Your Cowboys had a good week on the draft front. Although we all hate to see Dallas lose, the loss to Arizona might have helped the team in the long run. They also got a look at their developmental QB in Stephen McGee, who looked promising. Again, the Defense looked terrible and (to me, at least) solidified the idea that we have to go Defense with our first pick in the draft.
Carolina has locked up the first pick in the draft and is officially on the clock. The only decision to be made here is by Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck. He either declares for the draft and can start learning the Carolina playbook, or he can choose to go back to school and take his chances again next year. How important is a Heisman Trophy to him? And what have we learned from Jake Locker?
Where We’ll Draft – If the season ended today, Dallas would draft 7th. However two teams below us (Arizona and San Francisco) play each other and one will fall below us in draft order assuming we get beat by Philly. That would put us at 6th. There are scenarios in which we get in the top 5 and scenarios in which we draft outside the top 10. And with Philly having nothing to play for this weekend and sitting several gimpy starters, I think there is a good chance Dallas does pull off the upset.
Here are the records of the teams vying for a top 10 pick:
||Remaining schedule||Predicted Record
|Carolina||2 - 13||@ Atl||2-14|
|Denver||4 - 11||vs SD||4-12|
|Cincinnati||4 - 11||@ Balt||4-12|
|Buffalo||4 - 11||@ NYJ||4-12|
|Arizona||5 - 10||@ SF||5-11|
|San Francisco||5 - 10||vs Ariz||5-11|
|Dallas||5 - 10||@ Phil||5-11|
|Houston||5 - 10||vs Jax||5-11|
|Detroit||5 - 10||vs Minn||6-10|
|Cleveland||5 - 10||vs Pitt||5-11|
|Seattle||6 - 9||vs StL||6-10|
|Tennessee||6 - 9||@ Indy||6-10|
|Washington||6 - 9||vs NYG||6-10|
|Minnesota||6 - 9||@ Det||6-10|
Games this week that could assist in Dallas’s draft position:
* Dallas has a much higher Strength of Schedule than Denver, so even a Denver win against San Diego and Dallas loss wouldn’t put Dallas ahead of Denver.
Cincy @ Baltimore – Need a Cincy win.
Buffalo @ NY Jets – Need a Buffalo win.
Detroit vs Minny – Need a Detroit win. This is a rather big one because Detroit’s "need" positions are very similar to Dallas’s. So we need them to draft after us.
Arizona @ San Francisco – If Dallas loses to Philly, the winner of this game drafts after us and loser ahead of us. Because I’m rooting for a CB to be drafted, I’m rooting for San Francisco to win this game. They are more likely to draft a CB than Arizona.
Houston vs Jax – Need Houston win.
Cleveland vs Pitt – Need a Cleveland win.
Seattle vs StL – Need a Seattle win.
Tenn @ Indy – Need a Tenn win.
Wash vs NYG – Need a Wash win.
Dallas @ Philly – Hopefully McGee plays (and plays well) but we come up just short.
Let’s assume we end up with the 6th pick, which is the most likely scenario. We can now safely assume one or more of these elite prospects will be available for us to draft. I’m in favor of not trading down. With Top 5 talent available, I think we keep the pick.
Here’s my analysis on the elite prospects:
QB (3) – Andrew Luck, Stanford; Ryan Mallett, Arkansas; Cam Newton, Auburn. Some might disagree, but Jake Locker doesn’t seem elite to me. For those that hate on Newton, swap out Locker.
HB – None.
WR (2) – AJ Green, Georgia; Julio Jones, Alabama
OL – None.
DL (3) – Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson; Nick Fairley, Auburn; Marcell Dareus, Alabama;
LB (1) – Robert Quinn (DE/OLB), North Carolina;
DB (2) – Patrick Peterson, LSU; Prince Amukamara, Nebraska;
Just outside: WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State; DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa; OLB Akeen Ayers, UCLA; RB Mark Ingram, Alabama; DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue; DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State, OLB Von Miller, Tx A&M; CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida; and maybe DE Cameron Jordan, Cal.
Here are some of the "expert" drafts I found posted recently:
||12/30||1.7||CB Prince Amukamara, Neb|
|Walter Football||12/30||2.38||S Kenny Tate, Maryland|
||OT Chris Hairston, Clemson|
||12/20||1.7||CB Janoris Jenkins, Florida|
|NewNFLDraft.com||12/20||2.38||DE Greg Romeus, PittN|
|NewNFLDraft.com||12/20||2.71||G Justin Boren, Ohio St|
||12/16||1.7||DE Cameron Jordan, California|
|Sports Fantasy Guide||12/15||1.7||DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa|
||12/12||1.8||CB Prince Amukamara, Neb|
|Footballs Future||12/19||1.7||DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama|
The mock draft I pay most attention to is from WalterFootball. Their first round pick of Amukamara didn’t change from last week. However, in the second round Rahim Moore (FS, UCLA) is taken before we pick. I think that’s likely. I also don’t think we make secondary our first two selections. Has to be an Offensive Lineman here. The O Line prospects still available in the WalterFootball draft are as follows:
Benjamin Ijalana, OT/OG, Villannova – Pick 40
DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas – Pick 42
Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State – Pick 46
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado – Pick 48
Tyron Smith, OT, USC – Pick 52
Matt Reynolds, OT, BYU – Pick 54
Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU – Pick 59
Marcus Gannon, OG, TCU – Pick 61
I don’t know about you, but I love this list. Even if you don’t think all of them will be there (many Mocks have Smith, Solder, and Love as first rounders) there are still other names on this list that will be. I would be happy to have Ijalana or Gannon in the second round. The point I’m trying to make is don’t panic. There will be good O Linemen available in the second round. Don’t try and force one in the first. And is a Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin) or Anthony Costanzo (OT, Boston College) really that much better than some of the guys on this list above? I say no.
Sticking with the WalterFootball mock, if we took a Lineman in the 2nd round we could turn our attention back to the Defense in the third round. Two guys I really like that are available are Pitt DE Greg Romeus and Oregon ILB Casey Matthews. Casey might get overdrafted a bit because he’s Clay’s brother and he will be in the BCS National Championship game.
So there you have it. Our last update before we know our actual draft position. Next week we will have more definitive information to work with. (But, what fun is that?) In coming weeks we can look at trade-up scenarios, trade-down scenarios, and I will start posting scouting reports on some of these players I’m talking about. Looking forward to reading your comments.
I will leave you with my own Mock Draft for the first half of the first round:
5) Cardinals - DE DaQuan Bowers, Clemson
6) 49ers - QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
7) Cowboys – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
8) Texans – DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama
9) Lions – DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
10) Browns - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
11) Seahawks – QB Cam Newton, Auburn
12) Titans – DT Stephen Pea, Oregon State
13) Redskins - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St
14) Vikings – QB Jake Locker, Washington
16) Dolphins - RB Mark Ingram, Alabama