This is the most pumped up I've ever been for a Cowboys draft that I can remember. So I thought I'd try (in vain) to contribute and offer up my own smorgasbord of draft musings and personal wishes for the Cowboys 1st round selection.
Basically, I'm offering up my opinions on what player would give the Cowboys the most value in the event that they trade up slightly (within reason; they're not trading up to get Suh or Berry)or stay put at 27.
If anything, I believe the release of Jerry's drunken highlight reel has probably emblazoned him to be the maverick owner he's always fancied himself as and may in fact encourage him to go and make a splash early in the draft. I really think Jerry is going to do his absolute damndest to push a trade through to move up and get Dez Bryant and depending on who's left on the board, I wouldn't rule out a trade down out of the first round either. As much sense as going the safe route might make (and staying put for whatever quality offensive lineman may slide) it can't be ignored that Jerry has never selected one in the first round.
My personal preferences for who the Cowboys realistically have a shot at selecting in the first round:
1. Dez Bryant-Obviously Bryant is just as polarizing a potential draftee as Taylor Mays. Because of their high risk/reward I think both Bryant and Mays (more on him later) qualify as the ultimate "Be Careful What You Wish For" players.
Crabtree: (11 games) 48 Rec, 625 Yards, (13.0 YPC) 2 TD; 20+Yard Rec=10, 40+Yard Rec=1
Nicks: 47 Rec, 790 Yards, (16.8 YPC) 6 TD; 20+Yard Rec=13, 40+Yard Rec=5
Our very own Roy E. Williams last season:
38 Rec, 596 Yards, (15.7 YPC) 7 TD; 20+Yard Rec=9, 40+Yard Rec=2
It's pretty plain to see that the argument that rookie receivers NEVER come in and produce is bunk. I'm certainly not expecting Bryant to come and be another Randy Moss; who is exactly? But considering that Bryant has similar measurables to these two players and some similar knocks; for example, there were questions about Crabtree's route running because of the unorthodox offense he played, I think there's a great chance he could come in and make just as positive contribution to the offense as those two guys did.
-The Cowboys are sorely lacking in young O-line depth and just released their most decorated and best lineman of the past half decade or so. How dare Jerry trade up to pick a wide receiver?
Well, for one thing, both Iupati and Pouncey will be gone in the mid-teens so Jerry would probably have to trade up to get one of them. And apparently word out of Valley Ranch is that the team prefers getting a guy in the 2nd like Vladimir Ducasse to reaching for an Anthony Davis, who they didn't even give a 1st-round grade to.
-Between Austin and Witten and then getting the running backs and Martellus Bennett involved, where will Bryant's opportunities come from?
Firstly, can we agree that if Bryant is indeed drafted Roy's days in Big D are done? And if not him Crayton probably gets the axe. As I pointed out earlier, Williams (and Crayton) both caught right around 40 passes last season. So with one of those guys gone, there's at least 40 meaty reception morsels for Dez right there.
Martellus Bennett? Sadly (I only say that half sarcastically) there's a fair chance he would in fact be the chip that Jerry uses to move up and snatch Dez. But if he is still around, 30 receptions is a quality number out of him and that is definitely doable but more contingent on Martellus than some hotshot rookie coming in taking targets away from him.
Who knows how often or when Garrett will even unleash Felix in the passing game? Dump-offs will always be there and all having another weapon on offense really does is open up things for the backs underneath.
-Receivers can be had in the middle rounds of the draft so why blow a pick early that could otherwise be used to draft a blue chip prospect in the O-Line, D-Line or secondary?
I tend to agree with this except that my favorites Iupati and Pouncey will most likely be selected even before Dez. For the record, I'm fine with staying put and getting a corner at 27 and picking Mardy Gilyard or Emmanuel Sanders in the middle rounds or even a big raw guy like Marcus Easley later than them. There's definitely a more pressing need for depth in the secondary than at receiver where at least Ogletree has played meaningful snaps. This question really goes hand-in-hand with.....
-What will the Cowboys have to give up and how much is too much to move up into the draft?
I won't even bother getting out my draft chart but I'll go out on a limb that Jerry will be offering up Martellus Bennett and some combination of obviously the Cowboys 1st and a 2nd next year (or 3rd this year?) Sound goofy? Just my wild stab at it. Or how about the Cowboys 1st, a 2nd and 4th next year and Marcus Spears or Bobby Carpenter?
I really, really hate the idea of trading away this year's 2nd to move up into the 1st. There are just too many needs and not nearly enough depth along the O-line or in the secondary. As it stands now, my ideal scenario is getting some combination of corner or safety and legit left tackle prospect in the first two rounds.
I'd love to have Dez but not at the expense of throwing away a 2nd rounder in the deepest draft in the last quarter century.
Overview: Dez has to be the pick if he slides to 27, but if Jerry does feel compelled to trade up just to have him I hope he doesn't make another goofy deal.
2. Earl Thomas-All that talk about Dez and guess what? I think if Jerry moves up to take somebody it would be more sensible to move up and get this guy* but Jerry's clearly hot and heavy for Dez so if he moves up, that's his man. (*For the record, if Jerry is so d@mned determined to go whole hog and get a certain player I'd rather he just move up into the top ten and get Eric Berry, who's probably the most NFL-ready product next to Ndamkong Suh.
-The NFL is a passing league, plain and simple; and that being the case you put yourself in great shape if your safety is a guy who could just as easily slide out and play corner. Thomas is so highly regarded that it's been said he could just as easily make his living playing corner in the NFL. That kind of flexibility would be a great asset to the Cowboys considering Terence Newman's ripe old age. Thomas might be that rare versatile enough player to kill two birds with one stone by providing an immediate solid starter at safety and providing an insurance policy at cornerback.
-Small frame that won't hold up in run support or having to bring down and fight in traffic against big athletic NFL-caliber tight ends.
Well, if your safety has (emphasis on has) to make a ton of tackles you're screwed to begin with because your front seven isn't doing its job nearly well enough. Furthermore, might it be a bit exaggerated how suspect Thomas's tackling skills actually are?
Overview: Philosophically you're asking for trouble if you desire a big hitter idiot safety who shares more attributes with a linebacker than he does a corner. Thomas simply can't be as suspect at tackling as his detractors would like you to believe but his unquestionably excellent coverage skills would upgrade a secondary that just jettisoned a starting safety. Plus long-term Thomas just might be versatile enough that he opens up your options at the cornerback position.
3. Maurkice Pouncey-He provides depth and versatility along an aging O-line. He's regarded as the best center prospect in a long, long time and would be an immediate starter; something that can't necessarily be said for guys like Campbell and Davis; even though they do play the 2nd most important position for any team with a legit QB.
4. Mike Iupati-(pronounced you-potty) He's a vicious mother, isn't he? This team has struggled at power running recently so what better remedy than Iupati? A nasty blocker like him could open up the holes that would provide even more big runs for Felix and give Barber the kind of room to bowl over linebackers and DB's unfettered.
5. Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty, Kareem Jackson or other corner of your choice-If Dallas stays put, the previous four players will more than likely be gone and one of these guys represents the best value in that all-too-imminent scenario. If rumors are to be believed, the team isn't sold at all on Anthony Davis as a 1st-rounder and even if they do regard Campbell differently, personally I hope he's not there so the team isn't even tempted to draft him.
You already know my opinion on this. Depth at corner is just as important as it is designated pass rusher DE/OLB. Newman isn't getting any younger and Scandrick hasn't shown nearly enough yet to inspire enough confidence that he'll be more than a passable starter.
Now the problem with this is that if you pick this position in the 1st round, there's so much more you still need. Would the team really go corner/safety in the 1st and 2nd round? Why not go ahead and pick Burnett or Allen instead at 27? If a corner is picked here it might be an indication that the team is confident Mike Hamlin or Alan Ball can get it done replacing Ken Hamlin. Or they could always pick Major Wright or Chad Jones in the 3rd.
The more you consider what burning a 1st on a corner does to your options, the more likely it makes a trade out of the 1st for some extra 2nd-rounders.
6. Jared Odrick- Odrick's another one who the consensus seems to be will be gone in the early 20's. For the value, he rates about the same as a corner to me. Just because he's not a holly jolly mold of jello doesn't mean he won't be able to spell Ratliff at NT because again Wade's 3-4 puts more impetus on a high motor guy than it does a mere space eater.
Just say no to:
A.)Taylor Mays-I wouldn't hate this pick. Clearly the team would have some idea in place of how they would use him. My problem with Mays is it's extremely difficult to imagine a guy who clearly regressed from his junior year to senior year coming and making an impact as a rookie. I think it's going to take a couple of seasons for him to find his niche as an NFL defender.
Now here's a real radical point I'd like to make about a guy like Mays. People are driving it into the ground about how proven a track record elite safeties have as being key components to Super Bowl Champions this decade. Fair enough, but through what means were Rodney Harrison and Darren Sharper acquired? Free agency. Let some other team be the hero and develop a raw player like Mays. By the time Mays is actually an elite safety in a best case scenario who knows what other needs the Cowboys might have?
And hey, if Mays does become a monster; maybe the Cowboys can trade for him by Super Bowl 50. Because even if he does put together a jaw-dropping highlight reel as a rookie, I don't feel it will be enough to eclipse all those other times he ends up looking lost in pass coverage.
Finally, if you want an elite game-changing safety, Jerry Old Boy, maybe that's the position you acquire through free agency or trade; instead of bundling good picks for disgruntled @ssclown joik-off wide receivers.Hey, I've got an idear: let's call the Rooneys and tell 'em about this McGee stud we got. They don't need that Polamalu anyways; he's all washed up. And we'll even throw in Barbie Carpenter. Barbie. Carpenter.
B.)Bruce Campbell-His lack of seasoning and raw nature makes him an even bigger risk than Mays because as we all know it's the Left Tackle's job to make sure the QB doesn't die. Now if he had as good a record against those slimy no good evil dead as his iron-jawed namesake I might reconsider. I'd much rather pick DuCasse, Saffold or Veldheer in the 2nd and I'm also not opposed to trading that same 2nd for Donald Penn.
C.)Terrence "Mound" Cody-I realize nobody's really pushing for this guy in the 1st except a few peculiar types with their own special likes; if you know what I mean. The chubby chasers will point out Ratliff's insane amount of total snaps played and lack of rest due to having Sak-O-Doo Siavii spelling him. Point well taken, dudes.
But you can get Linval Joseph in the 2nd or Cam Thomas or Torrell Troup a round or two later. These guys are all preferable to Mound Cody, of course, because if Ratliff ever had to miss a significant amount of games these guys aren't just two down slobs and might actually provide you pass rush from the nose.
(Be on the look-out for part two previewing the later rounds if I can just find all the answers at the bottom of this dang bottle.)
Oh, I almost forgot. Prediction: Jerry finds a way to snag Dez; come hell or high water. If the Cowboys do stay put, I think they end up with Devin McCourty.