Dallas Cowboys: tyler eifert

A look at the 16th, 17th pick

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
11:05
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not know until a coin flip at the NFL scouting combine if they or the Baltimore Ravens will pick 16th or 17th in the first round of the May draft.

The only time the Cowboys used the 16th pick in the draft came in 1961 when they selected E.J. Holub in the second round. They have not taken a player with the 17th overall pick since cornerback Kevin Smith in 1992. Before that? In 1990 they took Emmitt Smith, who is now the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.

What type of player has been available at Nos. 16 and 17? Here’s a look at the past 10 years.

2013 – EJ Manuel, Buffalo; Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh
2012 – Quinton Coples, New York Jets; Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati
2011 – Ryan Kerrigan, Washington; Nate Solder, New England
2010 – Derrick Morgan, Tennessee; Mike Iupati, San Francisco
2009 – Larry English, San Diego; Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
2008 – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona; Gosder Cherilus, Detroit
2007 – Justin Harrell, Green Bay; Jarvis Moss, Denver
2006 – Jason Allen, Miami; Chad Greenway, Minnesota
2005 – Travis Johnson, Houston; David Pollack, Cincinnati
2004 – Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia; D.J. Williams, Denver
2003 – Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh; Bryant Johnson, Arizona.

Polamalu is by far the best player selected in either spot. He will be in the Hall of Fame. There are quality players in there like Williams, Greenway, Rodgers-Cromartie, Iupati, Solder and Kerrigan. Andrews had a pretty good short run as well. Kerrigan is solid and has done some good things versus the Cowboys. Coples has showed some pass rush his first two seasons. I expected more from Kirkpatrick, who was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012.

The Cowboys held the No. 18 pick in 2013 and traded down to No. 31 with the Niners where they took Travis Frederick. They felt they were in a position to trade down and still pick up a quality player. When they saw Eric Reid, Justin Pugh, Kyle Long and Tyler Eifert go off the board in the next four picks they were left sweating it out until they got Frederick.
OXNARD, Calif. -- If there were any questions about second-round pick Gavin Escobar, the rookie tight end helped answer them during the Cowboys' first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.

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After all, the Cowboys could have selected Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, who many experts said was the best tight end in the draft, in the first round.

The Cowboys liked Escobar's pass-catching ability and said he can become better as a blocker. It sounded a lot like how they had described tight end James Hanna, a sixth-round pick from Oklahoma whom the Cowboys selected in 2012.

The Cowboys most likely will keep four tight ends on the roster. As camp started, Hanna was ahead of Escobar on the depth chart in the two-tight end sets. When Hanna suffered a strained hamstring, Escobar was matched with Jason Witten on the first-team.

Escobar made his debut as the Y-tight end, lined up closer to the tackle with his hand down, where he caught one pass for three yards and was targeted twice.

"He's capable of doing it," Garrett said of Escobar playing the Y position. "He blocked OK. He needs to be able to take the technique work that he's using in practice into the game."

Old habits have been hard to break for Escobar.

"I thought at times he reverted back (with) his hand placement, footwork," Garrett said. "He's a tough kid. He wants to be a good player. He's a very natural receiver. We saw that he had a couple of completions in the game -- one was called back -- but you could see he could run out of things (and) catch the ball. ... It was a good game for him because he had to stick his nose in there and block a little bit and play that spot. We did that on purpose and he responded well to it."
The Dallas Cowboys' draft board was revealed by the website Blogging The Boys last week.

A review confirmed some of the statements or truths coming out of Valley Ranch at the time of the draft. But a closer look also reveals a question: Is there a disconnect in the Cowboys war room between Jerry Jones and the personnel people?

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The Cowboys had a chance to draft tight end Tyler Eifert or defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd instead of moving down in the first round in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys did neither and traded down from No. 18 to No. 31. The 49ers drafted safety Eric Reid with the pick.

Eifert, meanwhile, was considered the best tight end in the draft.

If Eifert was rated so high by the Cowboys' personnel people, why not take him? The Cowboys decided against taking Floyd, who fell in the first round, because of what Jones called "fast twitch muscles."

Really?

It appears Jones sided with the coaches by bypassing Floyd and Eifert and didn't listen to his personnel people. The coaches and the personnel people will always have a variety of opinions regarding the draft, no matter what round. But it seems Jones should have listened to his personnel people over the coaches.

If you didn't take Eifert in the first round, why draft Gavin Escobar in the second round? Eifert was a better player based on how the scouts graded the tight end position. So Jones bypassed a first-round talent to move down in the draft and select a second-round graded player in center/guard Travis Frederick.

This is nothing against Frederick, but he's a second-round player drafted in the first round. It's not his fault and he shouldn't apologize for being drafted where he was.

But the process in which the Cowboys went about getting him seems very flawed and in some ways screams that Jones, the scouts and the coaches are not on the same page.

It certainly didn't appear the Cowboys were on the same page in the first round of the draft.

Afterward it seemed everybody was on point because the Cowboys stayed true to the board. The Cowboys didn't do that in the first round, and for that you have to blame the general manager.

There's only so much Jason Garrett can do in the war room. If he stands on his head against a move, it will be noted, but Jones makes the final call here.

While Jones is respected in the NFL for some of his draft day moves, it's hard not to believe what happened in the first round two months ago will affect the franchise going forward.
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys draft is over but not forgotten, so there’s no time like now than to wonder about things that did and did not happen.

On to 5 Wonders:

** If the Cowboys are going to be a predominantly two-tight end team, like they say they are, then I wonder if they should have taken Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert at No. 18 and risked the chance that Travis Frederick would be there at No. 47. If they had gone that route, they would have had the best tight end and best center in the draft with their top two picks. The Cowboys had their eyes on Justin Pugh with the No. 31 pick, but he went to the New York Giants at No. 19. They felt Frederick was the final offensive lineman in the draft capable of being a Day 1 starter and did not want to risk losing him or waiting until the second round. That’s a draft for need, which is OK at that point, but Eifert will be somebody worth watching for the next few years.

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What's your overall grade for the Cowboys' draft?

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** I wonder if the Cowboys will alter how they will evaluate defensive lineman after what happened with Sharrif Floyd. He was among the top-10 players on their board, perhaps the highest rated defensive player, and he was staring them in the face with the 18th pick. And they passed on him. Then you hear about the kid’s arm length and lack of sacks. Well, those were things everybody knew before the draft. What it came down to was scheme fit and Floyd wasn’t deemed to fit in what the Cowboys wanted in 4-3 tackles. Had they stuck with the 3-4, then I can almost guarantee they would have selected him. If a player is not a scheme fit, then he just can’t be that high on their draft board.

** I wonder if Jerry Jones understands how even in points of praise he can also hurt. Take Tony Romo as an example. On Friday, Jones said Romo played a part in the selections of Gavin Escobar and Terrance Williams in the second and third rounds. Jones was attempting to show Romo was all-in. Well, what about the current players on the roster at those positions. Should they now think Romo didn’t like them as much? And then Jones said part of the quarterback’s new megadeal meant he had to spend “Peyton Manning time” at the facility. For those who questioned Romo’s commitment, that was all they needed to further their belief that Romo was not fully vested when Romo has always been a “football junkie.”

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**Over the last two years every team in the NFC East has looked at a quarterback-of-the-future/present in the draft. Washington did it last year with Robert Griffin III and also took Kirk Cousins. Philadelphia traded up for the top pick of the fourth round to take Matt Barkley a year after they took Nick Foles. The New York Giants grabbed Ryan Nassib in the fourth round. And the Cowboys chose to pass on the position. Again. Romo turned 33 recently. Kyle Orton is signed through 2014. I wonder if next year is the year the Cowboys look to the quarterback position. No, I do. Really. I had no problem with the club not taking a QB this year, but had Barkley, Nassib and Tyler Wilson dropped to them in the fourth round, I wonder if they would have pulled the trigger this year. Since they passed on Landry Jones, I think we know he wasn’t their guy. Is it too early to think about A.J. McCarron or Aaron Murray or any other QB? And, yes, I realize Johnny Manziel could be draft eligible. A quick aside: For those wondering why the Cowboys didn’t go after Tyler Bray, think about it. His coach, Derek Dooley, is on this staff now. Don’t you think the team would need to know all (stress all) there would be to know? And if the kid panned out at Tennessee, then Dooley would still be the Vols coach.

** I hope Marcus Lattimore turns into a great success. His story would be a terrific inspiration for everybody. But he wasn’t what the Cowboys needed. I wonder if people realize San Francisco was able to take a flier on Lattimore, who is coming back from a horrific knee injury, because it had so many picks. The Niners had the opportunity to offer up a redshirt year for Lattimore. The Cowboys, who entered the draft with six picks and added one through a trade with the Niners, didn’t. They needed a running back to help right now and they got Joseph Randle in the fifth round. If Lattimore becomes a star, then good for San Francisco but I would not use that as a knock on how the Cowboys ran their draft.

Cowboys move comes with a big question

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
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IRVING, Texas – Accumulating draft picks is not a bad strategy.

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Did the Cowboys make the right move trading down in the first round?

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Passing on a player that was highly rated in the first round, like Sharrif Floyd, is perplexing. Clearly there is something about Floyd that has turned teams off or he would not have fallen this far.

But the Cowboys did not get equal value in return for their trade with San Francisco. They Cowboys dropped from No. 18 to No. 31 and picked up the 74th pick, the first of the Niners’ two third-round selections.

The trade charts give San Francisco a big edge. The Cowboys could have received the Niners’ second-rounder in return.

By moving down, the Cowboys passed on Floyd, who went to Minnesota at No. 23, but also lost out on three targets they liked in safety Eric Reid, whom San Francisco took, guard/tackle Justin Pugh (New York Giants) and guard Kyle Long (Chicago). They also liked tight end Tyler Eifert, who went to Cincinnati with the 21st pick.

The art of moving down didn’t seem to favor the Cowboys here.

First-round preview: Dallas Cowboys

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
12:36
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Where they're picking: No. 18

Conventional wisdom tells us the top six offensive linemen will be gone by 18, depriving the Cowboys of the chance to address their most significant short-term and long-term need. The mock drafts in which this happens have the Cowboys taking a defensive tackle such as Sheldon Richardson or Sylvester Williams at No. 18, and some are still connecting the Cowboys with Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, since safety is a need as well. Everybody seems to agree that the Cowboys' dream scenario is that they get one of the draft's top two guards, either Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, but no one seems to think either will fall to 18.

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History tells us that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The last time six offensive linemen went in the top 17 picks was 1966, when the league only had 15 teams in it. Guards don't tend to go early, since most teams don't assign top-half-of-first-round value to that position. History tells us the Cowboys will be able to get offensive line help if they want it in the first round. But history also tells us that the Cowboys tend to pick out a guy they really like in the first round (Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith and Morris Claiborne are the recent examples) and do what they can to get him.

They probably won't end up with Vaccaro. First of all, it's possible he goes earlier than 18 (say, to St. Louis at 16). Second of all, their needs on the lines and the comparative value at those positions likely will push them to take a linemen of one sort or the other in a draft whose second round is packed with starting-caliber safeties. Sure, it's possible Vaccaro is this year's Jerry Jones crush and there's nothing anyone else in the braintrust can do to talk him out of it. But I'd be surprised if they end up with the Texas safety.

They could shock us by taking a tight end. The Blogfather, Matt Mosley, says he's been hearing the Cowboys love Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, and if that's the case they could be making plans to move up to get him. While that would seem silly with Jason Witten still in place and at the top of his game, it's not completely crazy to find another weapon for Tony Romo in the passing game. If Eifert is the Cowboys' best player available, they could go for it. It would be foolish, and would leave them too short in too many other areas, but I'm not sure that would stop them.

My prediction: I'm leaning on history here and saying the mocks are all wrong and the Cowboys are going to be able to get one of those guards. Since we're making a pick, I'll say it's Chance Warmack who falls either all the way to 18 or at least into the 14-15 range that would allow them to make a sensible, cost-effective trade-up to get him. Not like last year's trade for Claiborne, which cost them their second-round pick, but maybe for a later-round pick or even a 2014 one.
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have one of the best tight ends in football in Jason Witten. With James Hanna, the Cowboys think they have a player who can be a mismatch for linebackers or safeties.

As the Cowboys enter the draft, they need to find another tight end. The only other tight ends on the roster are Colin Cochart and Andre Smith. Cochart had a cup of coffee with the club last year but didn’t play in a game. Smith was a late addition to the practice squad.

To a degree the Cowboys have wasted second-round picks on tight ends with Anthony Fasano (2006) and Martellus Bennett (2008). There simply aren’t enough plays for a tight end behind Witten to justify the second-round pick unless the Cowboys want to do what New England does with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

This draft has a number of quality tight ends, but the Cowboys should not be in play for a Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz, considered the top two at the position. Again, it’s based on how they use their second tight end behind Witten.

You have to maximize plays per game with early picks. Unless the Cowboys switch their philosophy and move away from heavy three-wide receiver personnel looks, then it does not make sense to grab a tight end early. And it doesn’t make sense to take a “pass-catching” tight end either.

The Cowboys have to look at the “blocking” tight ends more.

They had two of those types in for top-30 visits in Rutgers’ D.C. Jefferson and Michigan State’s Dion Sims. Both players are considered solid blocking prospects, with Sims more highly regarded. Another option is Alabama’s Michael Williams.


Unfortunately for Redskins fans, still only the first round. But here's a look at who Todd McShay is picking for the other three NFC East teams in his newest mock draft Insider, hot off the presses.

18. Dallas Cowboys: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama.

My take: Anyone else get the sense that Alabama's running a good program these days? Anyway, this is the dream-come-true pick for the Cowboys. Some have said Warmack is the best offensive lineman, regardless of position, in the entire draft. If he's there at 18, the Cowboys run to the podium. They need to get an offensive lineman in the first round, and while people keep asking me, "Well, what if the top five guys are all gone by 18?," it's worth mentioning that only once in the past 15 drafts (2008) have five offensive linemen gone in the first 17 picks.

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