NFC East: David Wells

Chat begins at high noon ET

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
11:37
AM ET
Just because the NFL community has gone on vacation doesn't mean we're shutting things down (until next week). Our weekly chat begins promptly at noon ET. Here's a link if you're so inclined.

And stick around for another hour of chatting goodness from ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins at 1 p.m. ET. Please remember to ask him about Dez Bryant's mentor/landlord David Wells.

Bryant, Scandrick injured in OTAs

May, 27, 2010
5/27/10
9:55
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant suffered a slight hip pointer during Wednesday's OTA session and nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick is wearing a cast on his left hand after breaking his index finger, according to ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins. Bryant is expected to return to workouts quickly and be ready for next month's mandatory minicamp.

Scandrick will likely be out until training camp in late July. For Bryant, it was the second consecutive day that he had to leave the field. On Tuesday, he had to retreat to his caretaker David Wells' home in DeSoto because of a stomach virus. The Cowboys will have another set of OTAs next week and we'll see it if Bryant makes it through unscathed.

Monday Beastlines: It's all here

May, 24, 2010
5/24/10
11:38
AM ET
I'm headed out to Valley Ranch for Cowboys organized team activities, but I wanted to leave you with a few headlines from around the NFC East:

Cowboys

  • I'd like for you guys to meet Dez Bryant's mentor/landlord. Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News has the definitive story on ex-bail bondsman David Wells. And if anyone knows how I can get into the bail bonds profession...
Eagles
Giants
Redskins

NFC East draft analysis

April, 24, 2010
4/24/10
5:00
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NFC draft analysis: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

The Washington Redskins were the only team in the division to keep this draft from being all about defense. The Giants' once-vaunted defense was embarrassed in '09 and general manager Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin spent three days trying to rectify the situation. Who will start at middle linebacker, though? It's a fair question.

It was a memorable three days in the Beast. Now, let's take a look back at what transpired. It's never too early for some knee-jerk reaction.

Best move

I think Cowboys owner Jerry Jones moving up three spots in the first round to select Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant may have been the best move in the division. He's a top-10 talent (No. 8 on the Boys' board) who comes with some baggage. Yes, there were teams scared of him. But I couldn't find a scout around the league who said he would've passed on Bryant at No. 24 overall. It was also a shrewd move because the Ravens were waiting for Bryant at No. 25. Patriots coach Bill Belichick blocked an AFC playoff team by making the trade with Jones.

Other teams were worried about Bryant's association with Dallas area businessman David Wells, who helped guide (his nephew) Michael Crabtree into a holdout last fall. I'm told by folks at Valley Ranch that Jones knows exactly how to deal with Wells and that it shouldn't be a problem. The unfair thing for Bryant was that some folks assumed he wasn't a good kid because his stock was falling. Of the eight or nine scouts I asked about Bryant during the buildup to the draft, every one of them said he was essentially a good kid. He was just extremely immature and had a problem showing up to places on time. He's hands down the best receiver in the draft and I think the potential reward far outweighs the risk -- especially where he was drafted. The Tim Tebow trade immediately trumped Bryant's selection in terms of excitement, but Bryant will be contributing a lot sooner than the former Florida quarterback.

Riskiest move

You'll think I'm crazy (as usual), but the Redskins choosing Oklahoma left tackle Trent Williams No. 4 overall is one of the riskiest moves of the draft. I agree that he has tremendous potential, but he's not a finished product at left tackle. Oklahoma State's Russell Okung would have been a no-brainer starter at left tackle from Day 1. Williams has more versatility and he's a better fit in the Redskins' zone-blocking scheme, but it's wrong to suggest that he's anywhere close to the "safest" pick in the top-10. If you want to know why I'm a little skeptical, go back and watch the OU-BYU game on tape. Sam Bradford remembers what I'm talking about.

[+] EnlargeTrent Williams
J.P. Wilson/Icon SMITrent Williams, the No. 4 overall selection, is far from a finished product.
On the positive side, Williams is an exceptional athlete and I love watching him finish off blocks. I think Mike Shanahan always has Ryan Clady on his mind these days. And Williams has that type of potential. But you're going to have to live with some mistakes. Don't be shocked if Williams has to begin his career at right tackle. I shudder to think what he'll look like in that first game against DeMarcus Ware. I flew back from Indianapolis with both of those players after the combine. Williams didn't recognize Ware on that flight. Something tells me he won't have a problem putting a face to a name Sept. 12.


Most surprising move

Maybe I haven't been fair enough to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. On the second day of the draft, I was really impressed by the way he moved all over the board and kept acquiring extra picks. I'd heard from both Eagles and Cowboys sources that the fourth round was going to contain a ton of "value," and Roseman apparently took that to heart. By trading down twice in the 50s, he basically took over the fourth round. The Eagles had four picks in the fourth and then they found another pass-rusher in the fifth with Clemson defensive end Ricky Sapp. He's an undersized player who has exceptional quickness. I think he probably reminded Andy Reid of Trent Cole, a player who the Eagles landed in the fifth round a few years back. I guess the "surprising" aspect of all this is how comfortable Roseman looked while running his first draft. Even the stoic Andy Reid admitted that he was entertained by watching Roseman at work.

It was also bold to move from No. 24 to 13 in order to land Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio has reported that Reid and Roseman may have wanted to preempt the Giants from taking Graham. Of course, general manager Jerry Reese will never acknowledge that he coveted Graham, but it's an interesting theory.

File it away

I could almost sense that Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese were seething about the '09 season during this draft. Everyone wanted them to take a middle linebacker in the first round, but it didn't happen. The Giants made this draft about reclaiming the line of scrimmage. They started out with the immensely talented, but somewhat unproven, South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and then selected an enormous defensive tackle from East Carolina named Linval Joseph in the second round. Even when you thought they might turn to offense in the sixth round, they went with a sleeper defensive end out of Williams & Mary named Adrian Tracy. This pick had Reese written all over it because he loves overachieving kids from small schools. Tracy's not a three-down lineman by any stretch of the imagination, but he gives the Giants more options. If the Giants are able to become an elite defense again, we'll point back to the 2010 draft as a major turning point. In terms of potential impact players, this reminds me of the '07 draft. And that's a great thing for Giants fans.

One other thing to file away

The Cowboys moved up to take Penn State linebacker Sean Lee in the second round. They see him as the eventual successor to Keith Brooking at inside linebacker. Other scouts around the league were very concerned about Lee's torn ACL that caused him to miss the '08 season. If he's healthy, the Cowboys will have a starter in the near future. And you can probably go ahead and say goodbye to the Bobby Carpenter era. I'll say one thing for Carpenter. I've never seen a guy respond to intense criticism with such extreme grace. Perhaps he'll find a team that will truly value his ability to cover running backs and tight ends in space.

The Big Question: Will Jerry go after Dez?

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
1:00
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NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Could a free-falling Dez Bryant be too much for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to resist?

[+] EnlargeDez Bryant
Paul Jasienski/US PresswireIf Dez Bryant is available later in the first round, the Cowboys could be one team to make a play for him.
In talking to scouts around the league and perusing dozens of mock drafts, it's pretty clear that Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant is the top wide receiver in this draft. But for a variety of reasons, a lot of folks have him falling into the 20s in Thursday's first round. Most scouts I've visited with agree that Bryant is essentially a "good kid."

It's annoying to hear folks talk about "character" issues and then not back it up with anything of substance. We all know about Bryant's harsh punishment for not being truthful with the NCAA about a meeting with Deion Sanders. But I don't think that's what is causing his stock to drop. He's represented by the same agent, Eugene Parker, as 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. And you'll recall that Crabtree didn't exactly have a smooth entry into the league. Crabtree's uncle, David Wells, was very involved in that process. Wells is now advising Bryant. After watching what happened with Crabtree last season, you can see why teams might be leery of Bryant early in the draft.

That said, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has met with Bryant and he's very familiar with both Parker and Wells. If Bryant slips into the 20s -- as many mock drafts are now suggesting -- Jones could make a play for him. Some draft gurus (Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News for one) even have Bryant slipping all the way to the Cowboys at No. 27. If that happens, I'm almost certain the Cowboys would select him. But also keep in mind that the Ravens are sitting at No. 25. Something tells me they'll want to see what the Cowboys are willing to give up for Bryant.

I think Bryant might be the most compelling player in the first round. Don't be surprised if the Cowboys take the story to the next level.

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