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Cowboys 2012 Draft: Averaging The Big Boards - Who Will Be There?

The draft is getting close. Who will wear the Star when it is done?
The draft is getting close. Who will wear the Star when it is done?

This is my last look at various big boards from around the interwebs. I have taken the average of six recent boards that look, not at what team needs what player at a given draft slot, but instead simply rank the players from top to bottom based on the author's evaluation of talent. I use it as a way to try predict what players are likely to be available for the Dallas Cowboys when the fourteenth pick comes rolling around.

For this average, I used the CBSSports big board, Mike Mayock's and Gil Brandt's boards from, the Drafttek board, the Walter Football board, and an advance copy of Archie's board. From these, I came up with a "most likely" first round, based on the weighted averaging I did. All these boards have been updated since last Friday.

As always, the first thing I look at is what name pops up at fourteen. It is not all that meaningful, of course, since the relative value of the players does not necessarily correlate to how the draft will actually play out. But you do tend to think along the lines of "here is the fourteenth best player, so he should be there for Dallas." So I was interested to see whose name slotted there, and if it would be something unexpected. I knew that several players, like Ryan Tannehill, are expected in all the mock drafts to go before the Cowboys go on the clock, but several of the boards here do not see him as rated that highly. This exercise might produce an entirely different name than we are used to hearing.

But you have to follow after the jump to see who it is. I'm such a jerk.

Or maybe not so different. As you see on the chart below, the name that wound up at number fourteen is Mark Barron, who is also showing up as Dallas' pick on just about every mock draft out there. Is this just coincidence, or is there some underlying logic that makes him the most likely pick?

Ranking as of 04/24/12 Total Pts Change Ranking as of 04-20-12
1 Andrew Luck QB Stanford 300 - 1 Andrew Luck QB Stanford
2 Robert Griffin III QB Baylor 294 - 2 Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
3 Matt Kalil OT USC 285 - 3 Matt Kalil OT USC
4 Trent Richardson RB Alabama 278 +1 4 Morris Claiborne CB LSU
5 Morris Claiborne CB LSU 278 -1 5 Trent Richardson RB Alabama
6 Justin Blackmon WR Ok. St. 260 - 6 Justin Blackmon WR Ok. St.
7 Luke Kuechly ILB Boston C. 254 +1 7 David Decastro G Stanford
8 Fletcher Cox DT Miss. St. 245 +2 8 Luke Kuechly ILB Boston C.
9 Melvin Ingram OLB SC 239 +2 9 Quentin Couples DE NC
10 Michael Floyd WR ND 228 +3 10 Fletcher Cox DT Miss. St.
11 David Decastro G Stanford 222 -4 11 Melvin Ingram OLB SC
12 Quentin Couples DE NC 222 -3 12 Riley Reiff T Iowa
13 Riley Reiff T Iowa 220 -1 13 Michael Floyd WR ND
14 Mark Barron FS Alabama 216 +2 14 Michael Brockers DT LSU
15 Dontari Poe DT Memphis 198 +3 15 Courtney Upshaw OLB Ala.
16 Michael Brockers DT LSU 197 -2 16 Mark Barron FS Alabama
17 Stephon Gilmore CB SC 196 +2 17 Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama
18 Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M 195 +7 18 Dontari Poe DT Memphis
19 Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama 194 -2 19 Stephon Gilmore CB SC
20 Courtney Upshaw OLB Ala. 183 -5 20 Cordy Glenn G Georgia
21 Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Ill. 171 - 21 Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Ill.
22 Kendall Wright WR Baylor 163 +1 22 Johnathan Martin T Stanford
23 Cordy Glenn G Georgia 153 -3 23 Kendall Wright WR Baylor
24 Dont'a Hightower ILB Alabama 151 +2 24 Nick Perry DE USC
25 Nick Perry DE USC 143 -1 25 Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A&M
26 Johnathan Martin T Stanford 138 -4 26 Dont'a Hightower ILB Alabama
27 Shea McClellin OLB Boise St 137 New 27 Devon Still DT PSU
28 Devon Still DT PSU 132 -1 28 Coby Fleener TE Stanford
29 Janoris Jenkins CB N. Ala. 120 - 29 Janoris Jenkins CB N. Ala.
30 Coby Fleener TE Stanford 112 -2 30 Andre Branch DE Clemson
31 Stephen Hill WR GTech 109 New 31 Mike Adams T Ohio St
32 Andre Branch DE Clemson 96 -2 32 Peter Konz C Wisconsin

I do find myself wondering if the writers who put these together are influenced very much by the mock drafts and the assumptions that seem to be common to many of them. Then again, there are some players that get treated very differently on the boards than they are in the mocks.

The clearest example is Ryan Tannehill. Not only was he the biggest mover of all the players, jumping up seven spots, he was by far the player with the biggest variation in how he was seen. Gil Brandt had him ranked the highest at number four, apparently reflecting some expectation that the Cleveland Browns may jump on him. Walter football takes a different view, not even ranking him in the top 50 players! Obviously, somebody out there is very wrong about this prospect. It will be interesting to see what happens down the road with his career.

Some other general observations to pull from all this:

1. The top six "blue chip" players have been unchanged as a group since the start. There is a little shuffling in the three to six spots, but no one has moved in or out.

2. Luke Kuechly and Fletcher Cox are firming up as the "almost blue chips". They have been trending steadily upward for months.

3. In a bit of good news (from a Cowboy-centric view of the universe), both David DeCastro and Quentin Coples have slid a bit lately. These are both names that have gotten a lot of interest around here. DeCastro has been at the top of a lot of the lists at BTB the entire offseason, and Coples has started getting more attention of late.

4. Barron is still trending upwards. His position at 14 fits in with the current narrative about both the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers thinking about possibly trading for him.

5. I highlighted the seven players I think look "in range" for the Cowboys based on this board, from 11 through 17. Three of the top four are solid options (DeCastro, Coples and Barron), three are players there is a mix of opinion on (Dontari Poe, Michael Brockers and Stephon Gilmore), and only one, Riley Reiff, would probably not be on Dallas' radar at all.

I am a bit of a contrarian at times, and my theory is that the overwhelming consensus building for Dallas to take Mark Barron just makes it almost certain it is not going to go down that way. Thankfully, we soon will no longer have to wonder about it.

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