Former ESPN NFC East blogger and current Fox Sports Southwest writer Matt Mosley appeared on the Ben and Skin Show on KESN-FM 103.3 yesterday to discuss what he has been hearing out of Valley Ranch about the Cowboys’ draft plans. Mosley told Ben and Skin that if the Cowboys can trade trade down from No. 9, they will. Claiming ‘multiple conversations’ he had yesterday, Mosley is convinced the Cowboys don’t see much difference between Tyron Smith and other OTs like Anthony Castonzo and particularly Nate Solder, who the Cowboys apparently think is an even better athlete than Doug Free.
In the interview and in his article on Fox Sports Southwest, Mosley narrows down the list of potential candidates for the Cowboys’ top pick this year to Solder, J.J. Watt and Prince Amukamara, with Cameron Jordan just slightly behind those three. In an interesting side note, Wade Phillips appears to be getting some of the blame for the recent bad drafts, while Garrett is getting "rave reviews" so far. Truth, revisionist history, spin control? Take your pick.
Is all of this an elaborate smokescreen by the Cowboys and Mosley just the unsuspecting messenger, or is there meat to this story? We’ll find out for sure in nine days. Until then you can read a full transcript of the interview after the break or listen to a recording here.
[Hat tip to Scottmaui for the Fanshot]
Ben & Skin: What whispers are you hearing about what the Cowboys want to do at No. 9?
Matt Mosley: "They want to trade down, and I think there are so many people that need a big-play wide receiver, need one of these quarterbacks. And so I think there's some thought from the Cowboys that if one of these guys starts slipping - whether it's Blaine Gabbert, whether it's Julio Jones sitting there at No. 9 from Alabama - that there's going to be some interest from teams wanting to come rolling up there into that top 10. I think the Cowboys would be content to move down off of that pick."
"I was convinced, and I led the Tyron Smith movement and I appreciate you guys supporting that. [Jason Garrett] went to USC, spent time on the campus with the kid, every mock drafter in America has Tyron Smith [going to the Cowboys]."
"What I’m telling you today, you’re the first to hear this, is that that will soon change. This could be the Cowboys trying to put down a smokescreen, saying they don’t want Tyron Smith, but after multiple conversations yesterday, I am convinced that the Cowboys don't think there's that much difference between, say, Castonzo, the offensive tackle and then Nate Solder, the offensive tackle out of Colorado. They think that Tyron Smith and those two tackles are right there pretty close together."
"I guess what I’m telling you is that as of about seven o’clock last night, I’ve sort of started backing of my "Tyron Smith to the Cowboys at No. 9."
"I think it's time to start thinking about some of these other names, including this J.J. Watt from Wisconsin. I get the sense that the Cowboys could take him at defensive end and never look back. And they feel like he'll be a great player in the league for the next 10-12 years."
Q: Is this more about them falling out of love with Tyron Smith, or is it about wanting to trade down or is it about wanting to take a defensive tackle or end?
A: "If you look back over history, how many top ten picks have the Cowboys spent on an offensive lineman or an offensive tackle specifically? I don’t think this is them falling out of love him as much as them saying: "Listen, we know what a great offensive lineman looks like, because there are some of the same scouts on this staff that found Larry Allen." I just don’t think they think Tyron Smith has that kind of feeling. I know Larry Allen is a Hall Of Famer, but a lot of us have been convinced Tyron Smith is by far the most special offensive lineman in this draft. I don't think the Cowboys are there. The Cowboys are still very open to getting some other players, including – when I was talking to someone within the organization last night - Prince Amukamara from Nebraska, who a lot of people have dismissed, and a lot of people have him going 13 to the Detroit Lions, he's still in play for the Cowboys."
"And that’s not a name, for whatever reason – and I may have let Randy influenece me on this, Randy just thinks that Prince A is a no-go and isn’t a guy you should be thinking about at No. 9 – the Cowboys have not shut the door on Prince A at all."
Q: Do you think the Cowboys are definitely willing to trade down?
A: "If they can, they will.[…] They would not be opposed to going all the way down to like 17 or 18. […] If they could still get the player they want at No. 9, the guy on their board, and get him at 15 or 16, then I think it makes sense to try and move down. If they get all the way down to 17 or 18, the names would be like in that Nate Solder range, the offensive tackle from Colorado. They think he is, from what I can tell, they like him. They think he's a better athlete than Doug Free. Now is he going to be the player that Doug Free appears to be? I don't know. But they do think that Nate Solder probably has the capacity to start for 10 years in the league."
Q: Does it make sense for a team that defines drafting ineptitude to get cute in the draft?
A: "[...] Some of the problem was Wade in that. Wade would come in, not really visit with the scouts a whole lot, and then just like: "Hey, I like this guy. I like this [Jason] Williams guy. I like what he does." And he would kind of fall in love with these guys. We always paint this picture of Jerry never trusting Wade and not letting him do anything but from the way I hear it, Jason Williams, that was a total Wade pick. Wade loved this guy."
"So what I think is encouraging is that I think Garrett is going to really let the scouts do their work. Listen to them. […] He’s getting rave reviews."