Random Thoughts On The Cowboys, Morris Claiborne, And The Rest Of The First Round

A really great picture, spoiled by the guy on the left.

The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft was an exhilarating experience. It went by at a lightening clip, there were huge picks, some real head-scratchers, and eight trades. Oh, and the Dallas Cowboys made a stunning and daring move to trade up to get Morris Claiborne, the number one defensive player in the draft.

I know that there are going to be some in-depth analysis of Pick Six from KD and Archie, so I am going to go more with impressions and thoughts about both his acquisition and the first round in general, and maybe some thoughts about the rest of the draft. Mostly, I just want to share a little of the excitement, or open some discussion for those that are not totally happy about how it all went down.

First off, one thing that came up repeatedly in the feed from DallasCowboys.com was that this was a completely unanimous decision for the team. Everybody was on board for this trade. Jerry Jones got to make a big, splashy move for a very shiny new toy, Jason Garrett got the number two man on the Dallas board, and Rob Ryan could not possibly be happier. Ryan always said he was only looking at defensive backs, and getting the best one in the draft has to have him drooling over what he is going to be able to do, even before he sees what else might be added to his toolbox. Or, in his own words:

And it looks like the rest of the team is rather happy as well.

All those exclamation points must mean they are right!!!!!!!!!

More after the jump

One thing that the Cowboys most certainly did adhere to: They followed their board. I can't criticize the team for going after the player they had right behind Andrew Luck.

Elsewhere around the NFC East: We all knew that the Washington Redskins were getting Robert Griffin III, which is another good reason for beefing up the secondary. But the pick that most made me a bit queasy was the move by the Philadelphia Eagles to move up and grab Fletcher Cox. Cox was seen as a possible top ten prospect in the days leading up to the draft, making him a bit of a bargain at 12. I am not at all happy at the thought of him lining up in the Eagles' wide nine. I hope the offensive line is going to be up to the task.

The New York Giants took a less intimidating pick in RB David Wilson out of Virginian Tech. Wilson is certainly a dynamic running back, having amassed a very impressive 1,709 yards rushing, but there were some other players available that might have been more useful. Given the problems they have on their offensive line, I was surprised they didn't grab G Cordy Glenn or T Jonathan Martin. Admittedly, the thirty-second pick is not often going to get a big star, but I still thought they could have spent it better.

For a review of the NFC East draft from last night, here's video from SB Nation with their take and grades.

Speaking of using your draft picks better, here are my three nominees for the worst reaches in the first round:

  • Seattle Seahawks taking Bruce Irvin at 15. The first big reach of the round, Irvin was seen as a second or even third-round pick by most of the prognosticators. A lot of red flags involved with him. It makes me wonder if Pete Carroll has fully made the transition from college to the NFL.
  • Cleveland Browns taking Brandon Weeden at 22. While Weeden is the fourth-best quarterback in the NFL draft, he now holds the record for being the oldest first-round pick since the merger of the old AFL with the NFL. Another case of how the quarterback position is the most overvalued in the league.
  • San Francisco 49ers taking A. J. Jenkins at 30. There were several higher rated wide receivers still available, such as Stephen Hill, Rueben Randle, and Alshon Jeffrey.

Those may work out, but I think the odds are against them.

I am wondering if we were mistaken about David DeCastro, who lasted until the Pittsburgh Steelers got him at 24, or if the Steelers got one of the real steals of the first round. I think the latter, with DeCastro being a victim of the long established prejudice against taking guards with high picks.

Conversely, was Mark Barron a reach at 7? I'm not sure Tampa Bay got good value there.

Now the big question for the Cowboys is whether to make a trade to get back into the second round, or to roll with what they have. While there are a lot of good players still out there for the second round, the Cowboys might be able to do quite well with what they have left. Just looking at the list of remaining names from that list at Mocking The Draft, there would likely be some good players still around when Dallas' third round pick, 81 overall, comes up.

And that is just based on one ranking. Given some of the decisions made already, there could be other names that could come to the Cowboys if they are patient. I would lean towards not making another trade. Of course, I didn't think I was in favor of trading up in the first round. Turns out I was wrong there.

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