was named defense MVP by Arizona Cardinal’s DC Ray Horton.He is a solid cover corner and tackles well. He was also used at safety last year when FS Kerry Rhodes was sidelined with a foot injury. Richard will come in and compete with Orlando Scandrick for a starting spot.

Thomas DeCoud FS 6 years $25 million with $8 million guaranteed (contract similar to Sensebaugh’s)

DeCoud became a solid starter in Atlanta, but became a CAP casualty with so many other priorities and William Moore as a fallback option. This is an upgrade for the Dallas secondary compared to resigning Elam to play SS and Sensebugh to stay at FS.

Brady Quinn QB 3 years $8 million with $4 million guaranteed

There are quite a few options here at this price, but Quinn is my flavor of the week. I could also see Chad Henne getting a look here.

 

2012 Dallas Cowboys Draft:

1. Devon Still DT/DE Penn State

Still is currently the 10th rated player and top rated DT in this years draft. I could also see Quinton Coples or Michael Brockers going here. The idea behind this pick is that I believe Courtney Upshaw will be gone by the 14th pick (probably to Buffalo at 10) and the dline has been ignored for years. If you watch today’s NFL QB’s against a 3-4 defense, most are aware of the edge rushers (OLB’s) and step up into the pocket to avoid pressure. If the pressure is also coming from the inside, it’s a different ballgame. Ratliff at NT and Hatcher and Still at DE, combined with Butler and Ware on the outside could be the upgrade in pressure that we’ve been lacking since the switch to a 3-4.

2. Ben Jones C/G Georgia

Jones is the second rated center in this year’s draft, but the perfect fir for Garrett’s offense. Ben is versatile, smart and strong. When asked what his greatest asset was at the senior bowl, his response was “My intelligence, I’m a smart guy. I can get the whole offensive line on the same page and I’m tough as hell.” One of our oline weaknesses for years was that the center doesn’t make the line adjustments. Kosier has been that guy and with age and injuries catching up to Kyle, Jones would be the perfect choice for the future at center.

3. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

Norman caught the attention of scouts at the senior bowl. Although a small school player, his height, (6’2”) physicality, smoothness and great hands make him an intriguing prospect and worth the 3rd round grade he is currently receiving from most draft sights. Josh could be the steal of the draft and everyone knows Jerry likes to gamble on players with high upside to make him look like a genius.

4. T.Y. Hilton WR/PR Florida International

Hilton is another small school athlete with tremendous upside. He could potentially replace Laurent Robinson’s void as the 4th offensive option as well as provide a legitimate weapon on punt returns, finally keeping starting WR Dez Bryant off special teams. Although small in stature, (5’10” 185lbs.) T.Y.’s straight line speed, hands and elusiveness make him a weapon defenses must account for at all times.

4. (comp pick for Stephen Bowen) Tank Carder ILB TCU

Depth is needed on the inside after losing former starters Keith Brooking and Bradie James. Tank is a tough, physical player with great tackling technique. Carder was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year in 2011.

5. Jack Crawford DE/OLB Penn State

Crawford is the second Penn State player taken in this draft and would be the third Nitny Lion on the 2012 defense joining starter Sean Lee and first round pick Devon Still. I really like his size for the position. (6’5” 270 lbs.) Crawford has tremendous work-ethic and energy and could be counted on for significant contributions during his rookie season rotating with Victor Butler on the strong side.

6. Beau Reliford TE Florida State

If Jerry doesn’t get caught up in the en-vogue two-tight end receiver option, Beau could be the cheaper solid blocking tight end needed after losing head-case Martellus Bennett to free agency. Reliford is a former basketball all-star and has the size (6’5” 260 lbs.) and athletic ability (like Bennett) to excel in Garrett’s offense.

7. Emil Igwenagu FB Massachusetts

Choosing not to resign Fiammetta right away and the slow progress of last year’s draft pick, Sean Chapas, leaves a void in the lead blocking department, which is essential to the health of the running game in Garrett’s 90’s style offense. With few teams looking for traditional fullbacks in this new era of passing prominence, Igwenagu has the receiving skills to do damage on the perimeter when not blasting holes in the running game. He was also voted team captain in 2011, something JG holds to a high regard.

 

A Bad Ending for A Great Prospect!

In watching the pre-season games this year a few names have stood out, but the one I was really excited about was Raymond Radway.  It seemed he had what it took to win a spot on the roster and in the final 3 seconds of preseason, his year abruptly ended with a bad break. 

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Raymond Radway was perhaps three seconds away from making the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. Radway, the undrafted rookie wide receiver from McKinney, suffered a broken left fibula and tibia and will have surgery immediately after the team returns to Dallas.

ESPN reports that Radway’s fibula and tibia are broken.  I hate to see anyone on either team hurt in a game I’m watching but in looking at that play, I could tell it was going to be a bad one!  God speed Radway!  We hope you have a fast recovery, and look forward to seeing you out there again in a Cowboys uniform!

Ryan’s Tribute To Landry

In our first pre-season game did anyone notice the defense ran a 4-3 flex defense on the first play?
There were three linebackers on the field and in the middle was a player wearing the No. 54. Cowboys fans were taken back to a time, when the Cowboy’s first and only coach, wearing his suit and his famous hat was standing on the sideline.

On the first play from scrimmage, new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called for the team’s starters to line up in the 4-3 Flex, a formation conceived by Tom Landry — the legendary coach whose fingerprints are all over this franchise.

“Without living in the past, we try to put that in front of our players to understand what the tradition means, what the star means, what the standard is and all that,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “I think it fits in with all of that. It was Rob’s idea all the way. He brought it up to me and I said I love that. That’s tremendous.”

The Cowboys worked on the formation in practice and didn’t wait long to show it to fans expecting to see one of Ryan’s cutting-edge defensive alignments. Instead, they watched No. 54, reserve linebacker Kenwin Cummings, jump in a three-point stance and play the role of Randy White, the Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle who was the centerpiece of the “Doomsday Defense” that scared opponents in the 1970’s.

It also proved effective. Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware batted down Denver quarterback Kyle Orton’s pass at the line of scrimmage. After the game, he beamed when reminded of the play — one that seemed ripped from the Cowboys’ glorious past.

“It was a tribute,” Ware said.

A tribute that I would of never dreamed would come from Rob Ryan. My hats goes off to you Coach Ryan! It shows that you understand the history of the Dallas Cowboys and respect that. That alone makes this Cowboy Fan have respect for you.

Drew Pearson To Be Inducted In The Ring of Honor?

Drew Pearson will be the next player inducted into the  Cowboys’ Ring of Honor, is the rumor floating around Cowboy Nation.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, citing an anonymous source, reported Saturday that Pearson is the one. And last fall, Roger Staubach told a Dallas TV station that Pearson would be the next player added to the list.

The Ring of Honor has 15 players in it, plus Tom Landry and Tex Schramm.  Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is the sole decision-maker and hasn’t added anyone  since Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin went in during the 2005  season.

Jones said Saturday that he intends to add a player to the team’s Ring of  Honor at Cowboys Stadium this season, though he wouldn’t name the player.

“We would like to make that announcement separately, but we are; we are  planning to,” Jones said.

There has been speculation for a while that Pearson would be Jones’ choice.  Pearson played for the Cowboys from 1973-83 and had 489 catches for 7,822 yards  and 48 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Pro and was named to the league’s  All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

Pearson first made the No. 88 famous in Dallas, with more big catches than  any other receiver in the team’s history. His Hail Mary reception in the waning  moments of a 1975 playoff game against the Vikings is one of the most famous in  NFL history. He also clinched a ’73 playoff victory over the Los Angeles Rams  with a touchdown catch, and he was on the receiving end of Clint Longley’s pass  in the 1974 Thanksgiving Day comeback against the Redskins. He also had two  touchdowns in a playoff victory over the Falcons in 1980. Pearson’s big catches  earned him the nickname “Mr. Clutch.”

Pearson said he would welcome inclusion into the Ring of Honor.

“Every time I stepped on that Texas Stadium turf to play a game for the Dallas Cowboys, I looked up at that Ring of Honor,” he recalled. “I wanted to be the kind of player who deserved that type of recognition. It motivated me. This would be the highlight of my career.”

Deion Sanders’ name has been rumored also.  I read that he didn’t feel comfortable about it because he only played half of his career with the Cowboys. I’m one of who those that believe that the Ring of Honor should be reserved for those that have spent their entire career or at least most of it as a Dallas Cowboy.

For more on Drew Pearson read this post by Joe D who included him in his “Legends” series.

Getting Up To Speed

If you’re like me, the last off season has been worrisome with the lock-out, not knowing what changes to expect or even if there would be a season this year.  I have to admit, I have stayed away from writing about the Boys because I didn’t want to come across as cold or unconcerned about this season…the truth is, I was mad about it.  We all know that the NFL is a money making machine and for the most part, we are all willing to pay our share to revel in our teams victories, but making the fans believe that there may not even be a season is just cruel.  It seems to me that greed plays far more a roll in the NFL than it should.  But, enough about that, the lock-out is over, practices are in full swing and games begin this week!  It’s about time; this off season has felt like the longest in history!

In trying to make it though until practices started and not much happening in the off season with cuts, etc., I had to get up to speed on what all has happened and thought there maybe others who needed to do the same.  Below is the listing of the cuts and signings the Cowboys have made this year so far to bring us all current.  A few I totally agree with, a few I don’t, and honestly a few I’ve never heard of but will have high hopes for this year.  How do you feel about the cuts or the signings?

I have had enough of the excuses, enough of the bitter disappointments, enough of the changes and re-building…I want to see some major “W’s” in our column this year and expect a play-off run all the way through to the big game.  It’s time for our team to shine again and make everyone remember why the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team!

 

8/3 Jason Hatcher re-signed/unrestricted
free agent (three-year contract).Abram Elam signed/unrestricted
free agent (one-year contract).

Gerald
Sensabaugh
re-signed/unrestricted free agent (one-year contract).

8/2 Kai Forbath signed.Lawon Scott cut.

Jeff Moturi cut.

8/1 James Cleveland signed.Jimmy Saddler-McQueen acquired from waivers.
7/31 Tysson Poots signed.
7/30 Jesse Holley re-signed/exclusive
rights free agent.Bryan McCann re-signed/exclusive rights free agent.

Alan Ball re-signed/restricted
free agent (one-year contract).

Kenyon Coleman signed/unrestricted
free agent.

Kyle Kosier re-signed/unrestricted
free agent (three-year contract).

Doug Free re-signed/unrestricted
free agent (four-year contract).

7/29 Marcus Spears re-signed/unrestricted
free agent.DeMarco Murray signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Alex Ibiloye signed.

Bruce Carter signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Frank Warren signed.

Lawon Scott signed.

7/28 Kelvin Smith cut.Travis Bright cut.

Shaun Chapas signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Chris Jones signed.

Keenan Mace signed.

Laupepa Letuli signed.

Collin Zych signed.

Billy Blackard signed.

Orie Lemon signed.

Chris Randle signed.

Corey Adams signed.

Josh Thomas signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Alex Albright signed.

Tyron Smith signed/draft choice (four-year contract (fifth-year option)).

Zack Eskridge signed.

Dwayne Harris signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Mario Butler signed.

Kevin Kowalski signed.

Bill Nagy signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Jose Acuna signed.

Phillip Tanner signed.

Lyle Leong signed.

Dan Bailey signed.

Raymond Radway signed.

David Arkin signed/draft choice (four-year contract).

Marion Barber cut.

Leonard Davis cut.

Marc Colombo cut.

Kris Brown cut.

Troy Bergeron cut.

Robert Brewster
cut.

Roy Williams cut.

7/25 Alan Ball Restricted
Free Agent.Gerald
Sensabaugh
declared free agent.

Marcus Spears declared
free agent.

Leon Williams declared
free agent.

Alex Barron declared
free agent.

Kyle Kosier declared
free agent.

Jason Hatcher declared
free agent.

Stephen Bowen declared
free agent.

Doug Free declared
free agent.

Sam Hurd declared
free agent.

Chris Greisen declared free agent.

 

Check Out Undrafted Free Agent, Orie Lemon

Another Oklahoma State player agreed to terms with our Dallas Cowboys.  His name is Orie Lemon.  Yet another undrafted free agent!!  

Orie, a coverted quarterback, is an inside linebacker, and for those that don’t  know I live in Oklahoma (Yes I am a Okie!) and I watched Lemon play and explode in his Senior year.  This young man is talented. I can’t believe some of the good players that went undrafted this year.

A first-team All-Big 12 honoree as a Senior in 2010.  Lemon’s calling card was productivity, as he ranked among the national leaders with 133 tackles and had 101 solo stops. He garnered Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Orie stands 6’1′, 243 pound-er a good size for a linebacker.  I would like to see Bradie James take this young talent under his wing.  Orie reminds me a little of Bradie.  He’s averaged 10 tackles a game, but he also has speed – running a 4.87 in the 40 yard dash.

As a senior at Yates High School, Lemon, who played quarterback,  passed for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns. He made the Dallas Morning News Top 100 list and was recruited along with OSU by  Arkansas, Houston, Tennessee, LSU and USC.

Best of Luck in camp and I think we will be seeing this young man stick anif he can stay within himself and do his thing. 

I wonder what his nickname will be?

The Battle Is On!

The Dallas Cowboys are known for signing undrafted free agents and making them Superstars.  They may have another  in the making when they signed former Oklahoma State standout kicker Dan Bailey.

The 2010 Lou Groza Award winner as the best kicker in college football, Bailey was tabbed as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

Dan Bailey wears the #5, and was born January 26, 1988 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended Southwest Covenant school in Yukon, Oklahoma.  His frame is a good size for a kicker at  6ft and weighing in at 197 pounds.

He entered the OSU program as a walk-on and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 370 career points. He set a single season school record with 27 field goals.  Bailey ranked second in the nation in scoring his Senior year and set a school record by hitting his first 182 extra point attempts.

After not being drafted and months of down time he is now in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys trying to win the starting spot for the teams placekicker.  Bailey, who missed only two extra points during his career at OSU, appears ready to take on the challenge. ” I am excited,” Bailey said ” I think it is a good opportunity.”

With Brown being being cut that leaves Bailey and David Buehler.  Buehler struggled at times last season with field  goals inside the 40 yard line.

“If it works out, great,” Bailey said. ” If not, it’s still a great experience.”

In his first practice, he made 4 of 4 , but his 35 yarder hit the left upright and  went in when a rusher flew at him.

We all know kickers don’t get all the fanfare the other players get, but they suddenly become the single most important person in the stadium when the game is tied with seconds left on the clock.

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

Final Mock Draft of 2011

This version of The 2011 Cowboys Mock Draft has Jerry wheelin’ and dealin’ as usual, only this time, he comes out smelling like roses. Yeah, I know. Completely unrealistic already. Well, read it anyway and see what ya think. I used my usual rankings at: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/prospectrankings however, this time I looked around to see what other teams could be doing as opposed to going strictly by the rankings. Trade values are standard and can be checked here: http://walterfootball.com/draftchart.php

Remember this is just for fun and maybe we can all learn a little about some of the athletes entering the league.

*Note* The first number represents the round of the draft and the number after the decimal represents the overall number of the pick.

Now on to the draft!
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  • 1.9 **TRADE TO ST. LOUIS** St. Louis selects Julio Jones WR Alabama
    St. Louis sees AJ Green go too early to make a realistic move. Trading up to #9, where their second choice, Jones, is still available makes perfect sense for a young team in need of a play-making wide receiver. Dallas makes it interesting by trading picks 1.9, 3.71 and 6.176 for The Ram’s 1.14, 2.47, 4.112 and 7.216. St. Louis now owns picks 1.9, 3.71, 3.78, 5.145 and 6.176.

 

  • 1.14 **TRADE TO SAN DIEGO!!!** San Diego selects Cameron Jordan DE Cal OR JJ Watt DE Wisconsin.
    Both New England and San Diego inquired about pick #9 but both decided it to be too costly. Again, at 14, Dallas fields offers and San Diego comes out on top, while still having picks in the first three rounds. Dallas trades 1.14 for The Charger’s 1.18, 3.82 and 6.183. San Diego now owns picks 1.14, 2.50, 2.61, 3.89, 6.201 and 7.234.

 

  • 1.18 Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
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    Castonzo and/or Tyron Smith could be gone by pick 18 with a handful of teams considering taking an OT higher than they should. I’m betting on Smith being the first one taken, despite worries that he might not be ready to start right away. Dallas scouts watched Castonzo’s career religiously at Boston College. He, like Smith, is believed to be able to play either right or left tackle in the NFL. Having that versatility is a good thing on a line that is in rebuilding mode in Dallas. Gabe Carimi has been my favorite of this class to play right tackle, however he hasn’t been invited to the ranch and there is shockingly no buzz about him to Dallas what so ever. I would also consider Mike Pouncey C/OG Florida with this pick if both tackles are gone.

 

  • 2.40 Rahim Moore FS UCLA
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    Some believe he will be gone by our pick at 40. I don’t think he is a high second rounder in any other draft year other than a year like this where the crop is extremely underwhelming in talent. Moore had a breakout year in ’09 where he picked off a whopping 10 passes, then went back to a pedestrian 1 in ’10. A safety should not be judged on interceptions alone, but we are in the market for a play maker. I hope we get the ’09 version or more of the same could be in our future. I am not a fan of this year’s safety class, but drafting one can not be ignored yet again.

 

  • 2.47 Stefen Wisniewski C/OG Penn State
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    If I didn’t make a mock with the “WIZ”, my mock draft buddies would kill me. He is a fan favorite of Dallas mockers world-wide. Like Owen Marecic (whom we will talk about shortly) , Stefen represents everything you would want from a football player and just so happens to be a strong need at both guard positions as well as center, where the majority of experts project him to excel at the NFL level. With Davis’ skills rapidly declining, Kosier still unsigned and Gurode’s degenerative knee problems, this is a perfect pick to upgrade the o-line. Like I said earlier with the first pick, if Smith and Castonzo are gone at pick 18 and Dallas selects OG Mike Pouncey, this pick could be an OT such as Marcus Cannon from TCU.

 

  • 3.82 Marcus Gilchrist CB/KR/PR Clemson
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    Dallas’ secondary problems are well documented and help is needed across the board. Gilchrist is a versatile corner who also excels at kick and punt returning. Marcus has 207 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, 19 pass breakups, three caused fumbles, two recovered fumbles, 722 yards on 27 kickoff returns, and 261 yards on 27 punt returns in 52 games (27 starts) in his career at Clemson. At the very least, he should assume Alan Ball’s #4 corner spot behind Orlando Scandrick, (who is in a contract year) helping us with youth and CAP relief during his first year in Dallas.

 

  • 4.110 Ian Williams DT Notre Dame
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    I traded up for Ian in my last mock to pick #127 and I believe with a premium at NT in this draft, he could go even higher. Ian had a pre-combine visit with Dallas and is a prime candidate to rotate with Josh Price-Brent, allowing Ratliff to make his long awaited move to Igor Olshansy’s position at RDE. (freeing Igor’s $3.335 million salary) I know Rob Ryan said Ratliff is and will be a DT, but he didn’t say in what packages. Ratliff could be a DE in the base 3-4 package and a DT in others. I think Ryan is smart enough to put his best players on the field and having options is nice.

 

  • 4.112 Kelvin Sheppard ILB LSU
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    Bradie James will love this pick. Although he will be Bradie’s eventual replacement, Sheppard is an LSU alum as is James. The similarities don’t stop there. Bradie was taken in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. The joke would be that Bradie will always be 9 players better than Kelvin. (Bradie at 103, Kelvin at 112) I’ll be happy if he’s just a solid contributor. His speed and reliable open-field tackling also made the former high-school track star a standout on special teams.

 

  • 5.143 Owen Marecic FB Stanford
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    Only because this is such a strong FB class do I believe it is possible to still get Marecic at pick 143. The emergence of Charles Clay, Stanley Havili and Henry Hynoski should let one drop to Dallas here and improve at a very weak position. Marecic is exactly the type of player I want on this roster. He puts his head down and works hard. This is the extreme value pick of this draft. To boot, anyone opposed to taking a FB should look at the undrafted player responsible for ending the seasons, because of missed blocks, for both Romo and Bryant in 2010.

 

  • 6.183 Stevan Ridley RB LSU
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    Ridley recently visited the ranch and it looks like the brass are ready to move on from MBIII and his lopsided contract. The growing belief throughout the league is that you can find good running backs in the later rounds and a high pick on one isn’t a necessity anymore. A bruising back to compliment Felix and Tashard should be relatively easy to achieve with this pick and it’s funny how Stevan is currently rated #183 overall and here we are at that exact pick. Fate? We’ll see…

 

  • 7.216 Justin Boren OG Ohio State
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    “Not since World War II has a football player done what Justin Boren did in 2008. After two seasons at Michigan, Boren transferred to Ohio State, crossing enemy lines in the Big Ten’s most storied rivalry. Displeased with new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez’s attitude and, in his words, “lack of values” and seemed to have difficulty adjusting to the physical demands of Rodriguez’s new no-huddle spread offense. Boren has been known to play with the nasty demeanor offensive line coaches like and was a welcome addition to an OSU line having some protection problems prior to his arrival. But while his decision to transfer alone does not raise character concerns, he must still answer questions about the way he handled himself after making that decision. He is a likely late-round pick for a team that appreciates his strength and competitive attitude.” – CBS Sports.com overview

 

  • 7.220 Willie Smith OT East Carolina
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    The Cowboys need depth at LT and Willie should make a smooth transition having played the position the past two years in East Carolina. Like most late round prospects, he first needs to make the team. Next he needs to develop into an NFL caliber player with our elite coaches, (oline and strength and conditioning) and finally most college scouts don’t believe it would be unreasonable to think Smith could be a starter in 2-3 years. He could be a late round steal much like Jay Ratliff, who was selected 224th overall in the 2005 draft.

 

  • 7.252 Bruce Miller OLB UCF
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    Brandon Williams needs to prove he’s not just another 2009 draft bust. Bruce Miller could be the competition he needs to finally get over the hump. Demarcus Ware believes in him, we just haven’t seen anything yet. Competition at spots such as OLB will be the key to our future strength.

 

  • Free Agency:
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One of these days, a CBA will be hammered out, the owners and players will kiss and make up and free agency will happen. When that day comes, the priority should be resigning our own players first, especially if the restricted tenders don’t stick. Free, Kosier, Bowen and Hatcher should be top priority. While this is being hammered out, word should get to Dawan Landry’s agent that Dallas isn’t committed to Gerald Sensebaugh and are looking to upgrade the position. A feeler is all it should take to get Baltimore to make their modest offer.

“Citing the Ravens’ history at strong safety, the Baltimore Sun does not expect free agent Dawan Landry to be re-signed this year. The Ravens have twice let the starter opposite Ed Reed walk (Will Demps, Jim Leonhard), turning the position over to in-house replacements. If Landry gets to the bidding-war stage, the team will have no qualms about pushing Tom Zbikowski or Haruki Nakamura into the starting lineup.”

Dallas could realistically sign Landry to a 3 year $12 million contract with 8 million guaranteed and steal him away from the Ravens. IMO totally worth it and much more cost effective than previously drafting the top strong safety to start and signing a free agent free safety that would want a very large contract. (Huff, Weddle) We recently went that route with a questionable player (Ken Hamlin) and it didn’t work out so well. Hopefully, Jerry plays this smart and learns his lesson.

 

See you all on the annual draft day chat right here on Lone Star Struck, where we are all sure to to laugh, cry and thoroughly debate personnel decisions in the comfort of our own “War Rooms”…Happy Draft Day Everyone!!! It’s almost here!

A New Season, A New Era

The playoffs are over, the big game is set, and honestly, I wish it was already over.  We all had big hopes for this season and although we didn’t get to see our dream come true…playing in the Super Bowl in our own house, we did finally get a few changes made that were desperately needed.  Wade is gone, Garrett is in…a new era, a new time, a new passion, and much needed discipline. 

Garrett brings in a Johnson-esque style of discipline requiring the players to be more responsible; they actually have to show up on time for practice, no more wandering in whenever they feel like it.  No more showing up or traveling in clothes that are unbefitting America’s Team, they now once again have to look the part.  Full pad practices during the regular season, and big new flashing red digital clocks installed to remind the players the importance of being on time and that there are consequences if they’re not.  Garrett has put a work ethic back into the team and let the players know that the lazy days under Wade are gone, and if they want to play for this team, they had better start earning it.

Since Garrett took over the team, also gone is the average of 20 points per game and fans wondering where their team was and when they would show up.  We all got a glimpse of the team we know and love and were able to cheer on their average of 32 points per game, giving us all hope for the future.

There are a lot of questions and rumors flying about why Garrett didn’t make some of these changes to his offense, since he was in charge of them before he was promoted to the head coach position.  You have to look at the big picture to find that answer.  Although he did call the plays and hope for the execution, he can’t do it all himself.  The players have to want to make it better, want to make it work, and care about their team again.  That has come from the culture change that has been instilled since Garrett took over.  With players showing up to actually play and wanting to make a difference and keep their job, the level of play on offense and defense goes up.  Turn overs are down, penalties are down, allowed sacks are down, and big plays are up.  Now that’s a change we needed to see.

All of this gives us hope for the new season and the future of our team, America’s Team, now and forever!  I say bring it on!!