The heat has been turned up with the NFL draft but a week away. When it comes to our Dallas Cowboys, it seems nobody is a consensus pick just yet. In the previous drafts, we stayed straight to the allotted selections except for Mock II, which was met with some groans.
In preparing for the finale, I decided that if a good enough trade presented itself that I would jump on it for the opportunity to grab some more talent. The Cowboys wound up with a pretty good offer, so let's see how it all shook out for the finale:
Both the running backs were gone as well as Eric Kendricks, Marcus Peters, and Kevin Johnson. Therefore, the Cowboys got a phone call from the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders wanted to come back up for an offensive lineman, they traded picks 35, 102, 140 and 179 for the opportunity to grab Jake Fisher.
According to the Jimmy Johnson Trade Value Chart, our 27th pick is worth 680 points. By accepting this trade the combined value of 35, 102, 140 and 179 added up to 697.8 points. That gave the Cowboys a +17.8 value, which is the equivalent of a 6th round pick to sweeten the deal.
With the 35th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Running back Jay Ajayi, Boise State
Analysis: Very surprised that Ajayi was still around and that Tevin Coleman was off the board before him. Dallas gladly made this selection, Ajayi has been high on their board for months now and they were able to get great value in this pick. Ajayi comes with a very high football acumen and a history of good production. He's quick and explosive with a very NFL-ready and balanced skill-set. Ajayi is also an above-average pass catcher out of the backfield which is just another plus. He'll need work in pass protection but so does every other back that enters the NFL.
With the 60th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Cornerback P.J. Williams, Florida State
Analysis: The Cowboys were patient and got great value in their second round pick. Williams is a big, athletic corner that can make great plays on the ball. He's got good speed and can play man coverage very well but doesn't slouch when asked to play zone. He's a got a good motor and is a relentless competitor, sometimes too aggressive but he's learning. Williams may not be the athlete that Marcus Peters or Byron Jones are but the Cowboys had to get their back. Williams is a sure-fire hitter and good tackler and draws comparisons to one Peanut Tillman, longtime corner for Marinelli in Chicago.
With the 91st pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Defensive end Frank Clark, Michigan
Analysis: Another great value pick, but we're talking about a guy with a shady past. That said, Clark has been very open an honest about the situation and without it he's probably a second round pick. He's already got the skill to rush the passer and be effective. He is another high-motor player that can get up the field with technique and provide good pressure. He's long-limbed and has great agility which allows him to beat bigger competition. Though it may be met with some scorn, the Cowboys could find a place for Clark and use his skill-set to better their defense.
With the 102nd pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Linebacker Davis Tull, Chattanooga
Analysis: Tull is another prospect who is drawing interest as the draft gets closer. He was a four-year starter with outstanding production. Like most Marinelli-type fits, Tull has a relentless spirit and impeccable motor. He also has the versatility to play many positions but would be an ideal fit at the Sam position in Dallas' 4-3. He has above average hand-eye coordination and has shown the ability to read quarterbacks. He's an opportunistic player with great instincts, something no team can have enough of.
With the 127th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Wide receiver Chris Conley, Georgia
Analysis: The Cowboys need a receiver that take the top off a defense and can return kicks on special teams. Conley can do both and extremely well. With the loss of Dwayne Harris to the rival Giants, the Cowboys will need to supplement that production. Where Conley can supersede that notion is with his proven ability as a receiver. He's got great leadership qualities and placed third in the SEC with YPC at 18.2. Conley always finds new ways to get open and though he may need work with routes, Coach Dooley will take this type of player with ease. He's a high quality character with ambitions outside of football. If you can run a 4.3 40 time, I believe they can find a spot for him; did I mention he's planned a visit with them as well? Like Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Devin Street before him, visits can certainly tell a lot about their feelings toward a guy.
With the 140th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Safety Gerod Holliman, Louisville
Analysis: Good hands to make the difficult interception, has good burst and can read quarterbacks eyes well. Pretty adequate run-defender and knows how to deliver a blow. Struggles a bit with angles and being a reliable tackler but can be taught proper technique. He's physical and knows how to make his presence felt. He's got great vision and awareness and a good build for the position. Holliman always finds a way to make plays on the ball and could be an asset for the Cowboys as a special teamer and depth player.
With the 163rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Defensive tackle Letterius Walton, Central Michigan
Analysis: Walton is a quick-twitch penetrating type tackle with great hands and balance. He's a former offensive lineman and basketball player which has helped him with an array of pass rushing capabilities. He's got some burst to him and strength and is a very disciplined player. He's a versatile type that has some scouts thinking he could be a player nobody sees coming. He'll need some work honing his skills and converting his speed and power. Walton will also need more work with technique and developing his skill-set but can be a late-round find with tremendous upside.
With the 179th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Cornerback Damian Swann, Georgia
Analysis: The Cowboys double-down on a position that may be in flex for them. Swann is a guy who plays bigger than his 6'0 frame would suggest. He's got a knack to find the ball and can make impressive plays. He reads the receivers and quarterbacks very well and can track the ball. Swann is very quick and can penetrate well on blitzes. Like most of the defenders selected, he's got a great motor and is a tenacious and fiery competitor. Plays a little high at times and can really use some bulk, but would be another solid addition to the Cowboys' secondary.
With the 236th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Linebacker Marcus Rush, Michigan State
Analysis: Another guy with an outstanding motor but is labeled sort of a tweener. If he plays at outside linebacker think of him as a better and more savvy Cam Lawrence. Rush was outstanding as a pass rusher at Central Michigan, which intrigues me if he could put on weight. He was able to wreak some havoc in college and has some real skills for it. He plays with high intensity and great instincts. Rush has the knowledge and effort to find himself a spot in the NFL and Marinelli has done wonders with conversions. Rush's college production will get him in the door and hopefully his play-making ability can keep him there.
With the 243rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Offensive tackle Eric Lefeld, Cincinatti
Analysis: I've taken Lefeld several times now and he's sort of my pet cat to replace Jermey Parnell. Good length with long arms and good athletic ability. Has some nastiness to him and flashes explosiveness off the ball. He's dependable and has great production. very durable player. Needs to not play so upright and lower his hips but could be a developmental player with upside to start. Improved as a run blocker in 2014 and already shows ability in passing downs. Never leaves field, relentless motor. Very optimistic that Lefeld could handle the swing tackle duties and may even develop into something more. Not a lot of exposure for him but a warrior on the field every time out.
The value in the first five picks is outstanding, where I believe each of them could find significant playing time. A trade back scenario works great when there is a team desperate enough and has a good high pick in the second round. Before I hear any talk about the 2009 draft, understand that Wade Phillips was not the evaluator of talent that this coach is now. All of these selections have the smell of Jason Garrett, Rod Marinelli types of players. Let the discussion begin.