We've been through mock after mock after mock; enough to make us all sound like we are emulators of the seagulls in Finding Nemo.
Most of these mocks only go through the first 7 rounds(and be honest, most of y'all quit paying attention after round 4 or so) for many reasons. The first of which is because after that, we didn't know until yesterday how many we would actually receive and also because after round 7 the environment for finding top quality players is nearly dried up. Nevermind that the Cowboys have been probably the most successful of all the 32 teams in this area of the draft. We seem to have an uncanny ability to find true diamonds in the rough. So far, only one player who will challenge for a HOF spot(Tony Romo) but we have found numerous starters down at the bottom of the draft. With that, I begin to wonder who would be the best player suitable for the picking at that point?
Allow me to present one Deshaun Phillips, CB Tarleton State University. Those of us who live in the DFW area may recognize the name and know that it is located in nearby Stephenville. For those outside of the area, Tarleton is located about an hour away from Fort Worth on the southwest side of town. A DII school, this is where the Cowboys have picked up players such as Rich Bartel, Saleem Hakeem, and Nick Stephens. It is also the alma mater of current NFL kicker Garrett Lindholm(STL Rams), Safety Rufus Johnson(NO Saints), and former NFL/Current AFL RB Derrick Ross(KC Chiefs). So the talent has been there from TSU and the school is one of the DII pipelines of talent to the Cowboys. Part of this is due to the fact that the annual Dallas Pro Day that invites players from the Dallas area includes Stephenville. All of the players listed above attended this event after their senior years.
Deshaun Phillips is coming off a spectacular college career where the numbers are a bit deceiving. ILast season, he only had 2 interceptions and did not really return them once he got them, but Deshaun faced the problem most elite CBs face in that the opposing offenses would not throw to his side. He was a true shutdown corner at the DII level and was barely targeted . During his Freshman and Sophomore years where offenses tested him and got burned, Phillips rose to the occasion and was a true defensive ball hawk. Racking up 10 interceptions in two seasons for 70 yards.
The true value Phillips currently sees now is in he tremendous potential. This is a guy who, if he had been invited to the NFL combine, would have blown away many of the top DB recruits and would have topped many of the categories during the individual drills. Here's how he shook out in the Tarleton pro day. In attendance for this event were scouts from the Cowboys, Cardinals, Seahawks, Chargers, Panthers, Jaguars, Titans, Rams, Dolphins, and Falcons(so there is some competition involved).
|Deshaun Phillips||Top CB from NFL Combine||Where Phillips
if in Combine
|WT: 185 lbs||--||--|
|40-yard dash: Low of 4.48 high 4.51||Justin Gilbert, Ok St||T-10|
|5-10-5 (Pro Agility Shuttle): 3.96||Bennett Jackson, ND||1|
|Vertical Jump: 39"||Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Neb||T-3|
|L-Drill (3 cone) 6.60||Terrance Mitchell, Ore||2|
|60 yard shuttle: 10.90||Dontae Johnson, NCST||1|
|Bench Press: 15 Reps||Keith Reaser, FAU||T-13|
So while not the strongest or the most blazing speed, he has some of the best quickness and cutting ability of any CB in the country. For the price of a compensatory or even 6th round pick, would this potential be worth the risk? You cant discount the DII aspect of his experience too much especially knowing that he played in one of the toughest conferences in the league, the Lone Star.