We continue our draft series looking at the possible benefits of picking at 27, assuming history repeats itself and the offensive tackles run high again.
Last week I mentioned that a run on offensive tackles in the '08 first round helped the Cowboys. I heard the team ran dozens of mocks pre-draft, going through every permutation they could imagine, to be prepared when their picks came up at 22 and 28. And not once did they get Mike Jenkins to pick 25, where he fell on draft day.
The reason was that teams like the Lions and Falcons took tackles rated lower than Dallas' first round guys. Looking at the draft board, I see there's a real chance that history could repeat itself. Right now, two tackle prospects look certain to get 1st round grades -- Oklahoma State's Russell Okung and Iowa's Bryan Bulaga. Two more likely have fist round grades. Rutgers' Anthony Davis was rated in the 25-35 range immediately after the college season and has risen to the top ten in many mocks recently, though he had a shaky Combine workout. Oklahoma's Trent Williams is hot and cold, depending on the draftnik you read, because he struggled as a left tackle last year.
A fifth candidate, Maryland's Bruce Campbell, could be rising after a dazzling weekend of workouts. People who watch his game tape are not ecstatic about him, but need may see his name called early on day one this April.
Look at the teams in the top 20 who have offensive tackle high on their list of needs:
4. Washington -- Chris Samuels' career is likely over after a neck injury.
5. Kansas City -- The Chiefs need one. Brandon Albert had a lot of trouble playing LT last year.
6. Seattle -- Walter Jones has reached the end of the line.
8. Oakland -- The Raiders need a tackle and Campbell's workouts have many saying the size-speed loving Al Davis will covet him.
9. Buffalo -- the Bills traded LT Jason Peters to the Eagles last year and were stunned when RT Brad Butler retired last week. The Bills will want at least one and maybe two OTs this year.
13. San Francisco -- the Niners need a right tackle to pair with Joe Staley.
14. Seattle -- the Seahawks get another bite at the apple, and if they go quarterback or another position at six, they're not likely to pass on OT twice, provided one is available.
17,. San Francisco -- see Seattle at pick 14.
18. Pittsburgh -- the Steelers line has been a mess. They're often paired with Mike Iuputi, but they could use help along their line.
That's seven teams and nine potential picks which could realistically be used on offensive tackles. And there are only five consensus first-round candidates. Add two more teams in the 20s looking for offensive tackle, the Packers at pick 23 and Cardinals at pick 26, and the odds of one reaching the Cowboys look slimmer than slim.
On the other hand, a run on tackles, especially when a couple are dubious top 20 picks, in a very deep overall year, increases the chances that two or more players with legit first round grades on the Cowboys draft board could be pushed to 27. If a Vladimir Ducasse and/or a Jason Fox become this year's Gosder Cherilus or Duane Brown and sneak into the late first because teams are forcing OTs, Dallas' odds of getting some first round luck twice in three years go up even more
What's in a first round grade? That a Mike Jenkins by any other name, at any other position, would play as sweet(ly).