As we edge closer to the 2012 NFL Draft, the options for the Dallas Cowboys pick at #14 have certainly opened up. Previous to free agency, most observers had the Cowboys locked into a couple of players, either Dre Kirkpatick/Janoris Jenkins at cornerback, or David DeCastro at guard. Then the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr at corner, and Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard. Those moves gave the Cowboys plenty of space to look at a lot more prospects.
Carr is a top-tier signing and will absolutely be starting come the 2012 season. Livings and Bernadeau are not sure-fire locks for the starting lineup, although with both guard positions in flux, Livings is a good bet for one. So the offensive line is still an open question in my mind. Which brings me back to David DeCastro. He's hands-down the top guard in the draft, a player who is receiving rave reviews from every scout in the league. He's been compared to Steve Hutchinson when he came out and that is high praise.
Much more below...
A few days ago, our own OCC posted a collection of news links about the Cowboys, and one of them was to an article by the always-excellent Bob Sturm. Sturm is one of my favorite writers about the Cowboys, his knowledge and ability to explain the X's and O's are second to none. The particular link in this case was to a breakdown of a standard play in the Cowboys playbook dubbed 'G Power'.
Basically, Sturm describes a play which is a power run involving a pull by the off-play guard. Jason Garrett is a big fan of the play and used it extensively, except as Sturm notes, last year when the interior of the line was inexperienced at times and had been reshuffled so the timing and continuity wasn't there. He surmises that with a full offseason to practice it, and with experience from Livings in particular, the play could come back into vogue in 2012. The article is a great read, so I would suggest you give it a look.
Now the DeCastro connection. Yesterday, one of our sister blogs at SB Nation, Pacific Takes, had a detailed breakdown of a play involving Stanford and David DeCastro. That play looks remarkably similar to Sturm's 'G Power' play. So it naturally caught my eye. After devouring the article and the accompanying photos, I started thinking about how DeCastro would fit into the Cowboys offense. And he looks like a natural. What sealed it for me was an embedded YouTube video that broke down a game between Stanford and UCLA that focused on DeCastro. If you watch the video, you'll see Stanford runs the play we've been discussing, with DeCastro pulling, over and over. I've embedded that video for you below.
Over the past week, I've been fluctuating between wanting DeCastro in the draft, or picking up one of the group of pass rushers that we could get to complement DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Recently, I've even started to think about a 3-4 defensive end. In my heart though, I think I'm still wanting David DeCastro. The Cowboys need guard help (along with center), and DeCastro's scouting report says he is a rare talent. And then when I see that he's run one of the Cowboys bread-and-butter running plays repeatedly in college, with great effect, it just seems even more natural. Along the offensive line, I always thought Kyle Kosier was our best at pulling from the guard position. He's now gone, but maybe a replacement is on the way.
DeCastro vs. UCLA: