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Each Sunday I provide 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. The news of the week, analysis of key events and a little humor as we try to keep track of a particular Cowboy that's shopping his services in this edition of First and 10.
1. This was not the week for you if you're into exciting Dallas Cowboys news. Sure, the Cowboys were running all over the country hosting private workouts and attending pro days. But meanwhile back in Dallas the Cowboys signed three players — center Joe Looney, long snapper Brandon Hartson and kicker Matt Wile.
Looney is the signing that matters. When Mackenzy Bernadeau bolted for Jacksonville, the Cowboys needed a backup center. The former Wake Forest product has bounced around a bit, spending two years in San Francisco and one year in Tennessee. He's played in roughly half the games he's been eligible to play in. At 315 pounds, he won't get pushed around inside. But he won't make you forget about Travis Frederick either. If you're a Cowboys fan, you hope to see little of Looney this season.
Hartson and Wile are camp bodies, there to take reps when L.P. Ladouceur and Dan Bailey need a break.
Nothing earth-shattering. But Looney fits a need, though I imagine the Cowboys will cross-train a couple of other linemen at center to build some depth behind Frederick. Looney is certainly not a lock to make the team. ... but he's a fit. (Meanwhile, his co-visitor, Detroit defensive lineman Jason Jones came and left without a deal, though we're told the visit "went well.'' Maybe Jones' status is tied to Item 2 ...)
2. Jack Crawford was on the road this week, visiting both the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The free-agent defensive end appears to be done waiting for the Cowboys to make up their mind if there is value in keeping him. Or at least Crawford and his agent see value in making it look that way. Stay tuned. Crawford is by no means a "have to have him" kind of player. But he seemed to be a nice fit for the defensive line rotation and he's well-liked in the locker room.
He and Fish had a conversation this week that included Jack saying, 'I feel very close to the Cowboys locker room. Its about exploring options and figuring out whats best financially.'
3. CowboysHQ's Cami Griffin is embarking on a "state of the roster series." First stop? Quarterback. Plenty of good analysis on Tony Romo's health, the state of what's behind him and the potential value of taking a quarterback in the first round. Griffin had this nugget, too — more than half of the league's starting quarterbacks were taken in the first round. That shows you the value of taking a quarterback in the first round. Doesn't mean the Cowboys will take one. It just shows you the value and why finding guys like Tom Brady (sixth round) and Romo (undrafted free agent) are the exception and not the rule.
4. In this week's edition of Mock Draft Friday I go back to my first-round mock for the third time this offseason. Once again the Cowboys' selection at No. 4 moves to another player. First it was North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz. Then it was Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. Check out the mock today to see which player I have the Cowboys taking this time around.
Next week I'll head back to the Cowboys' seven-round mocks and explore trade-down scenarios for the Cowboys.
5. CowboysCast is jam-packed this week. First, our Mike Fisher joins Bobby Belt to talk about which expert knows what about which player the Cowboys will take at No. 4 (spoiler alert — none of them know anything, including yours truly). Then, Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy breaks down Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa (he's higher on him than you are, apparently). Finally, Belt snags an interview with Utah running back Devontae Booker, a player I identified in mock drafts last week as a possible second-day selection.
6. Less than two weeks after signing his contract with the Cowboys new defensive lineman Cedric Thornton was making a charity appearance for the team at Scottish Rite Hospital. I've been around the league off and on for about a decade. A player doing a charity appearance that soon after signing a deal with a new team is pretty rare. Tells you something about the guy. We know where he fits in on the defensive line, as a 1-Tech who is athletic to also back up at 3-Tech (and with a history of playing end in Philly), but now we know appears to be a clear fit for the locker room as well.
By the way, our Mark Lane was all over Thornton's appearance at Scottish Rite. ... as Cedric talks about the Cowboys coaching staff as if they're his "fathers.''
7. Jerry Jones recently named two of his Top 5 owners in the NFL. First stop? Buffalo and the Pegulas, Terry and Kim. They've been NFL owners for about a year. Next stop? Cleveland and Jimmy Haslam, who frankly was the driving force behind drafting the train wreck that is Johnny Manziel.
Combined Super Bowls? None. Heck, combined division titles? None. And Jones didn't provide a full list. He just volunteered that he felt they were among the Top 5 owners in the league.
And just when I thought we were going to get through a full week of Jones not saying anything absurd. Whew. That was close.
8. Great Moments in Headline Porn for this week? "2016 NFL Free Agency: Dallas Cowboys Sign Johnny Manziel" From The Sports Daily. Yes, it was an April Fool's Day job. Yes, it wasn't funny.
9. Thousand Oaks, Calif., is about to come alive with training camp football again. No, the Cowboys are not moving from Oxnard. The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to train where the Cowboys used to train for the next two years.
Just makes you want to fire up the old theme from "Dallas Cowboys Weekly" doesn't it?
10. The last of the pro days are coming up in the last 10 days. Here are some players that the Cowboys might be taking a look at this week (player availability is subject to change).
April 4: Arkansas State, West Virginia (RB Wendell Smallwood, S Karl Joseph)
April 5: Sam Houston State
April 6: Georgia Southern, Memphis (QB Paxton Lynch), Texas A&M, Utah State
But bigger than that? This week is also Dallas' 30-Visit time. Call this some "educated guessing'' based on the reporting of Fish and Bryan Broaddus and let's anticipate some of the names: defensive linemen Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Shaq Lawson and Robert Nkemdiche, defensive backs Vernon Hargreaves and Jalen Ramsey, running backs Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry and Paul Perkins, receiver Laquon Treadwell and QB's Lynch, Goff and Wentz. (We think!) And we'll keep collecting names as you check out our draft coverage on those players and more here.