Dallas Cowboys: NFL Scouting Combine

Anthony Spencer's agent in touch with Cowboys

February, 26, 2013
Jordan Woy, the agent for defensive end/outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, said he has been in touch with the Dallas Cowboys about a new contract for his client but that there is "nothing new to report" on the talks.

Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the NFL combine and Cowboys' offseason. Edwards says Rod Marinelli is the key to the defense this season, not Monte Kiffin. He also talks about what it would be like to work for Jerry Jones.

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Spencer becomes a free agent March 12.

Spencer could be one of the more sought after defensive players on the free agent market. He finished last season with a career-high 11 sacks and can play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme or outside linebacker in a 3-4.

The issue for the Cowboys is coming up with the money to sign Spencer. They are more than $20 million over the salary cap and want to give quarterback Tony Romo a new contract, which could clear up some space.

Spencer was franchised last season for $8.8 million and could be again in 2013, but this time at a cost of $10.6 million.

"We are very challenged under the cap," owner/general manager Jerry Jones said last week at the NFL scouting combine, "and so we’re going to have to pick our spots to spend this money is the best way for me to answer it."

Spencer could seek an average salary of $8-10 million per season.

Cowboys NFL scouting combine primer

February, 22, 2012
The annual NFL scouting combine starts today and Cowboys officials arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Here's a primer on what might or should happen for the Dallas Cowboys the next few days.

The Cowboys will talk to a quarterback: Last year the Cowboys spoke with then-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. It didn't mean the Cowboys were going to draft him, Newton went No. 1 overall, but it was more about the team doing their due diligence. This year don't be surprised to see the Cowboys speak with Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck, considered the top quarterbacks in the draft. The Cowboys still believe in Tony Romo, yet have to think about the future. Cowboys could draft a quarterback in the later rounds and speaking to Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State is a possibility. Cowboys officials believe Weeden is a good fit, bur are concerned about his age, turns 29 in October.

Taking on the free agents: The biggest free agents the Cowboys must address from their own roster are Anthony Spencer, Mat McBriar, Abram Elam and Laurent Robinson. The Cowboys could franchise Spencer, which costs a projected $8.8 million, but nothing has been decided. Spencer's agent, Roosevelt Barnes doesn't have any meetings scheduled with the Cowboys. Robinson developed into a talented and reliable receiver. But Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson and Marques Colston will command more money and attention from teams. Elam doesn't have an agent and it's uncertain if the Cowboys will bring him back. McBriar is expected to recover from leg surgery and the team most likely will give him a new contract.

What's up with the salary cap? Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones praised his son, team executive vice president Stephen Jones, with taking care of the finances in terms of releasing several veterans, restructuring contracts to clear up $12.5 million. That number could increase to as much as $20 million with more veteran departures such as Terence Newman, Kenyon Coleman and Kyle Kosier. Cowboys might talk to the agents of several players asking to restructure deals to clear up space on the cap.

Who the Cowboys target at No. 14: Everybody. The Cowboys will begin the process of meeting players individually in Indy, schedule more meetings at Valley Ranch and of course prepare to visit Pro Days. If the Cowboys visit Stanford for the its Pro Day, it doesn't mean they want Luck. Guard David DeCastro is projected as the best interior linemen in the draft. If Jason Garrett visits Stanford's Pro Day, it could mean DeCastro is targeted. Garrett went to one Pro Day last spring, Tyron Smith's at USC.

Here's five other players the Cowboys might pick with the 14th overall pick: Courtney Upshaw, Alabama, OLB; Mark Barron, Alabama, S; Melvin Ingram, South Carolina, DE; Dontari Poe, Memphis, NT; Cordy Glenn, Georgia, G.

Cowboys to get a visit from a safety

March, 24, 2011
Da'Norris Searcy, a safety from North Carolina, is scheduled to visit Valley Ranch.

Searcy is projected as a strong safety and could be drafted anywhere from the third-to-fifth round. Scouts Inc. has him ranked as the ninth best safety in the draft and NFL Draft Scout ranks him fifth.

Searcy has already visited seven NFL teams and his Pro Day is scheduled for March 31.

At the national scouting combine, Searcy had the second longest arms, measured at 33 1/2 and lifted 225 pounds 27 times.

The Cowboys of course have expressed an interest in bringing back Gerald Sensabaugh as their starting strong safety, but as an unrestricted free agent he's going to test the market before anything can be finalized with the Cowboys.

The Prince shows off his speed

March, 1, 2011
The defensive backs are doing their drills today and Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, who heard questions about his lack of speed, turned in 4.37 and a 4.44 in his 40-yard dash. These times are unofficial.

"The 40-yard dash is rated real high at the combine and I'm looking forward to doing real good at it," Amukamara said last week. "I know I'm going to run real well."

Several mock drafts have the Cowboys taking Amukamara with the ninth pick of the draft and team officials have already spoken to him.

It was interesting to note that Amukamara's senior season saw him with no interceptions in the pass-happy Big 12 and there were questions about his lack of speed hurting his playmaking ability.

"I think some people don't know what they're talking about and haven't seen me on film," Amukamara said. "I guess I'll show them on Tuesday."

Some other strong 40 times: Buster Skrine of Tennessee-Chattanooga ran a 4.29, LSU's Patrick Peterson ran a 4.32 and a 4.37, Ohio State's Chimdi Chekwe ran a 4.33. Colordao's Jimmy Smith ran a 4.38 on his first attempt. Texas' Aaron Williams ran a 4.53.

Combine from Cowboys' perspective

February, 24, 2010
The film doesn’t lie, but NFL scouts and general managers want to know more.

That’s the purpose of the NFL scouting combine, which is held this week in Indianapolis. Scouts get a chance to see and hear things they couldn’t pick up from poring over watching every play of a prospect’s college career.

The Cowboys don’t have a need so glaring that they’ll have to reach in the early rounds, but there are three position groups their scouting contingent will pay particularly close attention to: safety, offensive guard and offensive tackle.

Here’s a look at how this week’s workouts and interviews could affect the Cowboys’ decisions in the April draft:

[+] EnlargeEarl Thomas
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiTexas' Earl Thomas may not be around if the Cowboys don't move up from the 27th spot in the first round.
Safety: Texas’ Earl Thomas, who set a school record with eight interceptions as a redshirt sophomore last season, would be a good fit for a franchise searching for playmaking ability at safety.

However, Thomas can be found in the middle of the first round in most mock drafts. Unless the Cowboys are willing to trade up from No. 27, they’d need Thomas to have a flaw or two exposed at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Thomas’ size (5-10, 197) is already considered a concern. It would become more of one if his bench rep total is well below average.

Thomas’ coverage ability is his biggest strength, with some believing that he’s good enough to cover NFL slot receivers. He would likely have to be a tick slow in the 40 and/or the shuttle and three-cone drills to still be available when the Cowboys come on the clock.

USC’s Taylor Mays is a physical specimen who was projected as a top-five pick before his senior season, but his stock has steadily gone down. He’s now projected to go in the bottom third of the first round.

The concerns with Mays will sound familiar to Cowboys fans who watched Roy Williams: He’s a big hitter at his best close to the line of scrimmage and can be a liability in coverage.

At 6-3, 231 pounds with blazing speed, Mays is the type of player whose stock could soar after his combine workouts. If that’s the case, it might benefit the Cowboys by pushing Thomas toward the bottom of the first round.

Tennessee’s Eric Berry is the only other safety projected as a first-round pick, and he’ll be gone midway through the round. South Florida’s Nate Allen tops the list of second-round safety possibilities.

Offensive guard: It’d be tough for the Cowboys to pass on Idaho’s Mike Iupati if he’s available. He might have pushed himself into the middle of the first round with a phenomenal week at the Senior Bowl.

[+] EnlargeMike Iupati
Julianne Varacchi/ESPN.comIdaho guard Mike Iupati (right) improved his stock with his showing during Senior Bowl week.
If his stock takes a dip, it would likely be because of medical evaluations or interview. He’s a chiseled 6-5, 325-pounder that should impress during workouts.

Doctors will poke and prod the shoulder that required surgery before the 2008 season. Teams will also test his football knowledge and intelligence during interviews. He’s a native of American Samoa who did not begin speaking English or playing football until he moved to California in high school. He went to Idaho because prominent programs passed on him due to academic concerns.

Iupati is the only guard expected to go in the first round.

Massachusetts’ Vladimir Ducasse, who played tackle in college, is an interesting second-round prospect. Like Iupati, Ducasse didn’t play football until moving to America in high school, although the Haitian native was a good student. There are questions about Ducasse’s technique. His performances in the quickness tests could help him rise to the top of the second round.

Illinois’ Jon Asamoah and Alabama’s Mike Johnson are other guards the Cowboys could consider before the draft’s final day.

Offensive tackle: There will be at least a few offensive tackles off the board by the time the Cowboys get on the clock. Maryland’s Bruce Campbell is one who is projected to go somewhere in the neighborhood of No. 27.

The 6-7, 310-pound Campbell is a freakish athlete who should do well in workouts. Once again, the concerns with him will be addressed during medical evaluations and interviews.

Campbell missed three games last season with a sprained MCL and turf toe. He made only 17 career starts before declaring for the draft after his junior season. There are questions about his durability and football savvy. He’s also a work in progress as a run blocker, but the Cowboys can afford to be patient with Doug Free backing up Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo. They just can’t afford another early-round offensive line bust.

USC’s Charles Brown will surely remind Cowboys scouts of one of their worst busts, ex-Trojan tackle Jacob Rogers, who never played a down in Dallas despite being a second-round pick. Like Rogers, Brown is a relatively lean tackle (6-5, 292) who relies more on athleticism than muscle.

Brown, a converted tight end, would improve his stock with a respectable showing on the bench press. He’d still probably need a year or two of seasoning before being ready to start in the NFL, but the Cowboys are drafting for the future instead of filling an immediate need at tackle.