Predictions/Hopes For the Rest of the Draft
Well, the first round of the draft is over, and Dallas is on the other side with brand new center/guard Travis Frederick. The Cowboys draft seemed to have fallen apart early on. When Frederick was the selection, the entire Cowboys Fan Nation erupted as Dallas made a horrible reach for a third round center. I freaked out as well, and I’m not even old enough to pull out some alcohol. But after staying up till 2, trying to see where the Cowboys were going to go with this draft, I found myself feeling better and better about the Frederick pick. True, Dallas could have done much better by taking Larry Warford or even Kawaan Short, but it’s not like Frederick is a bust. He is a solid player who will be a starter, and no matter who he displaces, will be an upgrade for Romo and Murray. I actually like this pick over taking Matt Elam. I think Elam is overrated. He is the type of player that looks very good in college, but I don’t think that will translate to NFL success, especially because I don’t think his tackling style will work very well in the pro league. Anyway, I think with a draft as deep as this, Dallas would be well off getting a collection of good players, rather than a couple good players and a single elite player. Here are my hopes for the rest of the draft, followed by actual predictions:
47) Kawaan Short: I don’t know if Kawaan Short falls this far, but with 4 DT’s gone in the first round, I think the shift will be on QB’s, RB’s and more offensive linemen. If Kawaan Short falls to the Boys, Dallas must scoop him up.
58) Alex Okafor: If Dallas trades away Spencer, a replacement will have to be found. I would not mind Dallas finding picks for Spencer, as Spencer just isn’t suited for the 4-3, especially not at the Strong Side DE position. Alex Okafor is a much better player for the role. At 265 pounds, he outweighs Spencer by almost 15, and has the size to man that edge. Although Spencer’s pass rush may be missed, I doubt Spencer will succeed in the 4-3 anyway. Okafor has the tools to succeed here, has a great pass rush, and is a good run defender. Overall, I think Okafor is not only an upgrade, but Dallas picks up an extra 4th rounder as well.
74) Bacarri Rambo: Dallas still hasn’t found a safety and that is becoming a problem. Rambo has some character concerns, but Dallas knows a lot about players with those sorts of problems. Rambo can be the centerfielding ballhawk. He can fly to the carrier, make plays in the pass game, and has an awesome name.
80) Barrett Jones: Dallas got a nice upgrade with Frederick, but there are still 3 big issues left on that offensive line. The great thing about both Jones and Frederick is their versatility. Both have experience starting at center and at guard. If one takes over center, the other will be either on his left or right. Jones is another upgrade to that offensive line who will take someones starting role. So while Dallas technically drafts two centers in the first 3 rounds, one will play guard and the other center. Either way, Dallas has a couple big upgrades to their offensive line.
114) Le’Veon Bell: Dallas has been linked to Bell for quite a while. Bell is a downfield bowling ball of a runner. He is big at 230 pounds, and brings a new skill set to the Dallas RB’s. Murray is a good but unreliable back, which is where Bell comes in. Bell is talented, and durable. He will have no problem starting a couple games, and even taking the ball 30 times for himself each time.
125) Kenny Stills: This pick will not be for need, but for the talent available at a position that could use it. In my opinion, Stills is a very underrated receiver. I like his versatility. He has the ability to play either in the slot, or on the outside in case of an injury. With his blazing speed, strong hands, downfield playmaking, and jumpball ability, I think Stills can be for a great 1-2 punch with Dwayne Harris in the slot. He can also come in on long 3rd downs. Lastly, he is a good insurance policy that can be a decent starter should Austin or Dez get injured.
151) Ricky Wagner: With Barrett Jones and Travis Frederick, the interior of the line should be all but fixed up. That leaves Doug Free. I don’t believe in Jermey Parnell either. Basically, other than Tyron Smith, Dallas has no quality starting caliber tackles on the roster. In comes Ricky Wagner. Wagner is not a big name prospect because he is not a superstar player. But he is a player that can hold his own and be an upgrade over Doug Free. Free just sucks and Dallas would do good with three new starting offensive linemen.
185) Ontario McCalebb: The Cowboys need a better return game. McCalebb will not take too many carries, but with his speed and ability to follow blockers, can be asset during kick returns.
47) Baccari Rambo: There is a big need for a safety, and Dallas might take the safe route and draft a top talent safety before he is off the board.
74) Dallas Thomas: Dallas needs more offensive line help, even with Frederick here. Thomas can play tackle or guard, but I think he is more suited to playing guard. He can line up next to Frederick and Dallas will quickly have a much improved interior offensive line.
80) Le’Veon Bell: The Cowboys need a running back and might go with the better safe than sorry approach again, slightly reaching for a player to make sure he ends up with them. Good pickup, little early for my liking though.
114) Bennie Logan: Logan is an underrated prospect. He can be part of a strong DL rotation in Dallas, or even start. Dallas needs a couple good DT’s up front to make the Tampa 2 work, and a Logan/Ratliff/Hatcher/Lissemore/Crawford can provide him with just that
151) Ricky Wagner: Despite the additions of Frederick and Thomas, RT will still be a problem at offensive line. Replacing Doug Free with a new, quality starter will make Romo feel confident about his line heading into 2013. Wagner is a low prospect, because of the dropoff in tackle talent after Fluker and Thomas. But he is a good prospect who can hold his own starting, and will be a valuable addition to the line at RT, as offensive line quickly becomes a rather strong point for Dallas.
185) Kenny Stills: Stills is underrated and will probably fall to the 6th round. Dallas might not be able to take him here, but if he is available, I like this pick as I mentioned previously. If he is not here, Dallas may take a chance at Tharold Simon as a new slot corner.