Dallas Cowboys: Daryl Washington

Looking at the picks: Rounds 1-3

May, 8, 2014
May 8
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IRVING, Texas -- After looking at the history of the selections the Dallas Cowboys have in Rounds 4-7 on Wednesday, here is a look at Rounds 1-3.

Click here for the late-round review.

First round (No. 16)
2009 LB Larry English, San Diego
2010 DE Derrick Morgan, Tennessee
2011 LB Ryan Kerrigan
2012 LB Quinton Coples, NY Jets
2013 QB EJ Manuel

Notable: Manuel was something of a surprise pick last year but had some moments as a starter before getting hurt. Morgan’s rookie season was cut short by a knee injury, but he’s recorded 12.5 sacks the past two seasons. Kerrigan is solid. Coples is something of an enigma after his first two seasons but has some pass-rush ability.

Second round (No. 47)
2009 S Mike Mitchell, Oakland
2010 LB Daryl Washington, Arizona
2011 TE Lance Kendricks, St. Louis
2012 LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle
2013 TE Gavin Escobar, Cowboys

Notable: Escobar is the third second-round pick the Cowboys have used at tight end since 2006 and caught just nine passes as a rookie. He needs a huge 2014 season. Wagner was on the Cowboys’ radar in 2012 but the trade up for Morris Claiborne ended that chance. Mitchell was a controversial pick but found a home last year in Carolina and signed a lucrative deal with Pittsburgh in the offseason.

Third round (No. 78)
2009 OL Louis Vasquez, San Diego
2010 WR Brandon LaFell, Carolina
2011 WR Austin Pettis, St. Louis
2012 TE Michael Egnew, Miami
2013 WR Marquise Goodwin, Buffalo

Notable: A track standout at Texas, Goodwin caught 17 passes for 283 yards and three scores last season. Pettis has been a solid backup receiver with 95 catches for 916 yards and eight touchdowns for his career. LaFell signed with New England in the offseason after catching a career-high 49 passes in 2013. Vasquez made his first Pro Bowl last year after signing with Denver.

Scout's Eye: Cowboys-Cardinals preview

December, 2, 2011
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It’s never easy when the Cowboys travel to the desert to face the Cardinals, and this season will be no different.

Scout's Eye
The Cardinals have skill at several positions, but they have weaknesses that Jason Garrett’s club can take advantage of. It’s this mix of good and bad that could either lead to an upset or to the Cowboys winning their fifth straight game on their march to the NFC East title.

Offensively, the Cardinals present two reasons for concern: Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells.

Cardinals' Fitzgerald could exploit Cowboys' weakness


You do not have to be a professional scout to know that Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the game. The Cowboys have struggled with receivers making plays down the field the past two games. I was concerned about what Brandon Marshall was going to do against this secondary, but I am even more concerned of the challenge that lies ahead with Fitzgerald.

When you study his game, you see a tremendous route runner -- not in the sense of an explosive player, but much like Miles Austin in that he runs his routes at the same speed throughout the route. Fitzgerald doesn’t give the corner any type of hint when he is going to break in his route. Most receivers in the NFL have to chop their steps or slow down to make cuts, but not Fitzgerald.

In my view, the most impressive trait he possesses is his hands. Other than Kurt Warner, Fitzgerald has played with some bad quarterbacks throughout his career in Arizona. Never have I seen a receiver that adjusts to more bad balls than this guy, but he is always coming up with the play.

The Cowboys have to be careful with Fitzgerald when he runs the inside routes, getting the ball on the move and exploding through the middle of the secondary. Remember what he did to the Steelers in the Super Bowl several years ago? He has done that this year as well.

The one personnel switch for the Cowboys will be that Mike Jenkins will be in the lineup. That takes Alan Ball off the field in the nickel, and it also allows Orlando Scandrick to go back to his role as the nickel corner.

RB Wells has very similar style to Cowboys' Murray


The Cowboys’ run defense has had stretches where it has been outstanding, then two games where the Eagles and Seahawks were able to gash the defense for some nice gains. Beanie Wells is more of a physical runner than a home-run back. His offensive line doesn’t give him much room, so he has to create opportunities on his own, but he doesn’t have the quickness of LeSean McCoy or Marshawn Lynch.

Wells can hurt you with the ability to use his vision to see a crease then make a cut, much like what we have seen with DeMarco Murray. Wells is not afraid to take the ball to the hole then allow the defenders to commit and bend it backside. The Cowboys’ run defense can be aggressive flowing to the ball, so what happens on the backside with these defensive ends and linebackers will be key if they are going to keep Wells in check.

The Cardinals will attempt to run Wells to keep the rush off Kevin Kolb, who is making his return to the starting lineup after dealing with a toe issue.

Matchup to exploit: Cardinals' offensive line


The biggest weakness of this Cardinals offense is their line. There is nothing pretty about the way they play or the effectiveness in which they operate.

Usually when I study an opponent each week, there are one or two players that I will like on their offensive line. There is no one on the Cardnals’ offensive line I would want if I were building a team.

Tackles Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges struggle with speed off the edge, and it would be no surprise to me if Rob Ryan starts there to attack this offense. At the guard spot, things aren’t much better with former Packer Daryn Colledge and ex-Brown Rex Hadnot, who really struggle with movement of the defensive line and don’t do a good enough job of handling the twist stunts or games in the middle of the line. Colledge really struggled because he would become engaged with his block, then a linebacker would run through on the blitz and he was unable to adjust off that to secure the blitzer.

The biggest fear for the Cardinals is if they are stuffed on the run with Wells and it turns into a game where the Cowboys can tee off on Kolb. The fear for the Cowboys is that they allow this poor Cardinals line to block them like the Redskins did two weeks ago.

There are questions about Kolb’s health and mobility. The Cowboys need to take advantage of the situation when given the opportunity.

DT Dockett will be handful for Cowboys' line


Defensively for the Cardinals, tackle Darnell Dockett will be a handful for Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland. I worry more about Holland because he tends to struggle with those players that can get on his outside shoulder and quickly get up the field. That is what we see in Docket’s game.

Dockett is an explosive player that loves to attack on the outside. Holland hates this type of player because he doesn’t always adjust quickly enough out of his stance.

The Cowboys have to be careful when they go to their outside game that Dockett isn’t allowed to get up the field and into the backfield to throw off pullers or John Phillips trying to get to the edge to secure the corner. Any type of penetration throws off timing and the execution of the blockers.

The Cowboys will have an advantage when the Cardinals have to rush the passer. Other than Dockett, this front really struggles with pressure. It is only when they are able to bring linebacker help that they are able to generate a pass rush.

The Cowboys have struggled some this season when teams have brought pressure from the linebackers in the middle of the defense. Center Phil Costa was better last week, but continue to watch how he and Holland handle these games.

Cards' young linebackers making some noise


The Cardinals have two young linebackers that I really like. Former TCU star Daryl Washington and Texas-ex Sam Acho really show up on tape. Both of these players are always around the football. Impressed with the way that they are able to fight blocks and finish plays.

Washington showed the ability to work through the trash, keep his balance and make the tackle in the hole. I would not call Washington a thumper like a younger Bradie James, but at the point of attack, he has done a nice job.

Acho is a nice player off the edge. In the Rams contest, he showed the quickness to come around the corner, beat the tackle and get a sack of Sam Bradford to cause a fumble. He and Dockett are the two best pressure players the Cardinals have in the front seven.

Don't overlook Peterson as defender, either


Rookie Patrick Peterson has created quite a buzz with his ability to return punts for touchdowns. Peterson is a talented cornerback, but I have heard the whispers that early in the season he wasn’t playing as well and was struggling in coverage.

I studied four games -- Eagles, 49ers, Rams and Ravens -- and did not see the struggles that scouts were speaking of. There was one play against the 49ers where he slipped on a stutter-go to Michael Crabtree and it ended up as a nice gain, but overall, I only observed a corner that could read the route, drive on the ball and defend the play. Didn’t see a corner that played with wasted steps or was not quick enough to keep position in the route.

In the Ravens game, Peterson did a nice job in press coverage, turning and running with his man, then finding the ball. In my view, Peterson did not look like a player that was struggling to do his job. We’ll see if Jason Garrett’s game plan will be to try to attack Peterson, but there are other areas that he can go to for better results.

Cowboys run game: Watch safety Wilson


When the Cowboys run the ball, they must be aware of safety Adrian Wilson, who likes to work around the line of scrimmage. Wilson is a physical player who is not afraid to mix it up against the run or pass.

When the Cardinals need a big play in the secondary, it will usually come from Wilson. Wilson can hurt you as a blitzer. He has a nice feel for how to time his blitz and be that disruptive player.

Kiper on the Cowboys' draft

January, 26, 2010
1/26/10
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ESPN.com draft guru Mel Kiper has posted the needs and potential top-three-round picks for each NFC team (Insider).

The Cowboys' needs, in Kiper's view: LT, WR, FS, LB, CB.

I'd add center/guard to the list. Perhaps even put it at the top.

Kiper is sticking with Maryland OT Bruce Campbell as the Cowboys' first-rounder.

TCU LB Daryl Washington is among Kiper's candidates for the Cowboys' second-rounder. Washington, an Irving native, is an outstanding athlete but would need to add significant bulk to be an every-down 3-4 inside linebacker.

Texas WR Jordan Shipley is among Kiper's third-round candidates for the Cowboys. You'd think folks at Valley Ranch might want to stay away from Longhorn wideouts for a while, but Shipley could make an immediate contribution as a slot receiver and kickoff/punt returner.

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