The DC Times

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By Jonathan Bales

Potential Draft Picks: Mardy Gilyard, WR/Returner, Cincinnati

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Cincinnati's Mardy Gilyard is a top-flight athlete and return man, averaging 12.6 yards on punt returns in '09.

It is no secret that we see acquiring a playmaking returner as the Cowboys’ primary team need. An effective kick returner is an especially large need, as Felix Jones has proved to be hesitant when back deep.

The offensive/defensive position of such a player is a moot point, as his main responsibility would be returns. The Cowboys signed Allen Rossum last season, showing that they are not afraid to dedicate a roster spot solely to a return man. It also proved their lack of confidence in Jones, Ogletree, and Crayton on returns. It remains to be seen whether they regained trust in Crayon after his two punt return touchdowns.

We have made it clear that, should Reggie Bush become a free agent, he would be a perfect fit in Big D. If this possibility does not become a reality, a player like Cincinnati’s Mardy Gilyard would be a great selection. The fact that he would be primarily a return man means Dallas should have no problem keeping six wide receivers on the roster.

Gilyard would be an immediate upgrade at both return spots, and his ability to play WR would simply be a bonus. His skills there are quite underrated, in our opinion, and he could challenge and be the eventual successor to Patrick Crayton in the slot.

Scouting Report

Gilyard is an incredible athlete– we would go as far as to say he is top three in the entire draft. His speed and quickness can be devastating, particularly on returns. He has great body control and is a natural pass-catcher. His run-after-catch ability is second-to-none in this year’s draft.

Gilyard cooled any talks of his lack of experience in a pro-style offense by dominating at the Senior Bowl. His skills are perfectly suited to be a Wes Welker-type slot guy in the NFL. There are questions about his size (just 179 pounds at 6’0”), but receivers such as DeSean Jackson have shown this can be overcome.

His vision and acceleration on returns is uncanny. He shows no hesitation or fear, averaging 12.6 yards on punt returns last season.

Projection

Despite his abilities, Gilyard may be a longshot for Dallas because of the type of WR they generally value– the average size of their current receivers is 6’2”, 205 pounds. Further, he has moved up draft boards from a late second/early third-rounder to an early to mid-second round pick, with some projecting him to go as high as the first round. It is unlikely the Cowboys would use their first on Gilyard, so they would probably have to move up in the second to acquire him.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwkfF54rAEk]

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10 Responses to Potential Draft Picks: Mardy Gilyard, WR/Returner, Cincinnati

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  2. john coleman says:

    I respectfully disagree with most of this article. Gilyard/McCluster types aka. Desean Jackson are one big hit away from being cut in half. A dual threat athlete, I’m on board with, but not a piss ant. What has Desean done against us? Furthermore, Reggie Bush, to do what? He hasn’t shown up but for 3-4 games in his career. We have more backs than we do touches now.

  3. jongb35 says:

    Gilyard/McCluster wouldn’t have the same role that DeSean has had on Philly. Further, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want an explosive playmaker like Jackson on the Cowboys. He has struggled against Dallas, but his play in three games shouldn’t be the deciding factor in determining his worth.

    You must not have read the entire Bush article. He is not really a RB, nor would he be used that way if he came to Dallas. He is an explosive return man, and he would come in an immediately compete with Crayton for the slot WR position, not RB.

  4. john coleman says:

    Why would you think he can play somewhere besides RB consistently? The reason he is so effective is because of matchups. Put a good corner on him and see what happens. He would be too expensive just for return purposes. But my real concern is his toughness. I think he is like Deon was. He runs fast because he is scared. For me no thank you.

  5. jongb35 says:

    I respectfully disagree. Coming out of USC, many scouts had him as a top three wide receiver. I think he has had some injury issues, but not toughness issues.

    The contract can be front-loaded in this uncapped year to make it have little salary cap impact. Thus, money should not be an issue.

    And as someone who played football, I can tell you everyone runs “scared.” haha….As long as he is running fast, I don’t think it matters why he is doing so. I’d rather have someone run fast scared than run slow confidently.

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