Over the last four months here on Blogging The Boys, we’ve looked at hundreds, if not thousands of mock drafts. You’ve seen mock drafts in front-page posts and in FanPosts, you couldn’t avoid seeing them in the signatures of some of the board members, you may have even created one yourself.
What most of these mocks had in common is that they had a built-in causality between the first, second and third picks. Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event, where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first. In the case of our mock drafts, that causality mostly revolves around three positions (Cornerback, defensive end, and safety) and could look like this:
- IF the Cowboys draft a corner in the first, THEN they’ll draft a defensive end in the second and THEN grab a safety in the third.
- IF the Cowboys draft a defensive end the first, THEN they’ll draft a corner in the second and THEN grab a safety in the third.
- IF the Cowboys draft a corner in the first, THEN they’ll draft a safety in the second and THEN grab a defensive end in the third.
All of these scenarios have a built-in causality whereby the Cowboys’ first pick drives the next two picks, but in such a way that the Cowboys’ three biggest perceived needs are always addressed within the first three picks.
Well, what if that isn’t a causality the Cowboys will follow on draft day?
So I asked my fellow writers here on BTB about their expectations for the first three picks, and it turns out there are two main schools of thought:
The CB, S, DE cabal:
RJ Ochoa: CB, S, DE. If those are the first three picks and in that sort of sequence, I could rest easy.
Terence Watson: I hope that they go CB, S, DE.
The CB, WR, DE caucus:
Dave Halprin: CB, WR, DE. I would love to see them with a stud corner on a cheap contract that can be the lead dog for this secondary over the next few years. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are both up for renewal after this season, and besides Anthony Brown, there isn’t much else under contract long-term. Get your cornerstone in the first, then swoop in for a piece of the talent in a loaded WR class in the second. Finally, between Randy Gregory/Aldon Smith, they hopefully will have some pass rushing talent opposite Demarcus Lawrence, but there’s no reason not to pick up some more help.
DannyPhantom: For my best guess, I’m going to roll with DE, CB, and WR, but that’s really a tough one to answer. I feel like there are several ways they could go with that 17th pick as there’s a DE, DT, CB, and three WR’s that are all worthy of that pick. I’d be shocked to see them go S there unless they work some sort of trade back situation. I lean towards the trenches between DT (Javon Kinlaw) or DE (K’Lavon Chaisson, but don’t sleep on Zack Baun) to be their pick. I think pick 51 is going to be a CB. There are just too many quality players in that range. I feel like the front office knows that too, which is why they didn’t even make a legit effort to retain Byron Jones. 82 will be the surprise pick. There should still be a good WR available that would go nicely with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, but don’t be surprised if they go a different route like OL or LB because “he was graded really high on our board and we just couldn’t pass him up.”
Tom Ryle: I came up with the same order as Dan, but that’s because of my exercise looking at the first round. I really think the way things shake out, K’Lavon Chaisson is going to be available, and a real value at 17. Then I think they will go CB in two and add a WR in three, but that could be swapped for a safety just because of the depth of WR talent. However, I think the team would prefer WR over S (or DT) in the third just because of how they value the positions. They’ve also addressed S and DT in free agency pretty well IMO. I’m also assuming that we will still be waiting on word on Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory getting reinstated, which could change priorities. But DE to me is kind of a go early or miss out group, or at least that is what I am gathering from people who know way, way more about the draft than I do.
I will also say that I am not as tied to “my order” as some are. I just want to see them get good value. However, my perception of the relative value of positions obviously comes into play. I was not completely sold on Leighton Vander Esh for that reason, although I was fully expecting him to be the pick because the Cowboys were about as subtle as an elephant taking a dump in your living room concerning who they were after.
Conversely, I was more willing to buy into Taco Charlton because of position, which was also erroneous.
As Cowboys fans we have been collectively obsessing over CB, DE, S, and possibly WR to a degree that we’re likely to jump off a high ledge if the draft doesn’t hit early on those need positions, and with a causality that we like.
But what if the Cowboys don’t do what we hope they do?
Some people are making a living off talking about who the Cowboys should have drafted. “They should have drafted T.J. Watt,” or “I told them to draft Juan Thornhill”, or “they never should have traded up for Morris Claiborne”. Never mind that those are often the very same people who were all over the Cowboys for not drafting Sharrif Floyd, or Kevin King, or countless others.
Are you going to be Captain Hindsight about the 2020 draft and grandstand for years about the player the Cowboys coulda shoulda woulda have drafted?
Or are you the type who’ll start off by scratching his head at the selections, perhaps even vent a little about the selections, but then eventually learn to accept the picks, as you have done with so many in the past?
Or perhaps you’re the type that needs a day or two to understand the rationale behind the picks and eventually starts defending the picks? Over time, you may even grow to love those picks.
Or maybe, you’re the type who wonders why you were so devastatingly wrong about predicting who the Cowboys would pick, and resolve to do a better job with your analysis in the next draft ... nah, that type doesn’t really exist.
And finally, are you going to be the person that immediately starts looking for reasons why this or that selection was a great pick?
You’ve been following this team for a while, so you know that there’s a good chance the team goes in an entirely different direction, especially in the early rounds, than many of us expect. You have two more weeks to prepare for that eventuality.