Now that the Super Bowl is officially over we are in full off-season mode. I recently discovered a nifty little tool called a draft pick calculator. What the calculator does for you is adds up the value of each pick and calculates the total number of points for each pick. Actually this is a really neat tool that can be used if you're a big draft fan like myself. Now I have the ability to make trades and see if the values are somewhat near the right ballpark figure. In this mock I made two trades and I made sure the values added up close or equal to each other. If we trade down, I really pray that there isn't a run on offensive lineman. I still feel confident if this scenario were to take place that we would be able to land one of the top tier offensive lineman. I am not a fan of Anthony Castonzo and Nate Solder. I have Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod as the offensive lineman I would target in the first round.
In the first round I have us trading down to New England so they can move up for Julio Jones. If New England wants to get him, they need to leapfrog St Louis. New England has the picks to make a move like this because they own two picks in each of the first three rounds. This is not a usual Bill Bellicheck draft move, but they need a big time #1 wide receiver and he knows this. The current New England wide receiver core lacks the true #1 wide receiver they had in Randy Moss, but due to age and attitude had to trade Moss.
We receive the 17th, 60th and 92nd picks from New England in exchange for our 9th overall and our 137th overall. The value of our picks adds up to 1387.5 and the Patriots picks add up to 1382.
When we finally get on the clock at 17th overall we select Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin. Carimi provides us with an instant answer to our right tackle problems. Carimi was one of the best offensive lineman in college football during his career at Wisconsin. Indeed it is not a sexy pick, but we address right tackle right away and get a instant starter.
In the second round we decide to make a move up towards the top of the second round. We find a trade partner in Buffalo and is willing to drop down six spots from 34th overall to 40th overall. Buffalo is a team that has a lot of holes to fix, so they will gladly pick up an extra pick. We decide to jump Denver because we want Rahim Moore. Dallas has been told that if Rahim Moore is there in the second round, then Denver will select him. After answering our biggest need in the first round, we decide to answer the other huge hole we have on this team.
We receive the 34th and 163rd from Buffalo in exchange for our 40th and 105th. The value of our picks adds up to 584 and the Bills picks add up to 587.2.
With the 34th overall pick we select Rahim Moore S UCLA. FS is one of our biggest holes going into this draft. We need a playmaker in the secondary and also that player needs to be a leader. In selecting Moore, we get the best safety prospect in the draft and a instant starter for us. We will insert Rahim Moore at FS and our draft is going to plan after two rounds. Landing two instant starters is a great start to a draft.
With our second 2nd round pick we received from New England we have a lot of options to consider. We could add a nice young prospect at cornerback, but we decide we will draft a project cornerback later in this draft. I also ponder adding a defensive end or nose tackle at this point, but with Phil Taylor and Muhammad Wilkerson off the board I decide to wait until later in the draft. We still have issues at guard, and that's an area I decide to target with our second pick of the second round.
With the 60th pick we select Benjamin Ijalana OT/OG Villanova. We are very pleased to see Ijalana fall in the draft due to a hernia injury and after the medical team assures us he will be cleared to go in training camp we make the pick. Ijalana offers us versatility and that's something the Cowboys love in their players. He can play guard and tackle on the offensive line. With the selection of Gabe Carimi in the first round, we will insert Ijalana at either right guard or left guard, depending on who we keep out of Kyle Kosier and Leonard Davis. Regardless we now have two instant starters on the offensive line, filling a major position of need entering this draft. I also considered Marcus Cannon, but we feel Ijalana is the more athletic type of offensive lineman we are moving towards after the success of Doug Free. Mike Pouncey would have been our selection if he slid into the second round, but he was snatched up earlier in the draft.
Entering the third round we have two selections in this round. We are happy we traded down with New England for the value of adding a extra second and third round pick. Now that we have answered our needs at offensive line, we can focus on adding other players of need or taking the best available player. Running back is also a position I consider in the third round because the war room is very high on Delone Carter from Syracuse, but we decide to answer defensive line with our first pick in the third round.
What we discussed in the war room was that we need to add another defensive lineman that can play nose tackle or defensive end. What we are looking for is a versatile player that is big enough to be a space eater in the middle. Kenrick Ellis was a player we really liked, but in the end we target a player who is a big boy himself that comes from a SEC school.
With the 71st pick we select Jerrell Powe NT/DE Ole Miss. At 6-2 331 pounds we finally get the space eater we need in the middle of the defense. Wes Bunting mentions that Powe really has first round talent, but comes with some character concerns. We did our homework on Powe and decided he really is worth the risk, especially in the third round. With the overall success the Cowboys have had in finding defensive lineman later in the draft, we feel we have discovered another gem that has the feel of a value pick.
With our second pick in the third round we decide on targeting two areas of need, either linebacker or cornerback. There are a few really good cornerbacks this area of the draft, but we really have our eyes set on a small school corner later in the draft that we know has immense and raw talent. So what we decide is we should take a inside linebacker now to finally have a young talented player behind Bradie James.
With the 92nd pick we select Casey Matthews LB Oregon. The third round might have been a reach for Casey Matthews, but the war room has graded him out very high. The reason we have a high grade on Matthews is that we love his intangibles. He actually reminds us of the linebacker we selected last year, Sean Lee. Matthews isn't the same caliber of athlete Lee is, but they have similar intangibles. Matthews loves the game of football and has that strong fired up passion for the game. In my opinion Matthews answers a position of need, inside linebacker. Besides Sean Lee, we have no options for the future and depth. Bradie James and Sean Lee will be our starting inside linebackers for the 2011 season, but behind them its really slim pickings. With this pick we answer depth and have a future starter we can groom for a year or two until Bradie James is done. The war room is really pumped up with this pick and how the whole draft has turned out. This is easily one of our best drafts in a long time. Getting Dez and Lee were great too, but this draft addressed many of our needs and we filled a lot of holes with our selections.
Due to the trade with New England and Buffalo, we have zero selections in the fourth and fifth rounds. As we wait until we select in the sixth round, we discuss our options. Having two selections in the sixth round is nice, because we can target some nice upside developmental players here. The player we decide to select here with our first sixth round pick happens to come from a school were we sent the Cowboys scouts out to scout basically every one of their games. Actually we were initially scouting NT Stephen Paea, but another player caught our eye.
With the 163rd pick we select Jacquizz Rodgers RB Oregon State. We loved what we saw from ‘Quizz when we scouted Oregon State during the fall. Initially we were scouting Paea, but ‘Quizz really caught our eye with his physical style of running for a running back that's 5-7 191. He really has the speed and burst of a smaller running back, but has this physical style to him that is rare in smaller backs. This is more of a luxury pick, and Jerry needs to get in one shiny toy pick, but at least we held him off until the sixth round. With Marion Barber most likely being released, the war room decides adding another running back makes sense. The room is divided on selecting a smaller back, and we also take a look at Stevan Ridley, Alex Green and Bilal Powell. The reason we select ‘Quizz is because he can be a tough inside runner like Maurice Jones Drew, and has the ability to help out in the passing game. Also he might be able to return kicks for us, releasing Dez Bryant from the possibility of getting injured while returning kicks. We love the value and big play ability of Jacquizz Rodgers in the sixth round.
We have one more pick in this draft after losing our seventh round pick for Josh Brent in last years supplemental draft. Honestly I had a third round to early fourth round grade on Brent, so I feel we really got a steal there. With our last pick scouts, coaches and management puts in their two cents for the pick. This is where teams usually draft a kicker, special teams player, or project players. As it turned out, the developmental cornerback we wanted is still there for us with our second sixth round pick. Sometimes teams wait on a player and that player gets selected higher than anticipated, but in this case our guy is still there and the war room is very happy with this selection.
With our second sixth round pick 169th overall we select Ryan Jones CB Northwest Missouri State. The reason Jones is still available in our opinion is that he is still raw and from a small time school. Ryan Jones is a great athlete that can play zone and man coverage. We like his build and love his athletic ability and feel this is a great developmental cornerback for us in the sixth round. It will take some time to develop him, but we believe with the right coaching Jones can develop into a borderline starting cornerback and at the worst a good nickel corner. He can contribute for us on special teams while we coach him up in becoming a NFL cornerback.
So that's the draft folks. One thing I want to do add that's really cool that you don't see in a lot of mocks is the signing of undrafted free agents. UDFA is an area the Cowboys seem to always hit on with at least one or two players every spring. I will sign twelve players, as that seems to be around the usual amount of players the Cowboys sign.
1. Josh Jasper K LSU-Josh Jasper gives us a third kicker to bring into training camp and give competition to David Buehler and Kris Brown. Jasper was a very accurate kicker during his career at LSU, and I see him easily beating out Kris Brown. I see him earning a roster spot on the team in my opinion because we need a sold kicker, and Jasper is very solid. He could easily beat out Buehler as well, and there is nothing wrong with carrying two kickers. The Saints did it the season they won a Super Bowl. With Jasper you could hand him the reigns, or let him kick the shorter mid range field goals Buehler desperately struggles with.
2. Aldrick Robinson WR SMU-This is basically a prayer UDFA, Robinson is really talented and he should be drafted. Unfortunately for him teams make look at his size and back off. If we get Robinson as a UDFA, I guarantee he makes this team. We need a speed slot WR and this guy would be it. Also nice we add another local product SMU kid.
3. Graig Cooper RB Miami-He suffered a awful knee injury in his 2009 bowl game. Played the 2010 season but basically was a year he used to rehab and build his strength and endurance back up. In the Senior Bowl practices and game, he showed that he is fully recovered from his injury. Could be a real gem discovered in the UDFA route.
4. Kenny Rowe LB Oregon-Played OLB and DE at Oregon and will struggle to find a position in the NFL. Maybe he could make a transition to OLB for the Cowboys and produce on special teams to make the roster.
5. Patrick DiMarco FB South Carolina-The Cowboys could use a true lead blocking fullback, and DiMarco is a beast. He hits his man with force and is a true old school type of fullback. This guy could easily unseat Chris Gronkowski if DiMarco has a great training camp.
6. Michael Morgan LB USC-At 6-3 220 Morgan played OLB for USC. Morgan has the athleticism to transition to ILB for us. This is a player who could possibly make the team due to the lack of good young talent at linebacker. Morgan was a solid starter for USC and I will always take a good football player on my team.
7. Brandyn Thompson CB Boise State-Thompson is an undersized cornerback at 5-10 188, but is a the real aggressive cornerback we love. He will fall in the draft because of his size and entering early instead of staying his senior season to develop into a better player. Thompson is talented and physical enough to easily make this team.
8. Keith Williams G Nebraska-Williams was a decent guard for Nebraska and Dallas could use some depth on the offensive line. Williams could win a spot if he plays at a high level and shows he is worth the roster spot to develop.
9. Ryan Bartholomew C Syracuse-This is more of a local pick for me because I live in New York. Bartholomew started every game this season at center for Syracuse. Is pretty strong and has decent athleticism, but will need more time in in the gym and coaching to get him ready for the next level.
10. Jah Reid OT UCF-This would be a developmental project for us. Reid has the size, strength, and athleticism to be a good OT in the NFL, but lacks technique. He also needs to get stronger as well. I think he could easily make the team because we need some young talent at OT.
11. Brian Lainhart S Kent State-Lainhart is the classic overachiever. He isn't the best athlete but he just makes plays and is always in the right spot. Similar to Eric Weddle that he isn't flashy. Lainhart could fall to the UDFA route coming from a small school and he will not have the combine type results teams like. Lainhart could make this team if he beats out one of the safeties on the roster, and I would like him to because he is a good football player.
12. Cheta Ozougwu DE Rice-This is another player I hope falls to UDFA status, but I doubt it. This kid has some really high upside for 3-4 teams and that's why I doubt he falls to us as a UDFA. If he did, I think he could easily beat out Brandon Williams to be a OLB on this team. He is a classic hybrid player, a DE and OLB that will need to be a OLB in a 3-4 scheme. But he can rush the passer and he goes for the strip. I really believe he would be a gem for us.
Trading down from the ninth spot could be a risk the Cowboys are willing to take in order to acquire more draft picks. For most of the winter I have been against trading down because usually the ninth pick in the draft gets you a stud player. Last year if we were picking ninth, there would be no way in hell of trading down. I believe this is a talented draft class that could land us a great player at ninth overall, but adding extra picks seems to solve a few areas of need. We can answer offensive line as long as one of the offensive tackles falls to us. Whether that's Tyron Smith, Gabe Carimi or Derek Sherrod, we should be able take one of them 17th overall and use the rest of the draft to focus on other aspects of need. So this is how the draft class is looking in my mock.
1. Gabe Carimi Starting RT
2. Rahim Moore Starting FS
2. Ben Ijalana Starting LG or RG
3. Jerrell Powe Starting NT or Situational NT/DE
3. Casey Matthews Nickel LB/Backup to Bradie James
6. Jacquizz Rodgers Versatile RB/Special Teams/Reserve RB
6. Ryan Jones Nickel CB/Depth and Reserve
1. Josh Jasper K Replaces Kris Brown
2. Alrdick Robinson Slot WR Replaces Sam Hurd or Jesse Holley
3. Brian Lainhart SS/Special Teams Replaces Andrew Sendejo
4. Cheta Ozougwu Backup OLB Replaces Brandon Williams
5. Jah Reid Backup Project OT Replaces Alex Barron
A few other UDFA could replace current players on the roster, but for now I will choose those five players.
Thanks for reading and also expect more mocks and draft talk from me as the season is officially over.
Thanks to the draft calculator at http://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/games/draft-pick-value.php This is really easy to use and if you need help adding up and finding the value of draft picks.