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The former sixth round pick out of Boise State had a year off last season due to an injured shoulder. Now he’s healthy and better than ever.
During OTAs last season, Dallas Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson was turning heads with his route running ability and pure athleticism. He was looking like a possible candidate to replace former receiver Cole Beasley in the slot.

His start to the NFL didn’t go as planned after injuring his shoulder which forced Wilson on Injured Reserve (IR) for the 2018 season. Now, heading into his second season, he finds himself in a competitive battle with a group of all-new receivers.

Wilson played two years at Boise State and had impressive career numbers he totaled 139 receptions for 2,640 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 26 games. He was a productive slot receiver and has the ability to make big plays down the field with his speed.

The second-year receiver has a lot of competition around him, he has to compete with Undrafted Free Agents Jon’Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton as well as Devin Smith and Reggie Davis who have also turned heads during the summer.

The key for Wilson is staying on the field if he can remain healthy throughout Training Camp and the Preseason he may have a legitimate chance of making the roster. While the Cowboys have a very deep group of receivers Wilson’s athleticism and pure route running ability mirrors receiver Amari Cooper.

The four locks at receiver look to be Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, and Allen Hurns. If Wilson stays on the field, I believe he finds himself making the 53-man roster. He’s a dynamic receiver with the ball in his hands and could be a genuine playmaker in offensive coordinator Kellen Moore‘s new scheme.

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While Wilson is primarily a slot receiver he could find himself on the outside as well due to his superior route running skills. Dallas could run many four wide receiver sets that feature Cooper, Gallup, Cobb, and Wilson and that gives quarterback Dak Prescott and arsenal of weapons on the receiving end.

NEXT: The all-time best defenders to wear the Star
With OTA’s complete and training camp on the horizon, it is now or never for Cedrick Wilson as he certainly hopes to find himself on the 53-man roster on his way to becoming a playmaker for the Dallas Cowboys.

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FRISCO, Texas – Rookie offensive lineman Connor McGovern, the final unsigned draft pick in the Cowboys’ 2019 class, has agreed to contract terms.

McGovern, a former All-Big Ten selection at Penn State, gives the Cowboys position flexibility at guard or center. He’s not practicing at this week’s minicamp because of a pectoral strain.

Typically third-round picks take a little longer to sign because of salary language in the NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement.

The Cowboys’ other seven draft picks have already signed their rookie deals: Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, Michael Jackson, Joe Jackson, Donovan Wilson, Mike Weber and Jalen Jelks.

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Which one of the rookies have impressed you so far? – JAMES JORDAN/CONVERSE, TX

Bryan: Jon’Vea Johnson. It’s easy to see when a wide receiver or a running back has a good day because you do see them finishing plays. At least through these early stages of practice he looks impressive catching the ball and playing on the move with it in his hands.

Rob: It’s so early, and these aren’t padded practices, but it’s obvious Tony Pollard has exceptional burst and quickness through the hole. I’ve seen a lot of outside observers compare him to Lance Dunbar, the former backup running back here, but he’s got a much larger frame than Dunbar or fellow rookie Mike Weber, who was a more traditional running back at Ohio State. Looking forward to seeing Pollard more as the summer progresses.

With almost all the positions filled on the offensive line, as well as backups, how do you see it playing out with Mitch Hyatt, Derrick Puni, Brandon Knight, Larry Allen Jr. and Jake Campos? With the depth it appears they have, there are not enough spots available for all this young talent on the team or practice squad. – JACK FANELLI / BLACKWOOD, NJ

Bryan: They’ve used Jake Campos as a starter at right tackle in place of La’el Collins early in this camp, so I’d say he has a leg up. Mitch Hyatt and Brandon Knight have been running with the second group, and I’d have to say that Knight has been better there at this point. If Larry Allen Jr. and Derrick Puni make the practice squad at the end of camp that would be a major accomplishment.
Rob: Man, Jason Garrett wouldn’t like to hear you claim that all the positions are set. I do see your point, though, and it’s no surprise teams have called the Cowboys about excess depth they’ve got at certain spots. (I’d imagine offensive line is one spot that’s been inquired about.) Practice squad probably looks like a more realistic destination for most rookies besides Connor McGovern, but let’s let it play out. Again, very early.

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More than one million Texans could be eligible to access medical marijuana through the Texas Compassionate Use program, after state senators unanimously approved a bill expanding the list of qualifying conditions on Wednesday.

The bill is more narrow than one passed by the House earlier this month, but would allow patients with medical seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, autism and ALS to obtain medical cannabis with up to .5% THC from a state-licensed dispensary.

“We’re just like everybody there, desperate. We want to save our son’s life,” said Amy Novacek.

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She and her husband, former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek, never expected they would be advocating for anything related to marijuana.

“Everybody I grew up with.. there was no drinking, no drugs. I was naïve to all that in small town Nebraska,” said Jay Novacek.
Jay and Amy Novacek (CBS 11)

The family gained a new perspective though, when they say their son was violently beaten while pledging to join a fraternity.

“And now he has permanent brain damage,” said Amy. “He’s unable to go to school, unable to work and he has multiple seizures.”

Last week, Blake suffered a seizure at the Texas Capitol, waiting to talk to lawmakers about gaining legal access to medical marijuana.

His family says cannabis worked for him when he tried it.

“It’s not like we jumped up one day and said, OH! Medical cannabis! That’s it. We’ve been through the system. We’ve been through the doctors. We’ve been through the medications,” said his mother.

The proposed expansion is facing criticism from groups it excluded.

Joshua Raines, an Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, has plead with lawmakers for years to extend medical marijuana access to veterans suffering from PTSD.

“I’ve lost more friends to suicide than I have to combat,” he said.

Raines admits he treats his own PTSD with cannabis.

Without it, he says he might have died of suicide, too.

“I wouldn’t be married. I wouldn’t have kids. I was a monster without it,” he said. “ It’s the one thing that works.”

Now he says, he’ll have to wait another two years, until state lawmakers meet again, knowing what he considers taking his medicine, the state still considers a crime.

The Texas House still needs to approve the changes made by the Senate. The bill then heads to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature.

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Three weeks ago, I wrote to you with Tesla (TSLA) trading lower, and used Bob Lilly’s (Dallas Cowboys) 29 yard sack of Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins) in Super Bowl VII to get my point across. As the stock, and CEO Elon Musk twisted and turned from last December through early June, the shares kept moving lower. What if Elon Musk is not Bob Griese, but Steve Young instead. Late October of ’88. San Francisco QB Steve Young dropped back to pass into a pocket that collapsed too quickly. Nearly sacked at the line of scrimmage, Young broke at least five tackles, and left a couple of other Minnesota Vikings faked out of their socks, as he ran a lot more than 49 yards on what went down as a 49 yard touchdown run. Maybe, that’s who Elon Musk is. Maybe, he does stumble over the goal line in the most unlikely but triumphant way.

The Rising Sun

“I want to be clear, there is not a demand problem. Absolutely not.” CEO Elon Musk could not have made a more definitive statement from Tesla’s annual meeting with shareholders on Tuesday (last) evening. Musk went further… “Sales have far exceeded production and production has been pretty good so we’re actually doing well.” Really? I thought the narrative around this company had been rather negative. You may recall Morgan Stanley lowering the firm’s worst case scenario for the TSLA share price from $97 to $10, and Citi’s “full bear” scenario price of $36, while both of these banks maintained much higher target prices. That came after Q1 earnings released in late April that showed a ghastly negative EPS surprise of -$2.90 on revenue that missed expectations by well more than $600 million.

While the consensus still seems to be that the firm can be profitable over the course of a full year by 2020, one might think that those longer-term views might be at least somewhat reliant upon success in Chinese markets based on building vehicles to be sold there, in Shanghai. Shorter-term there is hardly consensus across the analyst community. Tesla will report the current quarter in late July. EPS estimates across 23 industry analysts for the quarter span a range of anywhere from -$1.69 to +$1.87 on revenue that lands between $5.42 billion to $7.19 billion. In other words, nobody really knows anything except that there will indeed be substantial year over year growth. That print will be up from a $4 billion number of the same quarter last year.

Fundamentally, the company remains in poor condition. Levered Free cash Flow is deeply negative, Margins are negative. Debt-load is massive, leaving the firm with a Current Ratio of 0.84, which is awful. As if that were not bad enough, sans inventories, the Quick Ratio lands at an incredibly anemic 0.37. Hard to find anything lower than that. For the sake of comparison, General Motors (GM) stands with a Quick Ratio of 0.77 (still terrible), and Ford (F) would be relatively healthy at 1.06.

By the way, 37.57 million shares are still held in short positions, out of a public float of 128.46 million shares. Roughly 29% of the entire float has to be bought back at some point.

The Chart

 

While Fibonacci style traders might hope for a rebound in these shares that approached the $278 level, the harsh reality of this chart would be the Wednesday morning high of $223 holds for the entire session, this will reinforce the idea that the name is still mired in a downward sloping Pitchfork model. While I enjoy being able to pull these models out of the closet when they fit, it really is a whole lot more fun when they point in the other direction.

The enormous short interest makes this stock less predictable than it might otherwise be. My end of day thesis is this: One can trade this stock in the way a mercenary goes about their job. Short-term, no heartfelt taking of sides. For the buy and hold crowd, I find this name way too risky, and will likely remain for me that way until the day that the fundamentals look very different. Until then, short-term trades off of Relative Strength and MACD are the order of the day.

Idea (minimal lots)

– Purchase one August $220 call for a rough $20.35.

– Sell one August $250 call for a rough $9.60.

Net Debit: $10.75. In other words the trader would be risking $1,075 to try to win back $3,000 in August, after Q2 earnings are released in late July. Best case… profit of 279%. Worst case… the loss of the $1,075.

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I think the last cornerback spot will come down to Chris Westry, Mike Jackson and Donovan Olumba. Can you talk about what you’ve seen from these guys in OTAs? – TYLER BAEM / SAN ANTONIO, TX

Bryan: I was very high on Olumba, but I am starting to have concerns that he’s a player that will always be a tick late making plays. Westry might get a look at safety which could make him valuable. Jackson is already playing some in the slot so they clearly have plans for him.

Rob: Olumba might have an edge right now because he’s had time on the practice squad. But my ears perked up when DBs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard said Jackson can play corner and the nickel. Versatility is key in a position battle. It’s kind of fascinating watching Westry play back there because he’s so much taller than everyone. The Cowboys believe he’s athletic enough to do it, so it’ll be about refining technique at this point.

How did Larry Allen Jr. do in OTAs? – TONY GREULICH / SEBRING, FL

Bryan: One of my favorite auto racing tracks in the world is in Sebring. Allen is already winning in life: Harvard grad and a future doing great in the world at whatever he decides. If he were to make the practice squad it would be a major accomplishment.
Rob: Allen has been getting third-team reps at guard. The Cowboys have improved their interior line depth, which makes it a pretty crowded group, even with third-round pick Connor McGovern sitting out this week’s open OTA with a pectoral strain. But Allen Jr. battles, no question about that.

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FRISCO, Texas — Jason Witten talks a lot about just wanting to blend in now that he’s back for a club-record 16th season with the Dallas Cowboys following a year in retirement.

Ask about playing time among a group of decidedly younger tight ends, and, well, the franchise leader in catches and yards receiving doesn’t seem quite sure what to say.

In other words, an 11-time Pro Bowler many consider an easy choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame whenever he retires for good just isn’t comfortable accepting the idea of fewer snaps when he took almost all of them for 15 years.

“Those coaches work long hours; they’re smart,” Witten said a week before getting all the first-team reps in the only offseason practice reporters saw in which he participated. “I think that I can’t worry about how that plays out. My job is to kind of make it tough on them. We all benefit if that’s the case.”

Witten is back after just a year as lead analyst on “Monday Night Football” because he missed playing and thought the Cowboys looked like future contenders for a Super Bowl something he could never deliver despite a divisional playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams last January.

The 37-year-old is also back because, unlike best friend and former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys hadn’t replaced him. Dak Prescott sent Romo into retirement/broadcasting with a debut worthy of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after the 10-year starter got hurt in 2016.

The only experienced tight end trying to replace Witten last season, 2015 seventh-round pick Geoff Swaim, is in Jacksonville now after another injury-plagued year.

Blake Jarwin, an undrafted pass catcher from Oklahoma State lacking Witten’s blocking ability, had the biggest impact by tying the club record for tight ends with three touchdown catches in a game, but not until a meaningless regular-season finale.

And then there’s Dalton Schultz, drafted in the fourth round about a week before Witten announced his sudden retirement last year. He went from thinking he’d have a year to learn from one of the best, to not, to Witten leading the tight end room and probably taking a lot of the snaps.

“There’s nothing he hasn’t seen,” Jarwin said. “It’s always incredible just trying to get some input from him. Even the small stuff and what he sees and when we do things right and when we do things wrong, he’s always there to help us along. It’s been great so far.”

With Witten, the Cowboys have one of two tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards. The other, Tony Gonzalez, will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in August after being voted in on his first try.

A third-round draft pick by Dallas in 2003, Witten figures to build on the club records of 1,152 catches and 12,448 yards. The 16th season will break a tie with defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones, safety Bill Bates and late offensive lineman Mark Tuinei for the most among Cowboys.
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While Witten never has been a prolific scorer, he needs six receiving touchdowns to break Dez Bryant’s team record of 73. Of course, numbers have nothing to do with why he came back.

“I kind of like that the back’s against the wall for the whole football team, the whole organization,” Witten said. “I want those guys to know that I’m just a part of that. I want to be a part of it. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t overthink it. The fire was too strong.”

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The Cowboys acknowledged safety was their shallowest roster position entering the 2019 draft.

Then the team passed on the top safeties available in Round 2, waiting until the sixth round to select Texas A&M’s Donovan Wilson 213th overall.

Teams took notice.

“We’ve been getting a few calls,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told reporters Wednesday at an annual golf outing for team sponsors. “People needing things and knowing that we might need, thinking that we might need a safety, would we be willing to trade this player for that player.

“I think this is going to pay for us. We’re not in any hurry.”

The Cowboys’ patient approach stems in part from belief that their scheme can work without a top-tier safety. Bolster the defensive line, front-office members say, and the rush will make coverage easier for defensive backs. The Cowboys went to work on their front four this offseason with an extension for Pro Bowler DeMarcus Lawrence, a trade for Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn and the second-round selection of Central Florida defensive tackle Trysten Hill, Dallas’ highest pick after the team’s midseason deal to acquire Amari Cooper for a first-rounder.
NFL DRAFT GRADES: Patriots’ class among best, Giants’ haul confounds

MORE: 32 things we learned from the 2019 NFL draft

In contrast, the safety depth chart features undrafted free agent Jeff Heath; sixth-round selections Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier; and George Iloka, whom Dallas signed in free agency for one year, $1 million.

The Cowboys hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard in 2018.

Jones said an upgrade for Richard’s unit may be difficult to find.
“Not just anybody fits with what we are trying as an organization to get accomplished at that position,” he said. “It has to be a safety that works for us.”

In the interim, the Cowboys drafted two running backs, two defensive ends and third-round guard Connor McGovern. The Cowboys hadn’t lost an offensive-line starter – in fact, they expect all-pro center Travis Frederick to return after an autoimmune disorder sidelined him in 2018 – but said they’d continue fortifying their strengths. Consider the offensive line a roster asset rather than imbalance, Jones said.

“We have [received calls about] different positions, which I think says a lot,” Jones said. “I love Jerry’s famous line, you keep strong at a position by drafting into a position of strength. That’s what we did with McGovern. I think we’ve got some depth there in the offensive line, not to mention many other positions.

“So I think that’ll pay off for us.”

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Whenever the Dallas Cowboys make a pick in the NFL draft, they typically do so with a plan for that player in mind. The front office and coaching staff must identify the player’s short-term role while developing a long-term plan to evolve the player’s talent.

Every player is unique and because of that, each player’s initial role and long-term development plan changes based on their skill set, personality and draft slot.

In the first four rounds, teams typically select players under the auspices that they can become immediate contributors, even if it’s not in a starting role. Players selected in Round 5-7 are typically projects whose first-year contributions are usually limited to special teams, though there are rare exceptions.

This all holds true with Dallas’ 2019 draft class. While the first three picks — Trysten Hill, Connor McGovern and Tony Pollard — project to have important roles next season, the team’s five selections in Rounds 5-7 — Michael Jackson Jr., Joe Jackson, Donovan Wilson, Mike Weber and Jalen Jelks — will likely make the biggest impact on special teams in Year 1 unless injury forces the team’s hand.

Because of that, we are going to focus on the first three picks and attempt to project their roles as rookies on the Cowboys.

Trysten Hill, DT
Year 1 role: Rotational under tackle who also spends time at nose tackle

Second-round pick Trysten Hill’s skill set boasts a considerable amount of upside, but unless he develops significantly by the time the regular season rolls around, he will likely begin his career as a backup.
This shouldn’t surprise Cowboys fans because the coaching staff has proven to value experience in the starters, eschewing draft picks from being full-time starters as rookies.

Last year, it took an injury to Sean Lee and outstanding play by Leighton Vander Esch in his absence to finally move the rookie linebacker into a starting role. In fact, when Lee initially returned from his hamstring injury in Week 7, Vander Esch was forced to return to a backup role. It took Lee injuring his hamstring again to move Vander Esch permanently into the starting lineup despite him playing like a top-five off-ball linebacker for much of the season.

Though he missed a lot of time due to injury during the first half of his rookie season, it took an injury to Orlando Scandrick to thrust Chidobe Awuzie into a starting role in 2017. Taco Charlton didn’t start a single game as a rookie, and neither did DeMarcus Lawrence — though he missed much of training camp and the first half of the season due to injury.

While Dallas’ insistence on playing veterans over rookies can be frustrating at times, in Hill’s case, it’s the best short-term plan for his development. Hill is a perfect fit in Rod Marinelli’s defense, but the areas where he needs refinement could cause him to struggle in a full-time starting role. Here’s an example:

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John Owning
@JohnOwning
Trysten Hill’s footwork against the run needs a lot of work. Base narrows too consistently. He’s often off balanced when engaged. Gets his feet underneath himself too much. Lead to him getting blown off the ball more than someone with his size/power should.

27
12:34 AM – Apr 11, 2019
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When Hill plays with the proper pad level and a strong base, he’s an outstanding asset against the run and pass. Unfortunately, he’s very inconsistent in both areas, allowing his pad level to swell and base to narrow all too often, which leads to him getting displaced out of his gap too frequently.

On top of that, Hill lacks the library of hand techniques to fully maximize his athleticism and physical traits as a pass rusher. His lightning-quick first step, upfield burst and insane power when engaged gives him a phenomenal foundation to build on, but he’s currently missing a little bit of the secret sauce (refined hand technique) to really produce as a pass rusher early on.

 

John Owning
@JohnOwning
· Apr 11, 2019
Replying to @JohnOwning
When he plays with good pad level, Hill possesses impressive power at the POA to put OL on their heels, which allows Hill to reset the line of scrimmage against the run.

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John Owning
@JohnOwning
Hill’s quick first step jumps off the screen. Tough for a center to handle that kind of quickness/explosiveness off the snap. Hill can certainly penetrate and play in the backfield. pic.twitter.com/EId6IRMDli

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1:50 AM – Apr 11, 2019
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Hill’s biggest impact initially will come from his ability to penetrate and disrupt against the run while creating pressure opportunities for his teammates on stunts and twists.

If Hill was pushed into a starting role immediately, his inconsistent base and pad level would be exposed, likely leading to a considerable amount of variance in his play from snap to snap. However, in a backup role with fewer snaps, Hill can focus on keeping his pad level low with a proper base without fatigue causing him to revert to bad habits.

Hill’s future with the Cowboys is bright, and the starting under tackle (3-technique defensive tackle) gig is certainly in his future, but it’s important to not put too much on the rookie defensive tackle’s plate.

Unless an injury forces their hand, the Cowboys would be wise to put Hill in a reserve role in Marinelli’s defensive line rotation in Year 1 before moving him into a starting role in Year 2.

Connor McGovern, OL
Year 1 role: Primary backup at both guard spots and center

One of the more difficult Year 1 roles to predict within the Cowboys draft class is third-round pick Connor McGovern. This is mostly because the Cowboys could conceivably go in many directions and without any practices to guide us, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly what Dallas’ short-term plan is for McGovern.

With the Cowboys having told Connor Williams that he will eventually be moved out to tackle, which will likely happen in 2020 after La’el Collins’ contract is up, the team could opt to move Williams to right tackle now to give the former Longhorn a jump on the transition, which would allow McGovern to slide into the starting left guard spot immediately.

The Cowboys could also opt to keep Williams at left guard for this season while allowing him to moonlight as a tackle with the second and third strong offensive lines — similar to how Zack Martin has moonlighted as an emergency center at times during his career — relegating McGovern to a reserve role in his rookie season.

Even as a backup, McGovern’s role isn’t clearly defined, as Joe Looney’s presence creates competition for the primary swing interior offensive line position. Though he had his struggles, Looney performed admirably in Travis Frederick’s absence last season, which will likely weigh heavily on the minds of a coaching staff that, as stated above, values experience.

As things stand now, a reserve role would be best for McGovern in Year 1, as his footwork in pass protection needs considerable refinement and could cause him to be a bit of a liability until fixed. Here’s an example:

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John Owning
@JohnOwning
· Apr 27, 2019
Replying to @JohnOwning
When he is assertive with his hands and lands with his initial strike, it’s usually over. McGovern shows good grip strength to sustain blocks. #Cowboys

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John Owning
@JohnOwning
McGovern’s needs to clean up his footwork in pass protection. Doesn’t cover enough ground with his first step, lets his outside knee get outside his foot, heel clicks then establishes a good base. Want him to play properly balanced throughout his steps/set. pic.twitter.com/8cmK7oVTOK

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12:32 PM – Apr 27, 2019
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McGovern’s footwork in pass protection was a real issue for him in college, which is why he ranked 79th among interior offensive linemen in the 2019 draft in pass blocking efficiency, which “weighs sacks a bit heavier than hits and hurries and produces a rating that reflects the most efficient pass blockers on a per-pass-blocking snap basis,” per Pro Football Focus.

The Cowboys would be wise to give McGovern a year to refine his footwork so that he can be as effective as possible the moment he slides into a starting role. Having said that, McGovern is more talented than Joe Looney and will likely outplay him during training camp and the preseason, even with his warts in pass protection. Thus, McGovern’s best Year 1 role would be as the primary backup to the three interior offensive line positions (left guard, center and right guard).

Tony Pollard, RB
Year 1 role: Change-of-pace back who plays on every special teams unit and moves all over the formation on offense

If you believe the post-draft statements of Dallas’ front office and coaching staff, fourth-round pick Tony Pollard’s Year 1 role with the team is easy to predict, as the team has essentially laid it out for everyone in the media.

When asked about Pollard, Jason Garrett said:

“Obviously, we took Pollard first, someone we think is a really good space player. He’s an excellent receiver. He’s very good running the football, particularly out on the perimeter. We also feel he can run the ball inside, and he’s an outstanding special teams player, not only a great returner, a lot of great returns for touchdowns, but we also believe he can be a four-phase player on special teams. What we like most about him is what he can do on offense with the ball in his hands and we feel he can really help us in that area making some plays in space.”

The question remains as to whether the Cowboys will follow through on these statements and actually utilize Pollard as a chess piece on offense to create favorable mismatches against the defense. The Cowboys have teased this kind of role before, however, injuries and changing circumstances prevented the team from really following through in prior years.

As long as Pollard remains healthy, he should have no problem fulfilling that role for the team, and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore could have the creativity to maximize that role in Dallas’ offense.
John Owning
@JohnOwning
· May 2, 2019
Replying to @JohnOwning
Get Tony Pollard the ball in space and good things happen. 3 defenders and only two blockers, Pollard has to make someone miss for the play to be successful. Does exactly that by breaking the CBs tackle near the sideline to pick up an extra 6 yards.

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John Owning
@JohnOwning
Like I was saying, get Tony Pollard the ball in space and #prosper. I hope DAL explores the full spectrum of Pollard’s skill set and finds different ways to get him the ball in space. pic.twitter.com/G2R4FZodJy

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9:30 AM – May 2, 2019
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Pollard possesses likable traits as a ball carrier and as a receiver, which is why he can be a movable chess piece for the Cowboys offense. He’s a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and the Cowboys would be wise to get him the ball in space as much as they can, adding another explosive element to the Cowboys offense.
John Owning
@JohnOwning
· Apr 11, 2019
Replying to @JohnOwning
Pollard shows off a nice stiff arm to break the EDGE’s tackle.

Embedded video

John Owning
@JohnOwning
Really excited to see what Tony Pollard adds to the kick return game. Cowboys could use some juice there. pic.twitter.com/7dne8BGMOm

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10:26 PM – Apr 30, 2019
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When he’s not on offense, expect Pollard to also be a core special teamer and the primary kick returner, as he was one of the best kick returners in the nation during his time at Memphis.

Unlike the players above, Pollard’s Year 1 role will likely mirror his role for the rest of his Cowboys career.

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Now that you’ve had time to digest what the Cowboys did and didn’t do in the draft, now that grades have been assigned and roster spots projected, what’s left to be said?

Plenty.

Players report for rookie minicamp later this week. Until then, until coaches get a better feel for the class of 2019 and the promise it holds, a few observations from the last 10 days warrant discussion.

In the interest of brevity, let’s restrict this to the draft and push the players’ latest side trip to Durham, N.C. to soak in the wisdom of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and others to another day.

A tepid acceptance of the Cowboys’ decision to select Trysten Hill in the second round rests on two factors: He’s not a safety, and friction with the coaching staff at UCF led to him starting only one game in his final season.

Let’s table the safety debate. You may disagree, but Dallas officials are not only clear but unified in their positional preference for a three-technique defensive tackle over a strong safety. The attitude issue is more interesting.

A player talented enough to be taken in the second round of the NFL draft shouldn’t start the game on the sidelines for UCF. The Cowboys acknowledged the red flag, did their due diligence and said they’re comfortable. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli went as far as to say that he and Hill have clicked.
The Cowboys didn’t ignore the input they got from Josh Heupel’s staff. But it’s fair to say the organization put more weight in what Scott Frost had to say.

Frost, now the head coach at Nebraska, was UCF’s head coach for Hill’s first two seasons. Hill started all 26 games he played under Frost, who had good things to say about the defensive tackle.

Was this a case of the Cowboys only wanting to hear the good about a player at a position they value? No.
Frost spent six years in the NFL as a safety before becoming a coach. His last stop was Tampa Bay in 2003. The assistant head coach on that team who oversaw the defense was Marinelli.

Frost knows how Marinelli operates and what he demands from players. He knows what makes Hill tick. If Frost was unsure that the two could co-exist, do you think the Cowboys would have used a second-round pick on Hill?

Hill is one of three defensive linemen the Cowboys selected in the draft. Hill weighs 315 pounds. Daniel Wise, a defensive tackle from Kansas, is one of seven undrafted rookie free agents signed who had a spot on the Dallas draft board.
Why so many linemen? No one talks about it much, but the Cowboys’ defensive line was worn down and exposed late last season. The exclamation point was the playoff loss to Los Angeles, when the Rams rushed for 273 yards.

A Dallas defense that allowed only one 100-yard rusher in the first 13 games allowed four in its last five games. Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson both went over 100 yards for the Rams in that playoff loss.

A defense that had 33 sacks in the first 12 games finished the regular season with only six in the final four games. The Cowboys scraped together only one sack in two postseason games. That came from Maliek Collins.

That’s why the Cowboys continue to address the defensive line.

Third-round pick Connor McGovern was rated higher on the Cowboys draft board than Hill. The club didn’t target him — which explains why only scouts spent any time with him leading up to the selection — but he was too good to pass up at No. 90.

“You keep drafting into strengths and you know what your strength is on a football team,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “You don’t want a strength to become something that’s average quickly.”

Makes sense. Still, the Cowboys went with McGovern because the safety or cornerback they hoped to land was gone.

Boston College safety Will Harris went to Detroit at No. 81. Michigan State cornerback Justin Layne went to Pittsburgh two picks later. The loss of those two is why McGovern was a blinking light, in the words of Cowboys officials, when Dallas was on the clock.

The Cowboys traded back near the end of the fourth round and again early in the fifth because the player they wanted went off the board immediately in front of them.

Atlanta jumped ahead of Dallas at No. 135 to take defensive end Johnathan Cominsky. The Cowboys were primed to take Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw 13 picks later in the fifth but San Francisco beat them to the punch.

There was speculation the Cowboys would come out of this draft with a tight end, but the possibility of that evaporated with Jason Witten’s return.

Dallas isn’t short-sighted. If the Cowboys could have gotten one of the top tight ends in this draft, one to take over for Witten going forward, they would have done it. But the board didn’t break that way.

Witten won’t consume as many snaps as he did during his first tour of duty, but he’ll likely get the majority. Blake Jarwin came on strong at the end of last season, and the club doesn’t want to impede his progress. Dalton Schultz showed enough late to lead the Cowboys to believe he could be part of a rotation going forward.

Throwing a rookie into this mix wouldn’t have provided much return on investment and may have forced a decision on Schultz earlier than the club desired. Look for a tight end to be taken next year, even if Witten decides to return.

It’s fair to say the Cowboys are intrigued with unrestricted free agent Mitch Hyatt. Dallas lured the Clemson offensive tackle to The Star with a $20,000 signing bonus and by guaranteeing $130,000 of his base salary.

There are players around the NFL taken in the final two rounds of this draft who won’t receive that level of financial commitment.