On Monday morning, one of the front page writers of Mocking The Draft published a six round mock draft. He had the Cowboys taking the following players: Janoris Jenkins (CB), Kelechi Osemele (G), Phillip Blake (C), Kendall Reyes (DE), Eddy Whitley (S), and Tanner Brock (ILB). It was a nice effort, however, better players were left on the table each time he had the Dallas Cowboys making their selection.
Blogging The Boys own front page writer, One.Cool.Customer, aka OCC saw the mock draft, and put his spin on it. His method was simple, "[w]hat I like to do when I browse through these mocks is to look at which player I would have chosen for the Cowboys instead of the player proposed in the original mock...[and]...the player I choose instead of the pick proposed by MTD must be ranked lower in their mock draft than where the Cowboys are picking." If you haven't read his article detailing his alternate selections, click on the link provided. After the jump, I'm going to take my shot at a six round mock draft following OCC's guideline, and using CBS's current prospect rankings to measure the value.
The Dallas Cowboys have the following needs according to MTD: Corner, Guard, Center, Safety, Defensive End, Pass Rusher, Inside Linebacker, Nose Tackle, Kicker, and Punter. Since the Cowboys have said they will follow the Best Player Available approach, as they view Free Agency as the place to sure up needs, then I too will go by BPA in making my picks.
"The Dallas Cowboys select, RB Trent Richardson from Alabama."
Just as predicted, a consensus Top 5 talent fell in the First Round. Jacksonville used the #8 pick to select Quinton Coples (Ranked 12th). Carolina used the #9 on Dre Kirkpatrick (Ranked 10th). Buffalo reached with the #10 on Michael Floyd (Ranked 21st). Kansas City used the #11 on David DeCastro (Ranked 11th). Seattle used the #12 on Michael Brockers (Ranked 13th). Arizona used the #13 on Courtney Upshaw (Ranked 18th).
Remember, the 2010 draft? After finding a hidden gem in Miles Austin during the 2009 season, Dallas moved up to #24 and picked Dez Bryant, after their two other targets Mike Iupati and Earl Thomas were off the board. This time Dallas didn't give up any extra picks, the draft came to them. Although I was tempted to take Melvin Ingram (Ranked 19th) or Janoris Jenkins (Ranked 17th), taking Richardson (Ranked 5th) was the better move. There is no elite "can't miss" pass rusher in this draft. Furthermore, there's a deep CB class in this draft and in free agency that I feel Dallas won't be in the position of being forced to just take one because they need to. Additionally, teams bomb the draft when they pass on an elite talent. Trent Richardson is a blue chip talent. How does he compare to what the Boys have on their current roster? Felix Jones is viewed as nothing more than a change of pace back, who keeps getting hurt; also, it's unclear if he will be with the team in 2013. Yes, the Cowboys look to have struck oil with DeMarco Murray (3rd rd pick in 2011). However, he too has a history of getting injured, which is why he wasn't considered a top 50 pick in 2011. Moreover, Murray couldn't stay healthy his rookie season, broken ankle in the first Giants game. On the other hand, Richardson has no injury history. He was a durable player, who also has plenty of tread on his tires, as he wasn't rode into the ground for the two time National Champs. I always say never look a gift horse in the mouth.
"The Dallas Cowboys select, DT Dontari Poe from Memphis."
We all agree that for Dallas' defense to get consistent pressure on the QB, the defensive line needs to improve. Most of us also agree that Dallas should move current NT Jay Ratliff over to DE as he'll be more effective long term. Additionally, Jerry Jones said during the Senior Bowl that he wanted to mold this defense after the Ravens. Poe (Ranked 30th) allows them to do just that. What makes the Ravens so good is NT Haloti Ngata, 6'4 330 pound anchor in the middle of their DL. The key to a really good 3-4 defense, is to have NT who can collapse the pocket up the middle, which prevents the QB from stepping up in the pocket. Poe is a big dude cut out of the Ngata mold, checking in at 6'5 350 pounds. I highly doubt the BTB posters will be ready to Occupy Valley Ranch over this pick. As this selection clearly scores a TD since it represents the scenario where BPA and NEED collide. I agree with O.C.C. with this pick.
"The Dallas Cowboys select, CB Leonard Johnson from Iowa State."
It's well documented that the Cowboys need to upgrade the secondary. Johnson (Ranked 47th) is 5'10 198. At this spot he's a great value pick, as MTD had him going to Jacksonville in the 4th Rd. Mike Mayock really liked this kid a lot at the Senior Bowl. All week he was one of the best corners, in either off coverage or man coverage. According to his CBS profile "he plays better against elite competition [and] held Justin Blackmon under 100 receiving yards..." He's adept to playing both press or zone coverage. He likes to get physical with WRs. While he won't make the spectacular INT, he's adept to knocking the ball away, and will make a play on a ball thrown in front of him. He also seems like an RKG, as he's considered a vocal leader who directs traffic, plays with a short memory, and has a strong attitude. If he runs a 4.3-4.4 forty at the combine, he could move up the board.
Some other guys I considered with this pick: Brandon Brooks (OG), Jared Crick (DE), George Iloka (FS), and Kirk Cousins (QB).
"The Dallas Cowboys select, OLB Johnathan Massaquoi,from Troy."
That sound you hear is the collective forehead slapping done by every other gm in the league. I must have read over MTD's 6 round mock draft 10 times between last night and today just to make sure I really didn't see his name called. Massaquoi (Ranked 61st) is 6'2 255 and could arguably be the sleeper in this draft that turns out to be the best pass rusher. His Kirwan Production Ratio is an outstanding 2.02 splash plays per game over the last two seasons (which are his career numbers as well). In my opinion, in the Fourth Rd, why not swing for the fences and see if you can strike it rich and find the next great pass rusher from Troy. Dallas took a gamble on DeMarcus Ware in 2005 (First Rd), and it worked. In 2003, he Giants took a gamble on Osi Umenyiora (Second Rd) and it worked. Whether or not we franchise Anthony Spencer, Massaquoi provides good depth at the pass rush spot (always nice to have options off the bench), and he could challenge Victor Butler for playing time should Spencer's services be retained for another year.
Although I liked Kendall Reyes, Massaquoi is a talent that his hard to pass up. Also, there's less of an need for DE considering I've already taken Poe in the second round and putting him at DT, which allows Jay Ratliff to slide over to one of the DE spots.
"The Dallas Cowboys select, CB Cliff Harris, from Oregon."
I just couldn't pass up the chance at this pick. Harris (Ranked 136th) would've been a first round talent in 2012 had just played fast and furious on the field. Instead his need for speed, and driving without a valid license got him in trouble up in Oregon. He's 5'10 168, and projects to run a 4.3-4.4 forty. If he does that, he would be a nice weapon to have against DeSean Jackson. In 2010, he lead the Oregon Ducks with 6 INTs, 17 pass deflections, and a stellar 18 yards per return on punts. Dallas hasn't had a dynamic punt returner since Deion Sanders. He would be able to bring depth at CB, challenge Orlando Scandrick for playing time, and would double as the punt returner. Don't worry Cliff, there's no penalty for accelerating into 5th gear in the NFL. This is the perfect round to take a chance on a guy who may or may not be an RKG.
"The Dallas Cowboys select, OL Quentin Saulsberry from Missippi State."
Not settling for an offensive lineman in rounds 2 thru 5 paid off. Dallas got good value with this pick, as Saulsberry (Ranked 144th) was still on the board. He's 6'3 302 and is very versatile. He was a 4 year starter in the SEC, starting over 50 games at the following positions: Right Guard (19), Left Guard (13), Right Tackle (12), Center (6). He's described as physical, aggressive, tenacious, has a top motor, plays through the whistle, and looks to eliminate the defender from the play. He's comparable to the Chiefs 2nd round pick from last year, C Rodney Hudson. With the right coaching from Bill Callahan, Saulsberry has potential to develop into a starter.
Dallas comes away with a nice haul. They make a splash in the first round thanks to Trent Richardson falling to them. They get good value up and down the draft board at positions of need. The nose tackle possession was addressed. There should be no complaints that Dallas didn't address the secondary, as 2 corners were taken between rounds 3-5, both could see extended playing time if not this year, then possibly in 2013. The Boys also got a potential replacement for Anthony Spencer with a fourth round pick.
Now it's your turn BTB. Use the comments to let me know where I screwed up, what I should've done differently, and whether or not I should be fired for taking Richardson at 14. If you like it, show me the love.