The Redskins have traded up to the 2nd pick in the draft to take Baylor’s talented and very athletic quarterback Robert Griffin III. It’s pretty much a given that he is their guy. Does that affect who Dallas will select with their first pick at number 14 in the draft?
According to Stephen Jones, the answer to that question would be “yes”. That makes sense to me as RG 3 is a game changer and probably a division changer too. The Cowboys will face the Redskins twice a year and also play Vick of the Eagles twice a year too. Another athletic QB that Dallas has had trouble defending.
Looking at the prospects that are on the Cowboys radar screen for the first pick, which one helps them the most to defend against a QB that can pass and runs a blistering 4.41/40 time? Stephen Jones indicates that he is interested in getting help to pressure the QB which is a good place to start. Pressuring the QB is definitely an area that Dallas could improve in however will that be enough?
Can a big defensive lineman chase down a guy like RG 3? I don’t think so and that is what is frustrating about defending a QB that can run. You get the pressure on him then in a blink of an eye, he is running down the field for big yardage. To defend RG 3 you will need guys who are very fast and are outstanding open field tacklers. (Mostly you need speed because these QBs usually take the slide anyway).
Last year the Cowboys open field tackling, to put it nicely, left a lot to be desired. Some may say it stunk or was non existent. The Cowboys brought in free agent CB Brandon Carr which should be a big help in improving the tackling in the secondary. I was not impressed with Jenkins tackling last year which too often consisted in a back pedal, then a long pursuit angle that pushed the runner out of bounds 50 yards down the field. That is not going to get it with RG3 who will put it in the end zone before you can say “Holy crap he is fast!”
Looking at who Dallas can draft at 14, here are the guys who can help keep this RG3 guy boxed in a little bit anyway.
DE/DT Fletcher Cox– A guy who can definitely help pressure the QB and disrupt a QB’s timing. His relentless pursuit and light feet will help make RG3 feel uncomfortable. May not be around when 14th pick rolls around however.
Safety Mark Barron– The safety on college football’s best defense is an impressive open field tackler who likes to hit. I think this is the kind of guy that can spy a running QB and effectively minimize his yardage running with the ball. Has the kind of speed to get up field in a hurry. I just think RG3 finds that sideline a little bit sooner with a guy like Barron running up. He is speculated by many mocks to be the Cowboys pick. Is it because he can help defend RG3?
CB Dre Kirkpatrick– Alabama’s shut down corner with good size and a reputation as a sure tackler. He could be much better at coming up to tackle than Jenkins and he can cover too. With the signing of Brandon Carr, some think Dallas will not pick him. But when you think about the passing teams Dallas faces and now the running QBs, I like this pick.
LB Luke Kuechly– No indications that Dallas is interested in the leading tackler in the ACC but he is expected to go around 14 in the draft. Luke is a tackling machine and has good LB speed as he ran a 4.58/40 time at the combine. I think Luke is a good pick and if Dallas doesn’t take him then the Eagles at 15 just might. Luke could help spy a QB like RG3 and minimize the run damage.
With the Redskins making a big move to get their franchise QB, Dallas will be wise to make sure they draft defenders that can help keep this type of QB in check.