Dallas Cowboys: Stephen Hodge

Since Victor Butler agreed to a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, it means the end of the Dallas Cowboys' 2009 draft class.

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The Cowboys drafted 12 players in 2009 in what was billed as a special-teams draft. What it became was one of the worst drafts in the last 10 years.

No starters were developed from the class and only six made the 53-man roster. Things started off on the wrong foot when the Cowboys began the draft without a first-round pick, handed to the Detroit Lions as part of the Roy Williams deal. The Cowboys traded their second-round choice to Buffalo for third- and fourth-round picks.

What did the Bills do with the pick?

Center Andy Levitre was selected at No. 53.

A review of the 2009 class:

Jason Williams. He was a third-round pick, 69th overall from Western Illinois. He did make the team but had little impact. Williams was supposed to be an outside linebacker with pass-rushing ability. He struggled to learn Wade Phillips' defense and didn't earn a single start. He played a career-high 14 games with the Carolina Panthers in 2011.

Robert Brewster. The tackle was a third-round pick (75th overall) from Ball State. Let's just say Brewster's body wasn't in shape from the moment he arrived at Valley Ranch. He was on the practice squad and that's about it. He never developed the strength necessary to be counted on to play in the NFL.

Stephen McGee. He was a backup who didn't develop. McGee struggled to convert from a quarterback who played out of the shotgun to someone who needed to take snaps under center. The fourth-round pick from Texas A&M stayed way too long before getting released last summer.

Victor Butler. The Cowboys had hopes their fourth-round pick (110th overall) would contribute on special teams and provide solid pass-rush skills. Butler was inconsistent with the Cowboys, and after visiting at least four NFL teams this offseason, he found a home with the Saints. Butler has potential but needs to solve the inconsistency problems.

Brandon Williams. The linebacker from Texas Tech was another fourth-round pick. The Fort Worth native played six games in 2010 and that was it. He didn't show much ability. He did battle some injuries but was inconsistent when healthy.

DeAngelo Smith. Smith was a fifth-round pick who didn't make the 53-man roster. The Cowboys thought he could be a solid cover guy, but he just didn't provide the club with enough confidence to make the team, let alone sustain a long-term career. Smith's claim to fame was getting beat by David Buehler in the 40 during training camp.

Michael Hamlin. The safety from Clemson was a fifth-round choice who did make the team but had little impact. He didn't contribute much on special teams. He played in four games with Jacksonville in 2010 and is out of the league.

David Buehler. The kicker from USC displayed a strong leg on kickoffs, but a groin injury in 2011 ended his time with the Cowboys. A fifth-round pick, Buehler converted 75 percent of his field goals, including a career-long 53-yarder. Consistency was an issue, and he didn't kick for anybody last season as he recovered from surgery on his groin. He signed with the New York Giants and could make the roster.

Stephen Hodge. The linebacker/safety from TCU just couldn't recover from his knee injuries. Hodge was projected as a special-teams ace, but his health prevented him from becoming one. This sixth-round pick just didn't work out.

John Phillips. The sixth-round tight end played well at times. He wasn't better than Martellus Bennett, a second-round pick from 2008. Phillips tore his ACL in the 2010 preseason opener and it slowed his progress. He was surpassed by James Hanna, a sixth-round pick in 2012, late last season. Phillips signed a free-agent deal with San Diego.

Mike Mickens. He was a seventh-round selection who is out of the league and didn't play any NFL games.

Manuel Johnson. Johnson was an East Texas favorite who made some plays in the preseason but never did enough to make the 53-man roster.

Report: Ex-Cowboys linebacker arrested

July, 17, 2011
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According to a report on WFAA.com, former Cowboys linebacker Stephen Hodge and current Indianapolis Colts defensive end Jerry Hughes were among three former TCU football players arrested early Sunday for suspicion of public intoxication at a downtown Dallas nightclub.

Cory Grant, a two-year starter for the Horned Frogs who was a senior last season, was also arrested, according to the report.

Hodge was a sixth-round Cowboys draft pick in 2009 but never played for Dallas because of knee injuries. The team reached in injury settlement with Hodge in November 2010.

Hughes was a two-time All-American for TCU and was a first-round pick by the Colts in 2010. He appeared in 12 games as a rookie, making six tackles.

Stephen Hodge reaches injury settlement

November, 11, 2010
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IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have reached an injury settlement with safety Stephen Hodge, which ends his time with the organization.

Hodge, a TCU product, who was a sixth-round pick from the 2009 draft, hasn't played in a regular season game because of knee injuries.

Last year, Hodge was out for the season while undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee. He played in only one game, a preseason contest against Tennessee.

As Hodge was rehabbing from that injury this season, he suffered a setback when doctors discovered he needed to undergo knee surgery again, this time on the right knee. Hodge underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in mid-October.

Recently fired coach Wade Phillips was fond of Hodge and hopeful he could become a force on special teams and on certain defensive packages.

However, it hasn't worked out.

When the team makes the Hodge decision official, it would mark the sixth player from the 2009 draft class that has been released. Only third rounder, tackle Robert Brewster was re-signed to the team.

The Cowboys drafted 12 players from the 2009 draft class and only five remain with the team as of today.

'09 draft class is dreadful dozen

October, 12, 2010
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Maybe it’s a bit harsh to label an entire draft class a bust after only 18 months. But the contributions from the Cowboys’ class of 2009 are pretty close to nothing in what Jerry Jones considered to be their “redshirt rookie” season.

Fifth-round safety Michael Hamlin, who was released Tuesday, became the fourth player from the 12-man class to be cut by the Cowboys. Three of them were defensive backs that the Cowboys hoped would provide a much-needed boost of playmaking in the back end of their defense.

Sixth-round linebacker Stephen Hodge has yet to play a down, spending last season on injured reserve and this season on the physically unable to perform list.

Sixth-round tight end John Phillips has been the best player in the class, but he’s out for the season with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason opener.

Kicker David Buehler is the only other player from the class who has made a significant contribution. He led the NFL in touchbacks as a kickoff specialist last season, but he’s been shaky as the placekicker this season. Buehler is 6-of-9 on field goals, with each missing coming on a clutch kick.

Third-round linebacker Jason Williams just cracked the nickel linebacker rotation last game. Third-round offensive tackle Robert Brewster, who missed all of last season with a torn pectoral, is inactive on game days. So is fourth-round outside linebacker Brandon Williams, who sat last season with a torn ACL.

Fourth-round quarterback Stephen McGee provided some hope that he’s a worthy project with a solid performance while playing the entire game in the preseason finale. Fourth-round outside linebacker Victor Butler has progressed to the point where DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer can take a few plays off each game.

But there’s nothing close to an impact player in this class. There isn’t even a guy who looks like a future starter.

Of course, Jerry put himself in a tough position by dealing first- and third-round picks to Detroit. Well, at least Roy Williams is finally producing.

Players reminded of Baylor suspension

October, 7, 2010
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IRVING -- Taped to every Cowboys player's locker was a story of Baylor guard and leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn getting suspended over his arrest for allegedly hitting his girlfriend.

Linebacker Stephen Hodge said the story was placed there as gentle reminder of how not to conduct yourself in private. Defensive end Jason Hatcher said Cowboys officials do that from time-to-time, just to inform the team of what's going on outside of Valley Ranch.

Hatcher said he the Cowboys don't have players who would hit their wives or girlfriends and they have good character guys.

Baylor coach Scott Drew said he's not sure when Dunn will return to the team but he's been banned from all team activities after he was booked on a felony charge of aggravted assault. Police said Dunn's girlfriend, Lacharlesla Edwards, had her jaw broken in two places during a domestic dispute last week.

Edwards has said Dunn didn't hit her, and her jaw wasn't broken. She said she wants the charge dropped and her boyfriend reinstated to the team.

Victor Butler, Stephen Hodge chat at 1:30

August, 25, 2010
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Cowboys linebackers Victor Butler and Stephen Hodge will tackle your questions during a live chat on ESPNDallas.com at 1:30 p.m. today. Click here to submit your early questions.

Among the topics we're sure they'll be fielding: the upcoming Cowboys Classic between TCU and Oregon State on Sept. 4 at Cowboys Stadium. Why? Hodge played for the Horned Frogs, while Butler suited up for the Beavers.

Tony Romo's back; Dez Bryant's boot

August, 13, 2010
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Now that we've gotten a few hours sleep, we have an updated injury report for you from Thursday night's Cowboys' 17-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Quarterback Tony Romo suffered a sore back, but he's OK. He's scheduled to practice Saturday. Romo dealt with a sore back in 2008 as the result of a few hard hits, which was the case of getting sacked three times Thursday.
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Romo appeared to be in discomfort while sitting on the bench during the second half. After the game, he said, "I'm fine."

* The walking boot on rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant will remain on for at least another day. Bryant is recovering from a right high ankle sprain and the team is being cautious. Friday will mark two weeks since he's worn the boot. Bryant is scheduled to lose the boot and begin his rehab Saturday in Oxnard, Calif.

* Linebacker Stephen Hodge keeps saying he's not sure when he'll start to practice. Hodge is recovering from microfracture surgery and will continue to rehab once the team gets to Oxnard, Calif.

* Safety Mike Hamlin has a sprained neck and said he suffered a concussion. Hamlin said Thursday night his headaches were subsiding.

* Nose tackle Junior Siavii suffered a cut on his forehead and some bruising on his eyes after making a tackle without a helmet. Siavii said he doesn't have a concussion and finished the game without any problems.

* Coach Wade Phillips said tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Sean Lee (quad) and safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder) are scheduled to return to practice on Saturday and should be ready for the third preseason game at San Diego on August 21.

Cowboys practice report: Day 3

July, 26, 2010
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SAN ANTONIO -- Busy day at the dome, so let's get to it.

*Kicker David Buehler made all four of his field goal tries in the early portions of practice. His longest kick was from 38 yards. Buehler did not kick into the small field goal that is designed to make you kick straight down the middle. Buehler's last kick hooked inside the upright.

*Coach Wade Phillips said the offense had its best day of training camp, and he was right. Running backs Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and Lonyae Miller hit the holes well. Tony Romo is developing a nice chemistry with Dez Bryant and John Phillips as he continues to connect with them on throws. The offensive line was very physical, especially Leonard Davis, who pushed a few people into the second level.

*The secondary continues to make plays. Jamar Wall picked off two passes, one intended for Patrick Crayton and another for Kevin Ogletree. Bryan McCann broke up a pass for Ogletree. Cletis Gordon had an INT. Veteran Terence Newman struggled a little bit, well on two plays at least. He was beaten badly by Terrell Hudgins. Newman thought Hudgins was running a slant and instead he ran down the sideline. Newman couldn't hold Bryant on a jam.

*Newly signed linebacker Brandon Sharpe was pretty active Monday. He blew by tackle Robert Brewster twice in a pass rush drill, and he made a nice tackle on Choice. Sharpe is showing he has speed and not afraid to make contact.

*Bryant left practice briefly to get his right ankle taped, but it didn't slow him down. He made a nice move to beat Mike Jenkins along the sideline. As they ran down the sideline, Bryant hesitated slightly during the route, causing Jenkins to slow down. Bryant then picked up his speed and gained about two steps. After Bryant caught the ball, he gave Jenkins a high-five. It seems Bryant and Jenkins are enjoying going up against each other.

*Stephen McGee threw the ball down the field more Monday, yet he was under pressure from the second- and third-team units. On one pass play, Brandon Williams beat left tackle Will Barker for a sack. McGee didn't have a chance on an incompletion when Marcus Dixon chased him out of the pocket. McGee was sacked by Leon Williams on the blitz.

*Martellus Bennett (ankle), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder), Stephen Hodge (knee), Lorenzo Washington (hamstring) and Josh Brent (hand) missed practice again. Phillips thinks Bennett and Washington are close to coming back. Bennett said he made cuts for the first time in a few days during rehab.

Cowboys make roster moves, add LB

July, 23, 2010
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Besides agreeing to terms with second-round pick Sean Lee, the Cowboys made another roster move -- signing linebacker Jay Moore (Nebraska) and cutting wide receiver Verran Tucker.

Moore, drafted by San Francisco in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, has almost three years of NFL experience with the 49ers and Tennessee Titans. Tucker was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of California.

Also, linebacker Stephen Hodge (knee) -- a sixth-round selection out of TCU last year -- and fourth-round safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder) will start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Injury updates: Hodge, Owusu-Ansah

July, 19, 2010
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As we get closer to training camp, the Cowboys are working on signing deals with their five unsigned draft picks and trying to determine who will attend the first practice after recovering from injury.

Stephen Hodge, the linebacker from TCU, who still is recovering from microfracture surgery, most likely will start camp on the Physical Unable to Perform list.

Hodge is doing some light rehab at Valley Ranch but has not been cleared to practice.

SafetyAkwasi Owusu-Ansah, who missed the rookie minicamp and all of the organized team activites with shoulder issues, will not particpate the first few days of camp. He's still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in his last season at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jay Ratliff (elbow surgery) and Keith Brooking (knee surgery) should be ready to practice fully once camp starts on Saturday. Ratliff said he had no pain in his elbows as he practiced during the veteran minicamp in June and Brooking practice some, missing the second practice of two-a-days, during the minicamp.

Who will be Cowboys' next cuts?

July, 17, 2010
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Once all the draft picks are signed, the Cowboys will have 82 players on the roster, two over the limit for training camp.

When the Cowboys have to cut a couple of players, the educated guess here is that undrafted nose tackle Junior Aumavae and ex-practice squad linebacker Donovan Woods will be the ones to go. Those two players are caught up in a numbers game with more promising young players needing reps at their positions.

Supplemental seventh-round pick Josh Price-Brent is expected to compete with incumbent backup nose tackle Junior Siavii for the right to spell Jay Ratliff for about 10 to 15 snaps per game. Seventh-round pick Sean Lissemore played primarily defensive end during offseason workouts, but the Cowboys will also want him to get some reps at nose tackle.

Second-round pick Sean Lee and 2009 third-rounder Jason Williams need reps at inside linebacker. So does 2009 sixth-round pick Stephen Hodge, if he’s healthy after recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee.

The health of Hodge and rookie safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, a fourth-round pick who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, could provide a stay of execution of sorts for the Cowboys’ next cuts. If Hodge and/or Owusu-Ansah isn’t ready by the start of camp, the Cowboys could opt to place them on the physically unable to perform list.

Broaddus Breakdown: Inside linebackers

June, 29, 2010
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Eighth in a series breaking down the Cowboys by position (previous entries):

Roster locks: Bradie James, Keith Brooking, Sean Lee

Good bet: Jason Williams

On the bubble: Stephen Hodge

Long shots: Leon Williams, Donovan Woods

[+] EnlargeKeith Brooking
Larry French/Getty ImagesKeith Brooking should be a good role model for rookie Sean Lee, and he proved last year he still can make plays.
This is a solid group with a nice mix of established veterans and promising young players.

I’m not surprised by the type of year Keith Brooking had. He’s always been a guy who has been well prepared and kept himself in good physical condition. He’s a pro’s pro. He’s a relentless player with great effort, intensity, intelligence and leadership ability. I think he helped Bradie James more than Zach Thomas did. Brooking didn’t wear down, like Thomas did the previous season. This guy still has more than enough left in the tank.

James is very good as a run-at guy. He’s a physical, point-of-attack player who is adequate sideline to sideline. He has his shaky moments in coverage, though, which is why he’s on the field less often in passing situations. You can’t jump up and down about him, but you have to admire how steady he’s been.

Sean Lee is instinctive, active and smart. He’s got an understanding of where to fit, and I like what he brings as a nickel linebacker. He should be an immediate upgrade over Bobby Carpenter. He moves well in coverage and does an excellent job making breaks on the ball. He’s also big and physical enough to be a factor in the running game. He’s got the perfect guy to learn from in Brooking and looks like a guy who has a bright future as an NFL starter.

Every time I see Jason Williams, he’s getting yelled at by somebody. But he’s a guy who was hand-picked by Wade Phillips, so he’ll have an opportunity to play. This training camp will be huge for him. He can handle the physical load, but is the mental load going to bring him down? He has to translate his athletic ability into production on the football field.

Hodge played at TCU while I was on the staff there, and I had really high hopes for him. But the knee injury has potentially robbed him of this opportunity. If healthy, he could be a dynamic special teams player. He’s crazy, he’s always around the football, and he’s physical. He’s really not a very fluid moving guy. He’s more of a stand-in-there-and-be-physical type of player. He’s a tough son of a gun.
Jerry Jones often refers to most of last year’s draft picks as the Cowboys’ “redshirt class,” a group he has repeatedly stated he thinks will help the Cowboys this season.

He’s essentially asking folks to wait until the bulk of the group has one healthy year under its belt before declaring the class a bust.

Third-round offensive tackle Robert Brewster (torn pectoral), fourth-round outside linebacker Brandon Williams (knee) and sixth-round inside linebacker Stephen Hodge (knee) missed the entire season. Third-round inside linebacker Jason Williams (ankle) and fifth-round safety Michael Hamlin (wrist) had their development stunted by preseason injuries.

What would constitute success for the redshirt rookies this season? Let’s look at each of their situations:

J. Williams: He’s the Cowboys’ fastest defensive player other than the cornerbacks, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to claim one of the linebacker spots in the nickel package. And he absolutely has to be an impact special teams player after being a nonfactor last season. Wade Phillips insisted that the second-round selection of Sean Lee shouldn’t be considered a sign that the Cowboys lack confidence in Williams. However, Williams needs to prove this offseason and training camp that he can handle the mental strain of playing linebacker in the NFL. He was consistently confused during last year’s camp, which isn’t a surprise considering his simplistic, blitz-mad role at Western Illinois.

Brewster: The Cowboys are counting on Brewster to be the swing tackle. If they’re confident enough to use him as an injury fill-in instead of shuffling the line to put Leonard Davis at tackle, it would be a strong sign that Brewster is on track to eventually be Doug Free’s bookend. Brewster, who arrived at Valley Ranch with a blubbery body, has earned rave reviews for his work in the strength and conditioning program.

B. Williams: His challenge is to prove that he’s capable of serving as a pass-rushing specialist. The Cowboys would like to be able to give DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer occasional breathers, but the coaching staff didn’t develop enough confidence in fourth-rounder Victor Butler to do so last season. Phillips said Williams, a more powerful rusher, was ahead of Butler before he tore his ACL in the preseason finale. Williams will also have to be a solid special teams player, which Butler was last season.

Hamlin: Alan Ball is the frontrunner to start at free safety, but Hamlin should be able to challenge him. Hamlin is bigger with better ball skills, which he used to set a Clemson record with 14 career interceptions. If Hamlin performs well but can’t beat out Ball, there’s a possibility that Phillips and Co. will find roles for him in some of the substitution packages. He worked at Roy Williams’ old spot in one version of the dime during his rookie training camp, making a couple of spectacular, leaping picks on balls aimed to receivers in zones behind him. He also should be a core special teams player.

Hodge: If he sticks on the 53-man roster, it’ll be because of special teams. The Cowboys drafted Hodge, a safety at TCU, because they believed he could be a Bill Bates/Kenny Gant kind of impact player in the kicking game. But there are at least five players in front of him on the depth chart at inside linebacker, and Hodge isn’t expected to be fully cleared until training camp due to his recovery from microfracture surgery.

What we're hearing before the first pick

April, 22, 2010
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The NFL draft is not until 6:30 p.m. but that won't stop all the rumors we're hearing regarding the Cowboys and players connected to them.

We look at a few:

1. Cowboys trade with Miami Dolphins: This surfaced last night that the Cowboys were shopping defensive end Marcus Spears to the Dolphins for possibly the No. 12 pick in the first round. Seems the Dolphins want to move down to No. 27, where Dallas is selecting.

2. Martellus Bennett on trading block: We're not sure if the young tight end will leave the Cowboys this season, but there is some interest in his untapped potential.

3. Teams interested in Alan Ball: Last year, several teams expressed interest in the safety, but the Cowboys turned them away. So far, teams have not reached out about his availability according to his agent.

4. Where will Dez Bryant go? The Cowboys have some interest in Bryant, who was not invited to the NFL Draft in New York. That's a surprise. Bryant, however, will host a draft party at his mentor's house, David Wells, in DeSoto, Texas tonight. There was a report that Bryant acted like a diva on a visit to St. Louis. We've been told that's not the case. Bryant visited St. Louis after being in San Francisco. Before leaving for St. Louis, Bryant ate dinner at the airport in the San Francisco area. When Bryant got to the Rams complex he was asked to go out for dinner, but declined the invite because he wasn't hungry. So, what did the Rams do? They gave him some tokens to play at Dave and Busters. (Rams do that for all their prospective draft picks). Nice.

5. Cowboys will trade three picks to get Earl Thomas: Wow, we heard that one and were kind of shocked. We've been told that price is too much for the Cowboys.

Notes: Backup guard Duke Preston, who hasn't signed his tender offer, is working out at Valley Ranch and is happy with the club and will sign it eventually. ... Jerry Jones ruled out drafting a quarterback but that might not stop the team from signing one as a undrafted free agent. ... In his three seasons as the head coach of the Cowboys, Wade Phillips has seen with the team draft 13 defensive players, including one in the first round, and 11 offensive players, one in the first round, and two kickers. ... Last time the Cowboys drafted an offensive lineman in the first round was 1981 when tackle Howard Richards was taken with the 26th pick of the 1981 draft. Jerry Jones has never drafted one in the first round. ... Jones said the team is open to drafting a inside linebacker but Jason Williams and Stephen Hodge are currently fighting for backup spots there. Jones also said Victor Butler is an outside linebacker but, "not imppossible in there" as well.

Cowboys owners meeting wrapup

March, 25, 2010
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The owners meetings are over and now we'll tell you what we've learned from the Cowboys in regards to everything that happened in Orlando the last three days.

1. Overtime rule: The Cowboys are in favor of the overtime rule, mainly Stephen Jones, the executive vice president who serves on the competition committee. He thought it was fairly based on the statisical data provided by the league. Wade Phillips, who you might consider old school, also liked the rule.

2. Roy Williams is not going anywhere: Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips said Williams is staying with the club. Phillips even went as far to say the wide receiver wants a bigger role in the offense, and he wants that to happen. The Cowboys owe Williams close to $13 million in guaranteed money this season, and that's part of the reason he's staying. Those close to Williams say he wants to have a big season because he knows it could be his last with the team. Williams has even said if he doesn't perform well in 2010, the team might cut him.

3. The Cowboys might not draft a wide receiver: Yes, the Cowboys are interviewing wide receivers at Valley Ranch -- LSU's Brandon LaFell on March 31 and Dez Bryant from Oklahoma State on April 1 -- but Jerry Jones said he's just checking his options, especially in the case of Bryant should he fall in the draft. Phillips praised younger receivers such as Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree, Manuel Johnson and even Jesse Holley. The Cowboys like the depth they have here, and want one of these young guns to step up.

4. The draft is strong at outside linebacker: Phillips knows linebackers. He's coached quite a few, including Rickey Jackson in New Orleans, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. Phillips also coaches DeMarcus Ware, by the way. Phillips said he's noticed more 3-4 type linebackers running around than in recent years. But this does not mean the Cowboys will draft one. Phillips said he's got hopes for Victor Butler and Brandon Williams to produce as backups at outside linebacker.

5. The Cowboys want to make a move in free agency but won't rush it: The uncapped year was thought to have pushed the Cowboys into Yankees-type territory. A deeper look, however, reveals the Cowboys have a payroll of $125 million, one of the highest in the league for the 2010 season. A bulk of the Cowboys' salary has gone to players they signed in the last few years, such as Flozell Adams, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, Ken Hamlin, Leonard Davis and Roy Williams, all who contribute to the club in a significant way. The current economic climate in the NFL also gives the team pause. Jerry Jones said the Cowboys could make a move once he sees where the market goes regarding several restricted free agents.

Also of note: The Cowboys gave first-round grades on safeties Taylor Mays, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas. ... The Cowboys are concerned about the age of left tackle Flozell Adams, who turns 35 in May, and could release him in June, though the team hasn't discussed it in full. Also, the ages of inside linebackers Bradie James (29, entering his eighth year) and Keith Brooking (turns 35 in October, entering his 13th year) concern the front office. The team is looking at some inside linebackers to draft for the future. ... Opening up the starting running back job is a possiblity, according to Jerry Jones. However, all three running backs -- Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice -- will remain with the club. ... Stephen Hodge, a sixth-round draft pick from TCU who missed last season to surgery, will not be ready in time for the OTAs or minicamps. Ware, Jay Ratliff and several other players who underwent surgeries should be fine for team workouts.

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