Getting Relatively Better than 31 Teams through the Draft

Every team in the NFL is going to get better through the draft. The question is can we become better relatively speaking than the other 31 teams post draft?

Some teams will draft with the idea that their rosters are solidly built and that they can afford to fill in the holes (SF, Seattle, Denver, etc.). While other teams, like our own Dallas Cowboys, are drafting for both the future and now. Drafting by the best player available strategy is a long term winning solution with some obvious exceptions (we don't need a tight end this year at the top of the draft).

When we grade our prospects we need to keep in mind how much growth every player has left in them. High production at a young age is often an indicator of big time success on the next level. Think Trai Turner who at just 20 years old is one of the youngest draft candidates available. He's already a really strong player so the upside here is huge literally and figuratively speaking.

The QB position might be the hardest to evaluate in the draft. It's not unusual for a QB selected in the top 5 picks to turn into a bust. With that being said I don't want to talk about QB's too much in this post since we're pretty set at the position now. But I would like to say I believe Johnny Manziel is an underrated prospect. He has a high football IQ and the skill set to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Based upon what he has been able to do in just 2 years of college football I'd rate him higher than any QB in this class. He's not likely to drop to us but if he does I don't mind using the 1st round to grab him. I'll pass on other QB's until later in the draft when potential high value returns start becoming available starting in round four.

The Cowboys management has quietly and unspectacularly rebuilt the d-line. With the recent signing of Anthony Spencer we're now 8 deep. It's enough to move the position need back a little from "desperate" to "definitely could use some help". We've got a lot of uncertainty across the d-line with players either attempting to come back from injury or revive their careers. I'd still rate the d-line as the top area of need heading into the draft.

After this we'll be looking for o-line, cornerbacks, receivers, linebackers, and safeties not necessarily in that order. We'll also grab an exceptional value pick at any position if it comes.

Trade Possibilities:
Getting deeper in this post it's time to rile some feathers. I'd trade Dez Bryant straight up for the #2 pick today. I don't even care who goes #1. If we don't like our options we can trade out of the pick and still get more value back than our current pro bowl receiver is worth. I personally love him and his career is nicely pointed in the upward direction. But if we believe in our abilities to draft right we can get ahead of the loss of a pro bowl receiver. So I'm not looking to give him away but I'd go for any of these trade possibilities:

  • #2 pick straight up: draft Clowney, Manziel, or Watkins (or trade down to acquire more picks)
  • #10 and #45 from Lions: draft Donald and BPA at 45 - would you trade a pro bowl receiver heading into his contract year for a future pro bowl d-linemen? I would
  • What combination of picks might a team like San Francisco give?

Moving past the crazy idea of trading Dez Bryant we have to wonder about the idea of trading up for Donald. I'd move to up pick 10 for a third or pick 13 for a fourth. Do we think the Giants are likely to pick him at 12? Then use your third if you want him that bad. I'd pass on this. Too much depth in this draft. Using the fourth makes sense if we could move up to the 13th spot to get ahead of the Bears.

If we stay put at 16 I'm obviously hoping Donald makes it to us. If not Barr. Also assuming that Manziel & Mike Evans are gone. At this point I'm really hoping to trade down. But if no trade down possibilities present themselves Zack Martin becomes the pick. What's one of the best ways of improving your defense? Keeping them off the field!! Getting Martin would improve the o-line in a number of ways and I'm not disappointed if the pick comes down to this.

If we're lucky enough to trade back here a couple of late first round prospects who should be high on the list:

Jason Verrett (CB - TCU) *shoulder injury

Dominique Easley (DT - Florida) *medically cleared?

Ryan Shazier (LB - OSU)

With pick #47 we're hoping for a top prospect to slip through the to us. Easley could be there but a number of teams ahead of us in the second round have already expressed interest. Here's a second round board to work with:

Kony Ealy (DE - Missouri)
Demarcus Lawrence (DE - Boise State)
Gabe Jackson (G - MSU)
Xavier Su'a-Filo (G - UCLA)
Jimmy Ward (Safety - Northern Illinois)
Kyle Fuller (CB - Virginia Tech)
Dee Ford (DE - Auburn)
Kelvin Benjamin (WR - FSU)
Cody Latimer (WR - Indiana)
Timmy Jurnigan (DT - FSU)
Scott Crichton (DE - Oregon State)
Lamarcus Joyner (S/CB - FSU)
Jordan Matthews (WR - Vanderbilt)
Allen Robinson (WR - PSU)

My third round board hope is really about getting any players who fell from the above second round board but again in case we're wiped out:
Will Sutton (DT - ASU)
Jackson Jeffcoat (DE - Texas)
Paul Richardson (WR - Colorado)
Billy Turner (G/T - North Dakota State)
Kareem Martin (DE - North Carolina)
Trai Turner - (OG - LSU)
Donte Moncrief (WR - Ole Miss)
Davante Adams (WR - Fresno State)
DaQuan Jones (DT - PSU)
Yawin Smallwood (LB - Connecticut)
Jack Mewhort - OT (OSU)
Chris Borland (LB - Wisconsin)
Martavis Bryant (WR - Clemson)

Continuing onto the fourth round:
Chris Smith (DE - Arkansas)
Caraun Reid (DT - Princeton)
Jared Abbrederis (WR - Wisconsin)
EJ Gaines (CB - Missouri
Pierre Desir (CB - Lynwood)
Josh Huff (WR - Oregon)
Kevin Norwood (WR - Alabama)
Telvin Smith (LB - Florida State)
Keith McGill (CB - Utah)
Aaron Murray (QB - Georgia)

Fifth rounders:
Josh Mauro (DT - Stanford)
George Uko (DT - USC)
Tom Savage (QB - Pittsburgh)
Brett Smith (QB - Wyoming)
Dontae Johnson (FS - NC State)
Terrance West (RB - Towson)
Mike Davis (WR - Texas)
Cameron Fleming (OT - Stanford)

My boards are starting to get a little thin as we work our way into the last rounds:

Round 6:
Howard Jones (LB - Shepherd)
Jeff Janis (WR - Saginaw Valley)
Marqueston Huff (FS - Wyoming)
Brandon Thomas (OG - Clemson)
Aaron Lynch (DE - South Florida)
David Fales (QB - San Jose St)
JC Copeland (FB - LSU)

Round 7:
Isaiah Crowell (RB - Alabama State)
Kerry Hyder (DT - Texas Tech)
Trey Millard (FB - Oklahoma)
Chris Whaley (DT - Texas)
Ken Bishop (DT - Illinois)
Davon Coleman (DT - Arizona State)
Garrett Gilbert (QB - SMU)
De'Anthony Thomas (RB - Oregon)

Finally assuming we don't make ANY trades, here is my own personal mock draft using the CBS Prospect Ranking Order:

16. Zack Martin (OT/G - Notre Dame)
47. Dominique Easley (DT - Florida)
78. Jackson Jeffcoat (DE - Texas)
119. E.J. Gaines (CB - Missouri)
158. Trai Turner (G - LSU)
229. Kerry Hyder (DT - Texas Tech)
231. Brandon Thomas (OG - Clemson)
238. Trey Millard (FB - Oklahoma)
248. Ken Bishop (DT - Illinois)
251. Pat O'Donnell (P - Miami : )
254. Brett Smith (QB - Wyoming)

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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