Trying to guess who Dallas will take in the draft is like going shopping with my wife - I sorta know why we’re there, but I have no idea what we’re going home with. The only real difference is that Mel Kiper isn’t waiting for me at home going through our stuff and telling us he had a third round grade on the new lamp we just bought. But unlike shopping with my wife, the draft is pure excitement. While I try my darndest to figure out how our war room thinks, I’ve come to the cold realization that it’s just not going to happen. Nonetheless, I still give it a go and I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve got.
There are only a dozen or so blue chip players in each draft and some teams will try to make a move to snag them. Will we be one of those teams? We all know Jerry likes to wheel and deal and he likes having the best of things. We also know that we've recently become more careful when making these deals so I can’t fathom that we’d deal away a valuable second round pick to move up in the blue chip area. For this to be a more reasonable option one of these guys would have to slide to make it a more affordable deal. Personally, I’m not thrilled about giving up a third rounder either, but if we got a chance at getting one of the premium talents in this draft, I think you got to pull the trigger. There are only two guys that meet that criteria, in my opinion and that is Todd Gurley and Bud Dupree.
Here is my mini-board with my own grades listed on the left.
Taking Gurley would put the best collegiate RB in the draft behind the best offensive line in football. It would also put a lot of minds at ease as we wouldn't have to worry about missing out on one of the good RBs later. And those who are worried about what we lost in letting DeMarco walk would feel a lot better too. Bud Dupree would give us a strong edge rusher. With Hardy and Mincey not committed past the 2015 season, this would be the perfect time to bring in a young, talented defensive end. We have the bridge in place and Bud would be able to have the time to develop. And should we decide to retain Hardy’s services, that would just be a big bonus. Hardy has position flexibility where he can play inside as well. A front four that consisted of Greg Hardy, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Bud Dupree would cool everyone’s jets about having to fix our defensive line because it would be pretty awesome.
But not only does this scenario contain a short list of players, the criteria would also have to include that they slide enough to only cost us third round pick. And I just don’t see that happening.
Just as there are only so many blue chippers, similarly there are only so many players who have first round grades. Now this evaluation is different for every team, but I think that lists consists somewhere in the range of 18-22 players. If one of those guys makes it to us in late in the first round, then that is going to make Jerry and company real happy. So who are some sliders that you’d think we’d have a first round grade?
I think there are two groups of players that fall into this category:
(1) The top CBs we covet
(2) Melvin Gordon
There has been a lot of great research done (a lot of which I’ve read over here at BTB) on the cornerback candidates. I think the group consists of the usual suspects of Trae Waynes, Kevin Johnson, Byron Jones, and Marcus Peters. I have no idea how the rest of the league views these guys so determining who might be on the board is anyone’s guess. I’m going to use some deductive reasoning in giving it my best guess. Trae Waynes seems to be the "consensus" top CB so I’ll assume he’s off the board. The Cowboys may be making that same assumption because he didn’t get an invite. I’ll say Marcus Peters is the front runner to be passed up on due to character concerns. So that leaves KJ and BJ. While both look good on tape, I think Byron possesses the leadership attributes we look for in a player. He’s very athletic and has great upside and for me personally – he’s the only corner I feel s safe at spending a first round pick for.
MY PREDICTION: Barring some move trading out of the 27 spot, I say we take Byron Jones in round 1.
Because of the possibility of trading back from 27 or up from 60, the group in the 30-50 range remain of high interest. This is a good group of players. If we did indeed make our pick at 27, then that would most likely put that position out of the mix for our next pick. I mean anything is possible, but I don’t see us going CB/CB and especially not RB/RB in the first two rounds. There is a player at each of the main need positions that I have high on my "early 2nd round" board.
I’m a big fan of Marcus Peters IF….things went well with his visit. The skill set is impressive. I think he is either a sneaky good pick if everything checked out, or he won’t be anywhere on our board where he’s likely to be taken.
I’m almost rooting against us taking Owamagbe Odighizuwa simply for the fact that constantly trying to say his name is going to be giant pain. I don’t know if Marinelli takes those types of things in consideration, but he’s a great edge rusher and would be a nice addition to our rotation.
I’m not going to lie. Not seeing Ameer Abdullah’s name in the mix of possible running back candidates hurts my feelings. He’s the back I love the most (not named Gurley). I have no idea where he ranks on Dallas’ board, but it’s probably not where I have him. I know he’s undersized, but I think he brings such a great collection of speed, strength, and elusiveness that will translate well in the NFL. If all the other RBs are off the board when we get to 60 and he’s still there, I would be ecstatic to hear his name called.
I don’t know if it is possible that Carl Davis slides down far enough to 60, but starting the draft with him and Byron Jones would be the only thing that would make me feel at ease with leaving round 2 without a running back. Cowboys Nation might be in an uproar, but that is a great way to continue rebuilding our defense.
Many people have Kevin Johnson ranked higher. I don’t hate him, but I don’t love him either. His academic issues concern me because if there is one thing I want on the football field – it is a sharp guy.
MY PREDICTION: I don’t see any of these players being in the mix for us. Marcus Peters would be my guess if we traded back from 27.
Any of these guys I would be happy to get at 60. If we didn’t get a RB in the first round, then I think Tevin Coleman and Jay Ajayi become prime targets in round 2. I’ve heard so many different things about where the RBs will be taken so it’s really hard to get a feel for who will be left when it’s our turn to pick. My gut tells me that one of them will be there.
I love Nate Orchard as a good second round pass rusher, and I love Quinten Rollins as a high upside second round corner. And while taking Devin Smith might bring back some Gavin Escobar head scratching memories, the logic behind it is still the same – he’s just much more talented than other guys remaining in this range so you got to get the best meat off the bone.
MY PREDICTION: I think our front office feels it is extremely important to snag one of the good RBs in this draft. Once a RB is taken that leaves only one more target on our board, I think we make a move. Say goodbye to our 3rd round pick, but say hello to Jay Ajayi.
It’s hard to give this round too much thought if you are of the school of thought that we won’t have a 3rd round pick because we traded it away, but I have players graded out here, so I’m going to talk about them anyway.
Xavier Cooper and Frank Clark could provide some nasty to our defensive line. From a talent perspective, they are great value at 91. TJ Yeldon is someone I think we would be overjoyed to take in the third if we didn’t have a RB by our pick. In fact, I wouldn’t completely rule him out as a possible reach pick (it’s not a reach if you have him graded higher) at 60 if the previous tier of RBs have all been taken. Yeldon actually rounds out that tier on my board and I think he reads the lanes real well and has deceptive quickness. I think he’d be great behind our line. I have a favorite corner for each pick in the first three rounds and D'Joun Smith is my pick as a great value corner at 91. Tyler Lockett has a great receiving skill set to go with his incredible speed. Just like with Devin Smith, you can’t pass up the great talent of this draft class just because it isn’t one of the more pressing needs for our team. If a player like Lockett is still available, I say you take him and run with it.
MY PREDICTION: If we have this pick, I think we take advantage of the Frank Clark slide. I think he’s a starter caliber player and if you can land that late in the 3rd round, you’re doing a good job.
Trying to guess correctly here is a pure dice roll. There are some talented options at a handful of needful positions at this area in the draft. Most of these fit more into the development category. I would be happy with any of these players this late in the draft. Are we drafting a QB in this draft? And if so, when? Garrett Grayson being available when our number is called in the fourth round may answer that question. Daryl Williams is a big boy and can control his opponents with his strength. My favorite pet cat (other than Paula Abdullah) is free safety, Cody Prewitt from Ole Miss. Watching the YouTube highlights of him were a lot of fun. He does something well that our DBs seem to lack and that’s taking good angles. He’s very tenacious and is a leader on the field. He also loves to strip the ball away from you which should appeal to Marinelli. Kwon Alexander is my "who’s the next Hitchens" pick. He’s got great ability to deduce the play and is quick to react. If Rakeem Nunez-Roches is still available that late, he could be nice defensive line value pick.
MY PREDICTION: I like Erik Williams here. Did I say Erik? I meant Daryl. He could be the final piece to that Super Bowl winning offensive line we are building.
ROUND 5 and LATER
While I did correctly guess Ken Bishop last year, I credit that entirely to luck. And that’s what it would take to correctly guess anyone else from this point. Ty Montgomery is another speed guy and he could be a good candidate to replace Dwayne Harris. My final pet cat is Jayhawk LB, Ben Heeney. He is a missile to the ball carrier. His size makes him look more like a LB/S tweener so I do not know if his physical make-up can sustain every day play in the NFL, but if he’s healthy – he looks like he will be out there making plays.
MY PREDICTION: I think we get our WR here with Ty Montgomery.
These aren't the guys I would necessarily pick,but rather who I think we are most likely to pick. Who you got?