Cowboy-Specific Big Board By Round

Cudos to Archie for compiling his annual top 50 big board. I never thought I'd be able to compile a big board of my own. Instead, I was interested in doing a community BTB big board, but the fanposts don't allow for multiple polls. But, since I started doing the combine positional rankings, it was easy. Now, I planned on combining all the positional rankings, but I didn't expect that they'd come out to total 46 prospects, pretty close to a normal top 50. If you add some of my honorable mentions, it rounds out at over 50. Archie's big board comprises all positions, mine is very Cowboys focused. I've got the four positions that would impact the Cowboys the most: Defensive End, Outside Linebacker, Cornerback, and Guard/Center. If you haven't seen my positional ranking series for each of those, click the link on each. I also want to say that I did not include any safety prospects for these exercises. Yes, safety is a need. But, there are two things. First, safety would be a really big need had they not extended Sensabaugh, which pretty much limits you to finding only a free safety. Two, this years safety crop is very weak, there are only a handful of names worth talking about. Next year, I'm told, is the real time to get the safety of the future.

I am so not in love with the first round this year. We have some big weaknesses that need filling especially on defense. People are seemingly in love with guys such as Fletcher Cox, but I just don't see it. The sad truth is there is not a special defensive player such as JJ Watt in this draft, who you'd be happy to spend your first pick on. The only guy who I'd truly be happy with at #14 is fan favorite David DeCastro. DDC is a blue chip prospect at a position of weakness, and thats what you want out of your first rounder.

There are just so many players in the first round who I feel are all hype. They don't necessarily have the athletic measureables, and they don't necessarily have the impactful college production. Yet, every scout-type in the country shouts their names from the roof tops. Michael Brockers comes to mind as one of those guys you might think is good, just because somebody told you he was good.

In this draft, there are just too many later round guys who flash the athleticism, who have the college production, to make me sour on the idea of reaching for a over-hyped guy in the first round. For my money, I'd rather find a diamond in the rough than a cubic-zirconium in a display case.

Now, a word on the Cowboys tertiary needs such as third WR and 2nd TE. I think the Cowboys could go through this draft and not draft either of those positions, I really do. I'm a regular listener of the Cowboys radio shows The Lunch Break and Talkin' Cowboys. Usually I like some of what Mickey Spagnola has to say, but more often than not he says something I just can't agree with. His position is that the Cowboys must draft that 3rd WR. His reasoning is that out of our small treasure trove of 'back-up' 'developmental' wide receivers, only Ogltree has some actual, live NFL catches. So, he proposes we draft another WR in round 4 or 5. Ok, now, why would you want to do that exactly? The guy you draft in round 4 or 5 is going to come onto the team with how many NFL catches? Zero. Exactly the reason he states for not trusting any of the guys who are already on the team. Plus, that is completely ignoring Dwayne Harris, who we drafted last year. Sure, he was drafted in round 6, but so what? Are you saying that if he was drafted just a round or two earlier, you'd trust him more? Give him a chance, give all of them a chance. Heck, Ogletree was re-signed to compete, so let him compete already.

Also, 2nd tight end? Mickey says the primary reason for filling that spot is because nobody can do what Jason Witten does if he goes down. Ok, fair point. But, what if two guys can do what he does? They brought in Vickers, so if you had a down where Witten would block, have Vickers block. John Phillips ain't chopped liver. If you were going to have Witten out running a route, have Phillips run that route. You'll never replace the pass catching production of Witten if he goes down with Phillips, but neither will any FA TE or draft pick either. Now isn't the time to draft Witten's successor, especially over a defensive player who could help us now.

One more thing... Felix Jones and drafting a running back? Running back is not a position you really need to draft in advance. You disagree? Well look at DeMarco Murray. Drafted in the 3rd round and stepped into his rookie year rushing for almost 1,000 yards in about 6 games. If the Cowboys really want to let Felix walk next year, they can draft his replacement the same year. Its not like cornerback where we would have to draft Jenkins replacement this year.

Alright folks, here we go. Let me first explain my methodology for the round projections, so no one is confused. I'm going to go by each prospects ranking on CBSSports really big board with respect to the Cowboys picks in each round. So, if a players rank is within a certain round, but is before the Cowboy's pick in that round, then they project a round earlier. For example, in the 2nd round, if a player is ranked at 44, he is out of reach of the Cowboy's pick at 45 and must be projected in the 1st. However, if someone is close, I'll go ahead and project that they could easily slide down a round. *Those denoted with a Slide are ranked between Cowboys picks and could fall.

Round 1

  1. Morris Claiborne CB
  2. David DeCastro OG
  3. Quinton Coples OLB/DE
  4. Stephon Gilmore CB
  5. Melvin Ingram OLB
  6. Kevin Zeitler OG
  7. Kendall Reyes DE - Slide
  8. Nick Perry OLB/DE
  9. Vinny Curry OLB - Slide
  10. Fletcher Cox DE
  11. Andre Branch OLB - Slide
  12. Shea McClellin OLB - Slide
  13. Whitney Mercilus OLB
  14. Dre Kirkpatrick CB
  15. Armini Silatolu OG - Slide
  16. Janoris Jenkins CB - Slide
  17. Chandler Jones OLB/DE - Slide

Simply put, if Claiborne is there you take him, if DeCastro is there you take him. I'd take Gilmore over both Kirkpatrick and Jenkins. Coples and Ingram are boom or bust picks. Zeitler has become a fan favorite, but I don't think he's in play for the Cowboys, he'll go early 2nd at the latest I think. Not much else to say really. I'm sure not very many people would agree with my 1st round order. But hey, I told you I wasn't too thrilled with the 1st round.

Round 2

  1. Bruce Irvin OLB
  2. Tyrone Crawford DE - Slide
  3. Josh Robinson CB
  4. Brandon Brooks OG
  5. Mike Martin DE - Slide
  6. Casey Hayward CB - Slide
  7. Kelechi Osemele OG

To me, the 2nd round is the real treasure-trove of the draft. A lot of interesting and intriguing names here. Tough choices too. If the top 5 of these guys were all available at 45, I would weep. Who do you take? Hard decisions. For me, I'd have to take Bruce Irvin here at 45. Think his sign-breaking character concerns are going to have him slide? Think again. This guy is not getting out of the 2nd round according to the rankings. After him, I'd have to take the highly athletic, highly productive Tyrone Crawford. Then you have athletic freaks Robinson, Brooks, and Martin. Out of these guys, you have to hope one of them falls into the 3rd. But, only the DE's look likely to slide. Hayward and Osemele are worst case scenario picks in this round. Honorable mention: Alameda Ta'amu NT/DT.

Round 3

  1. Ron Brooks CB
  2. Michael Brewster OC - Slide
  3. Nigel Bradham OLB - Slide
  4. Kheeston Randall DE - Slide
  5. Josh LeRibeus OG - Slide
  6. Ben Jones OC

Not as many interesting names here in the 3rd round. If anyone falls out of the 2nd, you take them. Here, I'd take Brewster over Ben Jones. Ron Brooks and Bradham are flyers, you'd hope they fall. A lot of tweeners here who could fall. Honorable mention: Chase Minnifield CB.

Round 4

  1. Derek Wolfe DE
  2. Jonathan Massaqoui OLB
  3. Senio Kelemete OG
  4. Philip Blake OC

Not too many names projected here in the 4th where we have two picks. Derek Wolfe is a must take, probably at 113. If Massaquoi is BPA at 135, he'd be a very solid pick. Honorable Mention: Omar Bolden CB.

Round 5

  1. Jake Bequette OLB/DE
  2. Mike Harris CB - Slide
  3. Lucas Nix OG
  4. Coryell Judie CB

If Jake Bequette is there at 152, you run the pick up to the podium. Honorable mention: David Molk OC.

Round 6

  1. Coty Sensabaugh CB - Slide
  2. Ryan Miller OG
  3. Rishaw Johnson OG
  4. Brandon Lindsey OLB - Slide

I really like the athleticism Sensabaugh has. He could slide, but I wouldn't be disappointed spending 186 on him. Ryan Miller would be a very good guard prospect. Honorable mention: Akiem Hicks NT/DT.

Round 7

  1. Garth Gerhart OC
  2. Robert Blanton CB
  3. Terence Frederick CB
  4. Corey White CB/SS - UDFA

If by round 7 you find you still need a center, Gerhart would be a great choice here. If you still need a 2nd or even 3rd CB, Robert Blanton has a lot of athleticism you could develop. Honorable mention: Nicolas Jean-Baptiste NT/DT.


I'm going to offer you two mocks that I think would be the best combination of the talent I have laid out for you. One mock with us taking DeCastro and one without. The Cowboys will very likely be drafting a guard, so where that guard is taken effects what you do with the rest of the draft. For these mocks I'm going to project that if a guy is close to sliding, he will slide (just for fun, and best case scenario). Let's start with the DeCastro mock.

14. David DeCastro OG

45. Bruce Irvin OLB

81. Ron Brooks CB

113. Derek Wolfe DE

135. Philip Blake OC

152. Jake Bequette OLB/DE

186. Coty Sensabaugh CB

213. Robert Blanton CB

Total: 2 OL, 1 OLB, 2 DE, 3 CB

So, in this scenario you've got you're all-pro guard, a guy who could replace Costa, Spencer's replacement, two DEs who could start or develop to start, and carpet bombed Jenkins replacement. You like?

Alright, mock number 2. In this mock DeCastro is gone. So what would I do? I'd trade down into the 20's to pick me up a 2nd rounder. I'm not sure if a 2nd rounder is realistic for a trade down, but heck this is a mock.

25?. Stephon Gilmore CB

45. Bruce Irvin OLB

50?. Brandon Brooks OG

81. Tyrone Crawford DE

113. Michael Brewster OC

145. Derek Wolfe DE

152. Jake Bequette OLB/DE

186. Akiem Hicks NT

213. Coty Sensabaugh CB

Wow? Wow.

There you have it folks, about 50 prospects who could help us shore up our weaknesses on OL and DL, replace Spencer, and replace Jenkins. More than anything thats what I think this draft should be about.

The Cowboys are going to throw us curve balls in this coming draft for sure, think about last year. We all knew about Tyron Smith. But, did any of us know about ANY of the other draft picks? Pretty sure we didn't. I'm sure to be disappointed with the Cowboys passing on some of these guys who I'm really high on. This is just my analysis of the prospects who could strengthen what I consider our 4 biggest areas of weakness.

On April 26, I'll be chowing down on pizza, eagerly awaiting the Cowboys pick at #14. See you there.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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