One of the most intriguing players, in my mind, is Princeton Fant, mostly because I picture a WCO with a FB who can play TE, RB and WR. In the WCO, you need player who can play that kind of role. Fant reminds me of sort of a tweener who can play FB, WR, and RB. The knock on Fant is his RAS. But I would bet that it translate better to FB, and even RB, in terms of his overall comparative RAS score. Like I said, he’s a bigger guy for those positions, and fits the mold of a guy who can also be a nice STer too. He’s got a shot at making this team, especially if he’s able to take someone like McKeon’s role. Or maybe they carry 5 TEs, and 4 RBs, if Deuce and Fant can also play a WR role. Seems to me, that’s what they’re looking for.
Jalen Moreno Cropper
This guy was my pet cat during the draft season. He can also make an impact in the run game, as a gadget sort of guy, too, especially when on the field with players like Luepke and Vaughn. He knows where to be and is just savvy tracking the ball and with body position. Don’t look at him as a one-dimensional WR. He’s more than that. I didn’t think he’d be high enough on our board for us to draft him. But boy am I glad he’s here. He’s got some serious potential if he can improve on his game. I would have drafted him in the 6th or 7th, most likely, maybe even earlier. However, that said, I like Jalen Brooks in sort of a Deebo Samel/Noah Brownish role as well. That guy has game. He isn’t the fastest, but he’s got a strong core. I also like Durden for similar reason to Fant and Cropper. Cropper may need a year or two, to build up his slight frame. But the Cowboys should do what they can to keep him in Dallas while he matures. At this point, I perceive Cropper as a better long-term prospect than Tolbert, as in 3 years from today. I’m very aware I could be wrong, just what my gut tells me. There’s a little Stephon Diggs to this guy. My fear is the Cowboys try to dangle him on the PS at some point, and he gets snatched up only to become great with another team in the future.
I’ll be honest, this isn’t a player I paid a lot of attention to. Every year, some teams scout up to 1,200 players. I glanced at about 400. That gives me perspective about how difficult scouting actually is. Those who don’t appreciate the art of it, cool. For me, being able to come out of the draft having not only obtained Cropper as an UDFA, but also this guy, and a player like Jose Barbon and John Stephen Jr. tells me they are serious not only at the WR position, but they also want to add a new flavor to the offense. We drafted primarily defensive players, so they are trying to make the defense better. Smart move, I think. There were better offensive players at the back half, which is what I said before the draft. That brings me to my next player who is also a WR.
John Stephens Jr.
We resisted temptation to snatch one of the smaller WR in this class. As some know, I was a big fan of Zay Flowers and Josh Downs joining the Cowboys even though we already have a smallish receiver in Cooks. There’s a reason for that. Cooks plays big, so people forget about his height. Take a look at the players the Cowboys are bringing in, and you start seeing that the Cowboys plan on making their offense more like San Fransisco’s. It won’t be just a WCO, but there will definitely be a lot of WCO wrinkles. Stephens Jr. looks like a guy who can possibly do two things, because he’s 6’5′ and 215, so it wouldn’t be totally silly to see if he could add weight and double as a TE/WR type in the NFL. I was looking at the player from Arkansas (name slips my mind), but he was the same kind of player. I think Stephens is a player who, although he may not have been specifically great in college, he has the potential to be a better NFL player than college. Some may view him as a long shot to make the team, but I think they have a certain scheme in mind for him, as a WR/TE.
Like I’ve said above . . . two things, and most people know Luepke has that, which is why a lot of fans see him as a shoo-in to make the team. Interesting, also, and quite telling, what strategy the Cowboys were up to. During the draft, I even fell for their FOs lies and staged antics, which I feel foolish about in hindsight. But they did a good job keeping their plan close to their chest so-to-speak. Many have said, Luepke can take Zeke’s role. And I think that’s probably correct. He’s a downhill runner who can really push the pile. There’s a HB in this FB, and with the right coaching and strength program, look out for this player. That said, everyone is counting Hendershot out, and I just don’t think you can do that. Hendershot fits right in this whole scheme. Cowboys are trying to add more weapons, and guys like Tolbert who come in all passive are going to have to hit the door. We want toughness, aggression, confidence, even violence on the field, and Luepke has that. All of these players have that toughness and love for the game of football.
In the end, maybe none of these players make the team. But I give them an A+ here for imagination and due diligence on the scouting end of it. During their execution, they put a number on most observers. So kudos to the consultant, likely McClay, on that end. Now we need things like a QB, long-snapper, center. I think they’ll look at the semi-pro, lower-level professional teams to accomplish that. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to cop Rusty B’s idea and look around the Japanese teams for a kicker. I think you’d find more mental discipline there. I have my own theory about why Maher cracked under pressure, but that’s not important. In hindsight, I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to compete for the regular season. But they need a plan. Or they need to figure out whatever happened. I guess we’ll see how desperate they get there in the near future.