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Will Dallas shock everyone by taking OU LB Kenneth Murray? Probably not, insider says

The Kenneth Murray-to-Dallas rumors just won’t go away.

With the draft right around the corner, Dallas has been a popular landing spot for the junior Oklahoma linebacker in recent weeks, even though the Cowboys would appear to be set at the position behind Pro Bowler Sean Lee, 2016 second-round pick Jaylon Smith and 2018 first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch.

However, when you take a look under the hood, linebacker might be a much greater need in Dallas.

The oft-injured Lee is nearing retirement age, Smith may be in a “do-or-die” year after following up a new contract with a disappointing 2019 season, and Vander Esch missed most of the year after he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, putting his long-term future in question.

Furthermore, don’t assume top targets C.J. Henderson, a cornerback with Florida, or LSU pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson will still be available when Dallas is on the clock at pick No. 17 overall.

Adding fuel to the Murray-to-Dallas fire is the video the team posted of its interview with him. He’s also reportedly a favorite of owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

Need more evidence? Dallas isn’t just showing interest in Murray; the team has had interviews with or shown significant interest in several of the top off-ball linebackers. Dallas has reportedly had an interest in LSU linebacker Patrick Queen and had a formal meeting with Wyoming’s Logan Wilson during the Combine. Dallas also posted a portion of its online interview with Wisconsin LB Zack Baun.

However, Cowboys COO and director of player personnel Stephen Jones seemingly poured cold water on the Murray rumors when asked about it during a recent interview with The Fan 105.3 FM, saying, “(T)hat would (be) news for me in terms of a heightened need for the linebacking position.”

And if that wasn’t enough, here’s this nugget from Mike Fisher, who covers the Cowboys (and Dallas Mavericks) for Sports Illustrated and for 105.3:

“So on Thursday, if the NFL Draft falls in two very specific directions (Henderson and Chaisson being gone), do the Dallas Cowboys at 17 consummate a relationship with a player the owner has fallen in love with? We predict not,” Fisher said. “Kenneth Murray, outstanding as he is in so many ways, is going to get nudged here by a cornerback.”

If Dallas remains at 17 and Chaisson and Henderson are both gone, Fisher predicts the team taking either Alabama CB Trevon Diggs or Clemson CB A.J. Terrell.

 

Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.

 



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