Dallas Cowboys 2016 Mock Draft

war cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2015 KEY NFL Rankings:

Offense: Points- 31st,  Yards-22nd, Pass yards-27th,  Rush yards-9th

Defense: Points-16th,  Yards-17th, Pass yards-5th, Rush yards-23rd

2016 DRAFT ORDER

1- 4- 4 Dallas
2- 3-34 Dallas
3- 4-67 Dallas
4- 3-101 Dallas
4-37-135 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-14-189 Dallas from Oakland
6-37-212 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-41-216 Dallas (Compensatory Selection)
6-42-217 Dallas (Compensatory Selection

With four picks in the 6th round, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerry Jones trade some of those picks to move up or down. But for this mock, I make a pick at every draft spot.

First Round:  Jalen Ramsey FS

If there is one repeating theme for the Cowboys secondary in recent years, it is they don’t have a safety who can cover receivers with any consistency. Ramsey who is also considered a possible CB, could be the answer at FS for Dallas where I think they will want to play him. The Cowboys did pick a CB first last year in Byron Jones, but Ramsey appears to be a true safety and at this point in the draft, the top player on the board at his position.

Second Round: Derrick Henry RB

Last season the Cowboys were forced to throw together a running game after losing top rusher DeMarco Murray and recently the Cowboys parted ways with the off field troubled Joseph Randle. An excellent physical offensive line is already in place but what is needed is a physical RB who can pound the ball and force defenses to cave late in games. Henry is a Heisman trophy winner on the national champion Alabama team and appears to be a very good fit for the Cowboys run game. At 6-3, 247 Henry will be load to bring down but he has the speed with a 4.5/40 to explode after making a cut behind their offensive line. If the Cowboys are going to get back on track, it will require a top running game and Henry may be the answer.

Third Round: Carl Nassib DE

Safety isn’t the only defensive position that the Cowboys have had trouble getting settled, defensive end has been an issue since the departure of Demarcus Ware who won a super bowl with the Broncos. Dallas is moving on from Greg Hardy and they start the season with an injured  Demarcus Lawrence while Randy Gregory serves a 4 game suspension for violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. Nassib is considered a high character player and intelligent as a two time Big Ten All Academic team member. Described by coaches as a great locker room guy who plays with relentless effort to get to the QB or ball carrier. HIGHLIGHTS  Nassib had an NCAA best 15.5 sacks last year and would provide a spark on the defensive line. Nassib is taller than top ranked draft prospect Joey Bosa and Nassib’s arm and hand length size measure longer than Bosa too.

Fourth Round (101): Maliek Collins DT

Collins appears to be custom made to play the 3 technique on Marinelli’s defensive front. Collins possesses the “quick twitch” that the Cowboy defensive coaches talk about as he displays quick feet and gets off the snap quickly. HIGHLIGHTS In 2014, Collins had 13 tackles for loss at Nebraska and at the combine performed well in the cone and shuttle drills. The Dallas defense could use help in pressuring the QB and tackles for loss.

Fourth Round (135): Malcolm Mitchell WR

While wide receiver isn’t a huge need for the Cowboys coming into the draft, they could always use more depth at the position and Mitchel is an intriguing prospect as one of the better athletes at the position. At times, Mitchell has shown super star potential but was slowed down with 2 knee injuries. He had a strong performance at the combine and may be ready to break out ast an NFL receiver. Without the injuries, probably a player who is picked much earlier in the draft. HIGHLIGHTS

Sixth Round (189): D.J. Reader DT

At 6-3, 327 Reader would bring some bulk to the Cowboys defensive line as a potential run stuffer. He also happens to have good feet and is capable of playing both the nose tackle and 3 technique which he did at Clemson. At the combine, Reader did an impressive 30 reps on the bench press.

Sixth Round (212): Nick Kwiatkoski LB

An athletic former safety who would bring pass coverage support at the LB position. Has 6 interceptions at West Virginia and would offer depth at LB as well as potential as a special teams contributor. HIGHLIGHTS  Nick impressed at the combine with a 4.65/40 time, top performer in the broad jump (120″), 2nd best vertical jump (32″) and the 4th best shuttle time at his position. His athletic ability may make him a natural at the Will LB.

Sixth Round (216): Avery Young OT

Young was a three year starter for Auburn who is capable of playing both tackle and guard on either side. He is a strong zone scheme run blocker which will make him a good fit for the Cowboys offense. Young will provide depth on the Cowboys young talented line.

Sixth Round (217): Brandon Allen QB

I don’t look for Jerry to draft a quarterback early in the draft but at some point, it makes sense to draft one as a potential backup and perhaps develop into a starter eventually. Allen had a good performance in the Senior Bowl and possesses an arm that can make NFL type throws. Not likely Romo’s replacement but may be a good guy to have around as a 2nd or 3rd team backup.

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 5 Worst First Round Draft Picks for the Cowboys

bobby_carpenter_interception_cowboys_week_4_2011Today by coin toss, Dallas secured the 16th pick of the 2014 draft. As the draft approaches, a look back at 5 first round picks that didn’t work out for the Dallas Cowboys. In some years, the Cowboys did not have a first round pick so I only focus on players actually picked in the first round. I count down to the number one proverbial “bust pick”. I also look for lessons to be learned from the picks. But let’s face it, no team gets them right every time.

Spoiler alert– Not all of these bust picks can be blamed on GM Jerry Jones. On the other hand, he isn’t finished yet.

5. Bill Thomas- Running Back drafted 26th in 1972 draft
The idea was to replace RB Duane Thomas but a shoulder injury from college play, prevented Bill Thomas to ever get going. He only touched the ball twice that season returning kick offs. In 1973, Dallas cut him before the season due to his injury.

Draft Lesson– Be cautious using a first round pick on a player that suffered a major injury in college. I believe in drafting healthy players in at least the first 3 rounds.

4. Rod Hill- Corner back drafted 25th in 1982 draft
Prior to the arrival of Jimmy Johnson as coach in 1989, the Dallas Cowboys had some dreadful teams during the 1980’s so it goes to figure that they had some missed draft picks. Hill was drafted to play as a nickel cornerback and as a kick returner on special teams. Neither duty worked out for him.

Hill muffed a punt at the goal line against the Redskins in a playoff game which probably sealed his fate as a Cowboy. After being cut, he bounced among three NFL teams.

Draft Lesson– Hill was primarily drafted because of his athletic ability. A great athlete does not always translate to a good football player. In other words, don’t get too carried away at the combine.

3. Billy Cannon Jr.- Linebacker drafted 25th in the 1984 draft.
The poor picks of the 80s continued with the pick of Billy Cannon Jr. who was the son of a Heisman Trophy winning star running back. Cannon Jr. played 8 games when he suffered a severe neck injury making a tackle against the Saints in Texas Stadium. It proved to be a career ending injury and he went on to sue the Cowboys claiming he told the staff of numbness experienced while tackling before the injury occurred.

Draft Lesson-Tough to see this kind of injury coming but be careful drafting players because of a strong blood line. He came from a long line of great athletes but it did not guarantee success. This lesson pops up again later and again it involves a linebacker who had a famous running back father.

2. Shante Carver- defensive end drafted 23 in the 1994 draft.
After parting ways in March 1994, this would be Jerry Jones first attempt at a draft without Jimmy Johnson who proved to be excellent at evaluating college players. Jerry however wasn’t so good at it and he wasted no time demonstrating his ineptitude. Jerry would also demonstrate his uncanny ability to not only pick a bust, but also one who had character issues too.

Carver was injured most of his rookie season and when he got the opportunity to play in 1995, he wasn’t very productive. In 1996 he was suspended for violating the league’s anti drug policy. In his rookie season after an automobile accident, he abandoned the vehicle and reported it stolen. Can that Jerry pick ’em or what?

In 1997, Carver had 6 sacks but was cut at the end of the season. He went on to play in the arena football league for the Dallas Desperados.

Draft Lesson– Don’t be too proud to ask for help. If you are a NFL GM, and evaluating talent and character isn’t your thing, then find someone who can do it better than you can. This lesson has gone unlearned for a while now in Dallas.

1. Bobby Carpenter- Linebacker drafted 18 in the 2006 draft.
Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells didn’t miss on many picks but he missed on this one. Bobby was the son of Rob Carpenter who played running back for the Giants under Parcells.

It started bad for Bobby Carpenter during preseason on the HBO show “Hard Knocks” when OT Colombo referred to the rookie as “Barbie Carpenter”, because of a lack of toughness and the long blonde hair.

In May 2010, Jerry traded Carpenter to the Rams for Alex Barron and then Carpenter was cut before the season. He ended up playing with the Lions and in a game against Dallas in 2011, intercepted a Tony Romo pass for a TD. That began a Dallas collapse which most likely kept them out of the post season.

That seals the deal for me with Carpenter as the worst 1st round pick ever for Dallas. Not only did he do little to help them but he played his only outstanding game against them. And that “Barbie” nickname too.

Draft Lesson– Probably another case of drafting based on the famous father of a player. Since Parcells coached Bobby’s dad, he took a good look at Carpenter and pulled the trigger. Perhaps a lesson to consider in this year’s draft when looking at talented Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat, who is the son of former Cowboys DE Jeff Jeffoat.

2014 Senior Bowl: Prospects with Stock on the Rise and Decline

Aaron Donald mixing it up with Cyril Richardson.

Aaron Donald mixing it up with Cyril Richardson.


This week in the Senior Bowl 2014 NFL prospects were given an opportunity to improve their draft status which can certainly impact their contracts and financial bottom line. Each year some guys help themselves while others may actually hurt themselves during the week.

First a look at the prospects that I think are on the move up after the Senior Bowl and then those who may be trending down now.

STOCK on the RISE
DT Aaron Donald– Donald had a very productive college career at Pittsburg but was still a NFL prospect that many weren’t very familiar with. That all changed with just a few practices this week as Donald proved too quick to block. In the 4th quarter of the game Donald came up the middle and pressured the QB and effectively altered the throw which resulted in a interception.

Donald was named the top player at practice for the week.

Some choose to point out that Donald doesn’t represent ideal size at 6’0 tall, but with his outstanding quickness, he will be ideal as 3 technique in a 4-3 defense like the Dallas Cowboys run for example. (You need this guy Jerry Jones)

At the start of the Senior Bowl week, Donald was considered a 2nd round pick but now it appears highly unlikely that he will make it out of the first round.

QB Derek Carr– Scouts were impressed with the play of Carr during practices this week and he clearly separated himself from the rest of the pack of QBs at the Senior Bowl as the best prospect. Carr displays a big arm that NFL scouts like to see and he performed well in the game going 7/11, 45 yards, 1 TD.

Currently Carr is expected to get drafted late in the 1st round or perhaps in the 2nd round. His play this week may push him up into the 1st round for sure.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo– Garoppolo is the QB who played at Tony Romo’s school Eastern Illinois and smashed many of his records. Scouts wanted to see how he would play against a higher level of competition and Jimmy actually performed pretty good. Scouts love his quick release in passing the ball and he showed during the game that he can pass well on the move while rolling out. Jimmy also shows a nice touch on his throws.

What he doesn’t show however is a really strong NFL type arm and that may make teams draft him a little later. During the game, Jimmy went 6/12 for 32 yards. Currently he is rated as a 2nd round pick and during the week he helped establish himself as a solid NFL prospect.

DE/OLB Dee Ford– Ford had a great game as he was constantly flying into the backfield chasing the QBs. He finished the game with 2 sacks and a pass knocked down. All week scouts talked about how quickly he glided around offensive tackles and he didn’t disappoint in the game. Ford could be considered a DE in a 4-3 defense as a bit of a pass rush specialist but he is being looked at as a OLB for a 3-4. I think both schemes are going to like what he can do.

Ford who was named MVP of the Senior Bowl, is considered a 2nd round pick but he may have improved his status this week as his performance in the game reminds me of defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah in the Senior Bowl last year who the Lions drafted in the first round in 2013. It’s difficult to imagine Ford remaining on the board long now.

OT Zack Martin- Martin’s name was mentioned often this week as performing well in blocking some very talented defensive linemen. Martin who played tackle at Notre Dame, is likely to move to guard at the next level but he showed this week that he can help an NFL offensive line at either spot.

Martin definitely helped himself this week in establishing himself as a 1st round pick.

RB James White– As far as RBs go, White had the best game finishing with 61 yards and a TD. Ranked as a 5th round pick but his stock is rising after a strong performance running the ball today.

QB David Fales– There was no hype about this QB coming into the Senior Bowl but Fales came in the game late and played very well going 6/7, 104 yards and a TD. Prior to the game he was ranked the 8th top QB prospect for the draft but I think he makes scouts take a closer look at him after the game.

STOCK FALLING?
All 3 ACC QBs– During the week, scouts described the QB play of Tahj Boyd, Logan Thomas, and Stephen Morris as far less than stellar. It was tough to believe they were that bad but during the game they were that bad and showed they aren’t ready to even play big time college football not to mention the NFL.

They combined for a dismal 21/39, 138 yards, 0 TDs and 3 interceptions. These 3 do show talent but must be considered projects as they will need time to develop before playing at the NFL level. Their stock drops this week.

Guard Cyril Richardson– Richardson came into the game as the top ranked guard in the draft but he got off to a bad start as DT Aaron Donald exploited his weaknesses at practice. Richardson is great at blocking straight ahead in run blocking but when asked to move laterally in pass blocking, he gets off balance. He followed some tough moments in practice with a rather average game performance.

Richardson is still one of the best guards available in the draft but now teams realize part of his game will need some developing. Cyril didn’t help his stock this week at all.

Dallas Cowboys 2014 Draft Needs: The Defense

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.


Looking forward after a disappointing finish to the 2013 season, the Dallas Cowboys clearly have needs on the defensive side of the ball. In 2013, they transitioned to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense and to say the least, they struggled at times.
A look at their defensive rankings:

-They allowed more yards per game than ANY other team in the NFL.
-They allowed 27 points per game.
-They ranked 25th in sacks with 34 for the season.
-They ranked 30th in pass defense allowing almost 300 passing yards per game.
-They ranked 27th in run defense.

With the draft approaching in April, a look at the needs on defense by position, starting with the positions of greatest need and working down to the least.

1. Defensive Tackle:
The defensive line will be the key to Dallas improving their defense next season. Things started off poorly in 2013, with Ratliff claiming a hamstring injury and then moving on to play for the Bears. During the season we saw a lot of new faces brought in off the street to help at DT. Nick Hayden gave an admirable effort playing in the one technique plugging the middle of the line but there is plenty room for improvement here.

DT Hatcher had an outstanding season as the defensive line’s most consistent player but at this point, it’s not certain at all that owner Jerry Jones will be able to resign Hatcher and bring him back next season. If Hatcher doesn’t return, then DT will certainly be a position that needs to be addressed within the first two picks of the draft. If Jerry manages to sign Hatcher, I still think they could use a good young DT to work into the rotation.

2014 DRAFT– With Ratliff gone and Hatcher’s return questionable, I expect Dallas to draft a DT very early, either in the first or second round of the draft.

Prospect: I think Aaron Donald at Pittsburg is exactly the kind of attacking defensive tackle that coach Rod Marinelli is looking for. Donald appears ideal for a 3 technique in a 4-3 defense. A highlight video of Arnold HERE. Notice the play where he just tackles both the RB and QB in the backfield to make sure he gets the right one.

2. Defensive End:
Sticking with the defensive line, the Cowboys suffered a set back early in the season when DE Anthony Spencer missed the season with a knee injury. I doubt that Jerry will be able to sign Spencer this season as he used the franchise tag in 2013. If Spencer doesn’t get signed, then DE becomes a pretty big area of need.

The Cowboys were fortunate to find free agent DE George Selvie who played well for them in the absence of Spencer.

Ware played through injuries but his production was way down last season and not up to what fans expect from him.

Tyrone Crawford missed the entire season with an injury but is thought to be able to help them next season at DE. Crawford was actually drafted to play DE in a 3-4 defense and I think ultimately he will be better suited to play defensive tackle in the 4-3.

2014 DRAFT– With Spencer likely gone and Ware not so healthy, I look for Dallas to draft a DE in about the 3rd or 4th round of the draft.

Prospect: I think Jackson Jeffcoat at Texas could be an ideal fit at DE in the 4-3 defense. That name may sound familiar as his father Jim Jeffcoat was an outstanding defensive end for Dallas who was drafted in 1983. Jim once sacked Redskin QB Joe Theismann 5 times in one game. Highlights of Jackson HERE.

3. Linebacker:
Each season it seems the Cowboys become thin at the LB position and in 2013, it happened again with an injury to Sean Lee. Lee was excellent as a middle LB in the 4-3 defense but his injuries kept him from playing late in the season when Dallas really needed him.

Bruce Carter struggled often in coverage particularly with backs coming out of the back field to catch passes.

Rookie LB DeVonte Holloman was injured early in the season but played well late in the year. I think Dallas found a LB who can help in coverage in Holloman and I look for him to start next season.

2014 DRAFT: While LB is not the most glaring need for this defense, I think drafting a LB for depth at some point in the draft, makes sense. Eventually in 2014, they will be glad they did.

4. Safety:
It seems safety is a weak spot for Dallas every season and it just never quite gets addressed. Last year, Jones drafted safety JJ Wilcox who finished the season with a disappointing 0 INTs. More turnovers are expected from safeties in the Tampa 2 defense. Wilcox is a young and inexperienced safety and that’s what he played like. I think Dallas likes the potential they see in him.

Barry Church was solid as an in the box safety effectively supporting the run defense. Church finished with an impressive 134 tackles but only one interception last season.

Rookie free agent Jeff Heath started 9 games in 2013 and came up with 1 INT. and one forced fumble. While Heath showed some promise at times, he struggled at times too. He may improve a great deal in his 2nd season.

2014 DRAFT: While it appears Dallas is fairly satisfied with their safeties, they could really use a safety that can cover receivers. I think it would make the most sense to obtain a veteran safety in free agency that can help the pass defense. Dallas could add a safety late in the draft but I don’t expect them to.

5. Cornerback:
Dallas was weak against the pass last season but I actually don’t expect much to change in the secondary.

Last season Orlando Scandrick was the most consistent CB and while Brandon Carr had a tough season in their new defense, Jerry signed him for $50 million so he isn’t going anywhere.

Because of a shoulder injury, Morris Claiborne only started 7 games for Dallas in 2013, and finished with just 26 tackles, 1 INT. Jerry has a 1st and 2nd round pick invested in Mo so they have to hope he has a bigger impact next season.

Last year they drafted CB B.W. Webb but he hasn’t contributed much at this point. However Kiffin seems to have high hopes in Webb but I fear he will prove to be a bust. We will find out next season.

2014 DRAFT: Cornerback is one position of the defense that I just don’t expect to change much during the draft. I will be surprised if they draft one.

Conclusion: To improve their run and pass defense, Dallas needs to focus on their front 7. Adding young talent on the defensive line will be a must in the draft. Picking up a LB would be nice and I don’t expect much change in the secondary.
Related: DRAFT NEEDS OFFENSE

Jerry’s Draft Board Leaked: Does it Matter?

Jerryjonesstephenjones

Jerry Jones’ draft board was leaked….again.  STORY

It’s the kind of blunder that would get a GM fired but when the GM owns the team, that’s not happening.

Some want to make a big deal about this happening but does it really matter? It’s not like Jerry goes by his own board anyway. He could have handed out copies of his board before the draft and it wouldn’t be much help to other teams because Jerry can be impulsive during the draft, not staying close to his own flawed board.

Call Outs:

1. Shariff Floyd– The biggest call out on his board is the fact that DT Shariff Floyd was ranked 5th overall on their board but Jerry passed on picking Floyd who was available at #18 before Dallas traded down. When asked about it, Jerry said Floyd wasn’t a good fit for their new 4-3 defense although the experts agree he could play in either the 3-4 or 4-3. Was Jerry right and the scout experts wrong? (Consider it a rhetorical question).    

Well the obvious question is, if you weren’t going to pick Floyd, then why was he ranked so high on your board? It just doesn’t add up.

2. Travis Frederick–  The Cowboys pick at #31 was actually ranked on their board as a 2nd round pick. Many considered that pick a reach as other teams had Frederick more as a 3rd or 4th round selection. If the Cowboys had him as a 2nd round pick, then why didn’t they just wait until the second round to select him? It’s highly likely Frederick would have been available when they picked in the second round. It was a reach even according to their board!

Why not pick a safety at #31?

I really thought Dallas was going to draft a safety with their first pick. Both Matt Elam and Johnathan Cyprien were available at #31. So what happened?  

Matt Elam– Safety Elam was one of the players missing from their board entirely. He was available at #31 and was taken by the Ravens with the very next pick at #32. Speculation is that Elam had some character question marks and wouldn’t be considered the right kind of guy, as head coach Jason Garrett likes to point out. But what do the Ravens see in Elam that Dallas did not?

Safety Johnathan Cyprien was also available at #31 but the Cowboys had him as a third round pick and passed on him. Cyprien was the first player chosen in the 2nd round.  The Cowboys did have Cyprien ranked slightly higher than JJ Wilcox, the safety they drafted.

Defensive lineman :

Surprisingly the Cowboys didn’t draft a defensive lineman but I found it interesting that they had DT Everett Dawkins listed as a third round pick. In my mock draft, I had Dawkins going to Dallas in the 5th round and thought he would have been an excellent fit for their 4-3 defense. While they weren’t able to draft him, they evidently considered him a good fit too. Dawkins was drafted in the 7th round by the Vikings so picking him in the third would have qualified as a reach for sure.

My Take: Seeing Jerry’s draft board is about as useful as getting a clear view of the paper of the worst student in the class, while taking a test.

Recent Comments from Jason and Jerry May Shed Light on Cowboys First Pick in 2013 Draft.

The NFL combine is a wrap with some Pro Days still ahead. It’s still early in the process but some comments from Jerry and Jason supply hints to where the Dallas Cowboys may be looking to take with their first pick. They probably haven’t decided who they will pick yet but as information comes in, it becomes more clear what their needs will be.

Jay Ratliff Staying: After getting into some trouble recently and struggling through injuries last season, some speculated that Ratliff may be cut from the team. However Jason recently indicated that Ratliff will be back next season. When asked about Ratliff’s status as a Cowboy in 2013, Jason used the word “absolutely”.

Draft Impact: I think it makes it less likely that Dallas will use their first pick on a defensive tackle. Dallas is going to a 4-3 defense next season and they could use some help at DT but with Ratliff on the roster, I imagine they will look for DT help later in the draft. I also think that makes sense because the 2013 draft is well stocked with defensive linemen. That’s not to assume that if a Shariff Floyd (Florida) fell to them at 18, they would pass on him. But at this point , I don’t see them selecting a DT in the first.

Not Able to Sign Anthony Spencer: As far as signing Spencer after his huge contract season, Jerry Jones pretty much said Dallas would make an offer that would likely be too low.
“The number I have in mind is much less than he is going to take. And with what he is likely going to make we can take that and really help our team with him or a couple of other players. It’s either or. And you can’t have it all.”
Sorry Spencer, but when the billionaire owner talks about not being able to have it all, it’s not a good sign that you will be with Dallas next season. Spencer will probably get a nice offer from another team and it’s possible that fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan may want to bring Spencer to the Saints.

Draft Impact: The way I see it, Dallas will need to draft a defensive end. As they transition to the 4-3, they have Ware on one side but will need to replace Spencer with a true 4-3 DE. The sooner they pick one in the draft, the less they will miss Spencer I believe. The odds of them drafting a DE in the first are pretty high in my view.

Ezekiel Ansah (BYU)- Described as raw but wow, what an athlete. He impressed at the combine and in the Senior Bowl too so his stock is likely on the rise. The secret is out on this big dude (6-5, 274) who runs a 4.63/40. In fact it’s starting to look like he will be gone ahead of the Cowboy’s pick at 18. If he is available, then they could really use this guy next season to pressure QBs. If Ansah gets gone early, then Dallas should consider Alex Okafor (Texas) who could fill in nicely for the departed Spencer.

Free staying:
Jerry and Stephen sound like they can find something for Doug Free to do next season which can’t be good news for fans. Because of his over blown contract, Dallas is pretty much stuck with him next year after his poor performance at right tackle last season.

For now they appear content to have Free and Parnell rotate at right tackle with Jerry even saying, “The bottom line is we have two guys who make me sleep at night at right tackle”. Maybe Jerry is getting sleep but most fans consider it a nightmare! Not to mention Romo who is the one running for his life.

Draft Impact: These depressing comments cause me to conclude that Dallas will not draft an offensive tackle in the first round. And maybe not even in the whole draft. Now there are some outstanding tackles expected to go early in the draft like Eric Fisher and Lance Johnson. And if one of them should somehow fall to Dallas, they would be crazy to not pick them. It’s just not likely to happen.

Could Safety Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) fall to the Cowboys?
Vaccaro is the top rated safety in the draft however he didn’t have a great 40 time at the combine with a 4.63/40. (Note that Ansah the big DE ran a 4.63) Vaccaro was expected to go before 18 but now perhaps he becomes available for Dallas? Vaccaro has a pro day coming to improve on his time. Also I have read that Vaccaro is visiting Valley Ranch for an interview. The new Tampa 2 defense will require exceptional play at safety.

On film, Vaccaro offers outstanding pass coverage for a safety even in the slot, which is desperately needed by the Dallas secondary. If Vaccaro is there at 18, I like the odds that Dallas will select a safety with their first pick.

Dallas must address the interior offensive line: List this one as a “no brainer” for Cowboy fans who watched last season, but the Cowboys need a guard. Even Jerry is sounding like he thinks they need one too. While speaking of supporting his center Costa, Jones said, “If we can get in better shape at guard, then Costa can be a good center for us.”

I’m not convinced that a good guard solves the center issue but these are “baby steps” for Jerry who is looking to improve at guard either in FA or the draft.

Prospects: Three guards in the draft could likely help the Cowboys improve their line immediately. Warmack, Cooper and Warford are the top available guards. Warmack didn’t have an outstanding combine by any means but is still expected to go in the draft prior to Dallas first pick. Cooper was rated about where Dallas picks however he helped himself at the combine with an impressive 40 time for a guard and 35 reps on the bench. Cooper just may move up ahead of Dallas pick too. Getting Warford in the 2nd round would still be a good move and allows Dallas to address other needs in the first like a DE for example.

I’m not sure where Jerry plans to find a guard but if he gets an opportunity to pick any of these three, he better do it!

RECAP: It’s still early in the process but in light of recent comments, I like the chances of Dallas drafting either a guard, defensive end, or safety. Exactly which one they pick may depend on the best available at these positions when 18 rolls around.

NFL Combine Day One: These Three Guards May Impress the Cowboys

cooper

On Saturday, the offensive linemen had their day on the field in Indy. There are three guards that I think Dallas must have an eye on selecting in the draft.

Chance Warmack, Jonathon Cooper and Larry Warford are all solid guards that could start in Dallas on day one. What they displayed on Saturday was pretty much expected.

40 yards: To me, this is the most useless information for an offensive guard. How many plays does a guard run down the field for 40 yards? That ability may be useful when chasing down a defender after Romo throws an interception, but that’s about it.

Cooper as expected, was the most impressive guard running around in shorts and t-shirt. He had the better 40 time of the three lineman with a solid 5.07 time. He is the quickest and represents the best option for moving outside on screens and sweeps. Cooper did nothing to take away from his reputation as an athletic guard.

Warmack and Warford were not impressive running the 40 but it would be foolish to hold that against either one of these large mauler type linemen.

Bench Press: This means more than the 40 time when it comes to linemen. Scouts want to think they are investing in a strong offensive lineman that can handle the beast at the NFL level.

Cooper really did himself some good here by benching 225 pounds for 35 reps which was one of the very best performances of the day. I can’t say that I expected to see him do that well on the bench but he brought his A game Saturday.

Meanwhile, Warford did 28 reps which wasn’t bad but perhaps a little disappointing.

Drills: In the more realistic drills where the offensive lineman are asked to block in short space including pass blocking, and trap blocking, both Warmack and Warford were much more impressive.

My Take: All three of these guards should be on the Cowboys radar screen. Warmack is expected to get drafted in the top 10 while Cooper should go pretty close to where Dallas picks at 18 in the first round. Cooper had an outstanding combine and showed that he may be the most athletic guard in the draft. Cooper’s ability to move out in space should be an asset to the Cowboys offense.

Warford is expected to go in the second round and I don’t think anything happened at the combine to change that projection. However I still think that Warford represents outstanding value as a guard in the second round who is very impressive in video I watched. His physical style is not going to show up at the shorts and t-shirt olympics.

Any of these three guards can come in and start for Dallas right away and prove to be a nice upgrade over last season.