Dallas Cowboys: Timmy Jernigan

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 -- ESPN Insider Mel Kiper Jr. has offered up his second-round mock draft and he has the Dallas Cowboys taking Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy with the 47th pick overall.

You need to be an Insider to see all of the picks Insider, but Ealy to the Cowboys makes some sense considering the Cowboys need help along the defensive line.

The guy I would prefer is Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, but he is not available in Kiper’s second-round mock. I believe Lawrence is the best right defensive end available and would be able to step in to play right away. Ealy is more of a left defensive end -- and possibly a tackle -- and the Cowboys would appear to have plenty of those guys in Anthony Spencer, Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford and George Selvie.

In addition to Ealy, he had Timmy Jernigan, Jeremiah Attaochu and Ra'Shede Hageman available at the Cowboys’ pick.

Cowboys' time to focus on defense

May, 9, 2014
May 9
IRVING, Texas -- The defense-needy Dallas Cowboys opened the draft by selecting offensive lineman Zack Martin with the No. 16 pick in the first round.

For all of those who were upset the Cowboys did not take QB Johnny Manziel, there were an equal amount of people upset the Cowboys did not take a defensive player. Any defensive player.

With a defense that ranked last in the league in 2013 and lost free agents Jason Hatcher (the leading sacker in '13) and DeMarcus Ware (the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks), there was a level of confusion over the Cowboys’ pick.

“We felt like we had needs going into this draft,” coach Jason Garrett said, “You want to address your needs, but you want to address your needs with the best players available. We felt like we did that.”

The Cowboys have 11 more picks. They have one each in today’s second round (No. 47) and third round (No. 78). Maybe now is when the Cowboys will stress defense, defense, defense.

“I would say right now we need a defensive player more than we need an offensive player,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.

The Cowboys lost out on the top safeties on their draft board, especially with Jimmie Ward going in the first round to the San Francisco 49ers. The top two safeties, Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, went to the New York Jets at No. 18 and the Green Bay Packers at No. 21, respectively. The Arizona Cardinals took Deone Bucannon at No. 27.

Several defensive line options remain, including Demarcus Lawrence, Kony Ealy, Timmy Jernigan and Scott Crichton. The Cowboys had each of them in for a visit to Valley Ranch before the draft. Of the group, Lawrence would fill the more pressing need at right defensive end.

“It’s no secret we’d like to have some defense in this draft,” Jones said.

But he would not rule out the best-player-available theory the Cowboys used in the first round.

“I think we’re going to go down just like we made [the Martin] decision,” Jones said. “We’re going to see what player is there available for us. We’re going to see what trades are there, and I wouldn’t want to bet a lot that we might not take an offensive player.”
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:

ESPN Insiders Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay held a three-round mock draft on Thursday in which they alternated picks.

You have to be an Insider to see all of the picks. If so, click here.Insider

Here were their rules:
1. We rotate picks: Todd has odds, Mel has evens, and picks are made for each slot through Round 3.
2. These are our picks: Each selection reflects our call, not what we think teams want.
3. It's about the board: The analysis is less a scouting report, and more about why the pick was made.
For the Dallas Cowboys, Kiper took Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round (No. 16 overall). In the second round, McShay took Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (No. 47) and in the third round Kiper took Stanford guard David Yankey (No. 78).

The picks hit on the Cowboys’ needs in the secondary and defensive and offensive lines.

Remember, this is what Kiper or McShay would do; not what they think the Cowboys will do.

In examining their mock, the Cowboys will not be happy with the St. Louis Rams. At No. 13, the Rams took Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin. In the second round (No. 44 overall), they took Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, and in the third they took LSU guard Trai Turner (No. 75). All three were pre-draft visitors to Valley Ranch.

Let’s take a closer look at the picks:

First round


Who would be the best first-round pick for the Cowboys?


Discuss (Total votes: 11,576)

In Cinton-Dix, the Cowboys get a safety to pair up next to Barry Church. In his reasoning for the selection, Kiper acknowledged he would rather take a defensive lineman here but he doesn’t see the value.

UCLA’s Anthony Barr did not go off the board until No. 30 to the San Francisco 49ers. Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy lasted until No. 37 to the Atlanta Falcons in the second round.

If those two are available – and Martin is gone – I’d go with Barr or Ealy before Clinton-Dix, but I’d really consider Ealy because of his position flexibility.

Second round

In Jernigan, McShay took a player that he twice projected to the Cowboys in the first round. If this scenario played out, then the Cowboys would be OK with it. They view Jernigan as a one-technique, which is not valuable enough to take in the first round. They would be getting a disruptive player in the second round.

But let’s say the Cowboys do not select a defensive lineman in the first round next week. In this mock they have Demarcus Lawrence (No. 54, Philadelphia Eagles), Daquan Jones (No. 61, San Francisco) and Dominique Easley (No. 66, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) available.

I’d go with Lawrence, who would be the best available right defensive end. Easley is intriguing but the knee injuries are troubling, even if the medical re-check went fine for him. To me, No. 47 is a little rich for Jones.

Since I went with Barr in the first, then I think Jernigan would be a good pick here.

Third round

The Cowboys can use a guard, and the third round seems to be a good chance to get one. Yankey had a good career at Stanford. He started 40 games. He is smart. But is he athletic enough? He was slooooow at the combine. Hey, so was Travis Frederick and that worked out for the Cowboys last year.

The Cowboys like Turner, but he’s gone. Brandon Thomas will require a redshirt year with his knee injury, but he was available, going to Cleveland at No. 83. Billy Turner, another Valley Ranch visitor, went No. 92 to the Carolina Panthers. He might be a better fit than Yankey.

There are some receivers available, like Penn State’s Allen Robinson. Princeton defensive tackle Caraun Reid is there, too. There is a safety I like, Minnesota’s Brock Vereen, available. If they don’t take Clinton-Dix, and can’t get Ward, then he would be a decent pickup but perhaps a little rich for him in the third. Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton was also available. I’d consider doubling up at end even with Barr in the first round.

I’d go with Robinson or Rutgers receiver Brandon Coleman, who went a pick later to the Baltimore Ravens.

So that would be Barr, Jernigan and a receiver (Robinson or Coleman) with the first three picks.


Same pick for Kiper, McShay in recent mock

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
IRVING, Texas -- ESPN Insiders Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have offered up their fifth mock drafts of the season, and while they do not agree on much, they have the Dallas Cowboys selecting the same player.

Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.

Here’s Kiper’s take on the pick:
Depending on how you feel about the prospects of J.J. Wilcox, you could argue the Cowboys need not just one safety, but two. I know defensive line is a pretty big need here for Dallas, but it's a big leap to target either defensive tackle or an edge-rusher here. I actually think the Cowboys could consider moving down if they run into a scenario like this, but I'm not projecting trades, and Pryor, a likely immediate starter at a position of need, makes plenty of sense here.

Here’s McShay’s take on the pick:
Defensive end, defensive tackle and safety are all need positions for the Cowboys, and in this scenario, they get a potential starter opposite leading tackler Barry Church in the secondary. Pryor is an intimidating presence in the middle of the field who does his best work in the box but is capable of holding up in deep-half zone and deep-third coverage. He sets the tone with his relentless playing style and willingness to deliver the knockout hit.

The Cowboys do not need two safeties with Church handling the free safety role in this defense. Remember, the free safety in this scheme is not the typical free safety. The Cowboys’ need at safety is a center-field type, which McShay does not believe is Pryor’s strength.

I did two mock drafts with some media friends and Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was available. To me, he is more what the Cowboys need than Pryor, but I stayed away from Clinton-Dix as well and selected Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin.

In Kiper’s mock, Anthony Barr was still available. As were other pre-draft visitors Ryan Shazier and Kony Ealy. In McShay’s mock, Barr was also available, as well as Martin, Shazier and Ealy.

In their 10 mock drafts, Kiper and McShay have had the Cowboys select a defensive player each time. Timmy Jernigan was the pick three times (two McShay, one Kiper). Clinton-Dix was the pick three times (two Kiper, one McShay), Pryor twice with Aaron Donald and Stephon Tuitt rounding out their picks.

You have to be an Insider to read the full mocks, but click here for McShay and click here for Kiper .

McShay: Cowboys' spot most intriguing

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
IRVING, Texas -- As ESPN Insider Todd McShay has put together his mock drafts, he has been stuck when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys.

He has had the Cowboys taking defensive tackles Timmy Jernigan (twice) and Stephon Tuitt, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and in his most recent mock, in which he served as the general manager, he took wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

“For many reasons I’m as intrigued as to what Dallas will do as with any team in the first round,” McShay said on a conference call with NFL Nation reporters on Thursday.

McShay views Jernigan as more of a one technique than a three technique and does not see enough value for taking the Florida State defensive tackle at No. 16.

“He can get pressure on the quarterback and be disruptive,” McShay said. “He’s a really good football player. I think he’s stout against the run. Watch him in the third quarter of the national championship game and he’s the best player on the field. It was one of the best quarters of football I watched for an interior defensive lineman probably all year.”

But McShay sees him as a late first- or early second-round pick with two weeks to go before the draft. In addition to defensive tackle, he sees defensive end and safety as priority needs for the Cowboys.

“Every time I get to Dallas, I can’t find a player I feel who is a good value matching a need they have, so I always wind up reaching or going completely off the value chart,” McShay said.

And that could be the issue the Cowboys have on May 8. Will an Aaron Donald or Anthony Barr be available at No. 16? Safeties Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor figure to be gone by then, too.

Do the Cowboys reach on a Demarcus Lawrence or Jimmie Ward? Would they take an offensive lineman, like Zack Martin? Do they trade back like they did in 2012 in which they ended up with Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams thanks to the deal with the San Francisco 49ers? What if Johnny Manziel is available?

With May 8 approaching, the intrigue is certainly there, just as Jerry Jones likes it.

Dominique Easley to make Cowboys visit

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
IRVING, Texas -- Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley was scheduled to visit the Dallas Cowboys last week, but the trip was postponed so he could focus on his workout in Gainesville, Fla.

Instead Easley will visit with the Cowboys' coaches, scouts and medical staff this week, according to sources.

Of the known visitors to Valley Ranch, Easley will be the 13th defensive lineman. The team brought in more than 20 prospects last week as part of their top-30 visits and also held its Dallas Day workouts for local prospects.

Teams have serious medical concerns about Easley. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in practice last season. He tore his left ACL in 2011. If healthy, he would be a first-round pick. Even with the issues, he could go in the second round.

The Cowboys have shown a willingness to spend early picks on players coming off serious knee injuries, doing it with linebackers Sean Lee (2010) and Bruce Carter (2011).

The other defensive linemen with official visits to Valley Ranch include: Kony Ealy, Davon Coleman, Jerrod Black, Anthony Barr, Aaron Donald, Demarcus Lawrence, Timmy Jernigan, Will Clarke, Scott Crichton, Ken Bishop, Chris Whaley and Kerry Hyder.

Analyzing Kiper Mock 4.0: Cowboys 

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
IRVING, Texas -- So far Mel Kiper Jr. has followed the Dallas Cowboys' draft needs in his mock drafts.

In his first two mocks, he offered up Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. In his third, he went with Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. In his Grade A mock, he went with Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

In Kiper's Mock draft 4.0 , he has gone away from the defensive side of the ball.

Analyzing McShay mock 4.0: Cowboys 

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
The Dallas Cowboys' offseason mostly has been about improving a defense that finished last in the NFL in 2013.

They have a new defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli. They said goodbye to DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. They have said hello to Henry Melton, Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, but the work to improve remains.

In ESPN draft expert Todd McShay’s fourth mock draft Insider, he sticks with defense. You have to be an ESPN Insider to find out all his picks.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 2

March, 22, 2014
Mar 22
IRVING, Texas -- Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we touch on the draft ramifications of signing Henry Melton, Sean Lee’s position and Rod Marinelli’s future.

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.

Away we go:


Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 1

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it, we discuss where the Cowboys go next in free agency after signing Henry Melton, Melton's future and if this team needs to build around their younger players. Here's a hint: they are.

Part 2 will be delivered on Saturday. If you have questions, send them to me via Twitter (@toddarcher) and use the #cowboysmail hashtag.

Away we go:


Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss Jason Witten, the Cowboys' draft plans and who gets the next big deal from the club.

Remember to look for Part 2 on Saturday. And if you have questions, send them to me via Twitter (@toddarcher:) and use the #cowboysmail hashtag.

Away we go:

Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Cowboys

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
IRVING, Texas -- ESPN Insiders Mel Kiper and Todd McShay don't always seem to agree on much, but they agree on the Dallas Cowboys' selection with the 16th pick in the first round of the draft: Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

There is no doubt the Cowboys need to address the defensive line in the draft. The apple of many eyes for the Cowboys is Pitt's Aaron Donald, but he's slotted to the Chicago Bears at No. 14 in Kiper's latest mock. Insider Donald looks to be the better fit in what defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants. And basically what Marinelli wants is a pass rushing menace in the middle of the line.

I said this when reacting to McShay's selection, but I don't know if the Cowboys view Jernigan as a 3-technique. And if they view him more as a nose tackle, then they will not pick him with their first pick for the same reason they didn't take Sharrif Floyd last year.

In his first two mock drafts, Kiper had the Cowboys selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He's slotted to the St. Louis Rams at No. 13 in this mock.

The names that could draw the most interest from the Cowboys among those picked after No. 16 are Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin, LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Louisville safety Calvin Pryor.

A lot of things will change between now and May. Who knows, maybe the Cowboys will get greedy in free agency when it comes to defensive linemen and not be forced to go that route in the first round.

Kiper's Mock 3.0: Cowboys

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
The Dallas Cowboys need defense when it comes to the draft.

That was the case before they decided to part ways with DeMarcus Ware on Tuesday. That remains the case whether they re-sign defensive tackle Jason Hatcher.

In his first two mock drafts, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had the Cowboys selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That would represent a fit because the Cowboys need help at safety as well, according to many folks.

But at the NFL scouting combine, owner and general manager Jerry Jones expressed optimism in J.J. Wilcox, a third-round pick last year. Wilcox’s season was slowed by the death of his mother, which took him away from training camp for a long spell, and a knee injury, which took him out of three games. When he did return he was unable to unseat Jeff Heath from the starter’s role.

But if you’re looking at what new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has done in his career, it has always been about the defensive line. The Cowboys have added two pieces in free agency in Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, but they are hardly cornerstone pieces.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had the Cowboys selecting Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan in his most recent mock. Pitt’s Aaron Donald has been the player most linked to the Cowboys since the process began, but he might not make it to No. 16 in the first round.

Mel Kiper's latest mock draft .