Back in March I did my updated Big Board V 2.0 and ended up with an editors pick from SB Nation Dallas. I was so proud of that moment, corny I know. When your recognized as a editors pick on a pretty busy website, I feel like it’s a honor. This is my updated board with the best fifty players in the draft according to me. This is truly a hard task, if you think its easy then I encourage you to sit down and rank fifty players. You end up leaving guys out you like, you also have trouble ranking questionable players. It is definitely a difficult task.
Top Ten movements? Not so much.
I really don’t have many shakeups on my big board. Patrick Peterson sits atop my big board for the third time. Peterson is the best talent in this draft. Von Miller I still have in my number two slot. Miller is easily the best pass rusher in this draft and will be a dynamite pick for a team in the top five. Tyron Smith is the best offensive lineman in the draft, that’s my guy and I have supported him for sometime now. The Fresh Prince still stands tall at number four. Prince doesn’t seem to be on the Cowboys radar, that is something to pay attention to. I didn’t move JJ Watt up but I love him where I have him ranked. I really see Watt being a great football player and a nice pick for a team, Watt is a very safe draft pick. Marcell Dareus continues to grow on me. I really wasn’t in love with this guy before but after the combine and watching some tape on him he really grew on me. Dareus is another safe draft pick, he will be a solid pro
Some pro days have taken place and that may have jumped or dropped guy on my list. My top ten now includes Gabe Carimi because I believe he might be the real deal at right tackle, possibly left tackle. I moved AJ Green into the top ten because he does have a top ten skill set at wide receiver. I dropped Brandon Harris down to thirteen because there are mixed opinions about him. Some say he is a dynamic player, others say he is too small. I really like Harris because he is physical and tackles extremely well. He is great in man to man coverage and is a lockdown caliber cornerback.
Robert Quinn: Quinn is falling down my board because of his workouts not being great and arising questions about his maturity. Da’Quan Bowers is a really intriguing prospect this draft. The guy has one huge year and the rest of his time at Clemson was decent, but the boom or bust aspect is beginning to arise around him. Bowers could actually fall to us at nine, but it would be a bittersweet pick for me. I think Bowers has amazing talent and potential, but I am wondering if he is a one year wonder. I am also not sure if he would be a good fit in our system, but good players find a way to succeed. Nick Fairley also has the same question marks, but the guy is a beast. The Cowboys might get lucky and see Fairley available with the ninth pick.
Cam Newton: A really big faller on my board is Cam Newton. I debated leaving him off my top fifty entirely but I ended up leaving him on the board. His attitude and whole approach has really swayed my opinion on him. I did believe at one point this was just a confident kid who could lead a team. After reading how so many teams were turned off by his diva type attitude, it really showed me that he might be a serious red flag this draft. Newton does have a top ten skill set, but his attitude and bag of red flags is way too much of a risk if I am looking for a quarterback. I don’t have Jake Locker rated higher than Newton yet, but that change might be coming soon. I would much rather invest a draft pick in Locker, who has great ability to develop into a solid quarterback. I think confidence is fine, good players should be confident. But when you start thinking you’re the man and are cocky, that’s a totally different look.
Mike Pouncey: Pouncey is a big winner on my board. Over the past month the more I looked at this kid at guard, he has really grown on me. People bash him because he had center issues this season at Florida. When I look at Mike Pouncey, I see a Pro Bowl caliber offensive guard. Call me crazy but I think Pouncey is one of the safest picks in the draft because he has the skills and his attitude is great. I definitely see teams pouncing on Pouncey, ha ha ha, because he offers you versatility. The Cowboys are highly interested in him and if we did trade down he would be my target.
Blaine Gabbert: Gabbert is another big winner on my board for a few reasons. This is a somewhat weak quarterback class, nobody has established themselves as the front runner yet. Teams will be turned off by Cam Newton and his whole diva thing. Gabbert has a real nice arm and can make every throw needed on the NFL level. I don’t have him in the first round but he does have first round talent if your looking for a quarterback this draft. He is also a film rat, and I love that about players. Guys who come in day one and hit the film room are valued highly on my draft board.
Safeties: There are some new additions to my board in this update. Basically every safety I had rated in the 35-50 range is now off my board due to questionable workouts. There will be good value in the third round, but I cant see any of them really worthy of a second round pick. DeAndre McDaniel and Quinton Carter do have second round talent, but right now I am questioning their speed.
Receivers: I inserted Titus Young over Torrey Smith. I actually think Torrey Smith is a really nice sleeper WR and I had a tough time on putting Leonard Hankerson over him. Smith is a bubble guy right now, so I left him out for Titus Young. Titus Young reminds me a lot of DeSean Jackson. I think a team will use a second round pick on Young, just like the Eagles did in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Other newcomers: Big boy Kenrick Ellis debuts at number forty five on my board. I think Ellis is the next 3-4 defensive tackle off the board after big bad Phil Taylor. Ellis will be highly sought after once Taylor is gone and I see Ellis shooting up the board in the second round. Ryan Williams is a running back I actually was a big fan of in college. He reminds me of DeAngelo Williams, its scary how similar these guys truly are. They have the same last name obviously, but both have this burst after twenty yards or so. Ryan Williams could of easily stayed in school and become a first round pick in 2012, but he came out early. A team will get a real bargain with Ryan Williams this draft. Johnny Patrick is a cornerback that is beginning to rise up the draft boards of NFL teams for a good reason. He is a great athlete that is physical. When you’re a good press coverage cornerback that tackles well, you will fly up that board on draft day.
Linebackers: I have some risers at linebacker as well. I really see Martez Wilson as a first round talent. He is a freak physically and is a good football player. Usually you don’t see both, most of the times there will be a freak athlete (Jason Williams 2008 3rd Round) who isn’t a good football player. Wilson is going to be a great value pick for a team this draft. I also really like Mason Foster and I wanted to rank him higher than forty but for now that’s where he is on my board. Foster can play all the linebacker positions and is just a hardnosed football player. He will appeal to both 4-3 and 3-4 teams because of how he was used at Washington. Foster basically played outside, but was also shifted inside. He would be a great fit for the Cowboys.
Akeem Ayers: I moved Ayers up the board but I still don’t have him that high. Many draft sites have him as their top rated linebacker over Martez Wilson but I just don’t see that. He is a nice prospect, definitely a great athlete but he might be a hybrid tweener type of prospect. I think he is one you rookie you have to stick him to one position either inside or outside linebacker and let him learn that position. With the way the Cowboys value linebackers in the draft, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ayers high on their draft board. I am willing to say that I think Martez Wilson will be ranked above Ayers on the Cowboys draft board because Wilson can rush the passer as a outside linebacker and has the range to play inside. Regardless Ayers will go in the first round and looks like a nice prospect, I am just not in love with him like some other draft gurus.
Justin Houston: I still have Justin Houston in my top fifteen because out of all these guys he is the best pass rusher. When 3-4 teams look for outside linebackers, they usually have to draft defensive ends and transition them to outside linebacker. That isn’t the case with Justin Houston. Former Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham took over the Georgia defense this year and installed a 3-4 defense. Houston excelled as a outside linebacker in that scheme. I have Houston ranked very high, when he could actually fall to the second round. If the Cowboys could get this kid I would be ecstatic. I think he is a better prospect than Anthony Spencer was coming out of school. Houston has the speed and pass rushing skills to become a dominant pass rusher. He is one of my under the radar guys. Whoever ends up with this guy will get a real draft steal
Cameron Heyward: Heyward is a difficult player to rank. I actually like Heyward better than Adrian Clayborn and I was in love with Clayborn last year. I think Heyward would be a better fit for our 3-4 than Clayborn would. Clayborn is a touted prospect on many draft boards but I am just not seeing it this year. Clayborn is ultimately ranked too low on my board, but I just don’t have that warm and tingly feeling I had last year about him. I actually am beginning to think fellow Hawkeye Christian Ballard might become the better pro. I really like Ballard and I wanted to rank him in my top fifty, but I just didn’t have room. If you actually sit down to rank fifty players, you will know what I mean.
Danny Watkins: The last guy I want to mention is BTB favorite Danny Watkins. I moved Watkins up a bit because I see so many teams interested in the guy. He is a littler older than most rookies but he has versatility and talent. He played left tackle this year for Baylor, which is amazing to me because I never saw him as a left tackle. He can play guard, center and right tackle. If you can add a versatile guy like that to your roster, it allows you a lot of flexibility on your fifty three man roster. I see Watkins being a solid contributor right away. He may not be the sexiest pick, but he is definitely a solid pick in the late first to early second round.
That’s my big board as of right now. I will update it one more time before the draft so you can get a feel for who we might be looking at with our second round pick, or if we trade down you could look at three of these guys possibly being Cowboys. Thanks to OCC for hooking this up, much appreciated my dude thanks. THIS LOOKS AMAZING OCC!!! THANKS MY DUDE!!!!
|2||2||Von Miller||OLB||Texas A&M|
|18||19||Anthony Castonzo||OT||Boston College|
|29||27||Stephen Paea||DT||Oregon State|
|30||30||Derek Sherrod||OT||Mississippi State|
|36||37||Stefan Wisniewski||C||Penn State|
|38||34||Kyle Rudolph||TE||Notre Dame|
|41||44||Cameron Heyward||DE||Ohio State|
|44||- -||Titus Young||WR||Boise State|
|45||- -||Kenrick Ellis||DT||Hampton|
|47||- -||Jake Locker||QB||Washington|
|48||49||Ras I Dowling||CB||Virginia|
|49||- -||Ryan Williams||RB||Virginia Tech|
|50||- -||Johnny Patrick||CB||Louisville|
|Blaine Gabbert||Julio Jones||Kyle Rudolph||Mark Ingram||Tyron Smith||Mike Pouncey|
|Cam Newton||AJ Green||Mikel Leshoure||Gabe Carimi||Danny Watkins|
||Anthony Castonzo||Stefan Wisniewski|
|Leonard Hankerson||Nate Solder|
|Marcell Dareus||JJ Watt||Von Miller||Martez Wilson||Patrick Peterson||Rahim Moore|
|Nick Fairley||Cameron Jordan||Justin Houston||Akeem Ayers||Prince Amukamara|
|Phil Taylor||Da'Quan Bowers||Mason Foster||Brandon Harris|
|Muhammad Wilkerson||Robert Quinn||Jimmy Smith|
|Stephen Paea||Aldon Smith||Aaron Williams|
|Marvin Austin||Cameron Heyward||Ras I Dowling|
|Corey Liuget||Adrian Clayborn||Johhny Patrick
ChiaCrack Note: I wrote this fan post earlier today and did not know that Pouncey had tweeted about being a Cowboy. OCC can vouch for me there. Crazy that I had Pouncey as a big mover up my board and now he might be a Cowboy. If we trade down and land Pouncey I will be thrilled guys.
[OCC here. I'll vouch for that. I received the full ranking and write-up before Pouncey's twitter announcement]