Dallas Cowboys: 5 Undervalued Senior Bowl Players That Fit with the Cowboys
Sheldon Richardson, D.J. Fluker, Kenny Vaccaro and Jonathan Cooper. These are high-profile names that are being linked to the Dallas Cowboys.
It's easy to get so involved in the first and second rounds that you lose sight of other great prospects that will be available in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.
The NFL is hosting its annual Senior Bowl this week. While there are big names hoping to solidify their draft spot, there are also undervalued players that trying to prove their worth.
The Cowboys are a team with many needs. So many in fact, that they can't afford overlook any prospects.
I've compiled a list of the best prospects that are available to the Cowboys that are undervalued due to depth at their position.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Weight: 188 lbs
Arm Length: 29 5/8”
Hand Size: 9 1/4”
Barner was a featured player in the most explosive offense in college football. He has elite speed and displays awesome fluidity in and out of cuts.
Barner isn't a one-trick show. Many perceive Barner to be a speed back, but his game tape suggests that he's an all-around back that masks his true ability with his speed. Barner can be effective between the tackles as around the edge. He is a dynamic playmaker who can slice up defenses and get yards after contact.
Another element of Barner's game is his ability as a receiver. He runs great routes and has decent hands. He can be effective for teams in so many dimensions that he's impossible to game-plan for.
Barner is extremely small. There remains questions on how he will hold up against the riggers of the next level. Will he be able to break tackles in the NFL? Will he be just a change-of-pace guy?
The questions that have risen in reference to his size will force his stock to drop even if his skill doesn't warrant it.
Once again Barner is extremely undervalued. He is a player who can do it all as a running back. He is explosive and dependable.
Barner could come into a Dallas situation that features an injury-prone DeMarco Murray. Barner would begin as a change-of-pace back, but his game skill suggests that he could one day become a feature back of a team. His future is all dependent on whether he can hold up in the NFL. If he proves he's durable enough, he could become a household name quickly.
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
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Weight: 211 lbs
Arm Length: 32 1/4”
Hand Size: 8 7/8”
McDonald is an incredible all-around athlete. He has exceptional speed and plays strong in the box. His speed allows him to be rangy in deep coverage. He has good instincts and is aggressive when opportunities present themselves.
The ideal prototype safety McDonald is a vicious run defender who is extremely versatile, thrives in man and zone coverages and can be play any safety position.
McDonald played for Monte Kiffin at USC.
Can be over-aggressive at times. Also has been seen getting burnt after whiffing on a big hit. Truly his weaknesses are relatively small. What you get with McDonald is a tremendously versatile safety that lacks any true elite skills but has great all-around skills.
McDonald is a player that can please all Cowboys fans. Whether you think the team just needs depth or needs a starter at either position McDonald can fill any role. He could pair with Barry Church to create a cheap but very talented defensive backfield that is dangerous against the pass and vicious against the run.
McDonald projects as a second-round player. However, with an exceptionally deep safety class, McDonald could easily fall into the third round, offering the Cowboys extreme value.
Tavarres King, WR, Georgia
Weight: 192 lbs
Arm Length: 32 5/8”
Hand Size: 9 3/8”
King was the No. 1 receiver for an explosive Georgia offense. He his extremely polished and experienced. He is a tough receiver who runs disciplined routes and isn't afraid to make catches in traffic.
King is a man of good character and great work ethic. He doesn't shy away from big games. King can be used anywhere on a field an flourish. He's committed to the team and winning.
While King may be polished, he still lacks elite attributes. He isn't the biggest, strongest or fastest. Sometimes he can disappear against premier coverage.
King is a depth wide receiver who could easily blossom into a starter. He has excellent technique and will sacrifice himself to make a catch. He can play inside or outside in any set and would allow any team that picks him versatility with their offensive sets.
The Cowboys would love a guy like King. He fits the type of player they're trying to bring in. He is of good character and exceptionally mature for his age. King would give the Cowboys comfortable depth at receiver but could also make other guys expendable in the future.
Jordan Hill, DT, Penn St.
Weight: 294 lbs
Arm Length: 32 1/8”
Hand Size: 10”
Hill is a high motor player who rarely takes off a play. He has exceptional burst off the line. Good speed and decent strength accompany his size. He plays well in the gap and can be a presence in both the run game and rushing the passer.
Not dominant. Hill lacks the dominating strength to overpower offensive linemen. He can't hold up at the point of attack and relies on a substandard repertoire of moves to shed blocks.
Hill is best at 3-technique. He possesses an average skill set that suggests he can be productive at the next level but not elite. He is a hard worker and has a desire to continue to improve.
The Cowboys would be fortunate to land Hill in the fourth round. He would be a depth 3-technique that, with coaching, could eventually develop into a starter. The Cowboys should be watching this week as Hill tries to show something that will skyrocket his draft stock.
Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
Weight: 304 lbs
Arm Length: 32 1/8”
Hand Size: 10 7/8”
Long is the son of NFL legend Howie Long and the brother of St. Louis Rams star Chris Long. He has awesome size and couples that with elite athleticism.
Long began his career in Oregon as a defensive end but converted to the offensive line. Here he has become the leader of an Oregon offensive line that clears the way for an explosive offense. He has good footwork and uses his frame well.
Long isn't going to be knocked over and understands assignments well. His length is great against rushers, and he is good in both run-blocking and pass-blocking.
Long doesn't do anything at the elite level. While he is a solid blocker, he still struggles against high-caliber defensive linemen.
Long is still very raw and needs to be coached well. In the first practice of the Senior Bowl, he looked comfortable against defensive linemen but struggled when against speed rushers.
Long is an underrated tackle who has a very solid skill set. His blood-line seems to suggest that he could be great at the next level. While he does have some deficiencies, his ability to plug in right away and be a serviceable right tackle while still developing makes him an attractive pick.
The Cowboys need to improve the right tackle position. Doug Free has been awful and Tony Romo can't endure another season with Free at the helm. Long offers the Cowboys a long-term solution that can be dominant after a year of coaching and experience.