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Thread: Turner: Is Rashaan Gaulden the perfect fit for the Cowboys secondary?

  1. #1
    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Turner: Is Rashaan Gaulden the perfect fit for the Cowboys secondary?

    Is Rashaan Gaulden the perfect fit for the Cowboys secondary?







    By Kevin Turner 20 hours ago





    All reports seem to indicate that the Cowboys are all set for the transition of moving Byron Jones to cornerback. That would certainly indicate they'll need to add a safety. In my opinion, this year's draft class is not loaded with safeties, but Dallas will have options. One player who hasn’t received near enough buzz is Tennessee defensive back Rashaan Gaulden.

    Rashaan Gaulden – DB, Tennessee
    Height: 6'0 3/4
    Weight: 197
    40-yard dash time: 4.64


    Gaulden lined up in the slot nearly every time I watched him. That suggests he’d make a fine nickel corner, and that very well may be his spot in the NFL. I think he’d be great there. I also feel like he has the instincts and football intelligence needed to play the safety position. He’s a solid tackler and appears to have some range, all great traits to have as a safety.


    It’s unclear how new Cowboys defensive backs coach Kris Richard will approach the secondary. Given what we know about the Byron Jones situation, it would appear they have three safeties on the roster – Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, and Xavier Woods (who was really good as a nickel corner last season).


    Frazier identifies as more of a box player who has limitations in coverage, while Heath is a rangy playmaking type. Coming out of Louisiana Tech, I thought Xavier Woods provided a versatile mix, as a good tackler down in the box and a solid coverage safety. I truly think he can continue to develop as a safety who can capably do anything you ask of him. In the modern NFL, you can't simply label safeties as 'free' and 'strong.' Times have changed, Jon Gruden. I’m to the point where I just want to find as many good defensive backs as possible, bring them in and let the coaches go to work.


    I’m on record right now in saying that I don’t agree with the move to play Byron Jones at cornerback. It’s where I thought he should have been playing back when he was drafted, but he’s proven he can be an average to above-average safety in this league. Last week at the combine in Indianapolis, Stephen Jones made the comment that finding a safety is easier than finding a cornerback. I completely disagree. I feel that once you have a guy who can play the position at a decent level, you shouldn’t move him unless you've found a clear upgrade. Does anybody think Woods or Frazier is ready to step in and immediately be an upgrade over Byron? I certainly don’t.


    This draft is chock full of cornerback prospects. I have 7 in my Top 50. It would have been 8, but I listed Gaulden as a general DB. If the Cowboys are dead-set on making Byron Jones a cornerback, then I’m squaring in on Rashaan Gaulden at pick 50.


    The lack of buzz around Gaulden is pretty strange to me. He jumped off the tape as an excellent cover guy with good length and enough speed to play in the slot. He’s also a very good tackler. In 2017 he had 65 tackles and also showed a nose for the ball, causing three fumbles and recovering three. While he is more well known for his double-bird in Tuscaloosa against the Crimson Tide, Gaulden showed remorse for his mistake. A lack of judgment in that instance isn’t something that should be held against him.


    To me, getting him at pick 50 in the second round would be a fist-pumping, high-fiving, drink-buying for the whole crew, type of deal. Let’s get to the clip show for a better look at why I’m one leading the “Gaulden at 50” committee.


    This clip may not initially seem like much, but stick it out and watch #7 strip the ball out of the back's hands. The Cowboys haven’t made plays like this over the past few years. An emphasis on turnovers matters, and this is pure attention to detail – Gaulden is physical enough to make contact but also emphasizes ripping the ball out. He recovered the fumble, too.




    In this clip, Gaulden comes off the right side on the blitz and uses his length to swat the ball down. Not today, Jalen Hurts. Not today.




    This clip is one of my favorites as it shows Gaulden's range and burst. He’s fast, a hustler and a finisher. When the clip begins he’s playing the slot on the right side of the formation. The run goes the opposite way and he tracks it down.




    Gaulden is a great tackler in space, and finishes plays both in the passing game and the running game. When in coverage, he doesn’t make it easy on receivers as he’s always sliding his hand in the catch radius and interrupting the play. He plays all the way through the whistle, being a nuisance to the wide receiver or tight end trying to complete a play. He’s better when the play is in front of him, but I have faith that he can play centerfield at times. There were enough times on tape where you saw him making plays in coverage on balls behind him.


    If safety is a need, let’s cross our fingers that Gaulden is there for the Cowboys at 50. The organization’s last few secondary picks have hit, and they’d be on the money again if they pulled the trigger on Gaulden in the second round of this year’s draft!

    STRENGTHS
    • PHYSICAL: Loves to hit! 100% effort, flying around all the time.
    • TACKLING: Whether he’s tackling around the chest or going low, he doesn’t miss very often.
    • BLITZING: Effective off the edge. Whether he’s hiding or not, he storms into the backfield to create havoc.
    • AWARENESS: Great field awareness, always knows where he’s at on the field and where the chains are.
    • TURNOVERS: Always around the ball and has a knack for stripping the ball carrier.
    • INSTINCTS: He sees plays quickly, moving that direction before they fully develop, something you really want out of the safety position.


    WEAKNESSES
    • HIPS: Sometimes a little slow turning his hips, something that really prevents him from playing outside at cornerback.
    • COVERAGE: While I don’t see him having problems with tight ends or straight line receivers, but I think quicik, short-space WRs will make a little headway on him.
    • HANDSY: He’s a little grabby down the field in coverage.


    HOT ROUTES
    While we’re talking safeties, here are my top five as of right now.
    1. Derwin James – Florida State (Round 1)
    2. Rashaan Gaulden – Tennessee (Round 2)
    3. Ronnie Harrison – Alabama (Round 3)
    4. Armani Watts – Texas A&M (Round 3)
    5. Jessie Bates – Wake Forest (Round 3)M.J. Stewart of North Carolina could probably play safety as well. For now, I’m leaving him at cornerback, but if added to the mix at safety he’d go between Gaulden and Harrison.


    • I told you guys to watch out for Shaquem Griffin!

    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    No longer a fan midswat's Avatar
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    One of the few bright spots of our team last year. Him and John Kelly. Both I think will be very good in the league. But Gaulden will be better. Really wish he had stayed another year, not because he isn't ready for the league, rather UT needed him in our secondary this season.

    In other words. I hope we draft him. Soon.

  3. #3
    Super Duper Moderator mcnuttz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by midswat View Post
    Soon.

    Nice.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    So we should be thrilled with a slow nickle corner in the second round of the draft?

    I'm ok drafting the guy but he is a 4.6 something corner who only played the slot. Oh and did I mention he managed a total of one interception in college? I don't see it. I'd be cool with him on day three. Preferably the fifth or sixth round. But if this guy is our second round pick I'd be shocked and horrified.

  5. #5
    El Other Presidente' UncleMilti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
    So we should be thrilled with a slow nickle corner in the second round of the draft?

    I'm ok drafting the guy but he is a 4.6 something corner who only played the slot. Oh and did I mention he managed a total of one interception in college? I don't see it. I'd be cool with him on day three. Preferably the fifth or sixth round. But if this guy is our second round pick I'd be shocked and horrified.
    Yep. And once the guy puts on a little bulk at the NFL level that 4.64 probably gets into the 4.7 range, which is something we have already had issues with...slow safeties who are always a step slow behind the WR streaking down the field. No thanks.

  6. #6
    No longer a fan midswat's Avatar
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    He's already put on the bulk which resulted in his slower than anticipated time. Teams have been talking to him about playing safety, hence the weight gain.

    Gaulden will be taken in the first two rounds, and he'll do well in this league.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by midswat View Post
    He's already put on the bulk which resulted in his slower than anticipated time. Teams have been talking to him about playing safety, hence the weight gain.

    Gaulden will be taken in the first two rounds, and he'll do well in this league.
    And he may, I know Brugler absolutely has a massive hard on for the guy. And obviously it's not all just about a forty time. But I still don't get it. He is a nickel corner who has to be moved to safety because of a lack of speed who has never shown good ball skills. So what exactly is going to make him great at safety? His tackling ability I guess?

  8. #8
    Administrator boozeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
    So we should be thrilled with a slow nickle corner in the second round of the draft?

    I'm ok drafting the guy but he is a 4.6 something corner who only played the slot. Oh and did I mention he managed a total of one interception in college? I don't see it. I'd be cool with him on day three. Preferably the fifth or sixth round. But if this guy is our second round pick I'd be shocked and horrified.
    I am not all that excited about him either.

    We could draft M.J. Stewart, Kameron Kelly or Dane Cruikshank later on and get about the same thing.

  9. #9
    No longer a fan midswat's Avatar
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    Well I'm not here to convince anyone of anything. Personally, I'd love Gaulden in Dallas simply because I'm a Vols homer. On the flip side, I almost wouldn't wish him in Dallas because I don't think we have the coaches or schemes good enough to get the most out of his ability.

    Gaulden has the ability to be a very good player in this league. And based on our track history, I bet he'll be much better than whomever Dallas does select in the second round instead. Better than those guys Booze listed also.

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