Over the weekend I decided to do some draft research and look into a few players I was interested in. I came away with six prospects I decided to do draft profiles on and instead of releasing six different fan posts, I decided to release one big one. That way I am not taking up all the space on the fan post board.
When I was doing my draft research I wanted to find a mid to late round running back that could fit our system and replace Marion Barber. I also came across a running back who may not be the short yardage running back we are looking for, but he is too talented for us to pass on in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
The wide receiver I will be profiling in this post is a wide receiver I have been hyping the past few weeks on here. In my opinion we are in need of another wide receiver and we lack a true slot wide receiver to stretch the field and open it up for Witten, Dez and Miles. This is yet another player too talented for us to pass over in the mid to late rounds of the draft.
Last but not least, the cornerbacks I decided to profile in this post are really intriguing players. My favorite draft guru Wes Bunting has mentioned both of these prospects, but the one in particular he has been talking about for months. The Cowboys are in need of a cornerback who can not only be a depth guy, but we are looking for a cornerback that can be a starter and take over for Terence Newman when the times comes. I feel either one of these talented corners can fit that need.
I am going to start with the running backs because originally this was the position I was scouting out over the weekend.
This is a running back that has been on my radar for a couple of years. I watched a few Hawaii games because they always produce a linebacker or offensive lineman that is NFL material, but who stuck out to me was Alex Green. He really reminds me of Marion Barber, and I know they both have the dreads and that will draw a resemblance to Marion Barber. But their running styles are very much alike, physical runners who have the burst when hitting the hole. Now when I say he is like Marion Barber, I mean circa 2006 and 2007, not the washed up player we have come to know over the past year.
Green was invited to the Senior Bowl and that's where his draft stock has really improved. Multiple teams interviewed him and I know that's not a true factor of the Cowboys having interest in Green, but we did talk to him in Mobile. When I was going over some footage of Green, it was hard to find a highlight reel. What I did find was his junior college footage and some really impressive runs from his time at Hawaii. Most of the runs he had a huge hole to run through, but I still thought he was impressive.
He has the size and physicality to hold up as a true short yardage back and down inside the five yard line he has no wasted movement and gets into the end zone. A lot of draft sites will mention his speed being slow, but I think he is fast enough to play in the NFL and be a productive back. He truly reminds me of a young Marion Barber in every way except for one aspect. Where Green differs is he doesn't take on unnecessary hits. He will go out of bounds or avoid contact that isn't necessary. He is a physical runner, but he is a smart runner and this will extend his career in the NFL.
Coming from Hawaii, he is also pretty decent in the pass game. He isn't a true threat out of the backfield, but he is effective. Again he is very similar to Barber and Barber got really good at being a receiver after a few years in the league. With time Green could have the same type of impact and be a really good player running and catching the football.
The great thing about Alex Green is that we can get him fairly late in the draft. I would say the we could land him in either the 5th or 6th round and I feel that would be a bargain. He isn't a starting running back, maybe he could be, but I see him as the true short yardage back we need and he will be a force down in the red zone.
Chia's NFL Comparison: Marion Barber circa 2006-2007
Alex Green 60-yard touchdown run Hawaii vs. Utah State 2010 (via UHUSU2010)
Alex Green 71-yard run Hawaii vs. New Mexico State 2010 (via UHNMSU2010)
Alex Green 54-yard touchdown run Hawaii vs. Boise State 2010 (via UHBSU2010)
Alex Green 45-yard touchdown run Hawaii vs. New Mexico State 2010 (via UHNMSU2010)
Now originally I wasn't scouting out Jaime Harper, I was looking at DeAndre McDaniel and I came across Jaime Harper. This is a truly talented player because he is the big physical runner we need, but he has amazing athleticism. When I watch Harper play he reminds me of Rashard Mendenhall, a player a lot of you guys wanted us to draft in 2008. The thing is, we can draft Jaime Harper and get a much more athletic player than Mendenhall. Wes Bunting compares his running style to Michael Bush and I tell you what I wouldn't mind having a player like that on this team. Jaime Harper is a talented running back nobody is talking about and he really has all the skills to be a successful player in the NFL.
The first thing I noticed about Harper is that he doesn't dance too much. He doesn't waste time and especially around the goal line. He is physical and runs over defenders while racking up the yards after contact. Harper would definitely fit in here perfectly. We need a physical short yardage runner and he is exactly what we are looking for.
What I noticed right away was that he has the speed to be a pretty good back in the NFL and that's where I thought he was similar to Mendenhall. Both are strong runners, but have the speed and acceleration to make big plays. I was extremely impressed with him as a receiver. Not too many running backs can do what he can do as a receiver. He is pretty amazing when it comes to that area and you will see what I mean in the video below.
I can see us getting Harper in the 3rd-4th round, maybe later. This is a deep running back class and the value will be there later in the draft for guys like Harper. He would be a perfect fit for us in my opinion.
Chia's NFL Comparison: Rashard Mendenhall.
Jamie Harper Junior Season Highlights (via lordseal92)
Jamie Harper Hurdles Terrance Parks (via lordseal92)
Jamie Harper Amazing Catch (via Hbirdproductions)
Now the last running back I will be profiling doesn't exactly fit our need for a short yardage and goal line running back, but he is really a great athlete and I wouldn't pass on him if I could land him later in the draft
Taiwan Jones is a running back that I decided to take a look at when he first declared for the NFL Draft. I am not going to lie to you, his name Taiwan Jones is pretty cool and I decided to take a closer look off his name alone and I am sure glad I decided to invest the time because this kid can play. He is the best player in this draft that nobody is talking about. The kid is a dynamic player with game breaking skills.
The first player that entered my mind was Chris Johnson. I also saw some Jamaal Charles in him. He has amazing speed and he gets up to speed very quickly, similar to how Chris Johnson goes from 0-60 in no time at all. His elusiveness and speed remind of those two players. He is electrifying in the open field and you have to get him the ball because the kid is a human highlight reel.
Now I understand he played for Eastern Washington, and that's a small time school, but Chris Johnson played at ECU and that isn't exactly a big time school itself. In my opinion running backs can make the jump from college to the NFL very quickly because running back isn't exactly the hardest position to adjust too. Running backs rely on their athleticism and speed, and once they get into the NFL it's the vision that you need to develop. Taiwan Jones has all the tools to be a dynamic running back at the next level.
This isn't exactly the short yardage and red zone back we are looking for, but Jones is dynamic. Electrifying players don't grow on trees and I would take advantage of any chance I get to add dynamic players with game breaking speed to my team. Jones is also a polished receiving threat and has all the tools to be a great third down running back. What overwhelms me is that how fast he accelerates. He is more of a sprinter type back that is elusive and gets to top speed very quickly.
Jones is also a big time kick and punt return specialist. I realize my favorite player Dez Bryant is our best guy for the job, but I would much rather insert a game breaker like Jones back there in case of a injury. I could accept losing my #3 running back to a injury on special teams instead of my superstar wide receiver. Jones is a dynamic threat on special teams in his own right, and he could easily be one of the best on our team in returning punts and kickoffs.
This could be a draft day bargain for any team, Jones is predicted to go in the 4th-5th round and I wouldn't hesitate to select him. He is coming off a injury where he had a broken bone in his foot and will not participate in the Combine starting this week. He will participate in Hawaii's Pro Day late in March because Jones is from California, the state Hawaii will hold its Pro Day. He will be able to showcase his measurable there because a player can participate in a Pro Day from his state. Missing out on the Combine might push him down the draft boards and we could land a big play talent at running back very late. Could be a great bargain for us later in the draft.
Chia's NFL Comparison; Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson
Taiwan Jones Highlights.wmv (via OldSchoolEag)
TJ Highlights 2 (via OldSchoolEag)
Taiwan jones jump out pool backwards 3ft (via taiwanjones)
Wide receiver is one of the positions I believe we actually need to answer in the draft. Now we don't need a dynamic number one, what we need is a slot guy with speed who can stretch the field. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are superstar wide receivers, and yes off of those two alone we could win a lot of games. Roy Williams in my honest opinion is a scrub. He is too goofy and uncoordinated to succeed for us in the slot. What we need is a true slot wide receiver, a player who has the speed, hands and route running ability to open things up and stretch the field.
Back in the 2008 NFL Draft, there was a speed wide receiver named DeSean Jackson from California. I wanted the Cowboys to take this kid badly and he ended up as a second round pick selected by the Eagles. Jackson has been a Cowboys killer, and frankly kills just about every team he faces. Now why I wanted us to get him was that he would have been the perfect weapon for us in the slot. To this day we still do not have a true slot wide receiver. Kevin Ogletree has all the tools to be that guy, but his problem is being consistent and working hard to be that guy. Ogletree may be our answer to our slot needs and new wide receiver coach Jimmy Robinson could indeed coach KO into the next James Jones or Jordy Nelson. I believe we should not just rely on Ogletree to be that guy, we should have a secondary plan and Cecil Shorts is the answer. I think Cecil Shorts is the best wide receiver in the draft that nobody is talking about.
Mount Union produced another great wide receiver in Pierre Garcon. Garcon was selected in the 6th round by the Colts in the 2008 NFL Draft. Shorts is similar to Garcon in many ways and both are around the same build, 6-0 200. They have similar traits but I think Shorts is more of a DeSean Jackson like wide receiver. Shorts has great speed and acceleration and is dynamic in the open field. Shorts is also a dynamic player on special teams. He can return punts and the wide receiver we are looking for should be able to contribute on special teams.
Shorts makes the tough catches look easy and turns them into big plays. He is dynamic in the open field and has the top speed and acceleration that reminds me of DeSean Jackson. He runs his routes smoothly and precise, he is very effective on all the routes on the route running tree. He can adjust to the football in the air and has the vertical needed to get to jump balls. I see Shorts being a very good wide receiver in the NFL and I don't think it will take him too long to make the transition from a smaller school. He has all the physical tools needed to succeed and make a impact right away in the slot.
See the thing is, we wouldn't be asking him to be a #1 or #2 wide receiver. What we are looking for is a dynamic slot guy and I think he would be great in that role. What I like about him is that he isn't just a slot wide receiver. Like DeSean Jackson, he can play on the outside. You can do a lot with Cecil Shorts in the offense. You can run the wildcat with him. You can run bubble screens to him. You can send him in motion on crossing routes. You can use him as a deep threat. What I love about him is that he can pretty do whatever is asked of him. He is a versatile and dynamic wide receiver that we need in the slot.
If Cecil Shorts had went to a big time school, we would be talking about a late first to early second round pick. Right now the buzz is around Titus Young from Boise State. I think Shorts is just as good as him and should be a early round pick in the draft. He is projected to go in the 4th-5th round and I would jump on him in the fourth. This is a deep wide receiver class and you can get bargains later in the draft, but I feel Shorts is the ultimate bargain.
Chia's NFL Comparison: DeSean Jackson and Johnny Knox
Cecil Shorts III - Mount Union - NFL Draft Prospect (via vikesfootball33)
New Mexico State
Now lets jump to the defensive side of the ball. This is a deep cornerback class and you can get some really nice players later in the draft. This is a cornerback who again is from a smaller school, but you shouldn't sleep on him because he is a very good athlete.
Davon House has been a hot name in the 2011 cornerback class . Many of the draft sites are featuring House as a potential sleeper with a second round grade. House is compared to fellow WAC draft pick Kyle Wilson. I see the similarities between the two because both are great athletes. I also see a lot of Mike Jenkins in Davon House and I mean that in a good way. In 2009 Jenkins had great technique and got low in his stance to jam at the line of scrimmage. When you watch House on tape, he has great technique in his man to man coverage stance. House also is great on the deep ball, like Jenkins was in 2009. Both have the speed to close in, jump up and make a play on the football. House is a good cornerback in a deep cornerback class, so he might be overshadowed by Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara, but this kid can ball.
Some say he will be a better man to man coverage corner, and some say he will be better in the off zone schemes around the league. I personally want a cornerback who is good at both because in our scheme we will require you to be a great man to man cornerback and also expect you to drop back into zone coverage to read and react.
He has the lockdown coverage skills to start right away. He has the fluid hips you look for in a good cornerback. His size is good enough and he has great speed. He has the acceleration and recovery speed good cornerbacks need. He makes a lot of plays on the football because his coverage skills are really good. Receivers have a hard time separating from House because he has great speed and great coverage skills. He really reminds me a lot of Mike Jenkins when he was coming out of college. Jenkins was a highly touted prospect for his coverage skills and speed.
House is a physical tackler and will lay you out. He is physical enough to come up into run support and has great speed to fly in and make the tackle. In this aspect of his game, he is farther along than Mike Jenkins was. When I make the comparisons to Mike Jenkins I mean that in a good way. Jenkins is a great athlete with great coverage skills. I expect Jenkins to bounce back and be the corner we all saw in 2009. So when I make the comparisons of House to Jenkins, don't be concerned.
Davon House is a second round prospect and I cannot see him falling past the second round. Athletic cornerbacks with his size, speed, coverage skills and physicality don't usually hang around that long in the draft. Depending on what we do in the first, I could see us targeting a cornerback like House in the second round. House has the ability to be a good starting cornerback and we need to get a guy like that to replace Terence Newman. Also what I like about House is that he is a playmaker and gets interceptions.
Chia's NFL Comparison: Kyle Wilson and Mike Jenkins circa 2009
Davon House vs. San Diego St. (2010) (via MARI0clp)
Brandon Hogan is a really impressive athlete. He was a quarterback in high school and that is originally the position he went to West Virginia for. He was later made into a wide receiver. When they needed depth at corner, Hogan stepped up. Hogan was reluctant at first but was glad he made the move. He became a instant starter for a defense that featured him and Robert Sands. It was probably the best decision Hogan has ever made, he will be a draft pick because he is a cornerback. Yet again, Hogan is a player not being talked about enough. He has the size, speed and lockdown capabilities that all the great cornerbacks possess.
Hogan is a dynamic athlete. Because he was a former wide receiver and quarterback, Hogan has the speed to stay with top tier wide receivers. Hogan can also return punts and is really good at it because of his speed.
Hogan is really good in press coverage because of his size, physicality and athleticism. He is really tough for receivers to disengage from him and make the play. Hogan stays step for step with the fastest wide receivers. He has great hands and comes away with the interception. He is decent in zone coverage, but press coverage is his forte. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, most likely for being changed from two other positions before finally finding a home as a cornerback. This kid has the hunger I love, he loves football and I want him on my team. His coverage skills are top notch and he is really fast.
The aspect of his game that was really impressive to me was that he is physically dominant in the run game. He isn't afraid to come up and pop the running back. Because he has top notch speed, he flies in quickly and has the size to lay out a good hit. We need our corners to be physical and willing tacklers, Hogan fits that profile.
He tore his ACL in the season finale and this will drop him down draft boards. Wes Bunting has him rated very highly and says he could be a starting cornerback in the NFL in no time. He is a great athlete that is physical and has top notch speed. He could be a real bargain in the 3rd-5th round for us. Hogan has the ability to become a starting cornerback in the NFL and could take over for Terence Newman. With better coaching at the NFL level, his technique will get even better.
Chia's NFL Comparison: Tramon Williams
To The Max (Brandon Hogan Highlights) (via dougitydog)
Brandon Hogan WVU (via XxDOCTAZxADVACATExX)
I think all of these players are underrated and some of the best prospects in this draft that nobody talks about. Take a look at them and please feel free to discuss in the comment section. In my next draft profile series, I think I will profile some offensive lineman and defensive lineman. I did go over some tape on offensive lineman and came away impressed with one first round prospect I wasn't in love with before, but I was impressed with his overall game and he could definitely be a good starting right tackle in the NFL. So stay tuned to find out what offensive lineman is beginning to grow on me.