Time for a pre-draft edition of my 12-packs. Yeah, I know it’s been a while but hopefully I’ll have the time to write these more consistently this year.
This edition will focus on players that I think might be good picks for the Cowboys to take this weekend. Rather than deal with the obvious ones we’ve hashed over and over like Donald and Barr and Dix and Martin, I’m eliminating the top 175 ranked prospects on the CBS Sports Prospect Tracker. There are 177 picks in the first 5 rounds, so I am essentially looking at players that will be taken in the 5th, 6th, or 7th rounds or will be undrafted free agents. From that restricted pool I’ll be picking players that have struck my fancy for some reason or that I think fit the Cowboys model or some combination of the two.
First, a formatting note. I’ll be periodically comparing player measurables to those who were at the combine. Since most of my choices were not actually at the combine, most of the time these parenthetical notes should read (he would have been X among Position at the combine had he actually been there). Instead, I’ll generally just write (X among Position) the first time I make such a reference and then simple (X) afterwards.
My QB is no mystery to Dallas fans as I’d like to see the Boys get SMU product Garrett Gilbert. I think he’s underrated on the Tracker at 281, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drafted as early as the 3rd or 4th. He’s got good size, at 6-4, 221. He’s got a strong arm, not to the level of a Jeff George or Brett Favre, but certainly strong enough. Oh, and he’s athletic too. At his Pro Day he completed 87 of 88 passes, just missing on the perfect score but still a good reflection of his accuracy. He had a mediocre career at Texas before graduating early and transferring to SMU, which is one of the reasons he might be undervalued. However, it seems likely that June Jones taught him quite during the last couple of years. I think he’s Warbird (Fort Wayne, IN) Mustang Gold American Blonde Ale for whomever gets him.
I know that many of you are fans of Joseph Randle, but I think his ceiling is much lower than most of you. Trust me when I say that the fact that he went to my high school’s primary rival in Wichita has nothing to do with my feelings about him. I think Senorise Perry of Louisville (ranked 288) will be better. Perry is bigger than Randle (about an inch taller and 8-10 pounds heavier) but is much faster. He ran a 4.36 and a 4.41 40 at his Pro Day with a 37" vertical (10th among RBs), 10-6 broad jump (4th), and a 6.90 short shuttle (6th). All of these numbers are significantly better than Randle’s. He tore his ACL in 2012, and his 2013 productivity was limited, but he played all of last year. His knee seems healthy now, though, and I think he’s going to be a steal, so I’m giving him a Brugge (Indianapolis, IN) Bee’s Knees India Pale Ale.
I have three wide receivers that I’m particularly interested in late in the draft. Well, four, but the most recent update to the CBS Tracker put Mizzou’s L’Damian Washington at 174, just missing my arbitrary cutoff. He’d have definitely gotten a beverage but for that.
Nevertheless, there are still a bunch of good prospects to look at. I’m going to start with a huge favorite of mine, coming in at 211 from Saginaw Valley State, Jeff Janis. Yes, this does mean I’d like to see a second Jeff from Saginaw Valley on the Boys. Here’s why. He’s 6-3, runs a 4.42 40 (5th among WRs) and a 6.64 3-cone drill (3rd) and was one of the strongest WRs with 20 reps (4th). He’s also an RKG. Now, he’s got some issues, or he wouldn’t be on this list. He’s got small hands. He needs to polish his route-running skills and work on using his athletic abilities more effectively on the field. In Division-II, few defensive backs could match his ability so he will have at least a couple of years before blossoming, but I think he will. I’m going to give him and Jeff Heath a taste of home with a growler of Lumber Barons (Bay City, MI) Cardinal Red American Amber for these two Saginaw Valley Cardinals to share.
I think this player has the potential to be a special teams demon with a chance at evolving into a useful WR. Quincy Enunwa from Nebraska is ranked at 259 on the Tracker. He’s got good size at 6-2, 225, but he’s not particularly agile and quick and he needs to improve his catching technique. He’ll find some routes difficult to run in the NFL. However, he’s fast with a 4.45 40 (11th among WRs) and strong with 19 reps (7th). He also enjoys blocking and if he bulked up some he could be a very productive WR/TE hybrid. He’s young for a senior, only turning 22 at the end of May, but was one of Nebraska’s team captains nonetheless. I think he’s uncommonly likely to succeed, but I’ll give him some incentive with an Indeed (Minneapolis, MN) Quincy Street Common / Steam Beer.
Did you know that Newberry College had a Pro Day this year? Who am I kidding? Have any of you ever heard of Newberry College? Heck, if you’re like me, you haven’t even heard of Newberry, SC. However, I have read about Corey Washington and I wouldn’t mind seeing him end up with a star on the helmet. He’s at 393 on the prospect list, but there’s some interesting attributes here. He’s 6-3,214 and he ran 4.48 at his pro day. He did the 3-cone drill in 6.83 (15th among WRs) and jumped 10-5 in the broad jump (7th). He’s got the size and at least some of the athleticism the Boys like in their WRs. He’s a mentor to a disabled kid, which is at least some RKG evidence. He gets a Fallen Angel (Battle, UK) Howlin’ Red Ale in hopes that this Newberry Wolf gets some chances to howl in the NFL.
There are a couple of interesting offensive linemen out there late such as Russell Bodine of North Carolina. He’s ranked 176th on the Tracker, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see him taken as high as the 4th round. He’s strong, putting up 42 presses (1st among OL) but he’s not particularly big at 6-3, 310. He’s going to have some issues with arm length as well, at 32.5". He needs to work on his agility and technique. However, he’s got the ability to play with a mean streak and power at all 3 interior line positions and he’s a little younger because he’s entering the draft as a junior. Since we have a general for our offensive line in Travis Frederick, I’m going to give Bodine a Listermann (Cincinnati, OH) Colonel Plug American Wild Ale to come in and be our young cheap interior line backup.
At 235 on the Tracker is Cornelius Lucas, OT from Kansas State. He’s 6-8, 316 with really long arms at 36.75" (1st among OL). He’s quicker than one would think someone of that size should be, but he got hurt right before the combine preventing him from having the normal measurables. His real problem, though, is that his technique is mediocre to awful and he needs NFL strength training. He’s a player that could develop into something impressive though, but he’ll need at least a year, probably two, on a practice squad. I’m giving him a Cambridge (Cambridge, MA) Big Man India Pale Ale because he’s a big damn man and you just can’t teach that.
Speaking of big men, let’s look at Ryan Carruthers, DT from Arkansas State who’s at 267 on the Tracker. He’s 6-1, 337 with 32 reps (3rd among DL). He’s a former wrestler, too, giving him a good understanding of leverage. However, he’s got very short arms, which means it’s unlikely he’ll ever be a great pass rusher. He’s also not particularly quick. He’s got a place in a DL rotation though, as a run-stuffer and a 2-gap player. I’m giving him a Pug Ryan (Dillon, CO) Barrel Aged ESB because he’s a barrel-shaped pug of a Ryan who, despite his lack of height, will stand tall in the middle of the line.
At 207 is a player who wants to come here. He’s dropped down quite a bit, yet I’m still interested in Josh Mauro, DE of Stanford. He’s dropped because he’s not athletic. He’s slow and not particularly strong. But, he’s an RKG, a smart player, and at 6-5, 271 he’s got good size. I think he needs time in an NFL weight room and I think he’ll be better as a 4-3 DT than a DE especially for Marinelli as he’s very quick off the ball. He’s a lunch pail guy who might serve very nicely as a 6th or 7th guy in a DL rotation and will hit people on special teams. Don’t get excited that he’s a future star, but you have to enjoy his desire to be in Dallas. Hence, he gets a Deep Ellum (Dallas, TX) Cherry Chocolate Double Brown Imperial Stout so that he at least gets a taste of something great that Dallas has to offer.
Every player in this area of the draft has issues. Boston College OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis’s primary issue is his small size, hence his ranking of 191 on the Tracker. However, he’s fast with a 4.51 combine 40 (1st among LBs), quick with 4.02 20yard shuttle (2nd) and a 6.92 3-cone drill (6th), and strong with 28 reps (3rd). However, he’s only 6-0, 232 and he might be too small to be a great Will and too big to be a great safety. He’s going to get blasted at the point of attack in the NFL, but in passing situations he could be an incredibly useful LB. He’ll need to be very productive on special teams to have a long NFL career. Fortuitously, he showed good special teams skills for BC and he’s an RKG. I’ve absolutely got a place on my team for a player who excels on passing downs and special teams, so he gets a Belhaven (Dunbar, East Lothian, UK) Wee Heavy Scotch Ale for the heavy-hitting small guy.
I’ve been on the Kendall James bandwagon for some time and I’d love to give him a beer, but he’s shot up the Tracker and is now at 136 so he’s not eligible. However, Dexter McDougle, CB from Maryland is at 214 on the Tracker. A shoulder injury knocked him out of most of 2013, which I think is hurting his draft stock. He’s fast, with a 4.47 40 (10th among CBs), quick with a 4.18 shuttle (10th) and a 6.94 3-cone (9th), and with a 37inch vertical (13th) he’s got some hops. He’s an RKG, too. He has technique issues and will get burnt with double moves. Also, he wasn’t terribly productive in college so he probably doesn’t always use his athleticism properly. However, he’s a guy in the late rounds that might be a heck of a backup and special teams player. I’m giving him something from one of my favorite breweries in recognition of his collegiate roots, a Terrapin (Athens, GA) Woodford Wake-N-Bake Imperial Stout to jumpstart his NFL career.
I know, I know, we’ve got to have safety help. Clearly, those safeties that we have are wretched, just ask the national media. So, here’s a player that’s very intriguing at 268 on the board, Rutgers FS Jeremy Deering. He ran a 4.33 40 at his Pro Day. Yeah, 4.33. Add in a little for the Pro Day advantage and that’s still freaky fast. He’s 6-1, 209 so he’s almost exactly the right size. He jumped 33.5" (12th among S), 10-6 broad jump (2nd) and 6.78 3-cone (2nd). Obviously, he’s a tremendous athlete. However, he has virtually no experience. He played WR, RB, and returned kicks until he finally started at FS in 2013. He’s not going to start for the Cowboys anytime soon. However, he’ll play everywhere on special teams and has the athleticism to grow into something. He may not be worth one of those 7th round picks that we have, but he’s a perfect UDFA candidate. Here’s hoping this Scarlet Knight will set fire to the NFL with a Victory (Downingtown, PA) Scarlet Fire Rauchbier.
There you are, a 12-pack of players I find intriguing. Honestly, of course, the averages tell us that I’ve done a decent job of prognosticating if only 1, maybe 2, of these players actually develop into something useful at the NFL level. Feel free to give me hell for all of the others that do absolutely nothing at the NFL level, because if I hit on 3 of these I’ll be even more insufferable than I normally am.