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cowboys FootballI ve always said the second round of a draft is my favorite round. In the first round, teams look for the prototypes at a position players with the ideal height https://www.cowboysdaclub.com/john-lotul...-c-39.html, weight, speed and intelligence that give them the best chance for success at the next level. But in the second round, teams become more willing to draft players based on their football ability rather than their measurables.

That s where you can find a quality player who might be a tad short Drew Brees Brian Brown Jersey, a tad slow Calais Campbell or from a lower level of college competition Larry Allen . In many cases, first round talents with a flaw.

The Cowboys feasted in the second round during their Super Bowl era of the Jerry Jones ownership. From 1988 through 1994 https://www.cowboysdaclub.com/kennan-gil...-c-40.html, in building a team that would win three Lombardi Trophies, the Cowboys drafted 10 players in the second round. One became a Hall of Famer Allen and two others became Pro Bowlers Darren Woodson and Daryl Johnston.

Two of the 10 never started a game for the Cowboys but Jimmy Smith and Steve Wisniewski went on to start 356 games for other NFL teams and go to 12 Pro Bowls.

Of the remaining eight second rounders, seven started Super Bowls for the Cowboys Ken Norton, Dixon Edwards, Darrin Smith and Kevin Williams in addition to Allen, Woodson and Johnston. The only one who didn t was wide receiver Alexander Wright, who still shares the franchise record for career kickoff returns for touchdowns. Norton, by the way, went on to become a Pro Bowler with the 49ers.

So that s six Pro Bowl players drafted by the Cowboys in the second round during their Super Bowl era. Minus Smith and Wisniewski https://www.cowboysdaclub.com/alfred-mor...-c-38.html, the eight second rounders during that stretch started a combined 626 regular season games for the Cowboys and went to 17 Pro Bowls.

Since 2000, the Cowboys have drafted 18 players in the second round of drafts. Those 18 players have started a combined 447 games and gone to eight Pro Bowls.

We’ve talked ad nauseam about the Falcons offseason on this website, their lack of moves based on the cap situation and perhaps lack of interest in big ticket items and the growing wave of fireworks coming from fellow NFC competitors.

Well, the Rams just signed DT Ndamukong Suh, and things just got even tougher for this season’s eventual NFC crown.

And, still, the Falcons have held their cards close to their chest, determined to see their plan through the way it’s likely been devised since before last season ended. They’re going to keep the status quo, as far as we’re aware, and time will tell if that was the right call.

When you look at their main competitors for the NFC, they’ve been busy. But, busy isn’t always better. Sure, headlines like Suh to LA, Richardson to Minny and “wait, who else have they added?” to Philly can make your knees weak, but again, it’s March, and we still don’t know what this will look like on the field just yet ok...we know what Aaron Donald/Ndamukong Suh will look like...I’m just not ready to accept that one yet .

The Falcons...well...unless Logan Paulsen gets you excited...it’s been kind of quiet...as you know.

But, if there’s a credit to this era of Falcons football https://www.falconsatljersey.com/brian-h...-c-37.html, they’re not going to overreact or change course with what the other NFC teams are doing. That’s not to say they’re not trying to get better Justin Hardy Jersey, but Dan Quinn is trying to blossom a roster. He’s trying to build something that will last, and in the age of an NFL that’s rapidly heading towards super rosters, that’s an admirable, if painstaking, approach.

Right now, the Falcons are building towards improvements on their roster and coaching staff to get them where they want to go https://www.falconsatljersey.com/taylor-...-c-38.html, and their offseason moves show transactions to ease that growth along, while maintaining on field relevance.

On offense, the team is taking a massive gamble in the maturation of Steve Sarkisian. There’s no reason to sugar coat this...if the Falcons are to be any different than they were last season, a good but not great team of not quite talent, they’re going to have to see Sark take a leap. His game plans are going to have to be more organized, his schemes and plots more advantageous to size up what opposing defenses can and can’t do, his talent better placed in positions to succeed. If you want to know just how talented this offense is, they were still a top ten unit last season in terms of total yardage. If you want to know how frustrating the play calling was, they were league middling in the scoring department.

That squarely points to where the problem is, and the Falcons know that. They brought in veteran minds like Greg Knapp and Bernie Parmalee to help Sark along, but at the end of the day, the chips have been pushed in Sark’s direction. If he can’t mentally improve to better coach against the smarter defensive minds in the league, it’s a bad bet. Atlanta’s going to give him 2018 to get there, though. It’s a gap they’re betting he’ll cover.

The tight end position has been a consistent point of emphasis since Tony Gonzalez left town https://www.falconsatljersey.com/jarnor-...-c-39.html, and obviously, no one’s been able to quite match that guy. Austin Hooper’s the team’s future at the position for now, and how he played in 2017 will depend on who you talk to. He’s a solid starter with room to grow, but he’s also got frustrating tendencies and has yet to develop into a red zone threat. Nobody knows what Eric Saubert’s going to do. Bringing in Paulsen is a move to replace what Levine Toilolo brought to the blocking an issue in 2017 , and give Hooper and Saubert a mentor to lean on who knows the position, and what it takes to succeed at it. He’s an investment in the young guys as much as he is an investment in himself as a player. Atlanta could always draft a TE and add him to the room, but for now, they’re betting on Hooper’s and Saubert’s growth. Another chance taken on in house talent. It’s also been said the team is betting on guys like Marvin Hall and Reggie Davis to potentially fill the gap Taylor Gabriel left on offense.

They didn’t decide to bet on Wes Schweitzer at right guard, an able if flawed OL man who has been replaced by the veteran Brandon Fusco, who will probably be as good as Chris Chester was. So, it’s not all house gambles.

On defense, again, there’s a lot of betting going on for that defensive line. They’re pushing the entire stack of chips in on Takkarist McKinley, whose eight sack rookie season six in regular season play, two in the postseason was enough for the team to feel comfortable about letting Adrian Clayborn slide to New England and not give Pernell McPhee the contract he likely would’ve wanted to be a Falcon. They’re betting on Vic Beasley to return to his 2016 form something he’s actually wont to do without nagging injuries and added expectations , too. To Atlanta, that’s got the potential to be a ferocious pass rush, and right now, it appears that any further additions to that group will come via the draft.

After losing Dontari Poe, they’re betting on Grady Jarrett to be the massive contract guy that makes not paying Poe look good in retrospect. They’re betting, as of now, on Duke Riley to take the leap at weakside linebacker. They’re betting on big contract CB Desmond Trufant to bounce back after taking a lump here and there in 2017. They’re betting, if to a smaller degree, on guys like Tani Tupou and J.T. Jones to perhaps factor into roster contributors next season. They’re betting on their front office to fill in the holes via the draft with quality players that can contribute right away. Again, more betting.

The Falcons are going to do the future their way, and make the moves they see fit to keep pace with what the rest of the NFC is doing. This is a patient franchise that’s got a plan, and we’re going to see it followed through. Time will tell if that plan leads to rings, or more “almost but not quites.”

GREEN BAY — Justin McCray would have been one of the lucky ones. Already in town working out for most of the past week, the Green Bay Packers second year offensive lineman would’ve avoided the travel issues many of his teammates encountered because of the second worst snow storm in Green Bay history.

Except McCray left late in the week for Atlanta, where he stood up in his cousin’s wedding on Saturday night. As a result, while he was able to celebrate with the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Earnest and Annette Gaines, he wasn’t able to make it back in time for what was supposed to be the kickoff of the team’s official offseason program Monday.

“I’m giving the groom a hard time about it,” McCray said from his hotel room near Hartsfield International Airport, where he spent Sunday night hoping to make it to snowy Green Bay sometime today. “But it’s all jokes.”The storm, however, was no joke. Because of the travel challenges it created for his players, Packers coach Mike McCarthy pushed the start of the offseason workouts back a day to Tuesday — weather permitting.

Among the players who weren’t able to get into town as planned was quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said in a text message his flight wouldn’t be able to get in on Sunday night as scheduled.

But he was hardly alone.

The workouts are technically voluntary, although the Packers have historically had extremely high attendance for the offseason program, in part due to the money they invest in workout bonuses to incentivize the sessions for players.

Those players already in town can work out on their own at the team facility today, per NFL rules, but Tuesday will now be the first day of official workouts.

The bizarre April storm won’t cost the Packers any sessions, a club spokesperson said, as they weren’t required to begin today.

According to the National Weather Service’s Green Bay office, the storm had dumped 23.2 inches in Green Bay as of 4 p.m. Sunday — making it the area’s largest snowstorm in 130 years, or dating back to before the Packers came into existence in 1919.

The only time more snow fell on Green Bay during a single storm was on March 1 2, 1888 https://www.packersgbstore.com/malachi-d...-c-23.html, when the area received 29 inches. The biggest April snowstorm recorded in Green Bay before this was in 1977, when 11 inches fell. While McCray was spending an unexpected extra night in Atlanta, he got off easy compared to fellow offensive linemen Lucas Patrick and Kyle Murphy, who got stuck at the Minneapolis St. Paul airport on Friday night and had quite the odyssey from there.

Patrick, who was connecting from Portland, Oregon, and Murphy https://www.packersgbstore.com/jayrone-e...-c-24.html, who was coming back from California https://www.packersgbstore.com/jahri-eva...-c-25.html, were in the Delta Airlines airport lounge at 2 a.m. Saturday morning and caught a few hours of sleep there.

After getting rebooked on a Sunday flight into Appleton Vince Biegel Jersey, they headed to the nearby Mall of America later Saturday morning where Patrick realized — about the same time that the mall was closing due to the weather in the Twin Cities — that he had a bit of a wardrobe emergency.

“I was out of clean undergarments,” Patrick said. “So we kind of ran around the mall to find only Sears was open — so at least I could get some fresh socks and underwear.”

The pair stayed at an airport hotel Saturday night and then endured a bumpy ride into Appleton on Sunday morning – “It was rough, and we almost had to turn around in mid air before we were cleared to land,” Patrick said — and another one once they got on the ground.

After landing in Appleton, Patrick, Murphy and practice squad wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, who was also on their flight, rented a minivan to drive up Interstate 41 to Green Bay.

The ice covered highway was bad enough — Murphy said the fastest he was able to drive was 35 miles per hour — but when Patrick went to drop Murphy off first, the minivan got stuck in the snow and the threesome had to push the vehicle out.

The drive to Yancey’s hotel and his own apartment were no picnic either, Patrick said.

“Worst weather I’ve ever driven in, and the first time I was actually scared of the weather,” Patrick said.“It’s always worth it,” Patrick said. “You never know where life can take you — especially in the job I’m in. So it’s fun to do these things. Plus, being miserable with another person makes everything better — even with all the crazy travel.”

2017 Deatrich Wise, Jr., 131st Overall
Wise was the only drafted rookie to make an impact on the 2017 Patriots, and he played a big role. Wise became a crucial player on the edge due to a rash of injuries to edge defenders along with the retirement of Rob Ninkovich. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but the fourth round rookie looks like he could be a longtime fixure along the defensive line.

Wise’s rookie season played out very similar to that of former Patriot Chandler Jones. Wise finished his rookie year with five sacks and 26 combined tackles. He struggled to set the edge against the run, but was probably the second best pass rusher on the team, behind Trey Flowers. By comparison, Jones finished his rookie season with six sacks and 45 combined tackles. Like Wise, Jones was weak against the run but was one of the best pass rushers on that 2012 squad. Wise doesn’t have the ceiling Jones has, but he definitely has what it takes to be a longtime starter along the offensive line.

2016 Malcolm Mitchell, 112th Overall


He’s only had one healthy season, but man did Malcolm Mitchell impress in 2016. It’s notoriously difficult to be rookie receiver on the Patriots. New England has one of the most elaborate and complex playbooks in the league, and if you don’t have Tom Brady’s complete trust, you won’t get the ball. Mitchell overcame that to put up 32 receptions for 401 yards and four touchdowns in his first season. All in all, he had probably the third greatest season for a rookie wide receiver under Brady, only to Aaron Dobson and Deion Branch.

The question going forward is will Mitchell’s career be more like Dobson or Branch? Dobson’s production was born more out of necessity because there was no receiving talent on that offense. Branch, meanwhile, turned his rookie success into an 11 year NFL career. Injuries wiped away Mitchell’s 2017, so we’re still waiting on that answer. However, there’s plenty of reasons to believe Mitchell’s career will look more like Branch’s.

Mitchell showed the skills to be a great perimeter receiver his rookie season. Specifically, he excelled at hauling in tight, contested catches. His best game of the season likely came when he scored two touchdown against Darrelle Revis, including the game winning score. He was also huge in Super Bowl 51, as his presence opened up the passing game. Without him, New England might not have been able to pull off that 25 point comeback.

Currently, Mitchell remains the only receiver capable of consistently winning those outside matchups. Assuming he’s 100 healthy for the start of 2018, there’s no reason to think Mitchell can’t usurp Chris Hogan as the number two receiver on the team.

2015 Trey Flowers, 101st Overall
No draft pick comes close to being as good as taking Tom Brady with the 199th pick, but the Flowers pick is in the running for the second best draft steal of the Belichick Era. While that honor would probably go to taking Julian Edelman in the seventh round, Flowers has become an absolute force on defense. He was easily the best pass rusher on the team last year, and was arguably the best defensive player on the roster.

Flowers missed all but one game of his rookie season, but has stayed healthy ever since. Flowers started 2016 coming off the bench, but became a starter midway through the season. Once he got the starting spot, he didn’t relinquish it. Flowers recorded seven sacks in the second half of 2016, and was a big factor in fixing the 2016 defense. The Atlanta Falcons had no answer for Flowers in Super Bowl 51, as he finished his night with 2.5 sacks. 1.5 of those sacks came on third down, and the other one was the sack which pushed Atlanta out of field goal position in the fourth quarter.

Flowers proved he wasn’t a one year wonder in 2017. His 6.5 sacks weren’t overly impressive, but he did a lot that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Flowers was basically the only edge player that could play both the pass and the run. The 2017 run defense was bad, but it would have been atrocious without Flowers. Additionally, Flowers was far and away the best pass rusher on the roster, so opposing teams would put more attention on him. Flowers constantly faced double team blocks, yet he still found a way to produce. Flowers easily has double digit sack potential if Wise or another edge rusher can step up.

2015 Tre’ Jackson, 111th Overall
Well, they can’t all be winners. Jackson was drafted to fill a desperate need on the 2015 Patriots. New England’s offensive line was easily the biggest weakness of the 2014 Patriots, so Jackson was expected to be an immediate starter.

At first https://www.patriotsnefans.com/jason-kin...-c-20.html, that’s exactly what Jackson was. Jackson started the first seven games of the season, primarily playing right guard. He was a little too slow on his feet and needed some work, but he performed fine, all things considered.

Jackson’s career took a downward turn in Week Seven against the Miami Dolphins. The rookie guard suffered a nasty knee injury that kept him out of the next four games. Jackson came back, but he clearly wasn’t the same the rest of the season. The 2015 Patriots had an absurd amount of injuries, and Jackson was thrust back into the lineup without ever fully recovering.

The weight of that decision bore down the following off season. That same knee injury kept Jackson on the Physically Unable to Perform list, causing him to miss all of 2016. Jackson wouldn’t suit up again for the Patriots, getting released in April of 2017. As of this posting, Jackson has not played an NFL snap since his rookie season.

Would Jackson have become an NFL caliber player were it not for that knee injury? Who knows. He wasn’t great in 2015, but he wasn’t outwardly terrible either. Regardless, that knee injury against Miami and the subsequent effort to play through it likely cost him any chance at a career. The pick ultimately didn’t work out, but it was due mostly to bad luck and poor circumstances.

2015 Shaq Mason, 131st Overall
The Patriots double dipped at guard in the 2015 draft with the Mason selection. While the Jackson pick didn’t work out, the Mason one was a home run. Mason was drafted out of a triple option college offense. Essentially, he has never pass blocked in his career, so he was something of a project.

The Patriots drafted him knowing it would be roughly a year before he reached his potential. Mason started off the 2015 season coming off the bench in clear running situations. The one benefit to him not knowing how to pass block is that he was an absolute monster as a run blocker. For the first few weeks of the season he was used almost exclusively on running plays.

However, when injuries struck, Mason was thrown into the regular lineup and was tasked with learning pass blocking on the fly. He played left guard throughout most of the regular season. However, he switched to right guard in the playoffs, and the change suited him.

Since switching to the right side of the line, Mason has been one of the best guards in football. His run blocking, which was good to begin with https://www.patriotsnefans.com/duron-har...-c-19.html, has only gotten better. He never gets pushed back and is great as a pull guard on runs to the left. His pass blocking isn’t as good as his run blocking, but he’s still above average at that too. Altogether, he’s probably the best lineman the Patriots have.

2014 Bryan Stork, 105th Overall
Like Jackson, Stork’s career was ruined before it could ever really start. He only played in New England for two seasons, and David Andrews has done a great job replacing him, but Stork made a huge impact when in the lineup.

The Patriots offensive line could not block through the first four weeks of 2014. The run game had no holes to run through https://www.patriotsnefans.com/brandon-k...-c-18.html, and Brady was constantly under pressure. Stork started the season on the bench after missing a sizable chunk of training camp. However, when he was finally allowed to start, he performed admirably.

The offensive line was never the strength of that Patriots team, but Stork’s presence helped make it a league average unit. Brady finally had time in the pocket, and reverted back to his normal, dominating form. Stork himself was a little undersized and struggled blocking larger linemen, but he was still a league average starting center.

Unfortunately for Stork, concussion issues continued to haunt him. Stork missed the first eight weeks of 2015 with another concussion, allowing Andrews to emerge. While Stork regained the role for the second half of 2015, they entered training camp in an open competition. Stork would suffer yet another concussion, and eventually retired due to the head injuries.

2014 James White, 130th Overall
It’s safe to say this pick worked out. White has been an absolute steal, establishing himself as one of the best third down backs in football. It’s funny to think back on it now, but he could barely make it on the game day roster for the first year and a half of his Patriots tenure.

White has only been active for nine games prior to Dion Lewis’ season ending ACL injury in 2015. When White finally made his way onto the field, he had mixed results. At first Chase Farris Jersey, he looked like an absolute monster in the receiving game. Julian Edelman went down one week after Lewis, and White was basically the best receiver left standing in 2015. White was able to gain separation regardless of who was covering him, and was basically the only functioning part of the passing offense late in 2015.

However, he struggled running the ball, which is a bad trait for a running back. White averaged an ugly 2.5 yards per carry in 2015. Opposing teams soon caught on to White’s weakness, and knew his presence on the field signaled a pass play.

White’s Continued Development
Lewis was still recovering from his ACL injury at the beginning of 2016, giving White another shot to earn his role as third down back. This time, White made the most of his opportunities. While he wasn’t Barry Sanders, White was able to provide just enough of a threat in the running game so that teams couldn’t lock in on the pass. He played so well that he kept the third down role even once Lewis returned to the lineup.

Of course, his biggest performance came in Super Bowl 51. White put up a historic performance, catching 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. He also played a big role in the running game, putting up 29 yards, two touchdowns and a two point conversion. White’s 14 receptions and 20 points scored remain Super Bowl records. Outside of Brady, White was most responsible for that incredible comeback.

He was rewarded for his efforts with a three year contract extension, and White rewarded the faith with a solid 2017. He didn’t see quite as much of the field as expected due to Lewis’ crazy production, but he should remain one of the best third down backs moving forward.

2014 Cameron Fleming, 140th Overall
While most of these fourth round picks have vastly exceeded expectations, Fleming is what you expect to get out of a late fourth round pick. Fleming has been a serviceable backup tackle throughout his New England tenure, and he’s provided crucial depth throughout his Patriots tenure. Fleming entered the 2018 off season as a free agent, and ended up signing a one year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

Keep an eye out for whoever the Patriots draft in the fourth round, because they’ll probably be a stud. In a round normally used for filling out depth, Belichick has found key contributors and outright superstars. Belichick has found three starters, three solid contributors, and two players whose careers were lost to injury. Everyone but Jackson and Stork are still with the team, and everyone but Jackson played a role in bringing home at least one of the two most recent championships
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