In my capacity as editor-in-chief of College Football America I go to college football games around the country. That puts me in a unique position to identify college talent for CowboysHQ.com. Occasionally, as part of my work at CowboyHQ.com, I’ll loop you on in a few of the talented players I’m able to see in person and how that player might fit in with the Cowboys in the future.
DL Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 291 pounds, Sr.
Short bio: Two-time All-Southeastern Conference First-Team performer who is on just about every defensive award watch list for 2016.
Considered a: First-Round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, which ranks Allen as the No. 10 overall prospect.
I saw Allen at the USC-Alabama game at AT&T Stadium, and I got a real good look at his dominant ability off the line of scrimmage in the first quarter of that one. Lined up on the right side against the Trojans’ talented left tackle Chuma Edoga, Adams burst off the line of scrimmage, engaged Edoga, saw a ball carrier coming into his view and quickly shed Edoga and used his lateral speed to hold the edge and track down the football. Later on, also coming off the right side, he bull rushed Edoga and got deep into the backfield to put pressure on QB Max Browne. Allen, at 291 pounds, probably seems a bit too big to play outside. But his burst off the line of scrimmage and variety of pass rush moves, I believe, makes him a candidate to play either inside or outside for a team like the Cowboys. The versatility is key here. You’re going to hear many scouts talk about Allen as a 3-4 end, and certainly he’s a fit there. But when I see Tyrone Crawford coming off the edge, I think this guy has the quickness to do it too. The Cowboys would probably have to miss the playoffs to get this guy, but he would be a nice consolation prize if you’re trying to improve the pass rush.
RB Terence Williams, Baylor
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, So.
Short bio: 566 yards on 88 carries in his first season as a player for the Bears in 2015. Former Top 300 recruit from Ennis, Texas.
Considered a: Not ranked as a prospect yet.
Technically Williams would be eligible to enter the draft in 2017 because he’ll have three years in college. But I suspect he wouldn’t declare until his redshirt junior year after 2017. So why write about a running back that probably won’t be available for two years? Because in two years the only running backs under contract in Dallas will be Ezekiel Elliott and Darius Jackson. So the Cowboys have to stay aware of what is out there. I saw him against Northwestern State and I saw three things. First, a sturdy player. He has the weight and build to handle the punishment of the game. Second, he has fine speed coming out of the backfield. I didn’t have a stopwatch but it looked to be at least 4.5. Third, he’s shifty. He handles side-to-side running well and hits the hole decisively. He’s one to track the next 18 months.
DE Josh Carraway, TCU
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Sr.
Short bio: An All-Big 12 First-Team selection in 2015 with 8 sacks.
Considered a: Fourth-round prospect by NFLDraftScout.com.
Truth is I’ve seen Carraway quite a few times in the past few years and the one thing he has is something the Cowboys really value — speed. That was apparent when I caught the Horned Frogs’ game with Oklahoma. Head coach Gary Patterson and his staff moved Carraway around quite a bit during that game, but he made his home most often on the left side and used his speed and 250-pound frame to track down both quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Sooners’ running backs, mostly from behind. He tracks plays well side to side and doesn’t let much get past him. He’s not as accomplished a pass rusher as someone like Allen, and he has some refinement to do with his pass rush moves. But he has the speed to get around the edge once he learns to play with a bit more leverage. That will be the tough part. At 250 pounds he’s light for a 4-3 end. But the Cowboys have shown they’ll risk it if the talent is there. I think it is so long as the Cowboys don’t spend too high to get it.
DE Teidrick Smith, Mary Hardin-Baylor
Vitals: 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, Sr.
Short bio: Two-time Division III All-American (honorable mention in 2014, second team in 2015).
Considered a: Not ranked.
You have to turn over a lot of rocks to find a gem, especially at the Division III level. But Smith has potential. The Crusaders are using him as an edge rusher and he has the speed and instincts to get at opposing quarterbacks. He had 18 sacks last season. To move to the NFL Smith would have to transition to linebacker, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing in the Cowboys’ 4-3 defense. His speed would fit in well. His ability to get to the quarterback would be a value add. He’s a sure-handed tackler and opportunistic, as I saw when he forced a fumble against Linfield. Smith likely won’t be drafted and will struggle to get noticed. Speedy linebackers are a dime a dozen. But I saw a player with speed, instincts and skill that’s worth a flier as an undrafted free agent in the right system.
WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, So.
Short bio: Freshman All-American who led all freshmen wide receivers in 2015 with nine touchdown catches.
Considered a: wide receiver prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, at the earliest.
Another player to track for the next couple of years. Sutton burst onto the scene last year with a huge true freshman season for the Mustangs, and he’ll likely be a vital cog in the Mustang offense for at least the next couple of years. Sutton’s height is one thing. But he already possesses the ability to control his own body and that’s helpful when projecting himself at the next level. He has a good vertical leap that will likely get better as he gets more collegiate experience. When I saw him against TCU the one thing he had a problem with in dealing with TCU’s secondary was creating separation at the line of scrimmage. The Horned Frog secondary kept him jammed up and under wraps most of the night. But the ability is undeniable and it’s not out of the realm that he could be a first- or second-round pick in a couple of years. I’ll catch him again this week when the Mustangs travel to Tulsa and I look forward to getting another look at him then.
As a note, I’ll be seeing the following teams in October: SMU, Tulsa, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Stephen F. Austin, Southeastern Louisiana, Oregon, Cal, Colorado and Stanford.
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