Since the mid-80s, Bob McGinn has published an annual NFL Draft series, first in the Green Bay Press-Gazette (1985-2001), then the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (1992-2017), and most recently for The Athletic. In this series, McGinn polls NFL personnel people before the draft. uses the results of those polls to rank draft prospects at their respective positions and spices up the rankings with comments from anonymous scouts.
The comments from these scouts can be effusive in their praise for a prospect but can also be damning indictments of various aspects of a prospect’s game, personality, or traits. Taken by themselves, they likely provide a distorted picture of a prospect, but taken together, they begin to form a picture of what the scouting community may have thought about a given prospect.
With the draft now in the rear-view mirror, we revisit what McGinn and various anonymous scouts had to say about the players the Cowboys drafted. In addition to the quotes from the anonymous scouts McGinn features in his ranking articles, he also offers up a few factoids for each prospects.
Micah Parsons, Position Rank: #1
Factoids: Didn’t start as a freshman but still led the team in tackles. Started 12 games in 2019 before opting out in ’20.
Anonymous Scout #1: “You always know he’s in the game. He’s either blowing up the quarterback on a blitz or going outside and knocking the [crap] out of somebody. He can man cover a back and a tight end at a very good level. Hell of a pass-rushing linebacker. Plays to the outside are his forte. Running the ball down.”
Anonymous Scout #2: “Not a real shock-and-shed kind of linebacker. More of a scrape-and-run guy. He’s OK against the pass. He was a five-star (recruit) and all that. He opted out, and you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in this situation. But he’s got all this physical ability.”
Anonymous Scout #3: “We have to find out a little bit more about leadership and intangibles, and being able to call a defense. But even if he’s just a rush-hit guy, he might turn out to be Darius Leonard. He’s not Devin White. He doesn’t take on blocks like Devin White. He tries to run around and jump things, but the athletic things are top-notch.”
Anonymous Scout #4: ““What you have is a space-chase ‘backer. If everything is straight-line for him and he sees it, he’s explosive inline. His sacks, (Penn State had stunts) upfront and blitzed him right through the middle. They schemed him to do that stuff. When he’s in space and if he’s chasing somebody, you can see his speed.”
Kelvin Joseph, Position Rank #7
Factoids: Played sparingly as a freshman before being suspended for the final game and transferring to Kentucky. After sitting out 2019, he started nine games in ’20 before opting out of the last two games. His collegiate stats in 20 games (nine starts) were 37 tackles (one-half for loss), four picks and six PBUs.
Anonymous Scout #1: “There are certainly some inconsistencies in his game and probably (off the field), I would say, that likely will hold him back from being the best he can be. If he decides that football’s No. 1, he can be a really good player. I don’t think he’s a bad kid, but it’s hard to bet on him.”
Anonymous Scout #2: “It depends on your level of tolerance. He’s very talented.”
Anonymous Scout #3: “He’s as talented as the top three guys. He’s got a little bit of inconsistency in his play, but when it was time to play against the big receivers, he would step up to the challenge. He did pretty well against Alabama.”
Anonymous Scout #4: “He’s got instinctual issues, but I want him to go high.”
Osa Odighizuwa, Position Rank #4
Factoids: Started 27 of 43 games from 2017 through ’20. Finished with 120 tackles (27½ for loss) and 11½ sacks. Three-time state wrestling champion.
Anonymous Scout #1: “Really stout. They could not block this guy at the Senior Bowl. (Osa) doesn’t have a great history of production, but he did look good at the Senior Bowl. He was more of a power guy than a movement guy there, but he could be a 1-technique for some (teams). He’s not a 330-pound slug nose, yet he wins with power.”
Anonymous Scout #2: “He’s small, but he plays really hard. He’s a really good athlete. They beat him up, but he keeps fighting. He’s got to be on the move. (UCLA did) a lot of shifting with him, which he has to do. You just can’t have him ever be a front-line guy. You’d love him as a backup because he plays so hard and he’s athletic. You just question how big he can get.”
Jabril Cox, Position Rank: #10
Factoids: Played as a running quarterback at a high school in Kansas City but went to Fargo, N.D., as a linebacker. Quickly won a job with the Tigers, giving him a whopping 48 starts in 55 games. Finished with 316 tackles (38½ for loss) and 29 big plays.
Anonymous Scout #1: “He’s a ‘will’ linebacker who will be your dime and nickel linebacker. His whole thing is his ability to play in the passing game. He had some issues at the Senior Bowl when he had to play inside against the run.”
Anonymous Scout #2: “Undersized. Gonna struggle to hold up between the tackles.”
Anonymous Scout #3: “All of the issues he has can be coached. If you get him to bend his knees and play with urgency, he can be a really dynamic linebacker. He’s got the best man cover skills of any linebacker in the draft. I think he has more upside than (Patrick) Queen.”
Anonymous Scout #4: “He’s a lesser version of Pete Werner.”
Chauncey Golston, Position Rank: “Usung Hero”
No specific scout quotes, but McGinn does provide this summary about this “unsung hero”.
Played base left end in the Hawkeyes’ 4-3 defense, but his main attraction to NFL teams would be as an inside pass rusher on third down. Produced 12 sacks in four seasons, stood out at the Senior Bowl and had a strong pro day. Very long arms (34¾), biggest hands (10⅞) at the position and a 4.82 40 time. Rushed effectively with speed and power at the Senior Bowl.
The scout’s comments above add another layer of information to what we already know about the Cowboys rookies. What you do with it is up to you, but it might help to further fill out the picture as we try to figure out what to expect from this year’s rookie class.