Dallas Cowboys: Josh Huff

Five Wonders: Cowboys moves that weren't

May, 13, 2014
May 13
IRVING, Texas -- There are lots of things to wonder about after the NFL draft, but we're just wondering about five things right now.

It's always a good time for Five Wonders.

Away we go:

    Which 7th-round pick has the best chance to make an impact for the Cowboys this season?


    Discuss (Total votes: 7,574)

  • I wonder how active the Cowboys could have been in making trades during the draft. Stephen Jones referenced a potential move back into the third round that would have cost the Cowboys a 2015 pick (probably their second rounder). The target was LSU guard Trai Turner. I wonder if the Cowboys almost moved back into the first round, which could have been why Jones abruptly left the press conference. Once the Seattle Seahawks saw the New England Patriots draft Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley in the first round, the Seahawks called everybody about a trade, including the Cowboys. The Seahawks eventually swung a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, who took Teddy Bridgewater. If the Cowboys were willing to part with their second- and third-round picks to move to No. 34 with the Washington Redskins, you don't think they contemplated taking Demarcus Lawrence at No. 32?
  • I wonder what direction the Cowboys would have gone had they not traded up to take Demarcus Lawrence with the 34th pick in the draft. The easy thing to do is look at the players the Washington Redskins took at picks Nos. 47 and 78 (Trent Murphy, Spencer Long) and grade the Cowboys that way. The need for a right defensive end was too great and Lawrence would have gone quickly in the second round. But would a combination of Scott Crichton and Josh Huff been better? Would a combination of Cody Latimer and Will Sutton have been better? Would they have taken a safety in the third round? Giving up two players for one is always risky (see Morris Claiborne) but it can also work out (see Tyron Smith). The Cowboys passed on a chance to trade down from the No. 9 pick with Jacksonville in 2011 but stood firm and took Smith, who the look of a dominant left tackle for years to come. The Cowboys used a similar strategy in the fifth round to take wide receiver Devin Street. They viewed Street as the last receiver ready to make an impact in 2014, so they gave up their fifth- and seventh-rounders to get him.
  • I wonder if the Cowboys start to look for another tight end. They didn't draft one and added two in college free agency in Baylor's Jordan Najvar and Illinois' Evan Wilson. They liked Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz, just not at the top of the third round where the Houston Texans grabbed him. The Cowboys need more of a blocking tight end to a degree with Gavin Escobar and James Hanna backing up Jason Witten. Escobar's role figures to increase greatly in 2014 but they need to use him at what he does best, which is working the seams and being a mismatch outside. Hanna was OK as a blocker but he is better in space too. Of course, this could all mean the Cowboys will be a fullback team again. They liked what Tyler Clutts brought to the running game after joining the team late last season, and they signed LSU's J.C. Copeland as a college free agent.
  • Is it too early to wonder about the 2015 draft? I wonder if the Cowboys look for Tony Romo's successor in 2015. The way Jason Garrett explained it, the Cowboys will not be in the business of developing a mid- to late-round quarterback to be the starter in the future. If the offensive line plays out the way the Cowboys hope, they won't need to look for early help there. The defensive line could be the top option again with Anthony Spencer, Henry Melton, George Selvie and Nick Hayden playing on one year deals. The Cowboys hold an option on Melton for three years, but won't exercise it if he is not close to Pro Bowl form. So for all of the defensive line work this offseason, they could be back in the mix to upgrade in 2015. Cornerback could also be a position of need if Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne do not bounce back.
  • I wonder how many of the undrafted rookie free agents can make the 53-man roster. There will be some, which happens every year. On the spots in which the Cowboys are thin, Missouri wide receiver L'Damian Washington offers size and speed. He caught 50 passes for 893 yards and 10 passes last season. His story is uplifting, too. Click this Grantland video to see. Najvar has a chance at the moment. Punter Cody Mandell could push Chris Jones and has already hit the digital board at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys have kept four tailbacks in the past, so Glasco Martin and Ben Malena have opportunities. Defensive tackle Davon Coleman faces an uphill climb, but he was among the Cowboys' national visitors, so that gives him a leg up. It will be nice to get a look at these guys at the rookie mini-camp.
IRVING, Texas -- If the past is any indicator, the Dallas Cowboys will make their draft selections from players that were among their national visitors.

In the past nine years, the only top picks not to visit the Cowboys were DeMarcus Ware (2005) and Morris Claiborne (2012).

Last year, five picks -- Travis Frederick, Terrance Williams, J.J. Wilcox, B.W. Webb and Joseph Randle -- met with the coaches, scouts, medical staff and front-office personnel before the draft.

Here are the 25 known visitors to Valley Ranch before the draft.

Keep this list handy over the next three days:


Beyond the first round: Wide receivers

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
Each day over the next 10 days, we will focus on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Dallas Cowboys. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today we look at wide receivers.

[+] EnlargeLSU
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesJarvis Landry had 77 catches for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for LSU.
Second round -- Jarvis Landry (LSU): He does not possess the physical skills of his LSU teammate, Odell Bekcham Jr., but he has the tools to be successful for a long time in the NFL. He had 77 catches for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013. He is not a true burner, but he can create separation and make big plays.

Third round -- Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt): Like Landry, he is not a burner, but he has versatility. He can play outside, which is what the Cowboys need, and he can play the slot. He caught 112 passes for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns. He has a knack for getting open in all kinds ways.

Fourth round -- Josh Huff (Oregon): Like Matthews, he can play inside and out. The Cowboys have been linked to him since the Senior Bowl where he displayed terrific body control in making some difficult catches. He is strong after the catch and will not shy away from contact. He caught 62 passes for 1,140 yards and 12 scores.

Fifth round -- Paul Richardson (Colorado): He is a playmaker with a game similar to DeSean Jackson. In a spread field, he can make plays, but his frame (178 pounds) makes him something of a question mark when it comes to press coverage. He missed the 2012 season with a knee injury but rebounded with a school record 1,343 yards in 2013.

Sixth round -- Mike Davis (Texas): He worked out for the Cowboys at Dallas Day. He had better production as a junior but can some of that be attributed to the poor quarterback play? He can make the difficult catches and showed he would be a willing blocker at times. He has a lot of room to grow but the athletic ability to get there.

Seventh round -- Tevin Reese (Baylor): Baylor has put out a number of solid receivers in recent year, and the Cowboys grabbed one in Terrance Williams last year. Reese does not possess the size you’d want, which makes him vulnerable to press coverage, but it is hard to argue with his numbers. He was limited to nine games in 2013 with wrist injury but still had eight touchdown catches, averaging 22.8 yards per catch.

Deep receiver pool could help Cowboys

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
IRVING, Texas -- In Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, the Dallas Cowboys appear set with their top two wide receivers.

Bryant is among the best in the game and coming off his first Pro Bowl. Williams had a productive rookie season with five touchdowns and will move into the starting role held by Miles Austin. The next two receivers are largely role players in Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley.

But can Harris or Beasley hold up over a long stretch of time as an outside receiver should something happen to Bryant or Williams? The Cowboys have not gotten into the veteran free-agent market but could find a piece after the draft.

The draft is deep at wide receiver.

ESPN Insider Todd McShay said there are 21 receivers with grades in the first four rounds.

"And I don't think we're reaching," McShay said in a conference call last week, "and I think four or five others could get into the mix."

For the Cowboys that is good news. They have obvious defensive needs (end, tackle, safety) and could look for offensive line help in the first three rounds as well.

With so much depth at receiver, the Cowboys could be able to find a contributor in Rounds 3-5 and feel OK about him playing right away.

Guys like Kevin Norwood (Alabama), Brandon Coleman (Rutgers), Josh Huff (Oregon), Paul Richardson (Colorado) and Mike Davis (Texas) would have been considered better prospects in other years that could be around in those middle rounds and produce as rookies.