Cowboys Nation: What if we played this 5-10-15 and we went down one round. Let’s say we started around pick 36, 27 and then went 40-42 and then 45-47 or so?
Wes Bunting: In the second round, the guy Cowboys fans may have to hold their breaths for is Gabe Carimi, the tackle from Wisconsin. Some teams view him as a left tackle and I think he could play there, but others view him as a right tackle. I think he gives you Pro Bowl caliber potential as a right tackle.
CN: You’ve mentioned before that you like him better than you did Phil Loadholt when he was coming out of Oklahoma two years ago.
WB: Oh yeah. I like him. Maybe he goes in the first round, but if you can land him in the 2nd you have a real play maker. At strong safety, you have Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel. Maybe you could pick him at this stage.
Mark Barron might be a possibility here as well. He’s the strong safety for Alabama.
CN: Let’s take a minute and talk about McDaniel versus Barron. You like McDaniel better, I take it?
WB: Yeah. Barron is another one of those high cut guys.
CN: I want to discuss the high-cut player, I had some readers say he reminded them of Mike Hamlin, whom the Cowboys drafted. I couldn’t find it, but I pointed out that you wrote a rather critical review of Hamlin and there’s not much comparison between them. All the flaws you cited dogged him as a pro. He was one of those high-cut guys and I was asked if you could compare them, given that the fans have Hamlin as a point of reference.
WB: There’s really no comparing them. Hamlin is a 6’2”, 215 lb. guy and DeAndre McDaniel is 6’0”, 215. With those two inches you have a more compact guy in McDaniel, as opposed to a higher-cut guy, a leggier guy in Hamlin. Plus, McDaniel is a much more natural bender. Much better flexibility in his lower half. He can sink into his stance, keeps his legs under him and is much tighter in and out of his breaks as opposed to Hamlin, who plays higher, his steps are more extended, so he struggles not only to open up but he struggled to keep his legs under him when he has to click and close. There’s a lot more wasted motion in Hamlin. He might be the faster prospect running in a straight line, but he’s not the faster player because he stuggled so much to change direction and get back up to speed quickly.
Hamlin didn’t even run that well. He ran a 4.57, who takes a while to get up to that speed. McDaniel otherwise, moves and changes direction much cleaner and faster, so he’s a much, much better ball hawk in center field. It’s not really much of a comparison.
CN: Let’s to back to the position. Starting around 35 you have Carimi, who I’ve seen on other sites in that 30-35 range, especially if there’s a run on tackles, but if he is seen as a true right tackle, he could be just what this team needs.
WB: There are many teams out there who do feel he’s a right tackle only, and if right tackles don’t work out in the NFL, there’s really no where for them to go. That’s why teams have reservations about them. I think he’s going to be a heck of a right tackle but it’s possible he falls to the second. I think it depends on how many juniors come out.
Carimi can run block. That’s his bread and butter. He plays on the strong side. You put a tight end next to him and he’ll be okay. He can anchor. He’s not a blue chip buy but he’s good enough to start in the NFL and give you quality reps.
CN: He’s a great run blocker, and that makes him attractive as a guy you could possibly plug in immediately or almost immediately for Marc Colombo at right tackle. Given the almost total lack of depth on this o-line, the Cowboys need at least one lineman who can give them quick production. They could try to sign three agents but that’s a long shot.
WB: There’s also Marcus Cannon from TCU, who we bring up almost every week. He could fill two holes. He could play right tackle maybe, or be a guard. In this area of the draft he makes a lot of sense.
CN: Is he another in that 35-40 range?
WB: Yeah, 35 to 40 would be an ideal spot to nab him. Jason Pinkston from Pitt can also be a right tackle, guard guy. I think he’s more of a guard but he can drive people off the football. He plays left tackle right now. He’s a good athlete, must not quite good enough to stay at left tackle at the next level.
DeMarcus Love of Arkansas makes some sense in this area, but I like the other three guys more for the Cowboys.
CN: Say they pick closer to the middle of the 2nd round, in the 45 to 48 range, who do you see?
WB: I think Pinkston is still a possibility there. Cannon could also be around, but I think he goes earlier.
CN: Is there any chance Marcus Cannon creeps into the 1st round if some teams project him as a tackle?
WB: Yeah, maybe. You have to know Cannon is a physical freak. He’s 6’5”, 358 lbs, so people will expect him to run in the 5.5 range at the Combine, but he could run a 5.2 or even a 5.15 in the 40. That’s amazing for a guy that size. If he gets that Combine ball rolling, he could go one.
CN: You’ve been saying for a while that the real value for the o-lineman group comes here. If you don’t get a shot at the Sherrods or the Castonzos the first time around the pickings should still be very good in the early 2nd.
WB: Absolutely. If you want to go defense end, Christan Ballard from Iowa also makes a lot of sense.
CN: Any corners in this range?
WB: Yes. Jimmy Smith from Colorado could go late 1st, early 2nd. A lot of people are assuming that he goes in the 2nd round cause they also assume a lot of talented juniors will come out early. I think Smith is just as talented as most of those juniors.
Aaron Williams from Texas is another who could come out early and go in that same late 1st, early 2nd area. Another guy I really like is Chase Minnifield from Virginia. He’s a really good cover man. He could tackle a little better, but he’s a good player.
CN: So safeties start probably early 2nd with McDaniel. Do you see anybody else there?
WB: For the safeties, I think McDaniel is the best. If Barron comes out he’s a 2nd rounder. He hasn’t had the greatest year but if he comes out he moves up to the top level of the safety class. I still like McDaniel more.
CN: Let me throw another name out, since you’ve talked him up. Where do you put Temple’s Jaiquawn Jarrett?
WB: I put him in the 3rd-4th round area, but I love him. I think he could go to the Senior Bowl and be this year’s Nate Allen. I think a lot of this guy. He’s one of the more fluid and technically sound safeties. He’s not a 4.4 guy, but he plays fast. He can find the football and redirect. He’s playing much better in zone and has really improved his tackling.
CN: So if we played 5-10-15 in the 3rd round he’d be a name there?
WB: Definitely. Once we got to round three we start getting thin on potential year-one starters, but he’s a guy who may fall a bit because he lacks great straight-line speed because he comes from Temple.
CN: Since we’re talking about the Temples, have you come across some small-school sleepers at the Cowboys positions for interest who the Dallas fans can commit to memory?
WB: I have. They can look at Julian Posey, the cornerback from Ohio U. He’s a talented kid. Ryan Jones a cornerback from Northwest Missouri State is going to light it up. He’s 5’11”, 195 lbs. He’s going to run like the wind in workouts. He can play press. I like him.
CN: Where do you project him?
WB: He’s a draftable guy. I’d say 5th or 6th but he’s got the ability to move up quickly because he’s been invited to an All-Star game and if he shows well there against top-level competition, he can move up into that 4th round range. Right now, though, I’d say 5th to 6th.
I think I’ve talked to you about David Mims, the Virginia Union offensive tackle. He’s 6’8”, 350 lbs. He’s a big physical kid.
CN: That reminds me. You tweeted earlier this week about a player at one of the smaller Florida schools who you said was an unsung right tackle prospect.
WB: Jah Reid is his name. I had wanted to watch him because he’s a three-year starter at Central Florida, 6’7”, 325 lbs. He doesn’t have great range off the edge but he’s played a lot so he understands how to get off the snap on time and he understands angles. He knows how far he has to go before he has to open up his hips and push people past the quarterback. He can anchor, has a good kick-slide, a powerful punch and he’s a really good run blocker.
A lot of people don’t have him rated, included “draft experts” on the web, but of draftable prospects, he’s one of the best right tackle prospects I’ve seen this year. Once he goes to an All-Star game… the scouts know who he is but once he goes the media will being to zero in on him. He’s a really nice player.
CN: He’s been a true right tackle for Central Florida?
CN: You think he can stay there at the NFL level?
WB: Yeah. He’s just a big nasty right tackle. And he’s got good coordination, which is nice. He lacks great range but he has good enough range.
CN: If he impresses in the All-Star games where does his ceiling lie, 4th, 5th round?
WB: That’s possible.
As always, you can find Wes’ draft stories at the National Football Post. Bookmark his site and check it regularly, since his complete draft board should go up in the next two to three weeks.