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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

Vote Romo Player of the Week on NFL.COM

We just received this official press release and want to share the good news with you. Tony Romo is up for FedEx Player of the Week once again, and he needs your support. Place your votes now!

BENGALS QB CARSON PALMER, CHARGERS QB PHILIP RIVERS & COWBOYS QB TONY ROMO; BENGALS RB CEDRIC BENSON, PACKERS RB RYAN GRANT & JETS RB SHONN GREENE CANDIDATES FOR FEDEX AIR & GROUND® NFL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK HONORS

Fans To Vote For Winners On NFL.com

FedEx Delivers Pedestrian Safety Improvements On Behalf of Winning Players In Their Teams’ Markets

Quarterbacks CARSON PALMER of the Cincinnati Bengals, PHILIP RIVERS of the San Diego Chargers and TONY ROMO of the Dallas Cowboys are the finalists for the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week honors for games played on October 25 – 26, while running backs CEDRIC BENSON of the Cincinnati Bengals, RYAN GRANT of the Green Bay Packers and SHONN GREENE of the New York Jets are the finalists for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week, the NFL announced today.

Fans can vote for one player in each category on NFL.com/FedEx from 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday through noon EST on Friday to determine the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week. The winners will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com.

Fans will be voting for more than their favorite player. As part of the Air & Ground program, FedEx continues its support of Safe Kids USA – a national non-profit organization that works to prevent accidental injury among children – by making weekly $1,000 donations in the winning players’ names. The funding, allocated to local Safe Kids coalitions in that team’s city, is used for pedestrian safety improvements throughout the year, from upgraded crosswalks and street signage to traffic barriers and educational training.

For a second season, fans can tune into the “FedEx Air & Ground Lowdown” posted exclusively on NFL.com/FedEx starting Wednesday mornings. The show examines the nominees in the Air & Ground categories through exclusive video highlights and expert analysis. NFL Network’s RICH EISEN and MARSHALL FAULK host the weekly five-minute show.

A closer look at the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week finalists:

• Cincinnati’s CARSON PALMER threw five touchdowns, completing 20 of 24 passes for 233 yards in the Bengals’ 45 – 10 win over the Chicago Bears.

• San Diego’s PHILIP RIVERS completed 18 of 30 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ 37 – 7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

• Dallas’ TONY ROMO completed 21 of 29 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 37 – 21 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

A closer look at the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week finalists:

• Cincinnati’s CEDRIC BENSON rushed 37 times for 189 yards and one touchdown in the Bengals’ 45 – 10 win over the Chicago Bears.

• Green Bay’s RYAN GRANT rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown, carrying the ball 27 times in the Packers’ 31 – 3 win over the Cleveland Browns.

• New York Jets’ SHONN GREENE rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets’ 38 – 0 win over the Oakland Raiders.

As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx understands the need for a winning game plan, and created the Air & Ground program to highlight superior on-field performance while delivering safe kids off the field. Because FedEx has thousands of delivery trucks out on the roads each day, the company is committed to funding pedestrian safety improvements through its 10-year partnership with Safe Kids USA.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

Cowboys 2009 Opponents And My Predictions

Well I have decided to list our 2009 opponents and my win and loss predictions even if the case is that the dates have not been released for the games.

Home

New York Giants-W

Philadelphia Eagles-W

Washington Redskins-L

Atlanta Falcons-W

Carolina Panthers-L

Seattle Seahawks-W

Oakland Raiders-W

San Diego Chargers- L

Away

New York Giants-L

Philadelphia Eagles-W

Washington Redskins-W

New Orleans Saints-W

Tampa Bay Buccaners-W

Green Bay Packers-L

Denver Broncos-W

Kansas City Chiefs-W

My predicted record: 11-5.

I see us sweeping Philly because our rivalry with them hit a new high at the end of last season. Well for the 5 losses I predict let me explain those to you. Washington will beat us at home because they are our toughest divison opponents ever no matter what the records of either are or what players are on the teams and I just see that being our first loss at our new stadium.

Carolina I dont think that we will be able to contain Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams because Carolina mixes the pass and run so fluidly in my opinion.

San Diego only one name needs to be said Darren Sproiles, I believe he is just to quick and elusive and will tear us apart because he is not some over-hyped running back like we usually face and stop.

New York Giants just dont think we can sweep them this year cant really explain why though but I do know that Chris Canty is one reason.

Green Bay they just always pose a threat and it is one of our greatest non-divisonal rivals and we’ve beat them the past two years and I just feel that they will have our number this year.

Well thats how I feel about 2009. Let me know how you feel about my opinion and what your opinion is by commenting. I look foward to seeing what you guys think.

Cowboys Record Against Other NFL Teams

Just in case you have ever wondered how the Cowboys have matched up against other NFL teams through the years, I have put together something you might be interested in.

Below you can see the Cowboys win/loss record against each team in the NFL since 1960. I snagged the info from the 2006 media guide and updated the records by adding the wins/losses from the 2007 season. The totals below are from the regular season and the playoffs. It does not include pre-season play.


Arizona Cardinals 55-28-1
Atlanta Falcons    
15-8
Baltimore Ravens   
0-2
Buffalo Bills      
7-3
Carolina Panthers
7-3
Chicago Bears
13-8
Cincinnati Bengals
5-4
Cleveland Browns
11-17
Denver Broncos
5-5
Detroit Lions
12-10
Green Bay Packers
15-12
Houston Texans
1-1
Indianapolis Colts
8-6
Jacksonville Jaguars
2-2
Kansas City Chiefs
5-3
Miami Dolphins
5-7
Minnesota Vikings
14-12
New England Patriots
7-3
New Orleans Saints
14-8
New York Giants
54-36-2
New York Jets
7-2
Oakland Raiders
3-6
Philadelphia Eagles
54-43
Pittsburgh Steelers
15-14
St. Louis Rams
14-14
San Diego Chargers
6-2
San Francisco 49ers
14-16-1
Seattle Seahawks
6-5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9-3
Tennessee Titans
7-5
Washington Redskins
56-38-2

Keep in mind that these records reflect games with Dallas when some of these teams were under other names and/or played in other cities than they do now. 

For example, the record against the Tennessee Titans also reflects games played against the Cowboys when the Titans were known as the Houston Oilers.

It is interesting to note that out of the 31 other teams in the NFL, the Cowboys have a winning record against 22 of those teams, they have a losing record against 5 teams (Ravens, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders and 49ers), and their record is at .500 with 4 teams (Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, and Rams). 

Wade Phillips to be Cowboys Head Coach

 

  A formal announcement will be made today at 5 p.m., but reports are saying Wade Phillips is the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. Phillips was the only candidate who would keep the 3-4 defense and Jerry Jones did not want to have a losing record for 2 years while a coach came in and redesigned the team. Phillips was also supportive of Jason Garrett the new offensive coordinator hired by Jones.

The San Diego Chargers went 14-2 in the regular season with its defense run by Wade Phillips. Phillips was the head coach of Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills with a 48-39 record.

Future Looks Bright

 

The future is looking bright in Dallas. Norv Turner spent the day with Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells interviewing for what could be the biggest move of his career. Turner has an impressive resume and a history with the Dallas Cowboys that could be the decision maker. He has been the head coach of the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders, and the Offensive Coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and currently the San Franscisco 49ers.

Turner was with the Cowboys when they won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993. He guided hall of famer Troy Aikman during those years and could be quite an influence on the young Tony Romo. Alongside the new Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett, Turner could help lead this team to a championship season. Garrett worked under Turner in the 90s and Turner tried to get Garrett on his team in Oakland. The two could work wonders for the Dallas offense. Which only leaves one question… Defense anyone?

Back in Dallas

 

 

 

Jason Garrett… name sounds familiar. Oh yeah, he was Troy Aikman’s back up QB in the 90s. Those were some great years! Even though Garrett didn’t get to play very often, he was still there taking it all in. And now after a day long meeting at the Ranch with Jerry and Stephen Jones and Bill Parcells, Garrett has been offered the job as Offensive Coordinator. Not only that but he is now one of the top candidates for the Head Coach Opening. What? This guy wasn’t even on anyone’s list as a probable contender. Well, since when does that matter?

Wade Phillips seems to be a very likely possibility. The Dallas Cowboys requested and were granted permission from the Chargers to talk to Phillips. During an interview the native Texan told reporters:

"I’m really happy where I am. I can’t say enough about the (Chargers’) organization and the players and the fans. But I have family and a home there. Us Texans, even though we haven’t been there in 20 years, it’s always home and the Cowboys are our home team."

That sounds pretty promising to me. Considering the way the 06 Chargers season went, I think I’d be happy with that. Phillips has been head coach of 4 NFL teams: Saints, Falcons, Bills and Broncos. He has the experience and has been very successful most recently as the defensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers who were 14-2 this past season.

I believe Phillips and Garrett would make an awesome pair. However there are still other names and possibilities that have been tossed around and no decision has been confirmed yet. So back to the waiting game. I feel confident whatever the decision, that 2007 will be a very successful year for the Dallas Cowboys. A new leader… a new year… a new outlook.