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Position Coaches Give Their Take On New Draft Acquisitions


IRVING, Texas – With seven players picked at seven different positions, a handful of Cowboys assistant coaches added new pieces to their arsenal.

The Cowboys' position coaches and defensive coordinator discussed their new personnel on 105.3 FM The Fan after each pick was made during the NFL Draft.

Monte Kiffin wasn't upset that the first three picks addressed only the offense. He said as long as those offensive players help convert third downs, then that helps out his defense by association. Kiffin, who added safety J.J. Wilcox, cornerback B.W. Webb and linebacker DeVonte Holloman to his group, isn't concerned about Webb's size at 5-foot-10.

"Sometimes they'll get into, well, is he tall enough to play with the big receivers? Last time I checked, Ronde Barber at the Combine was 5 feet, 9 ¾ inches," Kiffin said. "He became famous as a nickel corner. I'm not saying B.W. Webb is Ronde Barber. I'm just saying his height doesn't concern me at the nickel spot.

"One corner gets hurt, he's one snap from being a starter. So your corners are very, very valuable."

Kiffin values depth at cornerback, the same way tight ends coach Wes Phillips does at his position. The Cowboys added 6-6 tight end Gavin Escobar, who finished his career at San Diego State with 17 touchdowns.

"Any pick that we can get to improve on our red zone scoring percentage, we're obviously excited about," Phillips said. "He made some plays down the field as well, but he was a big red zone threat for them."

Phillips likes Escobar's upside and sees him as more than solely a passing option. He's excited to see what will happen when the Cowboys get three tight ends on the field.

"We just want to make him the best he can be," Phillips said. "I wouldn't say at all that he can't block a lick. I would say that he has some areas that he was stronger at. I think he was efficient at zone blocking and run blocking."

After getting two players that were more of a mystery to people in Texas, the Cowboys then snagged the most prolific college receiver in the state in Baylor's Terrance Williams, who was still available in the third round. Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley is excited about the big-play ability of the nation's leading receiver last season.

"He was their guy at Baylor, and he came with tremendous recommendations," Dooley said. "Great character, and then physically when you look at him, he's a really strong, big outside receiver. Really impressed with just how competitive he is, the toughness he plays with and the number of contested of balls he makes down the field."

The best value in the whole draft might have come in round five, when running backs coach Gary Brown gained a player in Joseph Randle that should be able to help out the running game, passing game and pass protection.

Brown said Randle is versatile, can make plays on the second level and has a willingness to work on his pass protection that makes him valuable. His soft hands make him a viable threat in the passing game.

"He's going to do well, and he's going to fit in well with our guys," Brown said. "We're going to have fun. We're going to be the hardest working group, most prepared group."

Secondary coach Jerome Henderson got back-to-back players to work with in Wilcox and Webb, with the former potentially competing for a starting spot. Henderson said despite Wilcox only playing at safety one year in college, he looks forward to the Georgia Southern product contributing immediately at a position that should make for one of the best competitions in camp.

"When you watch him on tape, it's surprising," Henderson said. "You kind of have to ask, Are you sure he only played safety one year?

"When you watch him tackle, he has no fear. Most guys with an offensive background feel their way at first. This guy just runs up in there and destroys anyone in front of him."

Henderson said he gets the sense the jump to the NFL won't be too big for him, despite his small school background.

"I think this kid had he been (at safety) all along, who knows where he'd be," Henderson said. "He's a big, sturdy guy. He's had no injury history so far. He came through the medical with flying colors."

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