We made it! Many thanks to the numerous members of the BTB community that have manned the first 13 picks of our Community Mock (well, the 11 that showed up) but this is the moment we've been building up to. Last year, when I opened up the sign up sheets there was no question that I had to pre-assign the Dallas Cowboys pick to our, at the time, resident Fan Shot Draft Guru "Chia Crack".
With Chia now under his birth name of Archie and joining us on the front page, I had to figure out who had earned the right to make the selection for 2012. It wasn't difficult. Birddog26 has spent the last year educating us on the inside view of the NFL over the past year as he is a professional league scout. He shares his knowledge of the inner workings of the scouting systems, and also occasionally sneaks in some not-yet-public sentiments where he allows us to infer conclusions (was that cryptic and obvious enough?). If anyone could give us a realistic pick for Dallas, it would have to be him. We're honored he shares his knowledge with BTB, and welcome him to the podium to make the selection for the Dallas Cowboys.
Selection: (OG) David DeCastro
This was an easy pick when the clock starts. I have David ranked as the 7th best player on my board, so not only are the Cowboys getting a huge upgrade on the line but I feel getting great value selecting him at the 14th spot in the draft. David’s background, potential, experience and scouting reports are well known to everyone on BTB, so I want to talk a little about the impressions of David I walked away with from a scouting trip to Stanford. In the scouting report we are asked who does a prospect compare to. This gives the front office and coaches a visual impression of a prospect. Here is what I wrote in David’s scouting report.
David reminds me of a quarterbacks very own, personal, Secret Service Agent. He takes his responsibility of protecting his quarterback and running back very personal. This is a driving factor that he uses to practice, prepare and play at a high level year round. He is the ultimate bodyguard who not only wants to beat the man across from him, but dominate him every second of the game. He is very intimidating and plays with a mean streak on the field. He is a leader on the field and off, who demands the best from himself and those around him.
When we talk about a player being an RKG, David has it all. Strong leader, plays to the whistle, intelligent, high character, committed to being the best and just loves to play football. He will be the type of player that will set the attitude and personality of the offensive line.
Follow the jump for the team needs and an elaborate prospect profile.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS according to Drafttek.com
According to Drafftek, Dallas has no high priority positional needs, nothing that rates a "1" or a "2" red alert. They do however have a "3" and that's at the cornerback position. Not only does it warrant a three, but Draftek recommends going after a second corner in the draft with a priority of "5".
While corner is the only position that rates a 3, there are several that warrant a "4". Center, Guard, and just about every defensive position remaining (34DT, 34DE, 34OLB, 34ILB, FS, and SS). They also have some positions listed as 4's, the last grade of great need, that are questionable assessments. Feature running back and feature receiver. Maybe BTB member and Drafttek contributor LongBall will stop through and help us understand the logic here.
No "5's" for Dallas save for the 2nd corner mentioned earlier, but slot receiver, tight end, right tackle and left tackle all warranted a grade of "6".
Drafttek jumps to "9" for positions where it thinks the team is very secure for the near future. The winners? Tony Romo at quarterback and DeMarco Murray at Change of Pace running back (but not a feature back?).
-- Drattek.com ranked #9 overall, #1 at position
-- Wes Bunting, National Football Post: #3 Overall, #1 at position
- Showcases good initial quickness off his frame when asked to reach defenders trying to shoot gaps on either side of him in pass protection.
- Keeps his base down through contact and exhibits natural balance when asked to slide his feet laterally.
- Extends his arms well, exhibiting good hand placement under the chest plate of defenders and sticks well through contact.
- Showcases quick hands when asked to re-set through the play and maintain leverage laterally.
- Rarely gets overextend/off balance with his footwork through contact. Showcases natural fluidity when asked to shuffle and slide, and with ease can push his man past the pocket inside.
- Exhibits plus range laterally, can re-direct cleanly and is tough to side-step/disengage from in pass protection.
- Keeps his head on a swivel, locates blitzing linebackers quickly and works well in tandem with his center.
- Has a toughness/mean streak about his game, demonstrates a passion and takes pride in finishing his man in all areas of the game.
- A dominant force in the run game. Exhibits a "plus" first step off the ball as an in-line blocker and showcases an explosive snap through the hips into contact.
- Is a technician when trying to create a push in-line, gains leverage, keeps his base under him and can overpower/push bigger lineman off the ball.
- Showcases excellent range when asked to pull from the backside, has the ability to lead through the hole and eliminate defenders on contact.
- Looks natural chipping at the line, generating a powerful jolt on the opposing down lineman and cleanly scraping his way into the second level to seal.
- Is a guy you can run behind in short yardage situations. Fires off the ball low, there is a real explosive element to his game as he gains leverage and creates a push form his lower half.
What I don't like…
- Lacks elite anchor strength. Can be overpowered a bit at the point of attack vs. the bull rush.
- Would like to see a more violent punch on contact, displays good hand placement, but not a real jarring pop at the point.
- Can be unwound at the waist and get upright at the point of attack vs. bigger lineman working the bull rush, causing him to "skate" into the backfield.
- Lacks elite natural power in his lower half and if he loses off the snap doesn't have the kind of natural strength to simply overwhelm and create a push.
-- Scout.com ranked #14 overall, #1 at the position
-- Shawn Zobel, DraftHeadquarters.com ranked #6 overall, #1 at position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #1 at the position
- NFLDraftScout.com profile:
Pass blocking: Doesn't get beat. Has enough of an anchor and resets hands to get leverage if beaten initially. Keeps feet churning and his head up. Capable of blocking down with one hand and sliding to help tackle. Very aware of late blitzers, can stonewall them or ride them out of the pocket. Usually keeps arms extended in pass pro to maintain distance with his man. Loses the hand-to-hand battle occasionally but works to quickly counter.
Run blocking: Excels as a run blocker in power, zone and on the move. Plays with his eyes up. Takes defenders to the ground and doesn't let up. Rarely allows defenders to sidestep. Not dominant as a drive blocker but grinds to the whistle. Defensive tackles with elite power can anchor or move him off the snap.
Pulling/trapping: Dominant leading on pulls outside and traps inside. Reaches second level instantly, has natural bend and flexibility to get correct angle. Does not always dominate smaller defenders after initial contact, falling off instead of latching on, but can take out multiple targets when he squares. Will miss inside target on occasion, giving max effort to cut or reach the linebacker.
Initial Quickness: Very good off the snap. Gets hands up immediately, rarely beaten with an initial pass-rush move. Swims to reach second-level defenders. Generates push in goal-line situations, firing off hard and low.
Downfield: Has enough -- but not great -- speed. Very effective negating targets seven or eight yards downfield. Inconsistent sustaining blocks against powerful linebackers and defensive backs, lowering his head to easily be disengaged.
-- DraftCountdown.com ranked #8 overall, #1 at position
-- Possesses prototypical size and bulk
-- Terrific strength and plays with power
-- Aggressive and plays w/ nasty demeanor
-- Gets an excellent push in the run game
-- Stout at the point to anchor in pass pro
-- Mobile enough to pull and work in space
-- Is polished and utilizes sound technique
-- Smart with nice instincts and awareness
-- Extremely tough and was very durable
-- Competitive w/ great work ethic and drive
-- Lots of experience versus top competition
-- Average athleticism, agility, quickness
-- Does not physically dominate opponents
-- Tends to reach and lose balance at times
-- Does not have ideal arm length (32¾)
-- Overall upside may be relatively limited
Up Next: JimmyK and the Philadelphia Eagles at #15