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Safeties, Receivers Top Cowboys' Draft Board

Several unrelated crumbs which all seem to work together:

Our search for better opinions brings this clip from NBC5 in Dallas Ft. Worth.  Former Cowboys personnel man Bryan Broaddus gives his opinions on the Cowboys' draft strategy.  It included a lot of points we knew but a few intriguing ones we didn't.  Mr. Broaddus spent many years in the Cowboys War Room, so I give his thoughts more weight than others.  He says:

  • Dallas' may be looking at some combo of safety-wide receiver or wide receiver-safety with its top two picks. 
  •  He mentions Louis Delmas and Darcel McBath as two FS targets.  These are two of, if not the two best cover safeties.  (More on this in a minute.) He does not mention receivers of interest, but you don't have to look very far to find names.
  • He reiterates that Dallas loves QB Stephen McGee.  The surprise is Broaddus thinks Dallas could seriously consider him in the 3rd round, at pick 69.  I've read in several places that McGee's stock is rising, but I still think he'll be in play with Dallas 101st overall pick at the top of round 4. 

If Dallas has to have him, I think the team could move up a little bit from 101 to get him.  The cost  to move up ten or so spots into the late 3rd is a 5th rounder, and Dallas has three of those.  

I also spoke to KC Joyner over the weekend about a couple of issues of note to Dallas.  KC is finishing his research for Scientific Football '09, which will include run blocking and run defense metrics this year.

He told me:

 -- New Eagles LT Jason  Peters is a good tackle, but has struggled in the last two years to handle speed rushers.  He gave up five sacks in 2007 (Flozell Adams, by comparison, gave up one that year) and 11.5 last year.  "If you want a comparison," he told me, "I just finished looking at Dolphins tape.  Joey Porter gave Jason Peters fits last year and he's the player closest to Demarus Ware in game.  Speed rushers got to the corner very easily on [Peters] last year.  I think he'll improve in Philadelphia, but that matchup with Ware will be interesting to watch."

Joyner thinks the Eagles are going big body across the line and want to play powerball. The Eagles ran a lot more down the stretch and probably want to do this from game one this year.  New RT Stacy Andrews is in the 330 lb. range and Peters weighs 340 or so.  RG Shawn Andrews is also a 330+ pounder at RG. 

It's not the Eagles style to pick running backs in the first, but I look for them to target a bigger back in the 2nd or 3rd round to complement Brian Westbrook.

-- Joyner added more ammunition to the argument that Dallas will pick a safety high.  We discussed the Cowboys' overall safety play and he told me he's charting run defense metrics called crash for corners and skys for safeties.  Skys refers to the number of times a safety lined up in the traditional deep role -- usually twelve yards off the line of scrimmage -- and made a tackle within five yards of the LOS. 

He told me Ken Hamlin had over half the sky numbers on the team, even though he'sDallas' free safety.  This offers some explanation of why Hamlin's interception numbers dropped from six in '07 to one last year.  The team had him forcing runs a lot to cover up for the strong safeties, two of whom -- Roy Williams and Keith Davis -- are not on the current roster. 

Look for Delmas in two and if Dallas goes in another direction there -- a receiver or center, perhaps -- look for them to pursue McBath in the 3rd or 4th.  But look for Dallas to push safety.  Even with Gerald Sensabaugh in house, the evidence for upgrading there is overwhelming. 

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A friendly reminder that we're in the last week of our initial camp fund drive, and will hold our drawing for the Triplets lithograph a week from today.  Anyone who makes a contribution is automatically entered in the drawing.


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