In addition to FS Ken Hamlin, the Cowboys have also reportedly cut LT Flozell Adams. This comes as a bit of a shock to us. Adams was due a base salary of $5 million and a $2.5 million roster bonus in June. Those numbers are less significant in an uncapped year, however.
With Adams gone, Dallas will now likely start Doug Free at left tackle. We see Free as the probable opening day starter regardless of the Cowboys’ draft plans. We have already publicly questioned Free’s ability to play on the left side. That isn’t to say he will inevitably fail at left tackle, but simply that his effectiveness there will be a huge questions mark.
Perhaps the Cowboys did not read our list of the top five reasons to not cut Flozell Adams. Heading that list was that Adams was still the best left tackle on the Cowboys’ roster.
Dallas is now virtually certain to address either left tackle or free safety in the first round of the draft. However, with the top-tier guys at both spots possibly gone by the 27th selection, the Cowboys’ draft plans are a bit murky at this point.
We presume this team has something up their sleeve. Are Ravens’ tackle Jared Gaither or Rams’ safety O.J. Atogwe possibilities? Stay tuned.
Ken Hamlin has just posted on his Twitter that he will be released. Said Hamlin “I would like to say to all of my fans that I appreciate all the love that you have showed me in Dallas. It was a good run…..Thanks.”
Four hours earlier Hamlin tweeted that he was attending a workout this morning. The team notified him of his release once he reached Valley Ranch.
The move comes at a curious time. Instead of waiting until after the draft, the Cowboys decided to part ways with Hamlin now. This may put them in a tough spot, possible forced to draft a free safety (which immediately becomes the #1 position of need).
Perhaps Dallas believes a free safety they covet, such as USF’s Nate Allen or Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett, will definitely be available with the 27th pick. They may be right, but it is never productive to show your hand. If Texas safety Earl Thomas drops, expect another team to now move ahead of Dallas to grab him (it could be argued that would have happened anyway).
Of course, those within the organization seem to love second-year man Michael Hamlin. They believe he has the necessary skill-set to be a ball-hawking free safety. It is unlikely, though, that the Cowboys are relying on someone with zero NFL experience.
Hamlin received a “B-” grade from us in our 2009 safety grades.
Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant has become a focal point of Cowboys’ draft discussions of late. The controversial pass-catcher recently visited Dallas and even dined with Jerry Jones (I wonder if his meal comes out of his potential signing bonus?).
Dallas has also set up visits with Ohio’s Taylor Price, LSU’s Brandon LaFell, and Illinois’ Arrelious Benn. This sudden spike in interest in wide receivers (after Jones claimed the team is set at the position) has some wondering: are the Cowboys truly interested in using an early-round draft selection on a wide receiver, or are they simply posturing as to conceal their true intentions?
Our guess is it is the latter. Jones says he has not yet given up on Roy Williams, and we believe him. There are a variety of other positions which are much weaker than wide receiver. Unless the Cowboys are attaining incredible value, we don’t see them taking a wide receiver in the first round.
The feature of this post, Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas, is one of those players whose potential selection by Dallas could only become a reality if he is rated incredibly high on the team’s board–as in a top 15 player.
Could a player who broke his foot, has not worked out all offseason, and played in a triple option offense really be that high on Dallas’ board? We labeled him one our four ‘super-sleepers‘ for a reason. Watch the video below and judge for yourself.
At 6’3”, 229 pounds, Thomas has elite size to go with excellent speed. He has not worked out this offseason due to a broken foot, but his speed is evident on film (forward to 3:18 in the video below). While you always want an official time for a player, Thomas’ injury is one that should not affect his future play.
Playing in Georgia Tech’s triple option offense is the biggest knock on Thomas. He is a raw route-runner lacking experience running pro-style routes. However, the offense allowed him to become a superb blocker.
Thomas reminds us of Calvin Johnson in that, despite his huge frame, he has tremendous balance and body control. He is tough to press and, once downfield, attacks the ball. He is Larry Fitzgerald-esque in his ability to high-point the football and catch it with his hands. He can make some outrageous catches but also drops easy ones at times.
After the catch, Thomas is extremely dangerous. He doesn’t have elite quickness, but once he gets going it is extremely difficult to bring him down. He combines his great straight-line speed with a devastating stiff arm.
Overall, we absolutely love Thomas’ skill set. Although we don’t see wide receiver as a huge need for Dallas, we would not be too upset if Thomas was the pick in the first round due to the value we believe the Cowboys would be attaining.
Thomas has been projected to get selected as high as the 10th overall selection. This is unlikely, and we would rate his chance to drop to Dallas at 50/50. If the Cowboys grade Thomas as on-par with Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant (i.e. a top 10 talent), the value may be too good to pass up. Otherwise, expect the Cowboys to skip out on Thomas and select a player at a position of more immediate need.
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Thus far in our draft analysis we have studied those players which are considered “likely” Cowboys draft picks–the Mike Iupati‘s, the Earl Thomas‘s, and the Maurkice Pouncey‘s. We have even taken a look at the “sleeper” candidates–the Brandon Graham‘s and the Kyle Wilson’s.
But could Dallas go completely off the radar? Might they select someone who will shock every Cowboys fan across the nation?
In this article, we will take a look at four “super-sleepers.” These are players not many people are projecting to go in the first round, much less to Dallas. If we have learned anything over the years concerning the draft, though, it is to expect the unexpected.
Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana
The most likely of our “super-sleepers” is Indiana tackle Rodger Saffold. We see him as an extreme reach in the first round, but some analysts think he could slip into the back of it. There have even been a few mocks which have projected Saffold to Dallas.
Still, the left tackle is a long-shot to become a Cowboy. . .which is exactly why he made our list.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech
Thomas is a guy that has perplexed us by moving up draft boards despite having done absolutely nothing all offseason. The Cowboys have hosted Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant, so they may (or may not) be willing to select a wide receiver in the first round. Is Thomas high enough on their board to be considered a legitimate option?
Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
Hughes is a talented pash-rusher who could very well sneak into the back of the first round. Is he an option for Dallas? Most say no, and out initial reaction is the same.
However, Wade Phillips loves outside linebacker depth (of which Dallas has little). We have also been pushing the notion of Brandon Graham to Dallas, so why not Hughes? He has no chance of dropping to the back of the second round, so don’t count him out.
Chris Cook, CB/FS, Virginia
The “sleepiest” (sleepiest?) of sleepers on our list is Virginia’s Chris Cook. Cook has soared up boards since the Combine, where he recorded the longest broad jump of any player and displayed supreme overall athleticism.
Dallas is in the market for a play-making free safety, so a safety that also has the ability to play cornerback fits the bill. We have a feeling fans would be furious if the Cowboys selected Cook, but he appears to be an excellent fit in the team’s system, so we wouldn’t be extremely shocked to see it happen.
What are your thoughts on our list? Which under-the-radar players do you think the Cowboys could select in the first round?