It's time for the latest installment of Averaging The Mocks, and I'm not going to play any games here: My latest attempt to find a most-likely pick for the Dallas Cowboys has landed on a name that makes me, and I think a lot of people here, very happy. David DeCastro is, according to my admittedly quixotic methodology, the most likely pick for the Dallas Cowboys at 14 in the NFL Draft.
Let me take a moment to explain again what I am trying to do here. I have taken a wide selection of recent mock drafts, in this installment 24 total, and by assigning a weighted point value to the first twenty picks in each, come up with a consensus estimate for the first round. I plan to go back after the draft and see if this got anywhere close, but for now, this is for me an interesting look at the collective view of what is likely to happen next week at the Draft.
If you are wondering why I only use the first twenty picks, there are several reasons. First, I was trying to keep this manageable. Second, the further into the mocks you get, the more varied the projections get, and by the time you get very far past the midpoint of round one, there seems to be a lot of either guesswork or variation in the methodology and accuracy of the predictions. And finally, I am primarily interested in what this predicts for the Cowboys, and twenty was plenty far enough to accomplish that.
However, I also think there are some other things that can be taken from this exercise.
And I'll mention one or two after the jump
First off, here is the round I came up with, compared with the 3.0 version. If you want to see the entire chart I used to develop this to get some idea of what mocks are involved, you can see the spreadsheet here.
|1||Andrew Luck QB Stanford||320||Andrew Luck QB Stanford||480||-|
|2||Robert Griffin III QB Baylor||304||Robert Griffin III QB Baylor||456||-|
|3||Matt Kalil OT USC||284||Matt Kalil OT USC||430||-|
|4||Morris Claiborne CB LSU||257||Trent Richardson RB Alabama||403||+2|
|5||Justin Blackmon WR Ok. St.||249||Morris Claiborne CB LSU||382||-1|
|6||Trent Richardson RB Alabama||241||Justin Blackmon WR Ok. St.||347||-1|
|7||Quentin Couples DE NC||181||Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M||303||+2|
|8||Riley Reiff T Iowa||160||Melvin Ingram OLB SC||279||+2|
|9||Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M||157||Riley Reiff T Iowa||239||-1|
|10||Melvin Ingram OLB SC||154||Quentin Coples DE NC||209||-3|
|11||Dontari Poe DT Memphis||151||Michael Floyd WR ND||207||+2|
|12||David Decastro G Stanford||117||Fletcher Cox DT Miss. St.||207||+4|
|13||Michael Floyd WR ND||116||Luke Kuechly ILB Boston C.||184||+1|
|14||Luke Kuechly ILB Boston C.||105||David Decastro G Stanford||142||-2|
|15||Michael Brockers DT LSU||103||Dontari Poe DT Memphis||138||-4|
|16||Fletcher Cox DT Miss. St.||98||Mark Barron FS Alabama||107||+9|
|17||Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama||67||Michael Brockers DT LSU||101||-2|
|18||Courtney Upshaw OLB Ala.||62||Courtney Upshaw OLB Ala.||75||-|
|19||Johnathan Martin T Stanford||37||Stephon Gilmore CB SC||70||+4|
|20||Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Ill.||32||Cordy Glenn G Georgia||56||+1|
|21||Cordy Glenn G Georgia||31||Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Ill.||51||-1|
|22||Janoris Jenkins CB N. Ala.||26||Nick Perry DE USC||47||+4|
|23||Stephon Gilmore CB SC||25||Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama||38||-6|
|24||Mike Adams T Ohio St||19||Johnathan Martin T Stanford||34||-5|
|25||Mark Barron FS Alabama||18||Mike Adams T Ohio St||16||-1|
|26||Nick Perry DE USC||10||Devon Still DT PSU||10||+2|
|27||Andre Branch DE Clemson||10||Andre Branch DE Clemson||6||-|
|28||Devon Still DT PSU||9||Peter Konz C Wisconsin||5||new|
|29||Don'ta Hightower ILB Alabama||6||Janoris Jenkins CB N. Ala.||5||-6|
|30||Kendall Wright WR Baylor||4||Dont'a Hightower ILB Alabama||5||-1|
|31||Lamar Miller RB Miami (Fl)||4||Kendall Wright WR Baylor||4||-1|
|32||Jerel Worthy DT MSU||1||Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse||3||new|
DeCastro at 14 is very good news in my eyes. Some more good news is the next two names, which could be considered fallback positions for the Cowboys. Dontari Poe and Mark Barron are both names that have been mentioned quite often here as desired picks for Dallas, and they both are not only likely to be available, should DeCastro get taken earlier than predicted, but very, very close in perceived value. Widening the net slightly, names like Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, Courtney Upshaw, and Stephon Gilmore are all very close to the fourteenth pick.
Of course, the big question is how accurate any of this is. I don't know, but by seeking a large sample of some well-known mocks (and using many of the same ones OCC does - I only steal from the best) I hope to get some people who are doing their homework and who know a bit about the NFL and the draft process. Certain things are also starting to emerge in this analysis.
The top of the draft is starting to stabilize. The top two picks are consistent in every single mock I found, and the top six names are pretty much all there in every one, with just a bit of shuffling up and down a pick or two. Trent Richardson made a bit of a jump this time around, but was the only one of the top six to show any real movement. I hope that means that things are getting closer to what actually plays out, because I like the possibilities that are lining up for the Cowboys.
Ryan Tannehill is the wild card in this draft. He showed up at the seventh slot, but most of the mocks have him actually going at eight. The variation comes from a couple of mocks that show him going at the fourth pick, and one mock that had him sliding all the way to the second round. The latter seems highly unlikely with all the interest he has garnered, but he has an excellent chance to be the first prospect to really shake things on Draft Day.
After the "blue chips" and Tannehill are taken, things are very unpredictable. The six or so names just before Dallas goes on the clock could go many different ways, and it seems almost probable that at least one name that we do not expect is going to be in the mix for Dallas. Some team, and more than likely several teams, are going to make choices that seem a mystery to everyone else. That is simply the history of the draft. Will one or more of those off the wall picks happen before Dallas gets to decide what to do? Again, history says it is not a bad bet.
My best case scenario? This turns out to be almost dead on, and Dallas sends a card with David DeCastro's name to the podium. I am in the camp that thinks he is simply too good to pass over. The team can get defensive help in the next few rounds and still have the offensive line pretty much set for years to come. And if that doesn't happen, it looks like there are some very good alternatives shaping up for the team.