Garrett: "Psst Rob...You think other people are starting to notice the transformation of our roster in just two years?"
This draft has left me with a very 'weird' feeling. I was disappointed to see so many of our 'pet-cats' selected by other teams, all while reminding myself to believe in the 'process'. Because almost all of the names we picked after Claiborne were relatively unknown to me, and I felt I really did some extra diggin' this year, so this feeling is something most of us on here can probably can relate to. But after reading the great materials our front-page writters has gathered on these rather unknown players for most of us, it definitely has put me at ease. After further research, I'm rather happy with this draft class. I'm not going into any in-depth review of the draft picks, that's been done by our front-page writters and really well done as usual :) ... I just want to provide my 2 cents on the draft picks and how they might 'project' in a long term view.
After reading what OCC, Archie, and the other writers put together. Plus some extra digging on my own, trying to look at this draft class with some 'fore-sight', while taking in mind of how I rated the other prospects I liked, researched and 'scouted'. I came away 'satisfied' with this draft class. First and foremost, 'Pick-6' becomes the focus of this draft class for years to come as we look back at it. I barely studied his tape or scouting reports going into the draft. I felt I understand his 'game' from the general raving reviews we've all heard, plus the highlight clips that's all over the place. So, when THAT opportunity fell into place, in the right way. I loved the aggressiveness to go and get him! I really would have been willing to give up more than what we actually did, but that wasn't the case, instead we got the deal of the draft! After seeing my 'pet-cat' Barron go the very next pick, I knew it was the right move.
This kid is special! Without going into details, out of all the positions on the field, I understand how to judge/scout a Cornerback the best. We all have already heard the comparisons to Prime, and it's NOT fair, but there is premise behind it. Claiborne did not run in the 4.2s, and he is not the raw athletic talent that Deion was...not many are. The comparison is the 'ball-hawking' ability and savvy to his game. Forget the wonderlic, this guy is football smart and plays with natural instancts (the type that cannot be taught, it's a 'feel' for the game). And THE best hands I have ever seen on a CB since...(I'm not going to say it, that's my childhood idol), but Claiborne catches and high-points like a receiver, like the really good ones lol. To add onto all of that, Jerome Henderson, our new defensive backs coach said he's techique is very advanced at this stage as well, so they can dive into more intricate techniques and more cerebral lessons right away. With the genuine emotions he showed after the draft, and the overall approach to the game he has. I best project him to be this new-generation version of Champ Bailey. Claiborne will play almost his own 'style' at corner, being able to use his long arms to effectively jam, then having the quickness to shadow pretty much any receiver, all while baiting the QBs to throw it his way, so he can use his best asset of all...Pick-6. He will be our version of 'shut-down' corner for the next 10-12 years.
While watching every second of the draft, seeing the 2nd round roll on by with the talent still on board was agonizing. But I finally got a play-making Corner to cheer for...that actually will catch the damn ball lol so I'm reminding myself of this until our 3rd round pick. Now this pick made that 'weirdness' feeling creep in. I was thinking Interior OL, Pass-rusher, or Ta'amu the NT still sitting on board.
TYRONE CRAWFORD [DE] - Boise State
So remembering Tyrone Crawford from very little research done on my own, plus the watching the shrine game and comine. I had a general idea of who we picked, off-the-bat thought we got good value for the pick. After reading up more on him from OCC and Worley, it sealed it for me. Crawford isn't the 5-Tech we've grown accustom to, he is coming as a big 4-3 rush-end. This is something I can really get behind! The way I try to look at it, for the 'value', regardless of we get a NT this year or the next, we needed a pressure 5-tech anyways. So I can definitely get behind this pick for what it is suppose to accomplish, which is add more pressure on the opposing QBs. After collecting my thoughts and digesting the scouting reports on this guy, I would project him to be a surprising contributor this year right away. His motor will jump out at us in games, and in a year or two, he will supplant Hatcher for our RDE (same side as Ware), and be mentioned as [pro-bowl potential player].
Waking up to day 3 of the draft, I knew this was our meat and potatoes, understanding Jerruh's general strategy for the day was WR (returner), TE, OLB, S and depth/competition (BPA). We did just that, starting with the OLB in Kyle Wilbur. Now, this pick was VERY questionable, I was not at ease seeing the talent still available at this point. But since I haven't heard about Wilbur at all, I decided to reserve my emotions until I see the supplemental 4th as well, so I waited for Matt Johnson...I was thinking who?!...(the 'weird' feeling is starting to kick the door down)
I really want to focus on Matt Johnson as our 4th round draft choice. Kyle Wilbur, I will reserve my opinions for at this point. I would have liked other prospects or even other OLBs at his pick, so he will have a tough hill to climb in my books. I will say I do see a natural athlete upon 'scouting' him, and he is always around the ball, plus the RKG factor. Wilbur could prove me wrong, but again, tough battle for him. [average - starter potential]
Now for our GEM of this draft! Every year it seems we have one, may not always be the same round each time, but we usually get one in the later rounds. Matt Johnson is 'it' for us this year. I watched every second of all the clips I can find on this guy, with help from our front-page writers (especially OCC's input on him). I was 'WOWed' by this kid. We all know now he's pretty athletic, but he plays fast! I know he was playing against inferior competition, so differentials maybe exaggerated. I took that into consideration while 'scouting' his tape. I remember watching lots of AOA clips, even before him getting drafted by us. AOA was fast, way faster than the competition while I 'scouted' him, but he wasn't quick to the ball. Lacking the instincts that Johnson appears to have plenty of. And WOW, he flys around, attacks what he sees with a vengeance, also hovering the deep middle, making plays all over the place, quite the difference to most safeties I've watched on clips in quite some time (minus Barron's). Johnson will be a project though, so patience will be needed, but his aggressive field demeanor should net us some 'plus' this year, and way more to come. [hidden gem - pro-bowl potential player]
The rest of the draft I knew we were going for BPA per need as well. So there weren't any emotions attached at this point of the draft, fully understanding JG5000 is following his process and getting more RKGs.
Danny Coale was not someone I knew about, but that's because I barely looked at any WRs this year. I knew it was a need, especially with Ogletree sitting there, but I have this blind faith in our up and comers in: Holmes, Radway and Harris. However, after seeing the excitement out of our own Archie when we picked Coale, I knew I had to look into it more. And what did I find? ...This kid is a baller! I know Archie mentioned his 4.38 forty and an unworldly 3-cone, but once again, it's his football 'savvy' (like Claiborne) that stands out to me. Coale is fast, but he is much quicker than fast and he is smooth working the middle. He will give Harris a run for the future Slot role in our Romo friendly offense. Both very similar players, returners, I want to see them both succeed, but I think it will depend on this preseason. I find it hard to project him because of the log-jam of young talented WRs on this team (what a great problem to have).
[good slot-receiver potential]
JAMES HANNA [TE] - Oklahoma
James Hanna I actually learned about through other BtB members. After reading more on him from the front-page articles, I like this pick. This is where we should draft project TEs, not in the 2nd round (twice in 3 years lol). He is depth and competition for Phillips. I think he will hang on to the roster spot for awhile, and presents the 'chance' to become what we hoped in Martellus.
Caleb McSurdy, I don't know much or have much to say about 7th rounders. We usually are a good drafting team in the 7th lol. But I think our 'gem' of this class was already found in Matt Johnson. McSurdy won't beat out Lemon, I doubt he beats out Chapas either. I don't foresee him on our squad for long unfortunately.
Instead, I want to direct the pressure on Ronald Leary. Jerruh basically announced him as a draft pick, so I will treat him like one as well. This is a guy we all liked after seeing his name on our draft visitors list and reading on him. Glad to see we were able to bring him into the fold, however that degenerative knee issue does worry me a bit. I'm not sure if it will effect his game or longevity. Leary does finally bring that mauler type of guard we all wanted. From the scouting reports it seems like he is nimble enough in space as well, so he isn't all power just because he had to practice against Poe everyday for 3-4 years. If all things on the health side pan out. I project him to take over Livings' spot in 2-3 years when Livings' contract gets expensive.
The good news for me and most of us is after this pick. We are a notoriously good undrafted free-agency team, and this year we pick up some studs here again. I won't go into all of them, just the few I think has a chance to make the 53.
Adrian Hamilton was actually on my 1 and ONLY mock! what are the chances! (link): http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/4/1/2917666/legends-1st-and-only-mock-draft-cowboys-only
Getting this guy helps me gauge the Wilbur selection very well, as we are all curious to see if he was a beast because of competition level or will he show-up against true competition.
Donovan Kemp is another young talent added to this jog-jam of WRs. Kemp is super athletic on paper, those that trumps Holmes or Radway's numbers. And his tape isn't half bad either, needs polish but has a play-making factor to him for sure.
The 2 running backs, Scott and Dunbar will give Tanner some good competition. I think unless one of them flashes big time, Tanner holds his spot down due to experience.
I didn't really look further on the 3 cornerbacks we brought in, other than the insight provided on the frontpage article by Cotysaxman. I just know 1-2 of them will make the team just because of the numbers (especially 'if' Jenkins is dealt). So let the battle begin!
After reading my 'projections' for this draft class, I hope you can see why I'm no longer disappointed our front-office, eventhough we didn't pick many of my 'pet-cats', because this class is solid with some real upside potential. It also will be our third solid draft in a row, and it should only take one more good draft class to kick us over the edge into becoming an ELITE team for years to come.
But this 'weirdness' feeing I'm talking about isn't disappointment, it's just making me feel like we are missing 'something'. I think I figured out what it was...and that is because I personally came into this draft hoping for Pass-rush, DB help/potential, interior Oline talent and a NT. When I factor Leary in the equation, this draft satisified me in all but NT. And leaving the overall view of the team with the glaring hole that is at Center.
Maybe we already have our NT in Josh Brent, maybe he is just coming into his own, it is still to be determined as he was playing well before injury last year, or maybe we'll get a better valued NT in next year's draft. It wasn't necessarily a need this year, so it isn't too big of a concern. The only question I have left going into the true off-season is our Center situation. Maybe with Woicik's training and new coaching (Callahan), someone from this young group will emerge as the solution, or maybe we target a post-draft casualty later on, remains to be seen.
When I look at this whole draft class, after re-thinking things and really researching this group of players. I am still very happy with the direction Garrett has us headed. So I can go back to Trusting the 'Process', especially when I begin to actually recollect the Free-Agency period that seems ages ago now. We really have transformed the team in 2 short years, the depth, competition and RKGs flowing up and down the roster is really beginning to show. I can't wait to see the competition that we're going to have before and during this pre-season, this roster has some serious competition happening at all positions and all levels of each position. The quality, age and depth of our new roster is quite amazing to see. I feel the roster battles itself should make our team even stronger, along with Woicik's first full off-season and full coaching sessions this year with our staff, how can any of us not be excited?!