Dallas Cowboys: 2013 draft - S

Advanced scouting: Matt Elam

April, 15, 2013
4/15/13
11:30
PM ET
Matt Elam Richard Dole/Icon SMIFlorida safety Matt Elam has shown that he can be a physical presence and make plays on the ball.

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. 1 safety: Matt Elam


Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 208 pounds

School: Florida

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys need to improve their play on the backend of the secondary. With veteran Gerald Sensabaugh gone and veteran backup Will Allen now on the roster, finding a younger player who can cover and play close to the line of scrimmage is important. That's Elam, who covered slot receivers and displayed a physical presence in college. Making plays on the ball is important in the new Tampa 2 scheme and Elam is someone who can do that. Getting Elam in the second round is a good selection if the Cowboys go with an offensive lineman in the first round.

Projection: Late first round, early second round

Stretch Truths: Another of many box safeties in this draft. ... Flashes to play the run. ... Inconsistent to force and rush. ... Has some catch-up speed and makes big hits. ... Not natural to pedal, turn his hips and run. ... Not comfortable as a half-field or single-high safety. ... Not very aggressive to plant and drive on the ball. ... Poor hands to go and make the catch. ... Does play the game with some passion.

Advanced scouting: Tony Jefferson

April, 8, 2013
4/08/13
11:30
PM ET
Tony JeffersonAP Photo/Sue OgrockiTony Jefferson doesn't have great speed but can play the run and contribute on special teams.
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. 2 safety: Tony Jefferson


Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 213 pounds

School: Oklahoma

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys are thin at safety thanks to the release of veteran Gerald Sensabaugh. Barry Church is one starter, but there is some concern about who will play alongside him. If the Cowboys don't draft a safety in the first two rounds, maybe getting Jefferson, who can play both safety spots, is an option. He's good in coverage and playing near the line of scrimmage.

Projection: Fifth round

Stretch Truths: Does not have top-end speed (ran the 40 in 4.75 seconds). … Not natural pedaling and turning his hips. … He is a box safety who can play the run with force. He’ll tackle with pop and deliver a blow. … Could be a demon on special teams but lacks size and speed to be an elite safety. … Cowboys need better in the first four rounds.

Advance scouting: Phillip Thomas

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
11:30
PM ET
Phillip Thomas Troy Babbitt/USA TODAY SportsFresno St. safety Phillip Thomas tackles with force and plays with nastiness but may lack pure speed.

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. 3 safety: Phillip Thomas


Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 208 pounds

School: Fresno State

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys have newly-signed veteran Will Allen, but they want to get younger at safety. Barry Church made three starts last season before tearing his Achilles tendon. Matt Johnson missed last season because of hamstring injuries, so Allen provides insurance. Drafting another safety will add competition to a position of need.

Projection: Late second early third round

Stretch Truths: This safety plays with nastiness, and he’ll tackle you with force. ... Plays tough in the box. ... Adequate cover skills to play a tight end and backs. ... A concern: He missed the 2011 season after suffering a broken leg and a dislocated ankle during a non-contact drill. ... Adequate in zone coverage, but he lacks start-and-stop cover quickness in man coverage. ... Gets caught cheating on ball fakes; I question his pure speed. But this kid will bloody your nose.

Advanced scouting: Eric Reid

March, 25, 2013
3/25/13
11:30
PM ET
Eric ReidChris Graythen/Getty ImagesLSU safety Eric Reid could fill a major need for the Cowboys if he's available on Day 2 of the draft.

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. 4 safety: Eric Reid

Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 208 pounds

School: LSU

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys are thin at safety and if they stick with an offensive or defensive linemen in the first round, then finding a safety who can make plays down the field is a must with a later pick. While the Cowboys do like the play-making ability of Barry Church, he started just three games last season before tearing his Achilles. After the team released veteran Gerald Sensabaugh, it's pushed Matt Johnson, who missed his rookie season with hamstring injuries, into the forefront. The front office is concerned about the safety position, but isn't sure if it can get a good one in the early rounds. Reid could be available on Day 2 of the draft and would fill a major need.

Projection: Late second or early third round

Stretch Truths: Combine stats -- 4.53 40 speed; 40 1/2 inch vertical; 17 reps at 225. ... Long safety with good range. ... Plays both the run and pass well and closes with a flash burst. ... Very aggressive to read and react. ... Gets caught cheating on pump fakes and is over-aggressive to read the quarterback's head. ... I question his natural ball skills, especially when trying to high-point the football. ... Has upside with his physicality.

Advanced scouting: Jonathan Cyprien

March, 18, 2013
3/18/13
11:30
PM ET
Jonathan CyprienJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesJonathan Cyprien impressed teams with his work at the Senior Bowl.
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 safety: Jonathan Cyprien


Position: Strong safety

Height/weight: 6-foot, 217 pounds

School: Florida International

Why he's on the radar: The Cowboys released Gerald Sensabaugh for salary cap space and because he doesn't make enough plays on the ball. Cyprien impressed several NFL teams with his work at the Senior Bowl and his pro day. The Cowboys need a physical safety to pair with Barry Church in 2013 and Cyprien could be a nice find. He led Florida International with 93 tackles and had four interceptions last season. Durability isn't an issue; he didn't miss a game in three seasons. Cowboys safeties Matt Johnson Danny McCray and Church all battled injuries last season.

Projection: Second round

Stretch Truths: Good in-the-box safety who provides run support, is physical, will run and hit. ... Can punch and shed receiver blocks. ... The downside to this kid is that I don't see a burst to cover the deep half. Definitely not a single-high safety. ... Question his smarts to read and recognize route concepts. Definitely not a man-cover safety.

SPONSORED HEADLINES