Thursday, February 24, 2022

Cowboys Draft Digest: Interior offensive line makes plenty of sense early

 Earlier this week we discussed the disappointing 2021 season for the Cowboys offensive line. Despite the celebrated analysis of some, from the Denver game in Week 9 through the wild-card round vs. the San Francisco 49ers, there were seldom times when the Cowboys offensive line was able to “boss” a game.

As we reviewed Tuesday, this led to many issues in a chain reaction of effects — most notably the defense deploying fewer players to play the run — and yet Dallas did not quickly expose that. Dallas had to deal with fewer defenders up front and still had its hands full. The 49ers were able to win the line of scrimmage with their defensive front and that is where the season and the Cowboys’ dreams ended.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Offseason priority for the Cowboys is clear: Get the offensive line up to level of reputation

 Given that this week will look at interior offensive line possibilities in the 2022 NFL Draft, I thought this week’s Cowboys essay would fit really well on a similar topic. That topic will be, of course, the current status of the Cowboys offensive line.

You can imagine the surprise of so many of us who digest Cowboys football daily after this past season when we discovered the recently released analysis by PFF that the Cowboys had the top offensive line in the NFL in 2021.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Dallas Cowboys Draft Digest: Defensive tackle group is not very deep, but SEC provides talent

 This week we want to look at one of the thinner groups in the 2022 NFL Draft from our first pass — defensive tackle. There is no doubt that you can find a real numbers advantage on your defense — being able to stop the run with fewer defenders so you can put more into covering the secondary with zone defenders — if you have stout defensive tackles. The ability to stop the run and push the pocket and penetrate into the backfield is what we seek. To do that, we need more than speed bumps. We need athletes. Dancing bears are what we seek, the rare athletes on the upper side of 300 pounds but still the agility and fluidity to win battles of quickness in short spaces. They must be athletic marvels and the scarcity of special at this spot is normally profound.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

2022 NFL Super Bowl era franchise rankings: Rams shoot up another tier with title

 Fifty-six Super Bowls have now been played. We must say goodbye to our beloved sport’s games for over 200 days.

Aside from the appropriate sadness and the baseball lobby generally showing us trucks being loaded with gear (perhaps not here in 2022), that can only mean that it is time once again to update our franchise rankings.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Dallas Cowboys Draft Digest: Edge rushers continue to impress with star quality

 We slide into our second edition of 12 weekly digests by continuing with this deep group of high-end edge rushers. Due to the randomness of our ordering, we will actually find the top few of the 10 to be in this grouping. Make sure you catch our first volume from last week.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Cowboys’ offseason shopping list: Plenty to do with their huge free-agent class

 Given that we are in Super Bowl week and things are going to start happening as soon as the window opens for business in the 2022 offseason, we better start moving past the coaching movements and focus on the players. With all due respect to the fine-tuning of staffs that will not change too much, the Cowboys will see most of their gains and losses from personnel. You know I am not shocked to find out Kellen Moore is returning, as I think he requires significant seasoning, but now that this is behind us, let’s get to setting the lineups with as much quality and depth as we can muster.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Dallas Cowboys Draft Digest: Edge rushers front a deep, quality class at vital position

 We begin the journey today at one of the most important positions on any contending roster — the edges. The NFL has forced edge rushers to evolve over the years. Once upon a time, your edges were 280-plus pounds and stout. Now, we want twitchy speed, but enough strength that you are not a target in the run game. We want guys with absurd abilities to run in space, change direction, but also able to stand tall at the point of attack as well as trouble offensive tackles with length, strength and pass-rush moves that utilize body control. More than anything, this is a position that requires an endless reserve of energy and passion. While some folks may roll their eyes at the concept of the “motor”, you will find that every great edge rusher has the ability to throw everything at you over and over for three hours of a game. Because that one fourth-quarter sack can make the entire game look like a success.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

The Sturm 60 Draft Digest is back for 2022: Frequently asked questions

 We begin again!

The Sturm 60 Draft Digest drops Thursday with our first five prospects. We will do 12 consecutive weeks — mostly on Thursdays — so that you will know the key members of the 2022 NFL Draft, just as I have done since 2012.

From the spring of 2020:

It is something I started doing many years ago, and although it is a ton of work and makes me feel like my NFL offseason doesn’t actually start until May, I am not sure I will ever be able to stop doing this now.

Invariably, when I release a new version for these annual draft prospects — the Sturm 60, if you will — I get a ton of feedback in the form of curiosity and cross-referencing to see if my method has merit or thought behind it. The brilliant Dane Brugler, who has dedicated his life’s work to the evaluation of every single draft prospect, is doing a much more thorough and massive job if you are looking for 460, instead of 60. I could never dream of competing with Dane, in fact, his knowledge lights my path. But since this is my method, I am more than happy to explain the program and answer any questions or concerns.