Dallas Cowboys: Phillip Thomas

Looking at the picks: Rounds 4-7

May, 7, 2014
May 7
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have 11 picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Over the next two days we will look at the players taken at those 11 spots in the past five drafts to get an indication of the type of player who could be available.

Today we look at Rounds 4-7:

Fourth round (No. 119 overall)
2009 S D.J. Moore, Chicago
2010 LB A.J. Edds, Miami
2011 RB Delone Carter, Indianapolis
2012 LB Keenan Robinson, Washington
2013 S Phillip Thomas, Washington

Notable: Moore has played in 47 games -- three starts -- in his career and has two interceptions. He might be the best pick. Carter had 499 yards in two years with the Colts and was with Jacksonville last season. The Redskins have not gotten much from their last two fourth-rounders. Thomas suffered a foot injury in the preseason and was on injured reserve in 2013. Robinson has torn both pectoral muscles in his first two seasons.

Fifth round (No. 158)
2009 LB Cody Glenn, Washington
2010 C Matt Tennant, New Orleans
2011 DB Jermale Hines, St. Louis
2012 DE Jack Crawford, Oakland
2013 TE Luke Willson, Seattle

Notable: Crawford played in 15 games last season for the Raiders but does not have a sack yet in his career. Willson played in every game last season for the Seahawks and caught 20 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. Glenn, Tennant and Hines are out of the NFL.

Seventh round (No. 229)
2009 WR Manuel Johnson, Dallas
2010 C Erik Cook, Washington
2011 DB Jonathan Nelson, St. Louis
2012 RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia
2013 DL Everett Dawkins, Minnesota

Notable: Johnson kicked around mostly on the practice squad for the Cowboys. Dawkins spent a brief stint with the Cowboys last season. Brown is a talented runner but he’s behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. Cook’s older brother, Ryan, spent the last two seasons with the Cowboys.

Seventh round (No. 231)
2009 DB Jamarca Sanford, Minnesota
2010 OT Selvish Capers, Washington
2011 DL Frank Kearse, Miami
2012 WR Toney Clemons, Pittsburgh
2013 DE Ty Powell, Seattle

Notable: Kearse is with the Cowboys and could be a rotation player in 2014 after spending a few weeks with the team last season. Powell is now with the Buffalo Bills. Clemons caught three passes for 41 yards last year for Jacksonville and is now with Carolina.

Seventh round (No. 238)
2009 DB Stoney Woodson, NY Giants
2010 DT Ricardo Mathews, Indianapolis
2011 TE Daniel Hardy, Tampa Bay
2012 WR Junior Hemingway, Kansas City
2013 WR Aaron Mellette, Baltimore

Notable: Mathews is the most accomplished player and signed as a free agent with Houston after making six starts for the Colts. Hemingway caught 13 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns last season. He caught one pass for 10 yards vs. the Cowboys.

Seventh round (No. 248)
2009 TE Cameron Morrah, Seattle
2010 DT Kade Weston, New England
2011 DB Eric Hagg, Cleveland
2012 OL Kelvin Beachum, Pittsburgh
2013 S Daimion Stafford, Tennesse

Notable: Beachum has worked into a starting role with the Steelers after his career at SMU. He started 12 of 15 games in 2013. Hagg and Morrah are now teammates in Denver.

Seventh round (No. 251)
2009 WR Derek Kinder, Chicago
2010 DB Stevie Brown, Oakland
2011 DB Tommie Campbell, Tennessee
2012 K John Potter, Buffalo
2013 OL T.J. Johnson, Cincinnati

Notable: Brown found a home with the New York Giants in 2012 and had a two-interception game against the Cowboys. He did not play last year because of a knee injury but re-signed with the Giants in March.

Seventh round (No. 254)
2009 OL Trevor Canfield, Arizona
2010 LB Josh Hull, St. Louis
2011 DL Cheta Ozougwu, Houston
2012 No selection
2013 TE Justice Cunningham, Indianapolis

Notable: Ozougwu was Mr. Irrelevant and is now with the Bears. He had one sack in seven games last year. Cunningham made it to the Colts active roster last year but was a late-season pickup by St. Louis. Hull recently signed with New England and has mostly been a special teamer.
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

How does each NFC East team look in the secondary, and what still needs to be done?

Dallas Cowboys: Last offseason, the Cowboys used premium resources to acquire Brandon Carr in free agency and Morris Claiborne in the draft so they could be better equipped to play man coverage on the outside. Then this offseason, they went out and hired Cover 2 guru Monte Kiffin as their defensive coordinator. Kiffin supposedly will incorporate more man coverage into his play calls, but Carr and Claiborne are not ideal players for Cover 2, which will be Dallas’ base coverage. Still, these two, along with nickelback Orlando Scandrick and fourth-round pick B.W. Webb, give the Cowboys an excellent set of cornerbacks overall. Scheme notwithstanding, Claiborne should be much improved in his second season. Safety is another story though. This position was a huge weakness in 2012. Free-agent signee Will Allen is penciled in to start opposite Barry Church, who is highly unproven. The Cowboys used a third-round pick on J.J. Wilcox, but Allen is not starting material and Wilcox is extremely raw. Wilcox has a ton of ability and should be an immediate standout on special teams, but trusting him to read quarterbacks and route combinations as a rookie could be a disaster. To me, safety remains an immediate weakness for Dallas.

New York Giants: There isn’t a lot of change here from 2012 -- and that isn’t really a good thing. Gone is Kenny Phillips and in are Aaron Ross and Ryan Mundy, but this is a franchise that relies on its defensive line to make the defense go -- and the line does look impressive. Safety Stevie Brown made a lot of plays last season and will be asked to replace Phillips on more of a full-time basis alongside Antrel Rolle, whose best trait is probably his overall versatility. At cornerback, the Giants are counting on Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley to take noticeable steps forward in their young careers, especially from an overall consistency standpoint. Terrell Thomas returns from yet another major injury and Ross will provide corner depth, but Corey Webster is the player New York absolutely needs to play like he did earlier in his career. In 2012, Webster struggled mightily and Hosley was often beaten, which obviously is a huge concern.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles gave their secondary a total overhaul this offseason. While there was talent in this group a year ago, it collectively made a ton of mistakes and just allowed far too many big plays. Simply said, the Eagles’ secondary was dreadful in 2012. One carryover is Brandon Boykin, who played well as a rookie and should be the ideal nickel cornerback going forward. The starters at corner, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, have plenty of questions around them. I don’t see either player as close to being a true No. 1 cornerback, but if they can show some consistency it will be an improvement for Philadelphia at the position. At safety, the Eagles signed Kenny Phillips from the Giants, an excellent move and a massive upgrade if he stays healthy. They also inked Patrick Chung away from the Patriots. There is much more uncertainty around Chung, who has never stepped up as many expected he would have by now. Earl Wolff, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman and Curtis Marsh provide the Eagles with young talented depth, but while the secondary has been totally reshuffled, the starters here are far from sure things. But like the rest of Philadelphia’s secondary in 2012, Allen and Coleman had a rough go of it last season.

Washington Redskins: Probably the biggest need area for this team heading into this offseason was the secondary. In free agency, the Redskins added E.J. Biggers, who should be a very solid all-around third cornerback. In the draft, Washington addressed its secondary in a big way, using a second-round pick on David Amerson, a fourth-rounder on Phillip Thomas and a sixth-rounder on Bacarri Rambo. Right now, the starters are DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson at cornerback and Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty at safety. Surely the Redskins would love for Amerson, Thomas and Rambo all to challenge for starting spots right out of the gate, but rookie cover men often struggle. Still, Doughty is very average. Meriweather is returning from injury and has been highly inconsistent and untrustworthy, while Hall is one of the more overrated players in the NFL, who can look great one week and terrible the next. Wilson might be the best member of Washington’s secondary, which is an indictment of the status of this unit overall. The Redskins have, however, added young talent, and the return from injury of Brian Orakpo, their only truly top-notch pass-rusher, also should help the cover men a great deal.

Names to keep an eye on for Cowboys

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
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IRVING, Texas – Over the last few years, the Cowboys’ top-30 visitors before the draft have been a good indicator into who they end up selecting.

PODCAST
Nate Newton went undrafted in 1983, but he still feels like he was part of one of the greatest draft classes in league history. Newton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss his draft experience from 30 years ago and his journey to three rings.

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Guys like Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford and Matt Johnson, among others, visited Valley Ranch and ended up getting picked by the team.

Here is the list of this year’s invites to keep handy for the next three days:

S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
S Eric Reid, LSU
G Chance Warmack, Alabama
RB Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
DL Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
RB Knile Davis, Arkansas
G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
OL Justin Pugh, Syracuse
DT Kawann Short, Purdue
DT Jordan Hill, Penn State
C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson
LB Sio Moore, Connecticut
LB Gerald Hodges, Penn State
CB B.W Webb, William & Mary
WR Charles Johnson, Grand Valley State
RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
OL Kyle Long, Oregon
S J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern
LB Brandon Magee, Arizona State
TE D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers
TE Dion Sims, Michigan State
WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
S Jakar Hamilton, South Carolina State
DT Bennie Logan, LSU

Cowboys visitors from need positions

April, 2, 2013
4/02/13
9:43
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PODCAST
Stretch Smith takes Galloway & Company around the NFL, discussing quarterback moves, Tony Romo's contract and Chip Kelly's first season.

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IRVING, Texas – It is no secret that the Cowboys need help along the offensive and defensive lines and at safety entering the NFL draft, so it’s not surprising the team is meeting with some of the best available at those positions this week at Valley Ranch.

With the draft three weeks away, the Cowboys are scheduled to meet with 28 national prospects, including offensive linemen Chance Warmack (Alabama), Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina), Jonathan Pugh (Syracuse) and Travis Frederick (Wisconsin), safeties Kenny Vaccaro (Texas), Jonathan Cyprien (Florida International) and Eric Reid (LSU) and defensive linemen Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) and Kawann Short (Purdue).

Among the other players visiting are Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas, running backs Knile Davis (Arkansas), Joseph Randle (Oklahoma State) and Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) and defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Penn State).

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.

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