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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois | The DC Times

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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois

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Jonathan Bales

I’ve already graded the Cowboys’ defensive linemen in 2010.  In that post, you’ll notice the highest grade given to a defensive end was a ‘C’ handed out to Stephen Bowen.  That’s pretty sad.  The Cowboys desperately need a defensive end who can rush the passer, even if it means moving Jay Ratliff to the position.

Potential defensive ends I’ve studied thus far include Cal’s Cameron Jordan, Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward, Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn, and Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson.

Scouting Report

Corey Liuget (pronounced like “legit”–maybe that’s a good sign?) reportedly lost 30 pounds before last season, dropping to 300.  At 6’4”, that’s pretty prototypical size for a 3-4 defensive end.  Everything (and I really mean everything) about Liuget’s game reminds me of Marcus Spears.  He’s very powerful and a force in the run game (he’s actually the best defensive end I’ve seen against the run–by far).  He’s incredible at the point-of-attack, rarely ever getting pushed backwards.  Liuget’s strength and power are top-notch.

Liuget excels at locating the ball-carrier and working off of blocks to make tackles.  You really need to check him out at the 1:04, 1:47, and 2:56 marks below.  In my opinion, he’d instantly become the Cowboys’ top run-stuffing lineman.

The only negative I could find in Liuget’s run defense is that he occasionally loses containment when he’s a five-technique end.  In certain Dallas defenses, that can’t happen.  The good news is that can be taught (and learned rather quickly, I would imagine).

Liuget’s bull rush is excellent, but he will lose leverage once in awhile when he shoots the “wrong” gap.  I’m not too familiar with Illinois’ defensive scheme, but it appears they allowed Liuget to be very aggressive.  He may not be able to freelance so much in Rob Ryan’s two-gap scheme.

Liuget’s overall pass rush repertoire isn’t extraordinary.  He doesn’t display much of an arsenal, throwing in a mediocre spin move every so often to go with his bull rush.  If he can develop a secondary move, his bull rush will be even more effective.

Overall, I’m not as high on Liuget as many of you.  I agree the Cowboys need someone to stop the run, particularly if Marcus Spears departs, but there are two schools of thought on this.  One is that stopping the run is essential to not giving up big pass plays later in the game (which is certainly true).  The other is that stocking your team with as many pass defenders as possible will force the other team to run–something most NFL offenses already do too much.  Getting run on can be demoralizing, but forcing the opposition to perform sub-optimal tasks can lead to wins, too.

In reality, balance is key.  You need to be able to stop both the run and the pass.  Is one more important than the other?  Yeah, probably, but running and passing are inherently intertwined.  They are the yin and yang of football.  Each gives way to the other, and the more “in tune” you are with one, the more efficiently you’ll be able to perform the other.

Sorry if that got got a little weird.  What do you expect from a philosophy major?


Some of you think Liuget is an option at No. 9 overall, but I don’t see his ability as great enough to warrant value anywhere in the first-round.  I know many of you disagree, and perhaps you can persuade me more in the comments.

If Liuget is available in the early part of the second-round, then go for it.  He’ll certainly upgrade the run defense.  But if my Marcus Spears comparison is correct, then would you still want Liuget in the first-round?  Would you select Spears there if you could go back in time?  Probably not.

I do think the work Spears has done in Dallas has always been under-appreciated.  Still, his contributions didn’t warrant the first-rounder the ‘Boys spent on him.  To me, such a one-dimensional player (even if that dimension is superb) is a second-round pick through and through.

Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

Colorado OT Nate Solder

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

USC OT Tyron Smith

Miami CB Brandon Harris

LSU CB Patrick Peterson

UCLA FS Rahim Moore

Baylor NT Phil Taylor

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple

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16 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois

  1. willis says:

    JBAles- thanks for asking about the LSAT. I just opted for the mail score, so I should get it back in a couple of weeks(around mar 10th) but if my practice tests are any indication I should have gotten between a 163 and a 172. We will see…..

    as to Legit(lol), I definately see the value of his name, which could translate into some sweet monikers(too legit to quit?) But your evaluative comparison to Marcus Spears worries me. SO barring Vanilla Ice referneces, maybe I’m not on the right track in my assesment, which, as you may have seen in my last post, is very high. I agree with your Yin/Yang theory of making people run, and think that great passrushing D-linemen hold more value in this passing league than pure run-stuffers. Now, obviously, getting someone who is a combination of both would be optimal, and I originally thought that was Liuget. However, now I’m not so sure. He really looks dominant, but the more I think about it, the more I want a big run stuffer in the middle and two guys who can destroy the pocket on either side, the million dollar question(literally) is whether he is that guy.

  2. john coleman says:

    I’m thinking run stuffing would be pretty important. We got gashed badly at times last season. Making a team one dimensional is very important. All teams try to take something away.

    The fact that Liuget holds his ground so well allows other guys to stay clean. The comparison to Spears brings to mind that he was also a 1st rd selection, I think. After last season and seeing how we looked without Spears, I’m thinking he is our best DE.

    Surely Ryan’s scheme will allow for a little more rush from the DEs.

    One last thing from the breakdown. You mentioned that Liuget lost 30 lbs and he is 6-4. Let’s see, that would be 6-4 330 lbs. I believe that is the prototypical NT size.

    BTW I’m not super high on this guy. It’s just that the others seem to be rush only and have holes in their game. Adrian Clayborn for example can really get upfield with an outside speedrush. Problem is, he ran by a ton of plays. Vick would be gone for the 1st down. Frankly I saw a lot of that from Anthony Spencer last year.

    I’ve said it before, so here it comes again. If we had have been healthy last year the D would have been markedly better. Our CBs were terrible as compared to 09 and there is a reason somewhere for that. Bottomline is that with a new scheme, I would expect better results from the exact same guys. I know I will take some heat for this one.

    At the end of the day Quinn could supply rush from an OLB position. So rush from a DE is not an absolute requirement, although it would be nice.

    FS is a must upgrade and ILB if nothing else needs quality depth. Especially in the nickel packages.

    We went into last season with the same needs and everybody expected the group to be dominant.

    As far as best available when #9 comes around, I think Quinn will be there. I also think he can be another Greg Ellis who was pretty good. Now the question becomes who has more value in the future, a good OLB or a DE. I’m thinking the answer concerning the 3-4 is clearly OLB.

    I’m also still saying that there are 15-20 guys who are very close in talent. None of them are really top 10, IMO. So if we pick at #9, we must be fortunate for one of the locks to fall to us or we reach. There are not 10 top 10 players in this draft.

  3. Willis–Good luck. Let me know. As far as Liuget, I don’t think he’s a terrible player. He really does remind me of Spears, but don’t forget I think Spears’ contributions have been underrated. Spears never had a chance to put up big numbers. Still, I don’t think Spears warranted a first-round selection, and the same is true of Liuget. Second round? Sure.

    JC–Your point about Liuget’s weight is a good one…could he be a pure NT? The reason I didn’t bring it up is that he struggled some at that weight. He really became a dominant player as he regained speed from playing at a lighter weight. My counter to your point on Clayborn is that what 3-4 DE will EVER stop Vick? Clayborn won’t do it, but neither will Liuget, or Spears, or Bowen, or anyone. They might be able to play their responsibility and force him to help, but that’s about it.

    Also, check out my feature today on Martez Wilson and envision him as a dual ILB/OLB when you watch the tape. I really like his versatility.

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