Dallas Cowboys: Montee Ball

Frederick, Williams ready to break out?

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
11:30
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- If the Dallas Cowboys are to break out of their 8-8 doldrums, they will need younger players to grow up in 2014.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has two candidates for breakout seasons -- Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams -- in his annual list.

Frederick
Williams
Williams
The Cowboys were one of four teams with more than one player. The San Diego Chargers had three: D.J. Fluker, Melvin Ingram, Keenan Allen. The New Orleans Saints (Kenny Vaccaro, Akiem Hicks) and Denver Broncos (Montee Ball, Sylvester Williams) also had two.

Here’s what Prisco said about Frederick and Williams:
Travis Frederick, C, Dallas Cowboys -- When the Cowboys picked him in the first round of the 2013 draft, there were snickers. But it was the right move. He showed last season as a 16-game starter that he has a chance to be a really good center. He is smart and athletic, two musts for the position these days.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys -- With Miles Austin now gone, this second-year player takes over as the starter opposite Dez Bryant. That should mean a lot of single coverage and a chance for big plays. Look for his numbers to go up dramatically from his 44 catches a year ago.

Defining how Frederick breaks out is tougher than Williams just because of the nature of his position. The Cowboys were stronger up the middle in 2013 than they had been in recent years because of Frederick. He did not miss a game as a rookie and carried himself as a veteran from the first day he arrived.

(As an aside, there is a similar feeling when it comes to this year’s first-round pick, Zack Martin.)

For Williams, it can be a little easier to define because his statistics will be there for everybody to see. He caught 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.

With Austin gone, Williams will be the starter opposite Bryant in 2014. The Cowboys have no reservations about Williams. They believe he will slide into that role without any issues. In coach parlance, they don’t believe the game is too big for him.

He will get opportunities. Bryant will be the focal point of opposing defenses.

With Bryant catching 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013, Austin caught 66 passes for 943 yards and six touchdowns as the No. 2 receiver in 16 games in 2012. The Cowboys would live with those numbers from Williams.

Cowboys' quarterbacks had 375 completions last year.

Pencil in Bryant for another 90-plus catch season. Jason Witten will catch 75-80 passes. The running backs will combine for 80. Cole Beasley should figure in that 35-45 catch range. Dwayne Harris and Gavin Escobar will have more than the 18 they combined for last year. Devin Street will be in that 20-30 range if things go well as well.

There will be opportunities for Williams to show 2014 will be a breakout season.

Second-round mock draft: NFC East

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
8:58
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The second and third rounds of the NFL draft are set for tonight back at Radio City Music Hall, and the second will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT. After a first round that saw nine offensive linemen, one quarterback and no running backs taken Thursday, it's possible tonight will have more star power than the first night did. Scouts, Inc. has done a second-round mock draft Insider, and this is what they've come up with for the NFC East's teams.

3 (35). Philadelphia Eagles: John Cyprien, S, Florida International

In this scenario, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is off the board, taken by Jacksonville with the night's first pick, and the Eagles end up with the best remaining safety to fill a position of perennial need. Other possibilities I could imagine for the Eagles here include a defensive lineman with a 3-4 background, Stanford tight end Zach Ertz or Smith if he's available. I doubt they'll trade up for Smith (because they could have done so last night), and if he's gone I'm guessing they wait a few rounds for someone like Arizona quarterback Matt Scott.

15 (47). Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

After getting the interior offensive line help they so badly needed in the first round, this mock has the Cowboys turning to the interior of the defensive line, where Jay Ratliff always seems banged-up and Jason Hatcher is entering the final year of his contract. Short is a big talent whose question marks are about motivation and inconsistent college production. He could be a developmental guy for them -- help some in a rotation in the first year but more as a down-the-road replacement for one of the starters. I'd also have no issue with the Cowboys addressing safety here with someone like Cyprien or D.J. Swearinger. Could see them looking at a running back like Eddie Lacy or Montee Ball. And no, I absolutely do not think it would be a mistake for them to take another offensive lineman such as Menelik Watson or Larry Warford here.

17 (49). New York Giants: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Linebacker is a need for the Giants. But as we've discussed, it's not one on which they tend to spend valuable resources. This is still a relatively high pick, and while Minter makes sense, I could easily see them spending this on a safety like the ones we've mentioned, a cornerback like Johnthan Banks or Jamar Taylor, a defensive end like Tank Carradine or even one of those running backs. They do like to have depth there.

19 (51). Washington Redskins: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Finally, the Redskins make their first pick of this year's draft, and it's at a position where they need immediate help and long-term depth. This draft is deep in defensive backs, and the Redskins should be able to take advantage of that with a good cornerback or safety at this spot. Tyrann Mathieu is still on the board in this mock, but I'd be surprised if Washington went that way, especially with so many less questionable options available. Cyprien, Swearinger or Shamarko Thomas make sense if they want to go safety. Banks, Taylor, Blidi Wreh-Wilson or Banks' teammate, Darius Slay, are among the good options at corner. If they don't take a defensive back here, maybe it's because a tackle like Watson or Terron Armstead fell to them. And you can't rule out wide receiver as a possibility here either.
The Cowboys like starting running back DeMarco Murray, but he has had injury issues and there are questions about whether he can stay healthy over the long term.

PODCAST
Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss some of the players the Cowboys should be looking at in the upcoming NFL draft.

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It means the Cowboys could be in the market for a running back in the middle rounds of this weekend's NFL draft.

Montee Ball, Johnathan Franklin, Giovani Bernard and Mike Gillislee could be available in the middle part of the draft.

Currently, Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner are the backups to Murray. The Cowboys have praised Dunbar's work, but they still could be looking for more help in the backfield.

"There's a lot of things that can help our football team," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on San Antonio's KZDC-AM on Tuesday afternoon. "If you do look, unfortunately, at DeMarco's history, he had (health issues) at Oklahoma, though he was very productive. He's had (health issues) here. So obviously without Felix Jones in the fold right now, we don’t have that answer in terms of having a complementary back to DeMarco, so that will be something we will have our eyes on as well."

Murray missed six games last season because of a severe bruise on his left foot and finished with 663 rushing yards. The Cowboys' rushing attack finished No. 31 in the NFL last season, leading to the release of running backs coach Skip Peete and raising questions about the offensive line.

The Cowboys need to improve this area if they're going to take pressure off quarterback Tony Romo in 2013.

Advanced scouting: Montee Ball

March, 19, 2013
3/19/13
11:30
PM ET
Montee BallJeff Hanisch/US PRESSWIREMontee Ball had an NCAA-record 83 career touchdowns in his four-year career at Wisconsin.
To help preview who might be on the Dallas Cowboys’ board for the NFL draft, ESPNDallas.com has identified five players at five key positions that we’d like to learn more about. Along those lines, we’ve asked former Cowboys assistant coach Glenn “Stretch” Smith – the official scout of Galloway & Company – to study tape of each player and give his thoughts.

No. 5 running back: Montee Ball


Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 214 pounds

School: Wisconsin

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys need to address a running back position that averaged 3.6 yards per carry last season. DeMarco Murray is the starter, but a foot injury last season raised some questions about his durability. Stephen Jones said at the NFL owners meetings that he would like to see improvement from the running attack. Ball, the NCAA leader in career touchdowns, has the speed to get off the edge and does a good job getting to running lanes and making plays, according to scouts. He would be a nice backup to Murray if the Cowboys want to invest an early draft pick in him.

Projection: Late first round, early second

Stretch Truths: Running back had great stats his junior year. ... Excellent zone runner. ... Carries his pads with a good level and has hands to match. ... Good zone vision runner who can put his foot in the ground and make a quick decision to get up field. ... Has a good feel for the zone game. ... Not a power back or a north/south runner. Ran a 4.66 40 at the combine and improved that time to 4.46 at Wisconsin's pro day. ... Durable back. ... Just lacks burst.

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