Every Wednesday, Drafttek publish their newest seven-round mock draft. The virtual ink hasn't quite dried on their latest mock and we're already taking it out on a spin and proposing an alternative mock based on Drafttek's consensus mock draft.
I have had a lot of fun going head-to-head with Long Ball with these types of mocks, so we're having a go at it again today. There's only one simple rule that I choose to abide by: the player I choose instead of the pick proposed by Drafttek must be ranked lower in their mock draft than where the Cowboys are picking.
Long Ball has once again kindly agreed to write a rebuttal, which you'll find below our two mock drafts:
|RD||Drafttek’s picks||Players I’d pick instead (in this mock)|
|1||Lane Johnson, LOT, Oklahoma
||Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU|
|The interior of the Cowboys' OL is sub-standard; however, as deep as the 2013 Draft Class is at the OG position, #18 may be too high to invest on an OG prospect. According to ProFootballFocus.com, ROT Doug Free was the 2nd lowest graded OL (-10.1) to only Mackenzy Bernadeau (-10.8) . . . and his $8MM per year compensation (much less his lack of production) hardly qualifies him to move inside. Many OL prospects who play in a spread system lack the technique to play in a pro-style offense; but Lane Johnson showed me something during Senior Bowl week, as I originally thought he was a finesse player. This young man has a nastiness to the way he finishes blocks and is quite an athlete, having played QB in HS, began the 2010 season at TE for OU before moving to DE halfway through the season, and played ROT in 2011 and LOT in 2012. With his 35" arms, Johnson could easily play the blind side . . . and interchangeable tackles are almost a necessity as most teams in the NFL have excellent pass-rushers on both sides of the line.||The 6-5, 260 Montgomery has a prototypical frame for a DE and the college production to prove it: in 32 college games he recorded 19 sacks and 32.5 TFLs for a production ratio of 1.61, the second best career value in this year's draft class behind only Damontre Moore (1.88). The Cowboys will likely lose the bidding war for Spencer, and Montgomery is the ideal replacement: he has a great bullrush, he's very strong against the run and is fast for a man his size. He's got an enormous motor and he appears to have fun hitting people. He still has much to learn in terms of pass rushing technique, but just using his physical skills was already enough to outclass almost all college competition. This guy can be the 2012 version of Anthony Spencer, not the previous iterations of that player.|
|2||Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina - 6-3, 320
||Kawann Short, DT, Purdue - 6-3, 310
|New DC Monte Kiffin brings his 4-3 "Tampa-2" defense to Dallas and this will require DL additions to the roster. Whether Kiffin and new DL Coach Rod Marinelli have the linemen in an "Over" alignment (with the 1-technique DT responsible for two A-gaps) or "Under" alignment (with the 1-technique DT responsible for one gap), a big body will be necessary to allow Jay Ratliff to play the penetrating 3-technique. Not only does Sylvester Williams bring the ability to occupy space, but a strong pass-rushing technique not normally seen from a man his size. In this scenario, Jason Hatcher can start his diet to drop 10-15 pounds in order to play the strong-side DE next to Williams, with Ratliff and the incomparable DeMarcus Ware manning the weak side. If the 2013 Draft plays out this way, even if Ratliff and Anthony Spencer are gone, the roster produces a rotation that includes Ben Bass, Rob Calloway, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lissemore, and Brian Price . . . an old DL just got much younger!||I completely agree with Long Ball's assessment of personnel moves along the D-Line. Except I think Short is the better prospect here. Short can play both the 1- and 3- technique and he's shown that he can be more than just a big-body blocker: Short has a phenomenal production ratio as a DT of 1.79 over his last two college seasons. That's J.J. Watt territory (1.85 as a DE), and Purdue and Wisconsin play in the same conference, so those numbers are as comparable as it gets. I'm assuming that come draft time, Short will have worked his way into the first round, and I would not hesitate to pick Short there. If the Cowboys want an interior pass rusher, Short is their guy.|
|3||Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M - 6-2, 230
||Alvin Bailey, OG, Arkansas - 6-5, 320
|Visit with anyone familiar with Monte Kiffin’s defensive scheme and you will hear "Speed, speed and more speed . . . linemen rush the passer and linebackers run to the ball." Combine Mr. Porter with Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and you may just have the fastest and most athletic linebacking corps in the NFL. Keep in mind that linebackers have extensive pass coverage responsibilities in the Tampa-2 . . . and none of these 3 would ever "have" to come out in passing situations.||I went into this mock with the specific intent of getting three linemen with my first three picks, the first two of which happened to be defensive linemen, so here's where I go O-line. Bailey is a quality OG prospect who enters the draft as a junior. He is an imposing physical presence, plays with tremendous strength and moves well. He'll need to learn to not just rely on his upper body strength at the next level. He has played both guard spots in college and would immediately help solidify the Cowboys' interior offensive line.|
|4||Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina - 6-6, 260
||D.J. Swearinger, FS, South Carolina - 5-10, 208
|Word has it that Taylor has put on 15 lbs of muscle, is 1" taller than our posted height and has 35-3/4" arms (Drafttek does not update height and weight until the official Combine measurements), while still running a sub-4.8 forty yard dash. If all that is true, that makes him a prime candidate for the strong-side DE in DL Coach Rod Marinelli’s 4-3. Although overshadowed in 2012 by Super-Soph Jadeveon Clowney, Taylor has been a solid player for the Gamecocks earning 1st and 2nd Team All-SEC honors at South Carolina. This would be excellent value in the 4th round, as Dallas has had a history of whiffing on prospects in this round.||Swearinger is a versatile and tough guy, who has played both free and strong safety over his college career. He started all but one game in his four-year career and has a reputation as a strong tackler and versatile leader. As strange as it sounds, Swearinger may even have to tone down his physicality at the pro level if he doesn't want to get flagged all the time for personal foul penalties. The Gamecocks asked him to play multiple roles, and even had him lining up one-on-one with receivers, a job he did well. The Cowboys will need to make sure they have the safeties to man their Tampa-2 scheme, and Swearinger would fit nicely. Some may say that his size is a bit of a concern, but the prototype of a Tampa-2 safety, Earl Thomas, is also 5-10 and six pounds lighter.|
|5||Brian Winters, OG, Kent State - 6-5, 310
||Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State|
|I went back to my Senior Bowl grading cards to read multiple entries of "Mean SOB" referencing Mr. Winters. This young man was an outstanding tackle for the Golden Eagles (quick, what is their mascot's name?) and could potentially play ROT in the NFL and might even fill in (in a pinch) at LOT, but his nasty demeanor makes him a phone booth brawler in my books. Quite frankly, that type of "attitude" has been missing from the Cowboys OL recently and I, for one, would like to see it reinstated. This is excellent value as I expect Winters to go in the 4th round (if not before).||In 2011, Randle rushed for 1,216 yards and 24 TDs, the second most in school history behind only Barry Sanders (37). He followed that up with a 1,417-yard, 14 TD effort in 2012. Randle probably played 99% of his snaps at Oklahoma State out of the shotgun, and his skillset reflects that. He's great in pass protection, a trait the Cowboys desperately look for in their backs, and also an outstanding receiver. Randle is very elusive, runs hard and never gives up on a run. I've seen Randle mocked as high as the first round, so getting him here would be a real bargain.|
|6||Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas - 6-0, 228
||Zach Sudfeld, TE, Nevada - 6-6, 255
|Yep, he struggled with an ankle injury (after leading the SEC with 1,322 yards and 13 TD’s as a freshman while starting only 8 of 13 games) and then a new coaching staff did not utilize him last year as Petrino had; however, he has been clocked in the 4.4 range, has soft hands in the passing game, strong blocker with excellent technique in pass protection . . . and we haven’t even addressed his ability to bring the wood rushing the ball at 230 lbs. RKG, as he was voted Team Captain 2 years in a row by his teammates. Should compliment Murray nicely.||I haven't given up the dream of a blocking tight end, and Sudfeld comes from a program that still believes in TE blocking schemes. Sudfeld lined up on the line almost all the time and is a willing blocker. He's a natural receiver, catching 45 passes for 598 yards in his senior season and notching a team-high eight touchdowns. Dane Brugler called him "the best tight end prospect in St. Petersburg this week" during the East-West Shrine game practices.
I went into this mock draft with the assumption that the Cowboys will release Doug Free and won't be able to re-sign Anthony Spencer. Without Free, right tackle becomes such an immediate need that the Cowboys will have to address it via free agency if they want to retain any semblance of being able to pick the BPA. At Spencer's position, the situation is a little different, as the Cowboys at least have options in Hatcher, Crawford and Lissemore.
I was tempted to choose Chance Warmack as my first pick, but I don't think Warmack is quite as good as DeCatro was last year, and DeCastro went 24th. So instead of arguably reaching for Warmack (who went with the 23rd pick in this mock draft) I chose Sam Montgomery. I believe Montgomery's stock will improve strongly after the Combine, as guys with good Production Ratios have generally excelled at the Combine.
Kawann Short is a long-standing favorite of mine, and with these two first picks I've brought significant youth and proven production to a defensive line that was getting a little long in the tooth. Bailey in the third gives me some nice options in the interior O-line.
I went hunting for value the rest of the way, and was very pleased to find both Swearinger and Randle waiting for me in rounds four and five. Both have a track record of production in college and could quickly be contributors in Dallas. Sudfeld is more of a prospect who'll need to add bulk and game some more experience before he's NFL-ready, but he's an interesting prospect.
And now on to Long Ball's rebuttal of my hijacked mock:
Well, for the purposes of determining team need priorities for Drafttek, I don’t have the luxury of making any assumptions of what may happen in Free Agency; however, I do agree with OCC that Doug Free will either be the starting ROT or off the roster because he doesn’t have the appropriate frame to play OG (his legs are too long to be able to maintain leverage against shorter DT’s, who would get under his shoulder pads almost immediately). And like OCC, #18 may be a bit early for an interior OL. NFL defenses have good pass-rushers at both ends nowadays so I decided to secure "Bookends for da ‘Boys" to take them into the next decade. As for OCC’s selection of Montgomery, he is a solid player and could play strong-side DE; however, I believe you need to look for impact players in the 1st round and no one has ever confused Sam for being a "quick-twitch" athlete, as he is slow off the snap and 9 times out of 10, the last Tiger DL off the ball in the game film I’ve graded. He tends to struggle in disengaging from blocks, is not flexible in dipping to gain leverage in outside corner rushes and does not keep his hands working to break free.
We both went DT in the 2nd round and I like Kawann Short . . . but let’s take a look at the young DT’s on Dallas’ roster: Ben Bass, Rob Calloway, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lissemore and Brian Price. Other than Calloway, I see a whole lot of potential 3-technique DT’s . . . so who do you put at the 1-technique? Even if Ratliff returns, with his ability to penetrate, you would want him at the 3 . . . and at 6’6" and 295, Hatcher may be better served playing DE, as he plays high. Yep, Lissemore spelled Ratliff at NT, but he played a penetrating, 1-gap style similar to Jay; therefore, I chose to go BIG . . . and even at his size, Sylvester Williams provides plenty of push. Quite frankly, I’ll be surprised if he’s available here in the "Real Draft", but he was such good value I snatched him.
Originally, I had OLB43 as a later round filler (P5 for those of you familiar with the Drafttek Coding System) but Sean Porter kept falling and was such good value, the simulation plugged him in. Even though he led the Big 12 his junior season with 9.5 sacks (along with 17 TFL’s) as Von Miller’s replacement in the "Joker" position, new HC Kevin Sumlin wanted him to play a more traditional LB, covering the flanks on running plays and coverage responsibilities against pass plays. The thought of Lee flanked by Carter and Porter made me drool a bit (or was that just old age?) Alvin Bailey is a big man and has pretty good footwork for his size; however, I have recently been re-grading film of OL prospects for the next Big Board and also my Big Uglies series and have noted that he will lunge at his opponents from time to time, losing some leverage. Not a big thing, and certainly something that can be coached up . . . however, the OG class is deep, deep, deep and I believe value can be found in later rounds.
I will admit, I went big, Big, BIG in this simulation and since I did not take a DE earlier as OCC did, I jumped on the chance to snag Devin Taylor. Evidently he is closer to 6’7" and 275 lbs (as I stated in my comments above, Drafttek does not update height and weight measurements until the Combine), which creates a nice picked fence for an opposing QB to have to throw over on the strong-side of the defense. Although there are options for the strong-side DE currently on the roster (Jason Hatcher, Tyrone Crawford, Ben Bass), I would love to see the Cowboys improve their DL depth and be able to platoon units to keep fresh pass-rushers on the field like we did in the early 90’s. My scout who grades DB’s has Swearinger as one of his "pet cats", so OCC has a good selection in this round; however, I believe the safety positions in the Tampa-2 will require somewhat of a veteran presence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this position addressed in Free Agency.
Brian Winters has one aggressive personality and truly strikes me as a "Mean SOB". His attitude during Senior Bowl week reminded me of a young man who impressed me the same way two years ago: Kevin "Killer" Kowalski. He has the footwork to play OT, as he did at Kent State but I see him as an OG (and have moved him up the rankings at that position for our next Big Board). He maintains a good wide base, takes short, choppy steps and produces one helluva punch . . . yep, that’s old school blocking technique, but I like it! He brought to mind another OT who I thought would be good inside, and has made a name for himself in Cleveland: Jason Pinkston from the University of Pittsburgh. Quite frankly, Winters will probably cost us a 4th round pick so getting him in the 5th is good value. OCC’s selection of Randle is good quality . . . I’d like to see him put on about 10-15 lbs for durability in the pounding he will have to take at the next level.
Another injured RB? Well, the 6th round is a little different . . . and an ankle injury that happened over a year ago doesn’t rank up there with what Lattimore experienced this year. I had forgotten just how fast Davis was, clocked at a sub 4.4 forty and is an every down type back, strong in pass protection, good receiver out of the backfield and a strong and elusive runner . . . and not too much tread on the tires as he was injured one year and not utilized by the coaching staff last year. As to OCC’s selection of a blocking TE, let me throw a few names out there who could probably be signed as UDFA’s: Nick Kasa of Colorado (6’5", 260), D.C. Jefferson of Rutgers (6’5", 258), C.J. Fiedorowicz of Iowa (6’6", 265), Colter Phillips of Virginia (6’6", 250), Chris Pantale of Boston College (6’6", 251) and Spencer Ladner of California (6’6", 260).
So there you have it. Drafttek vs. BTB. Which mock do you prefer, and what would you do differently?