Jeff Ireland was the special guest today on Talkin’ Cowboys. He stayed on for almost the whole hour and had lots to say about the recent draft. You can listen to the interview, here. But if you don’t have the time, below is a paraphrase of what he had to say.
As has been reported, the Cowboys had Anthony Spencer targeted for their #22 pick, but started to realize about pick #11 that Brady Quinn sliding to them was a real possibility. They had already mocked out this situation and had studied Quinn just in case this happened. The only player they didn’t worry about sliding was Calvin Johnson. When Cleveland showed their interest in getting Quinn, they threw out the value chart and decided to ask for what they wanted, and they got it. They believe that Romo can lead them to the next level so were content to trade the pick. They were also sure that Kansas City was going to take Quinn at #23. He revealed that they almost traded back up to get Kansas City’s pick but it would’ve cost too much.
They coveted Spencer because of he’s a pressure player with a high motor. Some people asked why draft another OLB after drafting Carpenter and Ware, but Ireland countered that OLB is the core position in Wade Phillips defense so they needed another pressure player. They only had six to seven OLB hybrid-players on their entire board that they wanted. Spencer will be occasionally asked to cover a TE or a RB in the flats, but his main job is to get after the QB.
The question arose as to the difference between scouting for Bill Parcells and for Wade Phillips. While Ireland skirted the issue of their philosophical differences he did say they both have blueprints for the type of players they want and that they are different. He also considers Bill Parcells a mentor to him.
The question was asked about why they didn’t draft a backup NT for Jason Ferguson. Ireland said they are looking at a different kind of NT now; it’s not the same position as it was under Parcells. The two-gap scheme is no longer applicable and they are searching for "penetrators" now, guys who can get up field and disrupt. They think Jay Ratliff can help out there, and he mentioned Stephen Bowen’s name as a possibility at the position. Under Parcells, they wanted a short, stout, powerful guy with good leverage. In the Phillips 34 you don’t need the 6-3, 320 lb guy; you need a guy with quickness and the ability to penetrate. He also singled out UDFA NT Ola Dagunduro as a kid to watch.
Courtney Brown was a guy they thought had a lot of potential because he is 6-1, 200 lbs. and can run 4.36. He had 7 INT’s as a junior and they were surprised he was still there in the 7th round.
The player that really excited Jeff Ireland was Isaiah Stanback. He had seen him play QB 3 or 4 times, but when the area scout brought back a tape of him, Ireland "got chills up and down his arm." They went back and put together a reel of him playing WR and they would stop the tape regularly and talk about him and his vision for the game. He talked about Stanback as a good kid who they think can transition to WR, but they might line him up as a QB some and use him as a returner on special teams. This lead to a discussion about Stanback and comparisons to Anquan Boldin. We can only hope! They are still waiting for him to fully recover from the foot injury and hope he’s ready to go by training camp.
The two tackles, James Marten and Doug Free, were labeled as developmental guys who they hope would be ready to take over in a year or two. Deon Anderson received some attention as Ireland discussed his size and physicality combined with his good hands catching the ball. What they really loved about Anderson was his play on special teams and discussed how he would just lay guys out on special teams. Ireland said the fullback position was going to be an intense battle because they like Oliver Hoyte, who Ireland described as someone "who will knock the dog..." - he didn’t finish the statement but it was akin to knocking the dog crap out of you. Lousaka Polite was someone they like because of his toughness and his special teams play. The battle between Hoyte, Polite and Anderson should be a good one.
Ireland doesn’t know if they will carry 2 or 3 QB’s this year. He also said of Stanback – get your popcorn ready. He stole T.O.’s line! He mentioned that they still have Bobby Carpenter in their plans and that he could line up at a lot of different positions this year. Wade’s philosophy is to get pressure players all over the field so the offense won’t know where the pressure is going to come from. Cournety Brown needs to work on getting out of his back-pedal and some other technique issues as well as recognition in zone coverage. Alan Ball was discussed by Ireland, but nothing of import was discussed.