The Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Situation: Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Justin Durant, and Rolando McClain

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted LB Anthony Hitchens out of Iowa in the 4th round, the draftniks blasted the team because they felt he should have been a late round pick or undrafted. As a football analyst, I like to highlight observations and provide analysis that goes beyond an eyes only approach to demonstrate the type of benefit that I bring to the table.

While the draft community bashed the selection, I decided to run some comparative analysis on about 1200 LBs. What was uncovered is critical to how the Cowboys can look at their situation at linebacker. Anthony Hitchens compared to 3 other linebackers that have played a hybrid of inside and outside with better success on the inside; this includes Curtis Lofton, Erin Henderson, and Desmond Bishop. Every one of them has started NFL games and been a starter for a season or more. This demonstrated two things that the Dallas Cowboys did right with their personnel. First, selecting him in the 4th round is warranted with his comparatives. Second, the coaches moving him inside will help facilitate getting the most out of Anthony Hitchens.

Since the Sean Lee injury, the Dallas Cowboys have both tried moving Justin Durant (more optimal to leave at WLB) to the middle and trading for a LB that has retired more than once in Rolando McClain. The Cowboys seem to be reluctant at their own success at finding a gem at linebacker. While many may not always have an understanding of analytics, being able to trust in the concept will be in an organization’s favor for the long term. Using NFL Data Consultants analytical system, Anthony Hitchens profiles as a starting linebacker that would have his best success in the middle.

Who Is WR Tobais Palmer Of The Jacksonville Jaguars?

While the Jacksonville Jaguars selection of CB Dwayne Gratz was solid, it was the signing of WR Tobais Palmer as an undrafted free agent that was intriguing.  Tobais Palmer is a wide receiver out of North Carolina State that brings an intriguing skill set as an undrafted player.

Besides the obvious measure of speed, Tobais Palmer scored well in the reliance and production metrics at wide receiver.  He also gets a boost due to what he can provide as a kick returner.  He was not a punt returner in college, but may be worth a look at the position as well.  He has the analytical profile to be able to stick on a roster despite going undrafted.  He is certainly an arbitrage signing based on his profile makeup, and should push for playing time down the line as he develops.  While he develops, he can provide special teams value.