Throughout the extended draft season, I have been trumpeting the fine draft work of the Dallas Morning News' NFL beat writer, Rick "Goose" Gosselin. Time and again, I have noted that what distinguishes the Goose is that he's not a scout nor does he evaluate players. Rather, he gets his information straight from the source--or sources, the front offices of NFL teams, where he has built up a large reservoir of trust over his many years in the business. As a result, his rankings, I have found, are closer to those of actual teams than anybody else's. Because of this, I always watch for his late-breaking stuff very closely.
In the past couple of weeks, he has released lists of the top five players at each position, followed by the top ten at each position. Both offered a good look at how NFL consensus ranks the top guys by position--but no real sense of whether the fifth best tackle is a better player than, say, the fifth best corner. Well, the wait is over. Yesterday, the DMN released Gosselin's much-anticipated list of the top 100 players in this year's draft, which has now been disseminated all over the Internet by amateur draftniks like yours truly.
A few highlights after the jump...
- Tyron Smith comes in at number 7
- There are six QBs in the top 40: Newton (6); Gabbert (10); Locker (23); Ponder (27); Dalton (34) and Mallet (40). This is good news for the Cowboys, as it will push good players at other positions to their second round pick, # 40.
- Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, once spoken of as a strong possibility for the top pick in the draft, has dropped to # 22.
- Iowa's Christian Ballard and Justin Houston of Georgia--both of whom were expected to go in the first 35-40 picks, before testing positive for marijuana at the Combine--have dropped off the board.
- There is a group of players with grades at the very end of the first round who should be of interests to the Cowboys--with the hope that one or more of them drop to # 40. They are Danny Watkins (28); Adrian Clayborn (29); Cameron Heyward (30); Aaron Williams (31); Derek Sherrod (32); Muhammad Wilkerson (33) and Jon Baldwin (37).
- Similarly, a group of interesting players hovers at the end of the second round grades; perhaps one of them might fall to the Cowboys at the top of the third? They are: Martez Wilson (60); Shareece Wright (61); Brandon Harris (64); Bruce Carter (65).
- Other invitees to Valley Ranch include: J.J. Watt (11); Prince Amukamara (15); Anthony Castonzo (16); Mike Pouncey (20) Kenrick Ellis (45); Rahim Moore (47); Will Rackley (56); Edmund Gates (57); DeMarco Murray (84); Johnny Patrick (87); Bilal Powell (90).
- And the yearly shocker: finishing up the top 100 is a player nobody has ever heard of: Missouri Stat OT David Arkin. Run to your draft books and try to find him. I dare you...
As I have said before, I follow a fairly consistent draft ritual: I watch on NFL Network (because I vastly prefer Mayock to Kiper), with a couple of draft books by my side as well as two treasured documents: Pro Football Weekly's "Draft Value Chart" and Gosselin's list. Both are the result of NFL consensus rather than the subjective view of a single draft guru. If you can, get a hold of a copy of both and keep them next to you during the three days of festivities. You'll be glad you did--I promise.