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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.

 

No More Excuses

With the 2009 NFL Draft just around the corner, Cowboys fans across the nation have more questions than answers. The uncertainty of 2009 has many of us anxious to get this thing started. Predictions of 8-8 by so-called experts have many of us feeling frustrated and insulted.

Opinions of how to reach the pinnacle of the NFL vary as much as the hundreds of mock drafts being put together by football minds all over the country.

I see debates on various sites about who’s to blame and what the answers are. T.O. should not have been released. Owens should have been released. Felix Jones should be the starter. Tashard Choice should be the starter. Marion Barber should be the starter. Romo’s not the answer. Romo is without a doubt the answer. Wade should be fired. Jerry should fire himself.

With the possibility of a Miles Austin exodus looming over our heads, I’m one very nervous Cowboys fan without any real answers.

Keep in mind these are just the surface issues. I could probably write a 5,000 word essay just dealing with the questions Cowboys fans have. With no real answers.

I’m compelled to believe we can all agree on one thing. The time for excuses is over.

No more riding on our laurels. No more talk about 13-3 or 13 Pro Bowlers. No more “But this team did this and that team did that”. Time to lay to rest 2007 and 2008. The only true way to move forward is to( as cliche as it may sound) put the past behind us and don’t look back. No more talk about 44-6.

The pressure on this team to succeed – from top to bottom – is more intense than at any time that I can remember. This season will answer many questions. It is a make-or-break year for this organization. The time is now for Mr. Jones, Mr Phillips, Mr. Garrett, and Mr. Romo.

The time is now. No more excuses.

Cowboys Secondary is a Primary Concern

We are three weeks into free agency and I have to admit am very concerned about our secondary situation.

First, we release Adam Jones, which even though he has skills was a must move. Then we trade Anthony Henry for our new backup quarterback. I still don’t understand the move with free agents like Garcia and Leftwich still out there looking for jobs.

Another questionable move was the Roy Williams release. As bad as he was in pass coverage, he is better than what we have right now.

The only addition to  the secondary is Gerald Sensabaugh, who is mediocre at best. Although Sensabaugh did have his best year in Jacksonville in 2008, he has had some trouble with the law. After being arrested three times, the latest in February, he may start the season on suspension by the NFL. This signing baffles me. He is the exact type of player the Cowboys are trying to avoid, but thats another story for a different time.

Safeties… So as of right now Ken Hamlin and Patrick Watkins are our starting safeties, with Tra Battle and Courtney Brown as backups. Sensabaugh will jump into the starting lineup whenever he is available to play. This absolutely scares me that we have no one better than him to start. Keith Davis is still on the roster but expected to sign somewhere else shortly. There is very little left out in free agency. A Darren Sharper or Mike Brown maybe, but signing Sensabaugh tells me Jerry is not looking for another safety in free agency. I have seen Patrick Chung in a lot of mock drafts being there for the Cowboys at pick 51. He is a Roy Williams type that has better speed to play the pass. He would be a nice addition to the secondary and I could even see him jumping into the starting lineup at some point in ’09. After Chung the pool of safeties is not very deep so lets hope he stays out there for the ‘Boys.

Cornerbacks… Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins are the starters right now, with Scandrick and Ball as their backups. This is the scariest position for the Cowboys in my mind. With three of the four corners having 2 years or less experience in the NFL and Newman constantly being injured, it seems like a recipe for disaster. I hear people say we need to let the younger guys develop. That’s the smart thing to do, but you don’t develop them by throwing them out into the starting lineup on a team that should be contending for the Super Bowl. Jerry needs to sign a veteran so the younger guys can learn by being out there on 3 or 4 receiver sets.

Scandrick and Jenkins have skills but I’d much rather see them learning against a 3rd or 4th receiver rather than getting torched by a one or two. Ken Lucas was released last week, I would love to see Jerry go after him. Other than that Dre Bly and Chris Mccallister are the only semi-decent corners left. Taking a corner in the draft just isn’t going to happen. The ‘Boys have three young talented guys they just need some guidance from experienced veterans. I don’t even want to think about how devastating it would be if Newman got injured, but recent history has shown us there is a good chance.

I know a lot of you are saying as long as we get pressure on the quarterback the young guys will be fine, right? Yes, we led the league in sacks last year, but (and I am not going to throw a big stat at you) the Cowboys had no consistent pressure at all! (Igor Olshansky should help.) Games like the Tampa, Seattle, and San Francisco  are a great examples. Yes we won the games and yes we stopped them in the red zone, but these three pathetic offenses moved the ball on us at will between the twenties. If those were decent teams we could just as easily lost.

Honestly, I hope I am wrong and that the young guys thrive. I just don’t see how we can contend for our sixth ring with the secondary in the shape it’s in.

 I am going to leave you with my stat of the offseason. The Cowboys only had 8 interceptions last year. Yes, that’s right, only 8! One pick was by a pass rush specialist, Greg Ellis, and four by Newman, that leaves only 3 picks by the rest of the secondary. That is pathetic! Only Detroit and Denver had less interceptions than the ‘Boys did last year. The Cowboys need to improve the secondary or we have no chance of contending for the Super Bowl in ’09.

THE UNOFFICIAL START TO THE 2009 SEASON

Free agency started overnight and for a lot of us fans the new season has just begun.

The bad taste that has been in my mouth since the Cowboys lost in Philadelphia is slowly disappearing. Even though the Cowboys are not projected to make any big signings, this is what being a Cowboys fan is all about. You know what I mean don’t you?

Debating who should back up Tony, or  looking for a veteran safety, corner, or inside linebacker… Cowboys talk is just great!  

Then we have the draft.

The draft is probably my favorite weekend of the year. Mock drafts followed by mock drafts, and even more mock drafts, I just cant get enough!

Then OTA’s, mini-camps, and talking about how players are looking, and  what our chances are in 09. 

I just cannot get enough Cowboy chatter. Then before you know it its July and we are talking training camp which I will be attending for the first time in my life! And just like that we are breaking down our first matchup in week one. 

Isn’t this is what being a die hard Cowboys fan is all about.

The Sunday Spot by Fredooch

Hey guys, whats up? I am going to go on a little rant here so please bear with me.

First thing I want to talk about is the whole two sided argument of why taking Felix Jones at 22 and not Rashard Mendenhall is the better fit and why it isn’t. First, let me say that I would of taken Mendenhall without even blinking an eye. Many draft boards had this guy in the top 10. No one had this guy falling all the way to Dallas at 22. You should of seen Pittsburgh’s War room reaction once Roger Goodell announced the Cowboys had selected Felix Jones. Its as if the Steelers had won the Superbowl in that war room, and guess what, they might of just did.

In any case, Felix Jones will be a great fit "complimenting" Marion Barber. The thing is, you dont draft complimentary players in the 1st round. You draft starters. The 22nd pick had Jerry Jones written all over it. Arkansas guy picks Arkansas guy. Some teams had Mendenhall higher on their draft boards than McFadden. So this question goes out to Jerry, If McFadden had fallen all the way to 22nd, would you still have drafted Felix Jones because he is still the better "Complimentary" player? Many people will argue that Felix Jones was the guy the Cowboys wanted all along as many mock drafts, including mine, had the Cowboys selecting Felix Jones, so why all the whinning?

Well, like I stated before, no one had Mendenhall falling all the way to 22. The guy is a stud. He is faster and stronger than Felix Jones and can take a hit. I just hope that this pick doesn’t haunt Dallas for years to come just like Randy Moss haunted Dallas for not taking him in the 1998 draft. I will give Dallas a C on this pick. Would of been a A++++ if they would of gotten Mendenhall. Anyways, enough about that. It’s done and over with. Blah!

Next is Mike Jenkins at 27. I cant really say much on this pick but if there is something we need, its DB’s. I was hoping for the Cromartie kid but Jenkins was next on my list. The film on this kid looks great and I believe he will immediately become the nickel DB. He is a 1st round pick, I wouldnt have it any other way. I give the boys a B on this one.

I am not gonna go into detail on everyother player the Boys drafted so I will just give them an overall grade of C+ on this draft. The second day became very painful to watch as the Cowboys kept trading down and down and down and down and down. I almost threw my cell phone at the TV after the 4rth trade in a row hoping Dallas would just trade anyone.

It all worked out in the end and we got two extra picks for next years draft, an extra 3rd and 4rth. I would of given the Cowboys an A in this draft if the would of selected Mendenhall and selected WR James Hardy in the 2nd round. It would of been an A- if we would of gotten just Mendenhall. Anyways, its done and over with. No use of crying over spilled milk.

So I will leave it at that and now can’t wait for July to come around until training camp starts. So see ya next time kiddies! Same Cowboys Time! Same Cowboys Place! Same Cowboys Channel!