Draft Special: Billy Winn

After a strictly offensive minded draft this past April, you would imagine the Dallas Cowboys scouting department is spread out across the country scouting the best defensive products out there for our system. The only positions the Cowboys should be looking at on offense is guard and wide receiver, that's it. We need to have a defensive oriented draft this next April. There are far too many needs on the defensive side of the football to ignore it once again in the draft. It is time to let Rob Ryan take over and have some say on what type of players HE wants for his system.

We all know the secondary will be a focal point of the Cowboys scouting efforts and we already touched that topic in a previous fan post of mine. The next type of prospects we should be looking for are on the defensive line. In this fan post I am going to single out one defensive player who I have grown to like over the past two years. In my upcoming draft specials I will touch on the other defensive lineman we should be targeting.

Whenever Boise State is on the tube I usually tend to pay close attention to their games. Boise State has been producing NFL caliber talent for years now and they always seem to have a talented team with pro ready players. Another reason I keep an close eye on Boise State is due to the fact we landed Orlando Scandrick back in the 5th round of the 2008 draft. Drafting more Boise players wouldn't be a bad idea according to Wes Bunting, one of my favorite draft guru's. On his weekly session with Raf, Bunting suggests Cowboys fans pay close attention to what is going on in Boise because their type of defensive players actually fit the type of players we are looking for.

Billy Winn is a name that really came into play for me last year. Many were talking about Ryan Winterswyk, but whenever I watched Boise play I payed more attention to #90, Billy Winn. He would be perfect for our system because he can attack and be disruptive, but still hold up in the run game as well. Wes Bunting made a comment about how teams should move away from the big space eaters that are only good in the run game and move towards the 6'2-6'4 type players that give you more on the pass rush and can still play in the run game.

Let's take a closer look at Billy Winn and what he would bring to the table for us.

Billy Winn 

Boise State

6'3 300



Billy Winn is from the Las Vegas area, just like our 2011 third round pick DeMarco Murray. Winn entered the Boise State lineup as a redshirt freshman and never looked back. Ever since entering the Boise starting lineup, Winn has become a big time player for the Boise State defense. He moves from defensive tackle over to defensive end throughout the game and is a versatile player. The Cowboys always look for versatility in their players and I think they will really like having the ability of lining Winn up all over the field.

During his sophomore season Winn really started to shine bright. He finished the year with 44 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks. Winn earned 2nd team All WAC honors in just his sophomore season. During his junior campaign is where he started to garner national attention for his tremendous play on the Boise defense. Winn finished the year with 28 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Winn also earned his second straight 2nd team All Wac honors.

Entering his senior season Winn really was in the spotlight earning a lot of preseason hype. Winn is on the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski and Benarik watch list this season. I believe he is one of the more underrated defensive players in the nation and is finally starting to see some recognition for his play.

Here is what draft guru Wes Bunting had to say about him during his weekly special with Raf on Cowboys Nation.

Let's start with Billy Winn, their defensive tackle.  He's 6'3'', he's 300 lbs.  He's got a great get off.  He's strong in the hands.  He can anchor in the run game.  He can get off blocks.  I think most teams are going to consider him a one-gap, 4-3 defensive tackle.  But I would have said the same thing about Ziggy Hood when he came out.  The Steelers took him at the end of the 1st round and he's become a really good 5-technique for them. 

Plus, on 3rd down he kicks inside and you can 1-gap there.  I know the Cowboys do some of this.  I think Billy Winn is a really intriguing guy for Cowboys fans to watch as a 5-technique. 

Here is Bunting talking about how teams should move away from the run only defenders.

WB:  I don't think it's just Dallas.  It's all about getting to the passer and teams are now getting away from those 6'5'', 6'6'', 6'7'', 310-315 lb. 5-techniques that all they can do is play the run.  They want guys who are 6'2'' to 6'4'' 300 lbs. who can still anchor, but give you some real up-the-field explosiveness.  If they do have to play the pass, they can give you something.

If anyone has had the opportunity to watch Ziggy Hood play for the Steelers than you would understand my appreciation for Billy Winn and his football skills. We need a defensive end like this simply because we don't have too many players with this type of talent right now on the defensive line. We need a guy that is disruptive and can get sacks, but at the same time we need this defensive end to hold up in the run game. Billy Winn is the carbon copy of what we are looking for on our defensive line.

So let us take a look at the pro's Winn possesses 

  • Great first step and get off, really quick off the line
  • Strong hands
  • Can anchor in the run game
  • Can get off blocks
  • Disruptive and gets into the backfield 
  • Strong
  • Quick
  • Experience starting and playing in big games against good competition
  • Productive player ever since he entered the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman 
  • Hard worker, aka the RKG
  • Good motor
  • Good body type for the 3-4 defense, thick and built lower body
  • Very versatile player that can play in a variety of spots on the field
  • Three down player, not a one trick pony

Honestly he really doesn't have too many negatives from the games I have seen from him. However I will list some negatives that I know will come up around his name come draft time.

  • Needs to continue adding more weight to his frame
  • Can he hold up to the NFL competition?
  • What position will he play? DE or DT?
  • Does he have the size and strength to play in a 3-4?
  • Needs to develop more pass rushing moves
  • What is his real size? I have seen different listings for him on basically every different website that showcases Billy Winn

Right now I see Winn as a 2nd-3rd round prospect, but his stock is on the rise. He was on every award and preseason All American watch list that is out there. Boise is also getting the benefit of playing more games on national television, so he will have more exposure to the fans and scouts out there. If Winn has another productive season in Boise, I see no reason why he can't cement himself as a first round pick. That may be a reach and I honestly hope it is, but Winn is hands down one of the best defensive prospects in the upcoming draft this April.

Winn reminds me a lot of the Jay Ratliff type players the Cowboys search for every year in the draft. I feel that Winn would be a excellent fit for this football team and could make an impact right away. He will have four years of starting experience under his belt and can start right away as a rookie on the defensive line. Good five techniques are hard to find, so I would pounce if Winn is on the board whenever we decide to take a defensive lineman. Hopefully Winn can fall to the 2nd round, that would be the best place to get a player like Winn.

The Cowboys need to draft for the defense this time around. Jason Garrett had his offensive draft and I liked the players he brought it, but now it is Rob Ryan's turn to get his type of players for his defense. Rob Ryan will love Billy Winn because he is a Rob Ryan type of player. Ryan loves defensive players that are versatile and can be employed in so many different ways. We need help on this defense, we need to add youth and talent. Please let Rob bring in his type of players, that way this defense can reach it's full potential.

If your like me and love watching college football for scouting players for next April, you will need to tune into any Boise State game that is on. Boise State is a program that is run the right way and is always stock full of talent that is suitable for the draft. Boise State is also a team that is coached very well and you know your going to be getting a smart football player that plays the game the right way. The RKG Garrett is always talking about is now a big part of the draft process and I think Boise has those RKG's Garrett is looking for.

On the next Draft Special: Josh Chapman NT Alabama


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