The Dallas Cowboys currently have nine picks in the NFL draft and will probably get two more compensatory picks down the line. So what will Jerry Jones and company do with all those picks? You could keep them all and use the shotgun approach to drafting, volume over accuracy; trying to up the odds of hitting on some stars later in the draft through shear numbers. It's doubtful Jerry Jones will do that. They won't pick 11 guys on that April weekend, that's just too many; around half wouldn't make the roster. The expectation is that Jerry will be dealing on draft day, packaging picks for strategic moves up or maybe to pick up a player or two through trades.
Considering the Cowboys moved their first-round pick of 2009 to Detroit in the Roy Williams deal, speculation as to whether the Cowboys would package picks/players to get back into the first round is legitimate. But Nick Eatman says it won't happen.
Let's be honest, the Cowboys probably don't have more than six or seven roster spots that a rookie could even take, especially since they don't have a first-round pick this year - nor do they want one, because of the difficulty it will be to sign first-round picks this year based on the rules of the uncapped season that looms in 2010.
It's rather complicated, but just don't expect the Cowboys to package any deals to move into the first round. Trader Jerry will probably wheel and deal all day and move around with these picks, but just don't anticipate them going into the first.
I admit, the uncapped 2010 season has me a little baffled in terms of what it exactly means for signing players. But Eatman seems pretty sure on this point so I'm going to accept his version unless someone can make a compelling case that the Cowboys might jump back into the first round.
The gist of Eatman's article isn't really about trading draft picks; it's about the need for speed. Besides Owens, Austin and F. Jones, we don't have a lot of burners at the skill-positions. More to the point, Owens and Austin are more straight-line speed guys, not crafty, shifty speed-demons that can spin a defense's head around. Some suggestions from Eatman:
Penn State's Derrick Williams, Florida's Louis Murphy, Ole Miss' Mike Wallace, USC's Patrick Turner and North Carolina's Brandon Tate. Draft experts' opinions are welcome on this subject.
The Ravens have decided to franchise Terrell Suggs again. So where does this leave LB's Ray Lewis and Bart Scott? Our friends over at SBN's Baltimore Beatdown suggest that they will try to sign Lewis but that Scott may be on his way out.
To me that means that Bart Scott's days as a Raven are more than likely history. As he said on Sirius' NFL Network yesterday, "don't let the doorknob hit you where the good Lord split you!"
The Cowboys have a desperate need at ILB. Bradie James is about the only sure thing we got. Kevin Burnett is a FA and the Cowboys will probably let him test the market before deciding on matching any offers. Zach Thomas is in no-man's land with his declaration of leaving Dallas and not liking the 3-4 defense to only later sort of retract that stance. Bobby Carpenter is...well... he's Bobby Carpenter, ‘nuff said. Bart Scott, an experienced 3-4 LB who is still relatively young might be an attractive alternative. Besides, the other guy I was curious about, Karlos Dansby, has been franchised.
Would you go after Bart Scott?
SBN's Miami Dolphins' blog, The Phinsider, recently had an opportunity to ask DT Ron Brace a few questions by email. As Raf noted, if you want to talk about two teams on parallel tracks for free agents and the draft, the Cowboys and the Dolphins are it. Especially given the ties between the two organizations in front-office personnel. So it's no wonder the Dolphins are looking at Brace. Some choice excerpts from Matty's interview with Brace:
Do you have any experience playing in a 3-4 defensive scheme? And how would you feel transitioning to the nose after spending your college days playing in a defense at BC that used 4 down lineman?
"I would like to play for any team who believes in me, whether it's a 4-3 or 3-4. I know that I would have no problem taking up two gaps though. I could definitely see myself as a nose in a 3-4. But I also want to go out and prove that I'm more than just a bruiser. Albert Haynesworth was considered only that early in his career, and now he's not only a mauler, but a pass rusher at the line too."
What do you feel are some of your strengths as a player? And what do you feel you most need to work on?
"I'm quick off the snap. I've got a nasty bull-rush. I can occupy multiple linemen and collapse the pocket. I feel that you can always get better at anything, so I'm a guy who's going to keep working on my craft."