The Super Bowl hasn't even been played yet, but it does mean there are 30 other NFL teams already beginning their offseason. NFL coaches and scouts made their way down to Mobile, Alabama and began to evaluate some of the best college football players in the country. The 2013 Senior Bowl didn't really have the high-powered offensive output that some were looking for, but the game did give us draftniks some enjoyment.
The Dallas Cowboys should know the weaknesses they need to attack this offseason. Offensive line and defensive line look like the biggest priorities, but I would also consider the safety position a very large need.
You can also sprinkle in the need for a running back behind DeMarco Murray, another wide receiver and quite possibly more depth at linebacker. The Cowboys may not be able to splurge in free agency this year, so the draft could once again be the solution to their problems.
There were a lot of winners and losers last week in Mobile, but let's take a moment to focus on the players of interest for the Cowboys.
There isn't one player who helped his draft stock in Mobile more than Ansah. Prior to the Senior Bowl, Ansah received comparsions to Jason Pierre-Paul. While hedid show similarities in his game, JPP looked a lot more explosive while at South Florida. Ansah went against some of the best offensive lineman in the draft and he looked like a man among boys.
In the actual game, Ansah went into beast mode. He racked up seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. I know it's just the Senior Bowl game, but he stood out in a big way. His stock is through the roof right now, and he hasn't even tested out at the NFL Combine. If he puts up good numbers there, he could become a top-ten draft pick.
Back in 2010, Pierre-Paul went 15th overall to the New York Giants, but I am beginning to wonder if Ansah will even fall that far down the board. If he does manage to fall into our range, the Cowboys will have to make a difficult decision. Is drafting Ansah worth the risk and long-term development? As of right now, you have to get excited about the possibility of seeing the Cowboys end up with another dangerous pass rusher, but there is some risk involved there.
There were a lot of good offensive lineman on display in this game and the practices, but the Cowboys have to be intrigued by the former Kentucky Wildcat. Warford really began to impress the scouts before he even took the field in Mobile. He comes from the SEC, so you know he's played against NFL caliber defensive lineman his entire college career.
Warford also showed that he is willing to work on his weight. At the weigh-in, he measured in at 6-3, and weighed 333 pounds, which is down ten pounds from his playing weight at Kentucky. After a strong showing all week long, Russ Lande believes that Warford could be a first round pick.
Many have already conceded the top guard spot to Alabama’s Chance Warmack, but Warford did everything he could this week to close the gap and get into the discussion. Surprisingly quick out of stance, Warford sets up to block with excellent base/leverage fast and gets his "heavy hands" on the defensive tackle fast. Throughout the week Georgia defensive tackle made it look easy bull rushing all the other interior offensive linemen backwards, but Warford consistently stopped him in his tracks and kept him pinned on the LOS. After his display this week, there is no doubt that Warford will be a first round pick because he will be a day one starter.
Offensive guard isn't a prime position anymore, at least in the draft anyway. It's doubtful that Warford will go in the first, but you never know how a draft will play out. I will admit that it's beginning to look like Warford won't fall to us when we pick in the second round at 47. I know that is going to bum some of us out, but remember it's very early in the draft process.
Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reported that as of Thursday last week, the Cowboys had not met with Warford. Hopefully they met up with him before they left Mobile, because Warford could become the right guard they've been looking for the past few years.
All week long, Cyprien impressed his coaching staff with a combination of physical play and athleticism. Even though he hails from Florida International, Cyprien is a very complete safety. At 6-0, 209 pounds, this is a well built safety that loves to be physical, but he can make plays on the football. Honestly, in today's NFL it's actually pretty hard to find a safety who can do both.
Former NFL scout Phil Savage is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl. When asked about the FIU safety, Savage was very impressed by what he did at the Senior Bowl.
"I think his instinctivness and his reactions, an ability to just want to go to the ball. It's almost kind of a natural thing for him. And if he can run fast enough at the Combine for people to say, 'Hey, his instincts will overcome any deficiency in speed that he might have.' There are some scouts now, after this week, who already say he can run. That's one of the final blanks he'll have to fill in, but overall he's been terrific here this week.''
Back in 2009, there was a safety coming out of Western Michigan who would have been a great pick for the Cowboys. Louis Delmas didn't fall to us in the second round and he was drafted 33rd overall by the Detroit Lions. Cyprien and Delmas went to the same high school in Miami, and they play the safety position very similarly.
In my opinion, safety has become one of the hardest positions to fill in the NFL. Before the Senior Bowl, I had pegged Cyprien as a third round pick. After a strong showing where he also impressed the coaches and scouts with an enthusiastic approach towards the game, I have to bump him up into the second round.