Lynn’s Week 1 Predictions and Pre-Thoughts


In exactly 24 hours, the Dallas Cowboys will take the field against the New York Giants to kick off Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season. This game will be played on Sunday Night Football and broadcast by NBC. Much has been anticipated by this game, as our reigning NFC East Champs will take on the New York Giants in the season opener for the 4th time in the Tony Romo era, in which the Cowboys are 2-1.

Both teams have a firepower on offense. The Cowboys have 4 time Pro Bowl QB and 2014 MVP candidate Tony Romo, All-Pro WR Dez Bryant, and are returning arguably the best offensive line in pro football. The Giants, however, are returning the 2x Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and the most explosive rookie in the NFL in 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. Unfortunately, New York will be without WR Victor Cruz, who is coming off a torn patellar tendon in 2014.

Defensively, this could be a mismatch, however. The Cowboys are projected to have a much improved pass rush. With DeMarcus Lawrence coming off of his rookie campaign with a post-season that included 2 sacks, Former Nebraska standout and projected 1st Round pick Randy Gregory, and the newly locked up DT Tyrone Crawford, the Giants could be up for a tough task. The Cowboys also bring back veterans Jeremy Mincey, Brandon Carr, and Barry Church. Anthony Hitches and the 2015 1st Round pick Byron Jones should contribute as well. Defensively, the Giants will be without star DE Jason Pierre-Paul and LB Jon Beason. With a secondary headed by rookie Safety Landon Collins and CB Prince Amukamara, they have a certain amount of youth. The Giants do, however, have former Cowboy George Selvie and solid veterans Cullen Jenkins and Robert Ayers on their defensive line.

Prediction Time:

Whether one team has a strict advantage or not, both the Cowboys and Giants typically play each other very physical and their contests are usually tightly matched. In recent years, these games have featured these scores

2014

Week 7

New York Giants 21

Dallas Cowboys 31

Week 12

Dallas Cowboys 31

New York Giants 28

2013 

Week 1

New York Giants 31

Dallas Cowboys 36

Week 12

Dallas Cowboys 24

New York Giants 21

2012

Week 1

Dallas Cowboys 24

New York Giants 17

Week 8

New York Giants 29

Dallas Cowboys 24

Therefore, it is fair to say that this game should be tightly contested, with a possibility of an offensive shoot-out.

Furthermore, I believe that the Cowboys will use a heavy dose of their running game with contributions of Joseph Randle (15 CAR 60 YDs), Darren McFadden (20 CAR 105 YDs 1TD). I don’t believe newly acquired Christine Michael will receive much action due to having to learn the offense still. I believe Tony Romo will have an opportunity to show off his 2014-like efficiency with a 70% completion percentage, 250 YDs and 3 TDs. Much of Romo’s yards will come in the form of checking down to Jason Witten and Cole Beasley. The duo of Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams will make a few contributions but not nearly as much as Witten and Beasley. As for the Giants, I don’t believe they have the defense that can keep up with the Cowboys for 4 quarters. They might get a few stops and some form of turnover, but that will be seldom. On the positive side for the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. will have a stellar performance has Eli Manning’s number 1 target. Beckham, I believe, will have around 10+ catches, over 100 yards, and a pair of TD’s.

Final Score Prediction:

New York Giants 20 Dallas Cowboys 31

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Dallas Cowboys 7 Round Mock Draft


We are just three days until the 2015 NFL Mock Draft kicks off in Chicago, I figured I would join in on all the fun speculation about mock drafts. In this mock draft, I am going to try to get inside the heads of Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Will McClay by accurately predicting their every this weekend.

Without further ado, my 2015 Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft

 

Round 1- Eric Kendricks LB UCLA

This might be the hardest projection for the Cowboys in 2015. With not one specific glaring need on either side of the ball, figuring out where Dallas will go awfully troublesome. Personally one of my favorite players in the draft, Kendricks could be the potential replacement to Rolando McClain after this season. This pick wouldn’t be exactly about need but strictly for value.

Kendricks has an unbelievable knack for making plays.

 

Round 2- TJ Yeldon RB Alabama

TJ Yeldon is one of the many ideal fits at running back for the Dallas Cowboys in this draft.

A very patient runner, Yeldon meshes well with what this offensive line does, and that is just physically dominating a defense’s front 7. Even though he does not have the biggest frame, he is one of the top running backs in pass protection.  Yeldon would also create many mismatches coming out of the backfield. In essence, he can easily replace DeMarco Murray.

 

 

Round 3- Josh Shaw CB USC

Josh Shaw would be a potential first round pick if it weren’t for a series of incidents that led to his suspension for lying to coaches on how he got injured. However, that is besides the point. Due to Shaw not having “élite athleticism and speed”, he fits in very well working as a Cover 2 CB and FS.

Shaw is very disruptive when in coverage and when the ball is in the air. His tremendous ball skills are what the Cowboys need in the back-end. His versatility could benefit him well when coming to Dallas, assuming he will split reps at FS with JJ Wilcox.

 

Round 4- Frank Clark DE Michigan

Frank Clark is another perfect fit for Rod Marinelli’s defense.  According to Bob Strum of the Dallas Morning News, Clark is a “high energy edge rusher who has caused a lot of havoc in the offensive backfield over the years and has a real interesting combination of skills.”

Clark is also a versatile player, he can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt. His off the field issues are well-known and very controversial. However, Jerry Jones has done a fine job at mentoring players with long lists of off the field issues. If it weren’t for his personal history, he’d be a 1st-2nd round pick.

 

 

Round 5- Lorenzo Doss CB Tulane

One of the more athletic cornerbacks in this class, the Cowboys could use Doss’s athleticism and ball skills.  Doss has one trait that I fail to see in most of the corners on the current roster, he likes to take chances and go after the ball.

While it can be a dangerous play at times, the Cowboys need more players that will attempt to make a play on the ball. When playing at his best, he could be a very formidable complementary number 2 cornerback.

 

 

Round 7- JT Surratt DT South Carolina

JT Surratt possesses the size on the interior defensive line that the Cowboys haven’t had in years. The fifth year senior is a great run-stuffing DT that excels in moving other interior offensive lineman. Combining that and excellent hand placement and footwork, he could be a nice complement to Tyrone Crawford in the middle.

 

 

Round 7- JJ Nelson WR UAB

You don’t have to take my word for it, this guy is FAST.  I mean, insanely fast. Nelson ran the fastest 40 yard dash time at the combine with a blazing 4.28! 

Nelson isn’t exactly another weapon for Romo to consistently throw to underneath, but he could be the best replacement for Dwayne Harris in the return game. At UAB this season, Nelson had an astonishing 38.7 yard kick return average and 4 touchdowns.

In conclusion, I would be very pleased if this is the direction the Cowboys went with this years draft. In the process of the eight picks the Dallas Cowboys have in this hypothetical draft, they would have acquired a starting running back and plenty of other future stars in this league.

As for now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

What Options Do The Cowboys Have With The 27th Pick?


With a little over 2 weeks and 26 picks before the Cowboys are on the clock, all we as fans can do is speculate what Jerry, Stpehen, and Will McClay may do during this year’s draft.

However, one thing is for certain: The Cowboys have a lot of talented options to work with.

To start off, we should note that, with the exception of QB, any position should be in play at pick 27. The best way for the Cowboys to improve through this year’s draft is to pick the best player available on their draft board.

Much like the 2014 Draft, this draft is very deep. Even much so on the defensive side of the ball. Due to the draft being very deep, the Cowboys can afford to draft the most talented player left on their board, possibly ignoring a need, and not having to give up the opportunity of acquiring one of the most talented and gifted rosters in the NFL.

The one good thing about the particular needs the Cowboys need to address is the fact that they can find a value nearly anywhere in this draft due to the depth this class possesses.

Without further ado, let’s introduce some names that might be called in Chicago when the Cowboy’s are up at pick 27:

 

  • Todd Gurley RB Georgia

Without a doubt the best offensive player in this draft, Todd Gurley is the perfect fit for the Cowboys at pick 27. That is if he even makes it to pick 27. This 6’1″ 230 lbs. athletic freak of nature was the best offensive player in college football last year until he was suspended for accepting money for signing autographs and tore his ACL.

Regardless, the Cowboys should and most likely will be willing to take a chance on Todd Gurley if he magically falls into their lap come pick 27.

 

  • Marcus Peters CB Washington 

Marcus Peters is highly regarded as the best corner in the draft. Even Todd McShay regarded him as the best “pure” cover corner in this draft. One of the few red flags he has is his “emotional issues”-as one NFC personnel director calls it. Peters was dismissed from the team by coaches after a sideline argument. Regardless, the Cowboys are known to be very solid with players that have aforementioned “emotional” problems.

Peters has prototypical size that you want in a cornerback. He stands around 6″ tall and just a few pounds short of 200 lbs. His overall play-making ability is too much of a reward to pass up in my opinion. If the Cowboys are able to scoop him up at pick 27, which is highly likely, Cowboy fans should be very ecstatic.

 

  • Eric Kendricks LB UCLA

Not exactly a dire position of need, Eric Kendricks could bolster the Cowboy’s front 7 immediately. Highly touted as the best linebacker in this draft, Kendricks could be a potential replacement for Rolando McClain in 2016. A Butkus Award winner and a 2nd Team AP All-American, the UCLA linebacker is highly touted as one of the safest picks in this 2015 NFL Draft class. Standing at 6″0′, Kendricks doesn’t have ideal size to be an NFL middle linebacker. However, he makes up for it with his impeccable technique and knack for diagnosing plays.

If Kendricks is available when the Cowboys are up, I believe the Cowboys will choose him if he is the best player available. Kendricks has the tools to make plays in the NFL, even potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler. One fun fact about Kendricks: His brother, Mychal Kendricks, plays linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. That should make for a great story line.

 

Other Notable Players

  • Melvin Gordon RB Wisconsin
  • Owamgebe Odigizuwa OLB UCLA
  • Malcolm Brown DT Texas
  • Jordan Phillips DT Oklahoma
  • Byron Jones CB UCONN

If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to trade down, expect one of these eight players mentioned above to be the next Dallas Cowboy.

In all likelihood, the Cowboys will select a player that they have invited to Valley Ranch for a visit.

For a list of the 2015 player invites, click here.

 

All stats and measurables come from NFL.com