Dallas Cowboys: Advance Scouting

Advance scouting: Phillip Thomas

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
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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: Lane Johnson

March, 31, 2013
3/31/13
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Lane JohnsonJustin K. Aller/Getty ImagesOklahoma tackle Lane Johnson has excellent leverage and can play all positions on the offensive line.

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 offensive lineman: Lane Johnson


Position: Tackle

Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 303 pounds

School: Oklahoma

Why he’s on the radar: Left tackle Tyron Smith had a good season for the Cowboys last year, but inconsistent play from right tackle Doug Free prompted the team to use Jermey Parnell. The Cowboys need to upgrade the offensive line, and if Johnson is available in the later half of the first round, he would be a good choice. Johnson played both tackle spots at Oklahoma and multiple positions in high school -- from quarterback to defensive end, so athletic ability isn't an issue.

Projection: First round

Stretch Truths: Tall tackle plays with excellent leverage and can play all positions across the line. ... Smart football sense; good punch and power; can reach block; good straight in-line run blocker. ... Has power to sit and stop a bull rush. Also has good balance to recover in pass protection. ... For a big tackle, he can really run, as evidenced by his 4.67 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. ... Take him if he's there with the 18th pick.

Advanced scouting: D.J. Fluker

March, 24, 2013
3/24/13
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D.J. Fluker, Chance WarmackDak Dillon/USA TODAY SportsAlabama's D.J. Fluker (76) is projected as a right tackle and has the size and athletic ability needed.

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 offensive lineman: D.J. Fluker


Position: Tackle

Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 339 pounds

School: Alabama

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys are looking for upgrades along the offensive line because of the inconsistent play of starting right tackle Doug Free last year. Getting a rookie with tremendous upside to be either the swing tackle or compete for a starting job should be viewed as a positive for the Cowboys. Fluker is projected as a right tackle and has the size and athletic ability for the position. Coach Jason Garrett respects what Nick Saban has done at Alabama and he'll listen to his evaluation of this prospective first-round pick.

Projection: Late first round, second round

Stretch Truths: The big, strong, physical tackle has 36.75-inch arm length and 10.5-inch hands. ... If he gets those hands on you, it's over. ... Tends to get a little top heavy at times and his balance is inconsistent. My concern is that he is a little heavy-legged. ... Has to play on the right side only as it’s not natural to kick and slide from the left tackle position. ... Overall, I question his smarts to play guard at the next level.

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