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Draft Central | 2020

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Mick Shots: Warming Up Some NFL Draft Leftovers


FROM HOME, Texas – Well, all that went swimmingly well, didn't it?

The entire NFL Draft and televised presentation.

The Dallas Cowboys entire draft operation, by land or by sea.

And the quality of all seven Cowboys draft choices.

Sure would be hard to argue with much of anything they did over those three days, right off the bat from thinking on their feet with the somewhat unexpected but heralded first choice to probably relying on some inside family familiarity with the seventh one.

Can't remember the Cowboys having a draft once the country sprouted so many "graders" with the lowest mark we've seen so far being a B-plus, certainly not looking like any of my elementary school, junior high, high school or college grade cards my dear mother saved in boxes ending up at my house several years ago.

Amazing what you have time to look through when following these stay-at-home rules designed to get our county back on its feet.

And once again, after a draft like that, still four days afterward, as having said before, have more shots than you can shake a stick at.

Here we go.

  • Extra Credit: There's been a whole lot of credit being passed around for the Cowboys hitting this draft-day home run. Even seem some has gone to owner/GM Jerry Jones' way, and rightfully so, since whenever anyone pans a Cowboys draft, deservedly or not, Jerry always gets bopped over the head. Then there is COO Stephen Jones, whose heavy fingerprints have been all over the Cowboys drafts for the past decade. Also some to head coach Mike McCarthy's influence, and then assistant player personnel man Will McClay. But loved what McClay had to say when asked about the "MVP" status bestowed upon him by The Joneses: "I was more impressed by the team effort from ownership, GM, the head coach, everybody jumping in to the situation, pulling off something that people said was going to be so difficult, and maybe had apprehension about early, but having been dedicated to a plan and having commitment from all. I can't say enough. Somebody said something about the MVP. The MVP of the draft is the scouts to me." You know, he's right. Without the benefit of Pro Day workouts, 30 Visits and Dallas Day, the front office and coaching staff mostly were at the mercy of these scouts' legwork during the entire season. Big high-five to those guys.
  • Better To Receive: The run on wide receivers began with the Raiders selecting Henry Ruggs with the 12th pick. Within six picks, from 12 to the Cowboys selecting CeeDee Lamb at 17, three receivers went off the board, then a fourth and fifth at 21 and 22, with Jalen Reagor going to Philadelphia and Justin Jefferson going to Minnesota. In all, six receivers were selected in the first round, and eight within the first 34 picks. Sign of wide receiver depth in this draft or where this league is headed offensively? Guarantee you the Eagles were trying to trade up once they saw Lamb falling, even with the Cowboys, though how little did they know.
  • Hawaii Five-O: In the fifth round, the Cowboys might have drafted their first player having grown up in Hawaii, selecting Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae, who was sitting at home with family in Laie, Hawaii. Yes, the consensus All-American and All-Pac 12 defensive end, Utah career sack leader and winner of the Pac-12's Morris Trophy – given to the best defensive lineman voted on by offensive linemen in the conference – lasted until the fifth round. Had to be a reason. Best could find was the 4.93 second time in the 40 he ran at the Scouting Combine. Never mind at his Pro Day he turned in a 4.79, the kid who grew up petting sharks in his homeland fell and fell. Did not matter to the Cowboys. "There is timed speed and there is play speed," McClay says. "When you watch him play, he plays really fast. Why does he play fast? Because he loves football, he's passionate about it and he understands the game. We felt like he played faster than his 40 time." Oh, and one other thing. Anae also grew up cliff-diving, starting off as early as junior high out at Waimea Bay, quoted as saying, "I can do a double-back flip off a 50-foot cliff. Not many 260-pounders can do that." No, they can't. Might be a novel way to get to a quarterback, too, going, uh, over the top.
  • Safety Second?: Stephen Jones continued to say after the draft that talent acquisition is a 365-day process, and sure enough, just four days after the draft, the Cowboys have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with defensive back Daryl Worley, entering his fifth NFL season. He's primarily been a cornerback, a third-round pick of the Panthers in 2016, the starter of 25 of 31 games traded to the Eagles for wide receiver Torrey Smith in 2018. Only lasted a week in Philly, getting released after being arrested for multiple charges near the Eagles practice facility early one morning, but was claimed by the Raiders. Worley started 24 of the 25 games he played for the Raiders after serving a four-game NFL suspension. He's 6-1, 215, to me a safety's body, and sure enough, when the Raiders ran into safety problems toward the end of last season, Worley stepped back to start at safety. He said at the time of the move that he thought it was easier to play safety than corner, pointing out, "it's way easier" to play than corner. "I feel like as a corner, your preparation is more worried about that guy that you know you're going to line up against each and every snap," Worley said. "Really, you can't miss a step when you're out there at corner, I feel like. Your press technique has to be perfect. Everything has to be really on point each and every snap. Compared to safety, you really have some time, some space to do a lot more different things." Cowboys had this one up their sleeve, since the signing no longer counts in the complicated equation awarding compensatory picks for next year.
  • Weighty Issue: Had heard defensive end Aldon Smith, signed by the Cowboys after last playing in 2015 yet still under indefinite NFL suspension waiting for his reinstatement appeal to be heard, had gone from a 260-pound pass-rushing phenom to 287 pounds, not exactly resembling a pass-rushing defensive end anymore. But read this from Fox analyst Jay Glazier, who owns Unbreakable Performance in Los Angeles where Smith has been training the past nine months: "We trained him at Unbreakable Performance and got him up (from 260) to about 287 pounds, completely rocked up, solid as can be, very low body fat," Glazer said. "He has trained his butt off. His conditioning is great. … He is just freaking monstrous. We had him on these resistance cords connected to the wall on a machine called the Raptor. I've had a ton of guys on it – big, huge guys, monsters. Smith ripped it off the wall. No one has ever done that. He is an absolute freak of nature." Could be up the Cowboys other sleeve.
  • Cruel Reminders: First, when looking up a stat from the Cowboys' 34-24 loss to the Packers this past season, was reminded of how the Cowboys, having fallen behind, 31-10, were making a mad scramble to get back in the game, narrowing the deficit to 34-24, and had driven to the Packers' 10-yard line with 1:44 left. Brett Maher's 28-yard field goal was good, which would have given the Cowboys a chance to onside kick down just seven with 1:41 left had not Xavier Su'a-Filo been flagged for a false start. Of course, then from 33, Maher missed. Ball game. Then there is this: 2017 first-round pick Taco Charlton (28th) was released by the Cowboys after the first two games of this past season once Robert Quinn was reinstated after his two game-suspension. The Dolphins claimed Charlton, who ended up leading the team in his 10 games (five starts) with all of five sacks. But Charlton was inactive in three of the last four games (coach's decision), and sure doesn't sound as if the Dolphins have any intention of picking up his fifth year option ($10.5 million) since many are wondering if they will even keep him period for his $1.8 million fourth-year base. Taco, Taco.
  • Isolated Shots: How close the Cowboys came in that 2017 draft to selecting a player who they certainly would have picked up the fifth-year option on if not for Buffalo, with one pick ahead of the Cowboys, grabbing LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White, the Pro Bowler's fifth year for sure already picked up by the Bills … Another plus for Anae: He was a team captain and played on a Utah defense ranked second in the nation, with six defensive players drafted last week.

Last word goes to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said following this at-home 2020 NFL Draft, "Virtual was a lot more meaningful than people thought it would be … a deeper experience than I thought it would be."

Me, too.

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