This will be an ongoing series where I will be picking players that the Cowboys should put on their draft board. The 2012 NFL Draft is months away but this is the time where scouts are starting to label their prospects. Are they a first round pick or a mid to late round pick? Those are the type of questions they will answer when they finally grade these players and put their names up on the big board.
My process will break down positions into individual categories and then will rank them in order of what round or grade I decide to give them. I decided to start with the cornerbacks not only because of our need for a cornerback, but it looks like it will be easier to breakdown this position group first.
In the next fan post I will give you the option to vote for the next position we do, but so far I have been thinking about doing the DL next.
There are some cases where I left a player off because they really don't fit our system or I am not in love with that player. I will try my best with some junior players. It will be hard to include them knowing they may not enter the draft in April and could return to school.
This was the position that really motivated me to start this series. I really wanted to start with the defensive lineman but this cornerback class is easier to breakdown in the first two rounds. Later in the draft it will be harder to grade the cornerbacks there, but the first two rounds will be a fun task for myself.
The Cowboys are in need of a young influx of talent at the cornerback position. First let us take a look at the age of the cornerback position for the team.
Newman and Walker are the only age priorities on the team. The rest of the group are in their mid 20's and that doesn't present a problem yet for the team. Newman is a player on the decline and he is the clear player the Cowboys need to draft for. Who the Cowboys draft will ultimately take over for Newman while Scandrick takes over the full time roll in his best position, the slot cornerback.
Ultimately Mike Jenkins decides his fate with the team with his play. If Jenkins finishes out the season with improved play from 2010, he will be on the team. Ball looks like a player to be replaced for his uninspiring play and Walker is only one year fill in player.
The Cowboys will be looking at adding at least one cornerback and there is a possibility they look for a second in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
Cornerback has become a position of need for this team. One reason the cornerback position needs to be upgraded is due to the lack of draft picks spent on the position. Mike Jenkins was a first round pick back in 2008, but he is the highest pick the team has spent on the position in a long time. The Cowboys continue to waste picks on cornerbacks in the mid to late rounds instead of drafting a talented one in the earlier rounds.
The continued projects on small school players has not worked out and it is time to finally draft a cornerback within the first two rounds. The need is clear in the secondary as well. We lack a cornerback who is a true cover corner or is more of the ball hawking type corner mold. The lack of talent at the position cost us production on the field. We still don't know if Mike Jenkins is legit or a headcase. Alan Ball is the weak link in the secondary and constantly gives up big plays.
Orlando Scandrick is a wild card for me. We don't know how good he would be on the outside as a starting cornerback, but he has found a real home as the nickel/slot cornerback role. Regardless the team needs to add a talented cornerback to the roster. You need at least three good cornerbacks in today's pass happy league and your fourth guy needs to be somewhat serviceable, he cannot be getting smoked on every play.
The talent in the cornerback position is loaded this draft. This is why it is a great time to go out and draft a cornerback this year. We could see possibly 3-4 cornerbacks go in the first round, but there are tremendous bargains to be found in the later rounds this year.
This cornerback class will be loaded with talent. The Cowboys always seem to value cornerbacks on draft day and you hear talk of how they are always waiting for a cornerback to fall to them. This is the year of the cornerback in this draft, go out and get one.
First Round Prospects
- *Morris Claiborne LSU
- Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
- *Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama
- Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska
* Denotes underclassmen
Those are my cornerbacks with first round grades at this moment. All four players are extremely talented and will be first round picks in my opinion. Now some of the guys I have with a second round grade have first round talent. This is where it gets confusing and I apoligize for that.
At this time I just can't place first round grades on them, but they could easily move back up into the first round. Two players that are really starting to get some first round consideration from me are Jamell Flemming and Jayron Hosley. But for the time being we will just stick them into the second round graded area.
Second Round Prospects
- *Jayron Hosley Virginia Tech
- Jamell Flemming Oklahoma
- *Stephon Gimore South Carolina
- Chase Minnifield Virginia
All of these prospects are going to be good NFL cornerbacks. Hosley is the ball hawk teams look for and could be a bargain in the second round. Flemming is a player on the rise and for good reason. The other two prospects have first round talent but just haven't had the type of productive stat sheets to put them there. This is how deep the position is this year, solid starters available in the second round.
Third Round Prospects
- Coryell Judie Texas A&M
- Leonard Johnson Iowa State
- *Jonathan Banks Mississippi State
- Casey Heyward Vanderbilt
- Trumaine Johnson Montana
- Brandon Boykin Georgia
The third round again goes to show you how deep this class is. You have your variety of players here and even some small school standouts who could develop into some real good players. The third round will be a round of great value at the cornerback position this year.
Fourth Round Prospects
- *Cliff Harris Oregon
- Shaun Prater Iowa
If Cliff Harris wasn't such a screw up he would be in my first or second round chart. The problem is he just doesn't get it, he has had countless opportunities to turn his life around. He is a selfish person who has shown zero interest in his teammates this season. I cannot doubt his football skills though and is a real good cover corner. Harris also adds that dynamic return element to your team and this is why I still gave him a grade in the fourth round. The team that is willing to take a chance on him will get a first or second round talent, but will also receive a headcase with multiple off the field issues. Good luck.
Fifth Round Prospects
- Robert Golden Arizona
- Donnie Fletcher Boston College
- Omar Bolden Arizona State
- Emanuel Davis ECU
- Robert Blanton Notre Dame
In the fifth round there will be a bunch of the tweener type prospects who can play some safety. At this point in the draft you take a chance on one and hopefully they can make that transition. There are also some prospects who have the talent, but just lack the technique and will need good coaching.
Sixth Round Prospects
- Ryan Steed Furman
- Asa Jackson Cal Poly
- Mike Harris Florida State
Seventh Round Prospects
- Keith Tandy West Virginia
- Desmond Marrow Toledo
At the end of the day we have a good look at the cornerback position draft grade groupings here. It gives us a good look at where some of these guys will possibly be drafted. Remember that some of these guys are underclassmen and will not enter the draft. Once we have a clear idea of who is entering and who is staying, we can simply go back and just take or add a name in the chart here.
The cornerback class looks like a real good crop this year. There are really going to be some good bargains later in the draft and that may be my favorite part about the draft. Teams will find talent that slip through the crack every year. Our biggest recent find at the position has to be Orlando Scandrick from the 2008 NFL Draft. Scandrick was talented but raw and we took a chance on him. That chance really worked out and you never know who the next Orlando Scandrick is going to be for the Cowboys.
As we go forward with this board and finally have every position graded, we will go back and update the board. I thought this would be a pretty cool idea for a fan post and I sure hope you will take this ride with me over the next few months in putting together a draft board for our team.
Defensive line was what I wanted to do next because that is the other clear need for this team. But feel free to vote on the next position to breakdown and grade.