We all have seen so many different possibilities for our 1st round choice, it seems most mockers cannot come to a consensus. I remember during one period of time, out of 12 mocks there were 11 different selections! But now the dust has started to settled a bit since the combine (hype machine) and pro-days, we are winding down to each team bringing in their targetted prospects for private work-outs (invites). This is also the time that smokescreen is being pumped out by all 32 teams. So are we really getting a clearer picture of how the draft will play out or are we now more confused than before?
For our Cowboys, it seems like the latest rumors were pointing towards Dontari Poe (NT) out of Memphis. While I know most fans on this site are on the DeCastro train, but from the general vibe that's been coming out of the ranch, we will be targetting a defensive player with our 1st pick. Maybe not at #14th overall as scripted currently, but that 1st round pick most likely will be a defender. Now, most of us will not be finding any of this as news (that's not what I'm here to do, we have our beloved super-computer also known as OCC for that!). But what I'm trying to do is try to move through the smokescreen and try to figure out what is the 'most likely' plan for our 1st pick.
We already had that rumor with the possible feeler for the #6 overall pick (Browns or Rams), with that option, the most likely target will be Morris Claiborne. I love his ball-skills, but NO! ...We're not biting on that one. You may be thinking, uh-oh, he's gonna say Poe, I think I remember him doing a Mock with Poe in the first! Get him!!!!! ...No, no, I'm not going there either. Legend's 1st and only Mock (cowboys only)
Follow me after the jump for our 1st pick .
So the main thing I was trying to accomplish was to maneuver through the smokescreens, and here are few things that I did to help narrow down the 'process'.
We all should be able to agree based on history, whoever the selection is, they are likely on the list of players we are bringing in for a visit. We also 'should' only focus on the defensive side of ball (sorry DeCastro). Now, this is where it gets hard, the possible defenders on the list is fairly long. But I will follow history once again, and put some extra stock into our one and only JG5000 visit, and that was Alabama's (2nd pro-day). Of course we all knew this already as well, so here comes the theory.
Last year if you guys can recall, we brought in a bunch of Olinemen, specifically Tackles. Along with this stud defensive player we all wanted (or wouldn't have minded), JJ Watt. After the pro-days and invites, I remember the hype was around JJ Watt for our #9 pick, and it almost made sense. Then, coming closer to draft day, eventhough JG5000 had visited USC, the hot rumor was 'Nate Solder to Dallas'. Of course we all know who we winded up selecting.
Now this year, following my hunch and past history, I'm beginning to feel that David DeCastro is our JJ Watt of this year. (the 1 player on the other side of the ball that is intriguing enough to pick with our 1st pick). I think we are doing our due diligence on him and 'IF' he slips past Arizona, we will heavily consider drafting him. But (hunch) I think we still wouldn't pull the trigger even if he was there, much like Watt of last year. Though, I will say I actually think DeCastro won't be there for us, so some of us won't need to break our TVs (phew!). So based on the JG visit I mentioned earlier, you may guess I'm going with an Alabama player, and you would be right! So without further delay, I will reveal the selection (with explanation below).
MARK BARRON [SS] - Alabama
I can really see some awesome flexiblity with this selection being our 'main' target for this upcoming draft. We have the option of staying put, just straight up selecting him at #14 and never looking back. Or we actually can gamble a bit, entertain a trade down for a few spots and still land him because of other team's perceived needs and his possible 'injury/recovery' issue.
My reason to support Barron over the other two 'bama defenders really wasn't as easy as some may think. I really think there is a good possibility for drafting Dre Kirkpatrick, so he was definitely hard to eliminate from this excersice compared to Courtney Upshaw. I personally like Dre and Gilmore, but since for this article I eliminated prospects other than the 'bama defenders, I can include Gilmore in the same argument I make for Barron over Dre (CB).
First of all, I want to remind everyone of the feeling of watching our safeties play over the past 10 years...Ok, the so mood has been set. I want you to also think of the past few drafts, while watching the combine or discussing our opinions on mock drafts, how many of us drooled at the dream of picking Eric Berry, Earl Thomas, and on and on. Now we actually and FINALLY have the chance to pick the TOP prospect at the safety position in this year's draft. Imagine if his guy went to the combine and ran, in this same imagination let's say he did not play through half a season of injury. Just think of the 'hype' that would have surrounded him. Reality? there is no safety to freakin talk about, so Mayock has been filling the air with Harrison Smith! (no I'm not knocking Smith at all, just making a point), but this is a guy that was hovering between 2-3rd rounder. So since the hype isn't there for Barron, we just aren't as interested (as we would have been). It's like the pretty girl syndrom.
With all that in mind, this guy is a leader! Wait, what was Hatcher yapping about this off-season? Oh Yea, that's right. Now, I'm not saying Barron's going to come in this year and take over our locker room. But this is the same dude that led the Nick Saban championship team, that won so purely due to Defense it was almost ridiculous. I know there were other players that are also highly touted. But to be the Leader on that team?! ...There has got to be some serious 'born' leadership abilities there.
I know some of you are scared of the Roy Williams comparasion, and I want to thank our own Birddog and Longball who has provided some insight into that already. But I just want to also add, just because a player is known for his aggresive play near the LoS, does not also equate that he will be bad in coverage. As someone posted in the comments in an earlier thread, this guy didn't get 12 career interceptions by accident. Most scouts will already say he has good-great feel in zone coverage, just because Saban didn't ask him to cover man-to-man, does not mean he cannot do it. From Mayock and most scouts also say this guy runs like a corner, and is a smooth athlete. I don't think many people would have called Roy a 'smooth athlete' even at his prime.
The only thing that gave me pause on this pick was what Jerry said during the owners meeting interview, and that was the 1st pick should be able to get on the field and contribute right away. We have plenty of Strong Safeties and just extended Sensabaugh. (but if you double check deal's numbers, it's practically a 2yr deal) But guys, this is a blue-chip safety (I didn't say blue-chip player). I'd take a the best player at his position in the whole draft over Dre or Upshaw, who are the 2nd-3rd best at their position, and that is even arguable. I would carry this same argument for those that want Gilmore or Cox (ugh, people watch your mouths lol), those players will play even a lesser role if drafted maybe the same at most. Just think, any corner drafted will be #4 on our depth chart (though Jenkins will be gone next year), we do not 'have to' draft his replacement with the top pick, same as Spencer. I'm not saying if the right value fell it wouldn't be smart, I'm simply believing Barron will be our main target, with others being contingency plans.
The draft can definitely play out in many different ways, but do you think this is the plan JJ, Stephen and JG has in mind going into day 1 of the draft? Let me know your thoughts! ...If you ask me, I'd be very happy to see this guy lining up our defensive back field for the next 10 years.