I think it might be a rough day early for us in regards to the Oline. I think there's a real chance that all the Olineman we'd consider at 27 will be gone; Okung, Bulaga, Williams, Davis, Iupati and Pouncey.
Bruce Campbell may make it to 27 but is he worth it? He's only started 17 games and has questions about inconsistency, durability, technique and intelligence. All players at this late first round spot will have some serious questions but he's got to many for me. There's Olineman to be had later on.
With Pittsburgh (18), New England (22) and Baltimore (25) all needing DE's for their 3-4 I think Jared Odrick, who looks to be the consensus premier 3-4 DE in the draft, could be gone too.
On the DB front Berry is a top 10 lock and Earl Thomas and Joe Haden look very likely inside the top 20. Kyle Wilson appears to have climbed inside the top 25 as the chances of the second best CB getting past the Texans (20), Green Bay (23), Philly (24) and Baltimore (25) seem slim.
So of the 25 first round rated guys, and with Dallas picking at #27, I think we're going to miss out on most of them. But there's one player, at a position of dire need, who we know Dallas has judged as a first round prospect, who I think might still be on the board at 27...
Round 1, Pick 27;
4.31 forty, 24 bench reps, 41" vertical, 10'05" broad jump, 4.24 twenty yard shuttle, 6.95 three cone drill.
Cue the booing. Despite most reliable sources confirming that Mays is predominantly regarded as a genuine first round prospect, there's more than a few internet experts that have declared this young man unequivocally a bust. Many Cowboys fans have also taken particular dismay at the idea of Mays because "we don't need a another Roy Williams".
I don't see Mays as a Roy Williams clone and it often seems to be based on little more than that they're both big and can (or could in Roy's case) lay big hits. In reality Mays is much bigger, faster, stronger and explosive than Roy was coming into the NFL.
Mays is 6'3" 230. Roy was 6'0" 219.
Mays runs genuine flying 4.3's. Roy ran an average 4.53.
Mays lifted a strong 24 bench reps. Roy lifted a poor 13.
Mays had a huge 41" vertical. Roy had a pedestrian 30".
Mays had a great 10'05" broad jump. Roy had an average 9'07".
Taylor Mays excelled in every major drill testing his physical ability. Roy Williams severely underwhelmed in all of them. What this tells me about Mays is that he works very, very hard on his fitness and conditioning. He's obviously a committed worker. What this should have told us about Roy was that he obviously didn't work hard on his physical conditioning. Something that proved to be very true in the NFL. Roy Williams' overweight 225 pounds does not compare to Taylor Mays' extremely fit 230. Roy's lack of work ethic also seemed to spread to the film room.
Over Roy's last few years (without Woodson to hold his hand) the teams official site ran several articles stating that Roy not only needed to get in shape but that he needed to spend much more time in the film room. Obviously neither happened and Roy's game continued to degenerate until he was cut. The biggest problem with Roy Williams wasn't some innate problem that revolved around his size (or hips) it was that he was lazy. That's why he was a failure. Lazy is not a word anyone utters when talking about Taylor Mays.
Mays has also been criticized for his lack of interceptions but it has been noted that it wasn't really his role at USC;
Carroll insists it's because quarterbacks seldom challenge Mays deep. A scout for an NFL team seconded that notion, adding that the preponderance of college spread-style offenses also limits Mays' opportunities. Mays' style of play has something to do with it, too. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he often goes for the blow-up hit in lieu of the ball. "He's trying to use his size and strength to disengage the ball from the receiver; I can see why he does that," the scout said.
In the Senior Bowl, where he was coached by the staff of the Miami Dolphins, he made a heads-up interception at the goal line. Mays said those coaches told him to look for the ball rather than zero in on receivers. "In the NFL, you get paid to get interceptions" he said. "It started to pay off once I started to look for the ball. I know I can do it. I wasn't really coached just to do that at USC, but I know I can make that transition." Mays passed on a chance to run the 40-yard dash because he did more than enough in that department at the scouting combine. Although some scouts timed him at a blistering 4.24 seconds in Indianapolis, teams eventually agreed on a still-impressive time of 4.31.
Mays may not have been a great ball hawk in college but he's certainly got the skill set (speed, leaping ability) to do that in the pro's with coaching that emphasizes it over just going for the KO. And unlike Roy Williams this kid will absolutely put in the work to succeed.
Carroll, who has extensive NFL experience and has trained numerous players for the league, said Mays will enter it as prepared as anyone. "He's exemplary," Carroll said. "He'll be as good as anybody they have at knowing what's going on, understanding the game, being able to converse about it, the desire to want to know more and understand how he can get better. All that stuff will be off the charts." Mays has an NFL-ready work ethic; he regularly stays after practice to catch balls from the JUGS machine and work on other techniques.
Scouting report notes;
"Good key-and-diagnose skills. Aggressive in run support, but disciplined and rarely out of position. Understands his role as the last line of defense and generally takes good angles to minimize big gains by opponents".
"Rare recovery speed. Is a rangy defender and can blanket most deep receivers". "Controlled aggression in coverage makes him well suited for a zone scheme. Sees the action and reacts quickly. Loses a step in transition, but accelerates smoothly. Good change-of-direction skills. Reliable open-field tackler. Intimidating hitter over the middle".
"Rare straight-line speed for a man his size. Reads the action quickly and has great burst to close. Times his leaps well and uses his long arms to bat away passes. Would rather go for the big hit than compete for the ball".
"Flashes outstanding ability in run support. Good key-and-diagnose skills. Can elude blocks, but is willing to take them on and can discard due to his upper-body strength and long arms".
"Reliable open-field tackler. Breaks down well to make the secure stop. Explosive hitter who loves to intimidate opponents. Lowers his shoulder into the ball carrier and can separate the football from the man".
A physical set that compares to any of the best in the NFL and superior to any current NFL Safety.
A great work ethic that is seen in both the weight room and the practice field.
The desire to be great and the willingness to be coached.
A productive college career.
No negative off the field incidents.
Dallas likes to grab guys who can contribute and make an impact immediately with their first round picks. Taylor Mays would become an instant starter and improvement over Ken Hamlin for Dallas with the potential to be one of the leagues top Safeties in a few years. I may be in the minority but I'll take that with the 27th no worries.
Video – First Draft Taylor Mays (highlights & interview);
Video – Taylor Mays Draft/Combine;
Round 2, Pick 59;
4.84 forty, 30 bench reps, 33" ½ vertical, 09' 06" broad jump, 4.71 twenty yard shuttle, 7.61 three cone drill.
A made a post a few days ago about how overworked Ratliff is and how we really need a quality backup to afford him some rest. I think Lamarr Houston is the perfect guy.
He's one of the most versatile defensive lineman in the draft. This is a player who can be an impact contributor as our badly needed backup NT (and also a nickle pass rusher) this year and has the potential to take over at DE next season. Of the 300 pound and over participants at the combine not one was faster than Houston (in fact his forty time of 4.84 is virtually identical to Ratliff's combine time of 4.85 though Ratliff was 292 pounds while Houston is 305).
He's regarded as being "extremely agile for a 300-pounder and works relentlessly to reach the quarterback". He's also strong against the run with "upper body and hands that are strong enough for him to pull down ballcarriers while engaged with blockers". He also "regularly lines up at the five-technique, standing his ground against larger linemen using a strong punch and leverage". A "very strong tackler, comes with aggression and does not let go once in contact". And last but certainly not least he's "very competitive, has an above-average motor and is willing to play hurt".
Houston a great senior year too; 68 tackles, 22 for a loss and 8 sacks.
Lamarr Houston may not look like a prototype 3-4 lineman (whether NT or DE) but he's in the mold of Jay Ratliff who also doesn't fit the prototype but could play either position. His strength, quickness and motor could make him a Ratliffesque one gap penetrating NT or a 3-4 DE that has a pass rush.
Video – Lamarr Houston Draft / Combine;
Round 3, Pick 90;
5.15 forty, 31 bench reps, 27" ½ vertical, 08'05" broad jump, 4.69 twenty yard shuttle, 7.93 three cone drill.
No need for much of an explanation here. We need more depth on the Oline badly and we'll need new starters real soon. 32 year old Kyle Kosier is in the last year of his contract. Jerry was a Tackle in College but projects as a Guard of Dallas' mold in the NFL.
Some scouting notes;
"Strong punch at the snap as a pass blocker. Sticky hands and can control the pass rusher when he locks on".
"Good initial pop at the line of scrimmage to stun the defender and can overcome his opponent with his strength and mass as a run blocker. Shows some nastiness and looks to pancake his opponent if he senses he's off-balance".
"Surprising agility to get out and around the line. Good initial quickness off the snap. Intimidating presence at the second level and can wall off defenders from the ballcarrier"
"Massive man. Not just big, but very strong. Broke the Ole Miss record with 34 repetitions of 225 pounds last year -- a difficult feat considering his long arms".
Video - John Jerry Combine Workout;
Round 4, Pick 123;
Tony Washington, Offensive Tackle, Abilene Christian, Rated 144th – 22 years old, 6'6" 311 pounds, 35" ½ arm, 10" ½ hand.
5.09 forty, 33 bench reps, 29" ½ vertical, 09'06" broad jump, 4.84 twenty yard shuttle, 7.52 three cone drill.
Some scouting notes;
"Washington has good height with long arms and adequate bulk. A hard worker who plays with a mean streak. Uses a jarring explosive punch and possesses the initial quickness to set fast and thwart speed rushers. Shows good recognition in pass protection picking up the blitz."
Washington is one of the top small school prospects in the entire draft. He has an unconventional incident in his past but his behavior since seems to have put most evaluators minds at rest and he's become a solid mid-round pick. He's raw but has a lot of natural talent which showed in his combine performances. Has Right and Left Tackle potential in the Pro's and that's good for a team with long term questions at Tackle.
Had a great combine. He only did limited drills at his Pro Day and only one team attended and had their scout run him through the drills, the Dallas Cowboys.
Round 6, Pick 187;
4.64 forty, 24 bench reps, 35" vertical, 09'03" broad jump, 4.32 twenty yard shuttle, 7.15 three cone drill.
Deon Anderson is an average blocker, a solid special team player and a nonexistent contributor rushing and receiving. He was also tied for 2nd as the most penalized FB in the league last year. I think some competition for those 300-400 snaps a year could be beneficial. Conner looks good enough to supplant Anderson.
"Conner has a thick, muscular build and a low center of gravity. Strong lower half allows him to push the pile in short-yardage situations. Delivers good shots blocking and shows the ability to clear running lanes. Talented special teams player who makes a lot of tackles on kick coverage".
"Old-school traditional lead blocker willing to sell out to knock the linebacker out of the hole. Keeps his head on a swivel and is aggressive in pass protection while blocking inside-out".
"Soft, reliable hands. Shows the ability to extend his arms and pluck the ball out of the air".
"Bullish runner who doesn't waste time looking for the big play. Good lower leg drive and forward body lean to get the tough yards".
Combine Workout Video;
Round 7, Pick 219;
5.27 forty, 32 bench reps, 29" vertical, 08'03" broad jump, 4.83 twenty yard shuttle, 7.69 three cone drill.
His grandfather, Clay Matthews Sr., played in the NFL in the 1950's. His father is one of the NFL's greatest offensive lineman, Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews (14 time Pro Bowls and 9 times All-Pro). His Uncle is 4 time Pro Bowl LB Clay Matthews II. His cousin is 2009 first round pick and rookie Pro Bowler LB Clay Matthews III. It doesn't come much better than that in the bloodlines department.
Started the last 2 years for Texas A&M. Matthews had an "exceptional performance in the position drills" at his Pro Day.
In conclusion – The 2 positions on defense most needy are filled. Mays can start at Safety and Houston can spell the Rat effectively and help in the Nickle.
Conner arrives to compete with Anderson who's been solid on special teams but uninspiring on offense.
The Offensive Line is given an influx of players to compete both inside and outside. Washington becomes the swing Tackle, backing up Free and Colombo this year, with an eye on Colombo's starting spot in the near future. Inside, Jerry and Matthews join last years third round pick Robert Brewster to hopefully push the McQuistan's and Procter's out the door and then compete for starting spots next year and beyond.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.