We are sitting in the pole position for Day 2. We have 12 picks total. There'll be some good players selected in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Rounds and we're loaded.
Two early picks Round 3 (5 and 11), three good picks in Round 4 (1, 10 and 17), three picks in Round 5 (20, 30 and 36). Then there's two in Round 6 (24, 35) and Round 7 (1, 18) for good measure.
The last 6 years of Rounds 3-7 has brought in; Tashard Choice, Orlando Scandrick, Nick Folk, Deon Anderson, Marion Barber, Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Patrick Crayton, Bradie James, Jason Witten etc. So these picks are nothing to scoff at.
Pointless statistics time!!
We all know everybody loves numbers so here's some more;
Dallas has made 31 picks in Rounds 3-7 in the last 6 years (03 to 08). 17 of these were on the 2008 roster. Of this 17 there was 6 starters in 2008 (Witten, James, Barber, Canty, Ratliff, Nick Folk). 4 of this 6 have been to the Pro Bowl.
54.8% of the last 6 years 3-7 Rounders were still on the team in 08.
19.3% of the last 6 years 3-7 Rounders were starters on the team in 08.
So with 12 picks in the Rounds 3-7 tomorrow, based on those percentages, Dallas' should score at least 6 who will make the team (and hopefully contribute in some way) and at least 2 who will become starters on the team at some point (though probably not this year). And because we all know that these statistics are infallible that's exactly what will happen, or better because I have a good feeling about it!!
Anyway, here's a possible breakdown of some of the good players we could score...
Round 3 Pick 5 (#69): Jarren Gilbert DE – If he makes it past the Chiefs he'll be simply to good to pass on. Scouts Inc has him rated as the 49th player overall, Gosselin had him at #43. At 6'5” 288 pounds he's well built for a 3-4 DE but unlike our current crop has shown the athleticism to rush the passer. A 4.81 forty, 28 bench reps and a 35 vertical show how much athletic potential he has. Competitive with no character concerns. With Spears in a contract year, Hatcher and Bowen having made no big push for playing time landing Gilbert here is great.
Round 3 Pick 11 (#75): Lawrence Sidbury OLB – The best 3-4 outside linebacker prospect left on the board won't last much longer. There's nobody left who has the production (career 20 sacks and 42 tackles for a loss), size (6'2” 266), strength (28 bench reps) and speed (listed variably at 4.53, 4.57 or 4.64) ratio of Sidbury. He's raw and needs work but his natural talent is great and he's coming to a situation where he's got the best 3-4 OLB role model in the league (D.Ware). Was rated the 51st player overall by Scouts Inc and #67 by Gosselin. There's nobody left with his athletic skill set at the 3-4 OLB position but he would have a lot to learn changing positions. He absolutely has the skill to do it though and has good character and work habits to help him too. Fortunately for us we already have some good players at the position so he need not be rushed this year but next year, when Ellis is likely gone he should be ready to go. A potential pass rush trio of Ware, Spencer and Sidbury is to much to pass on.
Round 4 Pick 1 (#101): Cris Clemons S – Experienced and fast Safety. Started last 39 straight games for Clemson and played in 51 total. 6'0” 208 with room for additional growth. Scouts Inc. has him rated #91 and Gosselin doesn't have him in the Top 100 so our pick at #101 is realistic. Fast (4.33 forty), explosive (37 vertical) and has solid strength (19 bench). “Good in coverage, takes good angles, can read the QB but is also a good open field tackler”. Has never missed a game due to injury. Should be good on special teams and sub packages quickly.
Round 4 Pick 10 (#110): Greg Toler CB – Good man coverage CB. Has solid size (5'11” 191), speed (4.45), is “most effective in man coverage” and that suits us. Currently rated #113. Is regarded as having “good change of direction, smooth and natural in backpedal and natural hands for the interception”. Toler “gives great effort and also volunteered to play on every special teams coverage unit as well handling return duties”. We could use a guy like this.
Round 4 Pick 17 (#117): Roy Miller NT – If there was a “High Character, Self-motivated NT Alert” system in Dallas' War Room it would explode when Roy Miller's name came up. Miller (6'1” 310 and 36 bench reps) a Texas Senior played 49 games and compiled 138 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks and had very good senior year (49-11-5.5 in 08). Miller fits the bill for what we need him for most; “good lower-leg drive and use of leverage to hold up as a nose guard, can anchor against the double-team and create a pile, quick hands and impressive upper-body strength to disengage from blocks and make tackles at the point of attack, physical player”. That's NT material right there. In the negative column is of course this; “Limited athlete who lacks agility to offer much more than what he's asked as a run-plugging nose guard, has only short-area quickness, offers very little in terms of a traditional pass rush”. This is how guys like him get overlooked. Teams often go for raw, inconsistent potential over unspectacular success.
I believe effort is the key to these big guys successes (and the reason we see so many NT draft failures) and that's an area where Roy Miller has them beat as he's one of the only mid-to-late round NT's I could find who didn't have either “out of shape” or “inconsistent effort” and in fact was regarded as being a “High-effort player who will pursue”. So where's he get the motivation; “My Dad taught me how to be a man and to always work hard. He also taught me there would be days when you don't want to do anything like go to work, school or practice, but you have to keep on going. I also remember nights when our family would eat dinner on an ironing board. All of these things made me thankful for the sacrifices they made for me while growing up”. He's rated right at #117 by Scouts Inc. and we have #117. Get this guy in here already!
Round 5 Pick 20 (#156): Louis Vasquez OG – Big Guard with good potential. Vasquez played in Texas Tech's pass happy scheme and proved himself to be a very good pass blocker (didn't allow a single sack in 2008) but he's certainly not just a finesse player. At 6'5” 330 pounds and an impressive 39 bench reps he's got plenty of power too. He impressed at the East-West Shrine Game coming out of a three point stance and dominated the DT's and also showed enough athletic ability to get to the second level. He's rated about #133 overall but Guards always seem to drop a bit so #156 is definitely possible. He's better than Procter already and could challenge Holland early.
Round 5 Pick 30 (#166): Scott McKillip ILB – Has been compared to Zach Thomas. McKillip is a little bigger (6'1” 244) but they play a similar game; “both rely on their field vision, intelligence and quickness to gain advantage on the blocker in order to compensate for a lack of ideal size. He's a smart playmaker who reacts decisively and can step up, stay square and take on/shed the bigger blockers with good force. He has that quick reactionary ability to fill holes and make plays in-line and even at his size, blockers struggle in attempts to contain him at the point of attack”. He's rated the 160th player overall so we've got a real good chance of getting him here. Although he's not a top tier athlete he's definitely no slouch (4.70 forty, 27 bench reps and 35 vertical) and that's definitely more than adequate for the position.
Round 5 Pick 36 (#172): Johnny Knox WR – Small school senior with great speed, quickness and hands. Played two years (07 and 08) at Abilene Christian and compiled 118 receptions for 2227 yards at a 18.9 yards per reception average and scored 30 touchdowns (56 – 1069 – 19.1 – 13 in 08). Knox had a great combine in both timed workouts and position drills. He ripped off a lightning forty (4.29) and caught everything in position drills. Scouts Inc currently has him rated at #151 but I'm hoping he'll go just a bit later to us. Apart from his obvious size disadvantage (5'11 184), Knox's criticisms seem to be his level of competition and lack of polish. But he does have some nice talent to mold; “Good initial quickness off the snap to get into his route. Reliable hands; snatches the ball and adjusts to poor throws. Gets up to the high-point and secures the catch. Sinks his hips and displays quick feet going into and out of routes. Has good vision and is elusive running in the open field. Works hard to block downfield, and will sustain and even dominate against smaller corners. Experienced as a punt returner.” If Knox struggles to make any impact on the offense in his first year he could still be of value as a punt returner while he learns and that's something this team needs too.
Round 6 Pick 24 (#197): Tony Fiametta FB – Solid blocking FB. A little one dimensional but is a strong and aggressive lead blocker with good size (6'0” 245), strength (30 reps) and speed (4.58). Scouts Inc rates him #152 overall but FB's also often drop and he's not talented enough as a runner or receiver to rise up so I think there's a good chance he'll be there a bit later for us.
Round 6 Pick 35 (208): Nick Reed ILB/OLB – As Aaron would say; “Nick Reed, Nick Reed, Nick Reed”. Earned first team All-American honors on the field and in the class room. Is a smart, passionate, high motor player who set the Oregon school record with 29.5 career sacks. Has potential at both middle and outside linebacker spots and at worst should be great on special teams. Rated at #211 overall by Scouts Inc. he'd be a great pickup here to compete with the likes of Rogers and Carpenter.
Round 7 Pick 1 (210): Jared Bronson TE – Good mix of size and speed. At 6'4” 253 and with a 4.70 forty he has solid NFL TE credentials. Runs good routes and has good hands. An inconsistent blocker that seems to stem from poor technique. Has talent, needs coaching. Rated #242 overall.
Round 7 Pick 18 (227): Montecito Tex – That'll add a bit of spice back to the locker room.
Now, I don't actually think the Cowboys will make all these 12 picks but the point is there's still some very solid looking players for Dallas to grab and they're stacked to do so.
Trade a few picks for some next year picks and grab Eight of the guys I've listed and this will be a great Draft.
Let the Day 2 Drafting begin!!