Drafttek published their latest seven-round mock draft. And in what has become a little bit of a tradition around these parts over the last few weeks, we're going to take take a run at Drafttek's consensus mock draft and see if we can come up an equally enticing alternative mock.
For me, this serves two equal purposes. On the one hand it highlights two different draft strategies each week. On the other hand, it helps identify a number of previously lesser known prospects who could be of interest for the Cowboys in two months time. And as an added bonus, each week we get feedback from Drafttek's Long Ball, a guy who actually knows what he's talking about when it comes to scouting prospects.
Because there have been repeated questions on the topic, here's some clarification on how the folks at Drafttek create their consensus mock draft: The key to Drafttek's Consensus Mock Draft is the Drafttek Big Board as well predefined team needs for each NFL team as compiled by the Drafttek staff. Both the Big Board and the team needs are painstakingly put together and regularly updated by the Drafttek team. The Consensus Mock Draft is produced using a computer model to generate a seven-round draft based on team needs and the big board. The algorithm used weighs the available players on the big board against a matrix of team positional needs.
The only way Long Ball can influence the outcome of the draft is by placing "grabs" on certain players before the simulation is run. This feature allows Long Ball to override the algorithm and lets him select a certain player for the Cowboys in a specific round even if the algorithm would not have selected that player - provided that player is still available when the Cowboys pick, of course. Effectively, Long Ball can't just pick and choose whichever player he wants. And because that's the case, I opted not to simply pick any player I want either. Instead, the player I choose must be ranked lower in the Drafttek draft than where the Cowboys are picking.
Long Ball has once again kindly agreed to provide some perspective on our mock draft efforts, which you'll find below our two mock drafts:
|RD||Drafttek’s picks||Players I’d pick instead (in this mock)|
|1||Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State - 6-3, 335
||Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida -6-3, 298
|Ironic ain't it??? Dallas has run the 3-4 since 2005 and has never employed a traditional NT in the alignment; however, new DC Monte Kiffin brings his 4-3 "Tampa-2" defense to the Cowboys and discovers candidates to play the 1-technique DT in either an "Over" alignment (responsible for two A-gaps) or "Under" alignment (responsible for one gap) are limited. So as not to handicap DL Coach Rod Marinelli's efforts, a big body will be necessary to allow Jay Ratliff to play the penetrating 3-technique DT. Johnathan Hankins' unexpected drop is a bonus to Cowboys' fans, as the Big Buckeye has the foot quickness to penetrate (4.0 TFL netting 22.0 yards in 2012) but is at his best anchoring against the run and making the tackle (55.0 in 2012). In this scenario, Jason Hatcher can start his diet to drop 10-15 pounds in order to play the strong-side DE next to Hankins (or will he?. . .see later rounds) with Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware manning the weak side, backed up by a young rotation of Ben Bass, Rob Calloway, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lissemore and Brian Price.||When Warren Sapp first heard that Dallas was going to switch back to a 4-3 and hire his former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Sapp's first question was: "Who is the motor...? Because it's got to be the 3-technique." The key position in Kiffin's "Tampa-2" has always been the 3-technique DT, or undertackle. Who'll play that position for the 2013 Cowboys? Sharrif Floyd, that's who. Mike Mayock ranks Floyd the number one defensive tackle in the draft and describes him as a "prototypical three-technique in this draft, and I think he's going to be a big‑time impact player that people don't know about." Floyd could very easily end up being a top ten pick, so the Cowboys would be extremely lucky to get Floyd with the 18th pick. Floyd could very well be the biggest difference-maker available in the 2013 draft for the Cowboys, and they cannot afford to pass on him if he is available.
|2||Travis Frederick, OC, Wisconsin - 6-4, 330
||Cornellius Carradine, DT, Florida State - 6-4, 265
|Former starter Phil Costa is a RFA and considered the 5th-best Center in the 2013 FA class (which tells you how weak the FA class is at that position). Can Mackenzy Bernadeau play center? His ProFootballFocus score is -10.8, proving that "film don't lie"; he cannot play ROG. I've never been a proponent of transferring sub-standard players to another position: an OL is only as strong as its weakest link. Just as he was in Carolina, Bernadeau is best suited for a back-up role. Ryan Cook was sufficient at Center, I have high hopes for Kevin "Killer" Kowalski . . . and even higher hopes for Travis Frederick, who declared for the NFL Draft and is equally adept at Center (18 starts) or Guard (13 starts), grading higher than his Badger predecessors Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler. If he starts at Center for Dallas, Ryan Cook becomes the versatile veteran backup (as he has played every position on the OL). If last year's rookie Ron Leary cannot start at ROG (what, you want David Arkin???), Frederick slides over one slot and Kevin "Killer" Kowalski starts at Center.||Tank Carradine was the "other" defensive end at Florida State opposite of Bjoern Werner. Carradine showed first round talent and production in his senior season (12 games, 80 tackles, 13 TFL, 11 sacks) and has a career production ratio of 1.50. And in addition to his pass rushing skills (16.5 sacks in two seasons) Carradine is an even better run stopper, which fits the profile of what the Cowboys want in a strongside DE perfectly. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in late November, which probably dropped him from first-round contention. The Cowboys have a great track record of drafting injured players on the second day, and if their medical staff greenlights Carradine, the Cowboys will get a steal with one of the most talented pass-rushers in this year's draft.|
|3||Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M - 6-2, 230
||Brian Winters, OG, Kent State - 6-5, 310
|Visit with anyone familiar with Monte Kiffin’s defensive scheme and you will hear "Speed, speed and more speed . . . linemen rush the passer and linebackers run to the ball." Combine Mr. Porter with Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and you may just have the fastest and most athletic linebacking corps in the NFL. Keep in mind that linebackers have extensive pass coverage responsibilities in the Tampa-2 . . . and none of these 3 would ever "have" to come out in passing situations.||Winters comes highly recommended by Long Ball, whom I trust in all aspects of O-line evaluation: "This young man could potentially play ROT in the NFL and might even fill in (in a pinch) at LOT, but his nasty demeanor makes him a phone booth brawler in my books." The NFL.com scouting profile concurs and writes that "Winters is a tough finisher at left tackle, garnering plenty of recognition as a long time starter. He possesses the athleticism to be a late second to early third day pick and a solid NFL starter at guard or tackle in a zone-blocking system." Winters is also Mayock's fifth-ranked guard.
|4||Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina - 6-6, 260
||Kyle Long, OT, Oregon - 6-7, 312
|Word has it that Taylor has put on 15 lbs of muscle, is 1" taller than our posted height and has 35-3/4" arms (Drafttek does not update height and weight until the official Combine measurements), while still running a sub-4.8 forty yard dash. If all that is true, that makes him a prime candidate for the strong-side DE in DL Coach Rod Marinelli’s 4-3. Although overshadowed in 2012 by Super-Soph Jadeveon Clowney, Taylor has been a solid player for the Gamecocks earning 1st and 2nd Team All-SEC honors at South Carolina. This would be excellent value in the 4th round, as Dallas has had a history of whiffing on prospects in this round.||From Mayock's fifth-ranked guard to his fourth-ranked tackle: Long is the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and the brother of the Rams' Chris Long. His combination of size and athleticism impressed Mayock, and will be hard to ignore for NFL scouts, who'll like his potential as either a guard or tackle. Long will need time to develop, as he only played two college seasons of football and as an offensive lineman rotated between left tackle and left guard. Kyle Long may be raw, but he is oozing talent and upside. In the right system, and with the right coaching, Long could be a bet that pays off big time.|
|5||Kenyon Barner, RB, Oregon - 5-11, 195||Zeke Motta, SS, Notre Dame - 6-2, 215|
|In a recent interview, new RB Coach Gary Brown stated that as a complement to Murray, the Cowboys might be looking for a "jitterbug" type of guy. Well, Ol’ Long Ball went into his closet to dig out his dancin’ shoes (some of you young’uns may not realize that jitterbug used to be a dance) until I realized he meant a quick, fast, swivel-hipped type RB (which Ol’ Long Ball ain’t!) Although I personally think Lance Dunbar fills that role and a more "all-around" back may be in order due to Murray’s proclivity to injury, I decided to go along for the ride and "pluck the fast Duck", Mr. Barner.||Sticking with the theme of late-round values, I turn to Zeke Motta, who's the fifth-ranked safety on Mayock's pre-Combine position rankings. Here's why: "He works out as hard as anybody I've ever seen. He's a great teammate, understands the game. He doesn't have as good movement skills as Harrison Smith did a year ago. But he's a tough kid that can play on all four special teams and two years from now will probably start for somebody."
|6||Dwayne Gratz, CB, Connecticut - 6-1, 190
||Kerwynn Williams, RB, Utah State - 5-8, 189
|Most draftniks have heard of that "strange-named" CB from Connecticut (Blidi Wreh-Wilson), but his runnin’ buddy on the other side is no slouch! He’s a legit 4.46 in the forty, intercepted 3 passes with his 10.5" hands, ranked 2nd in the Big East with 14 passes defended and is a strong, punishing run supporter, recording 53 tackles in 2012. And all the faithful BtB’ers already know what Ol’ Long Ball thinks: CB’s on a roster are like closets in a house . . . you can never have enough of either!||Williams adds immediate value as a dual threat player with the added bonus of being a top returner. He gained over 2,200 total yards and 20 TDs in his senior season: 1,512 yards rushing on 218 attempts (6.9 avg) and 697 receiving yards on 45 receptions (15.5 avg). Even more impressively, Williams only lost a total of 64 yards for the season on his 218 rushing attempts. CBSSports projects him to run a 4.44 at the Combine, and he could be just the "Jitterbug" the Cowboys are looking for in their run game.
In this mock, I started with the objective of getting as close to 1,200 pounds with my first four picks as possible, as this would mean that I drafted four linemen with the first four picks. I think this is a very sound - if slightly unconventional - draft strategy for the Cowboys heading into 2013.
And I came awfully close: My first four picks weigh in at 1,185 pounds (according to Drafttek's soon to be revised measurables), and all four are lineman. The fact that the first two are defensive linemen and the next two are offensive linemen is pure chance, it's simply how the picks presented themselves. But I'm quite happy with how the picks turned out.
Back before Lehman Brothers went belly-up and nearly caused the collapse of the world as we know it, every year they'd publish a selection of 10 stocks which they expected to appreciate significantly the following year. And despite how that company ended, that was a pretty good list. They called it "Uncommon values", and that's exactly what I went looking for after my first two picks. You'll notice that my third, fourth and fifth picks all ranked within the top five of Mike Mayock's positional rankings. And my sixth rounder is the perfect jitterbug to complement DeMarco Murray in the Cowboys' backfield. I think all of them qualify as uncommon values, and given the low success rate of late round picks, if even two of them were to work out, that would be a great success.
And now on to Long Ball's mocking of my re-mock of his mock:
I like OCC’s mock, and I think it’s good he could select some of Mayock’s top five prospects . . . I’ll just remind our readers that Mike Mayock had Blaine Gabbert as his top-ranked QB in 2011 (5th overall) and Cam Newton ranked #21 overall (who, if memory serves me correctly, was drafted #1 overall and named Rookie of the Year?) But I digress, let’s move forward to the "cussin’ and discussin’" . . .
Floyd is a talent, no doubt. There are only 2 reasons I have him ranked behind Sheldon Richardson of Mizzou: 1) his tendency to take some plays off, and 2) some off-the-field issues, although minor, may put him outside Garrett’s "RKG" definition. And I’ll take you back to the roster analysis . . . there are a number of 3-technique DT’s who could potentially excel in the new alignment (Ratliff, Bass, Crawford, Lissemore, Price). One more point: new DC Monte Kiffin told his defense to watch film of the Seahawks . . . go to their roster and see what size their DT’s are.
Carradine is a player, but at his size would be better at backing up Ware at the weakside DE. I want a starter with my 2nd round pick and the Badger Road-Grader from up Madison way is my "Big Uglies Pet Cat" this year. Jason Garrett likes versatility in his players and Frederick is a legitimate 3-position player, providing flexibility in the decision-making process for Bill Callahan in improving the interior of the Cowboys’ OL.
You guys already know I love the "Mean SOB" from Kent State so I’m not going to bad-mouth that pick . . . but if you had Frederick in the previous round, wouldn’t a LB corps of Carter, Lee and Porter get you even more excited? Those boys would "run, run, run, till their Daddy took their T-Bird away!"
If you’re going to bring on a developmental tackle, you could do far worse than Howie’s little boy . . . he has a couple of minor deficiencies: 1) his arm length is 32-1/8", a little short for LOT but not a deal-killer (though unusual for a man 6’7"), and 2) he carries his height in his legs, so he might have leverage issues at ROT. I guess if I could get the playing time I could see Devin Taylor providing at strong-side DE (depending on what they do with Hatcher and Crawford), that would trump a developmental player.
I’m going to do something different here . . . since OCC and I both selected a "jitterbug" RB (OCC in the 6th, mine in the 5th), I’m going to address the opposite positions first.
When I look at the incumbent safeties on the Cowboys’ roster, I see far more SS types than ball-hawking, center-fielder FS types . . . so my question on the Zeke Motta selection is why draft another SS type? If we really want to "draft what we ain’t got", why not take a CB with the size to play FS who is a solid tackler and has the ball skills to generate the turnovers we desperately need? Just a thought . . .
Barner is bigger, faster and ranked higher than Williams . . . ‘nuff said! (LOL, see how I turned that around on you OCC? "Old age and treachery always triumphs over youth and skill!")
So there you have it. Drafttek vs. BTB. Which mock do you prefer, and what would you do differently?