Cowboys 1st and 10: 2020 QB Draft Needs, Kicker Auditions and Tonight's Bears Preview
Cowboys 1st and 10 is back, and proud to be a part of CowboysSI.com ... Just in time to start to break down, position-by-position, the Dallas Cowboys' 2020 NFL Draft needs, along with everything you need before the Cowboys take on the Bears tonight.
1) 2020 DALLAS COWBOYS DRAFT NEEDS: QUARTERBACK
CURRENT PLAYERS AT POSITION: Dak Prescott (starter), Cooper Rush.
2020 FREE AGENTS: Prescott.
DRAFT NEED: Low.
THE BREAKDOWN: We all know the deal here. Prescott is going to be a free agent in March but the Cowboys aren’t going to let him go anywhere, not at this point. Prescott is playing, frankly, at an MVP-caliber level. Our Mike Fisher broke that down recently. And if you’re a Dak-hater, well, I don’t know what to tell you except to echo Fish.
Prescott is going to get a new long-term deal. The only questions are when and how much. Ideally, the Cowboys want this done before they have to use the franchise tag in March so that if they have to use it on Amari Cooper, they can. After all, Prescott and Cooper are the Cowboys’ top two free agents going into 2020 (and I broke all that down in my most recent Cowboys free-agent power rankings).
What is behind Prescott should concern you. Rush isn’t going to scare teams if Prescott gets hurt. Clayton Thorsen is on the practice squad and I'd argue the Northwestern product is not the emergency quarterback you want. (Though Fish tell me there are people at The Star who think highly of Thorsen.) So the Cowboys’ biggest task this offseason is to find a quarterback to capably back up Prescott. And that quarterback shouldn’t be a rookie at this point. It makes more sense for owner/general manager Jerry Jones and the personnel team to find a veteran who can step in and keep the team’s hopes afloat if Prescott gets hurt.
Assuming the Cowboys sign Prescott to the long-term deal we all think he’ll get and the Cowboys agree they need a veteran presence behind Prescott for emergencies, then the need for and the likelihood of the Cowboys taking a quarterback in the 2020 Draft is low.
2) COOPER WANTS TO REMAIN A COWBOY
"I love it here. I want to be here. I just love this situation, my teammates. I just feel it’s the place for me.”
Amari Cooper spoke to the media earlier this week about his contract situation. He doesn’t have one for next season, of course, but the party line all season — from both Cooper and the Cowboys — is that Cooper is a ‘Cowboy for Life.’ But after last Thursday’s debacle against the Bills, plus the Cowboys’ 6-6 record, questions were starting to percolate about Cooper’s future (most coming from uninformed opinions, honestly). So our Mike Fisher has it straight from Cooper’s mouth because, we’ll, he basically lives at The Star.
Here’s the story.
Now. the next step - starting tonight - is getting Amari untracked on the road. Stay tuned for that analysis coming before kickoff.
3) FRUSTRATION IS A FUNNY THING
The Cowboys are frustrated, probably as frustrated as you are. They’re 6-6 with four games remaining and, somehow, the NFC East keeps gifting them the lead (the Eagles lost to the Dolphins on Sunday, remaining a game back of the Cowboys in the NFC East).
So despite the frustration, the Cowboys know their path is a simple one to the postseason — win the division. A Wild Card berth is not an option. That drive starts with the game on Thursday night against Chicago, a game that one Cowboys says “We need to start to get this going now.”
4) A KICKING SITUATION
Some Cowboys fans may disagree with the logic, but the Cowboys are sticking with Brett Maher at kicker. The Cowboys did have tryouts on Sunday, but the Cowboys felt the options they tried out weren’t better than what they already have.
But that doesn’t mean fans don’t have buyer’s remorse, especially when set against his predecessor’s season in Minnesota in 2019.
Kicking in the NFL is a tough business. Maher’s made field-goal percentage is down from a year ago (80.6 percent to 67.9 percent) and he’s not as good from beyond 50 yards as he was a year ago. But, strangely, he’s on pace to come close to matching his 119 points of a year ago and he’s perfect on extra points.
It’s also a funny business when you consider it takes just one made kick in a tough situation to turn fans around on a player like Maher. So we’ll see on Thursday.
5) LEADERSHIP FROM THE NEWEST COWBOY
After last Thursday’s loss to Buffalo it was defensive lineman Michael Bennett, basically the newest Cowboy in town, who spoke up in the locker room with what many thought at the time was a tongue-lashing of his new teammates ... or was it more about motivating his new teammates, with the words well-received?
Before the Cowboys jetted to Chicago for tonight’s game, Bennett talked about the “chippiness” required to win a championship. And he should know. He’s the only current Cowboy with a Super Bowl ring.
6) A BOOK FOR ALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS
Looking for a great Christmas present for your college football fan? The 2019 College Football America Yearbook is out at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and features Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on the cover. Myself and our two other contributors, Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb, travel the country every fall covering college football games each week for using the following year’s book.
The College Football America 2019 Yearbook features more than 930 college football teams from the United States and Canada in more than 250 striking, full-color pages. That includes every team from the NCAA (FBS, FCS, Division II and Division III), NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA and U Sports (Canada). It also includes updates on club football, one-year postgraduate prep/sports academies and Mexican college football, along with dozens of action shots and stadium photos taken by the CFAY staff.
Plus, the great thing about what I do for the yearbook is that I get to see great college football players each week that COULD become Dallas Cowboys next season, and I get to bring that experience to you through scouting reports and other stories throughout the next several months.
Get a copy today at the links below:
7) RON RIVERA IS OUT OF A JOB
And NFL Memes was on it to point out the discrepancy between the Panthers firing a coach that has led his team to a Super Bowl and another that hasn’t gotten his to the NFC Championship game.
8) INJURY REPORT
Here is the final injury report for Thursday night’s game with Chicago, plus a note about Tony Pollard, who is as of now a game-time decision, as CowboysSI.com was first to report.
In addition to injury stuff, keep it here at CowboysSi.com for weather-related stuff as Fish is stationed in Chicago today and tonight with the team.
Oh, and then there is Antwaun Woods. He's not in Chicago. Here's the reason why.
9) TWEET OF THE WEEK
10) THE FINAL WORD
“There is a lot to this job. There is a lot (a coach) has to overcome. It’s not run traditionally the way most organizations are and that is to the detriment of the Cowboys. You can’t look at three playoff wins over the last 25 years and surmise that all the problems over that time have to do with coaching. I think you have to look at the top and say, 'How are we doing it from the top?'
"I think businesses do that. I think anyone worth their salt evaluate it from the top down.” - Troy Aikman on Jerry's Cowboys, with the full story here.