WWDTs: Mocking the Cowboys’ First Round at 5, 10 and 15

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In this week’s Wednesday edition of Wes’ Weekly Draft Tips (WWDTs) I ask him to put some draft skin in the game.  Based on his yet-to-be-released player ratings and on my five-position, weighted Cowboys grocery list (see yesterday’s story for it) we get a look at the players the Cowboys scouts are tracking the hardest:

Cowboys Nation: The readers have a solid base of information so I don’t want to take them through the same positions.  I want to focus on ratings.  Do you have a list?

Wes Bunting:  No.  What I do is look at all the players from D-I and Division II and I assign numerical grades to them.  But I don’t make a list because I don’t want my opinions swayed.  I just grade them as I see them and let the list make itself.

CN:  Let’s play a game then.  I’m Bill Parcells and I’m giving you the grocery list.  I’m sending you to the supermarket to shop for rookies.  I’m calling the game 5-10-15.  The Cowboys are 2-7.  Those losses are in the bank and the schedule is still hard.  Even if they got hot under Jason Garrett, I think 8-8 is still optimistic.  But assuming they do and finish 7-9 or 8-8, that puts them around 15.  If they split the games, they’re picking around 10.  If they struggle some more, maybe 4-12, 5-11 and they get a shot at the top 5.

Picking at 5, 10 and 15, I want you to prioritize by these positions:  offensive tackle, free safety,  cornerback, defensive end, though I think those last two are interchangeable, and finally, guard.

Say for starters, they’re picking at 5.  Say Jon Kitna gets hurt and they’re still in the top 5.  Looking at the players you know, looking at pick five, start at OT.  If there’s an OT there, let’s hear about him.  If there isn’t an OT worthy of that pick, move down to FS.  If there’s nobody there, move to the next position and so on.

WB:  You’re going to make me work today.  At five, I don’t think there’s a tackle who’s worth your time.  There’s no free safety that makes sense that high.  There’s no guard who makes sense this high.  This is where defensive line and cornerback fit.

I could see Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara.  I’d probably go Amukamara here.  I think he’s the safer pick.  If we’re looking DEs in the top five, Marcell Dareus makes a lot of sense.

CN:  That Amukamara pick might surprise some people.  We have some Peterson partisans in our threads.  Why would you take Prince over Peterson, if both happened to be available?

WB:  He’s just the better, more seasoned cornerback at this stage.  Does he have Patrick Peterson’s God-given physical abilities?  No. But he’s not too far off and he finds the football a little better.  He’s a little cleaner in and out of his breaks.  He’s a little bit smaller.  Peterson does have phenomenal fluidity for his size and has more upside.  At the same time, he’s gonna struggle to get out of his breaks as opposed to a guy who’s a little shorter.

I just like Amukamara a little better in that respect.  He’s a physical guy.  He’ll tackle, though Peterson will too.  I think Peterson’s more a man-guy who needs to play in press.  I think Amukamara can do that as well but he can play in zone, he can play off-man better.  [Amukamara] is just a bit more savvy, has better ball skills when its in the air.  Now, we’re splitting hairs here, they’re both excellent players, but I like Prince a little more.

Another defensive end who’s really shot up draft boards is Cal’s Cameron Jordan.  He might be better than Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn now.  I don’t know if he’s top-5 material, but he’s up there in the top 10-15.  If his former teammate Tyson Alualu can go nine, this guy could go up there.  I think he’s better than Alualu.

CN:  So Jordan’s definitely a guy who could slot in at 10?

WB:  Yeah.

CN:  I watched Cal-Oregon, and Jordan was a monster in that game.  He was a big reason why Oregon struggled so much to score.

WB:  And he’s done that all year long.  He gives you some versatility.  He’s powerful, has a good punch.  You talk to evaluators but you also talk to players.  I was talking to UCLA’s Logan Paulsen last year.  He was a big tight end and people thought he might move to OT.  He was on the Redskins’ active roster last year.  I asked him what it was like to block Alualu and he said, “man, that guy is good.  It’s tough.” But he also said, “honestly, Cameron Jordan was much harder to block,” and that was last year, when Jordan was a junior and Alualu was a senior.  Alualu then went 9th overall to Jacksonville.

People think highly of this kid and he’s a heck of a football player.

CN:  What impressed me, besides having a complete game, was that Jordan did it from both sides.  Cal would line him up one series over the right tackle, then flop him to the other side a few plays later and he gave both the Oregon tackles fits.

WB:  And Cal will even move him inside when they go to a four-man line.  He’s going to be a really good three-down player for someone.

CN:  So at five we see the two corners and Dareus as the prime targets?

WB:  Yeah, I think those are the three guys who makes sense there.

CN:  And moving to ten, we start with Cameron Jordan?

WB:  Yeah, I think Jordan makes some sense.  I think Derek Sherrod, the offensive tackle from Mississippi State comes into play here. It might be just a bit early, but I think Anthony Costanzo, the OT from Boston College also makes some sense here.

CN:  Would Costanzo make more sense at 15?

WB:  He would make more sense at 15, but he’s a good football player, we don’t know who’s picking in what order, and the better OTs have a tendency to rise a bit on draft day.

I’d say DE Adrian Clayborn [Iowa] also makes sense at 10.  I think he’s a better fit at 15, but he’s a possibility in the 10 slot.

CN:  There are no safeties in this range, and no guards at this stage?

WB:  No

CN:  That’s a good set of names to play with.

Tomorrow:  Wes plays 5-10-15 for the second round, compares two Clemson safeties and gives us some small-school names who are rising up the charts.  


Follow Wes Buntings’ draft stories at The National Football Post.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
  • boondog

    To me getting pressure on the quarterback is what we really need to focus on in the draft or fee agency. By doing that it makes every aspect of your team better. From the safeties to the corners and to taking the pressure of the offense to feel they have to win the game.

    • Dez Does Dallas

      absolutely; not to mention one of the stud defensive tackles like Dareus or Fairley would instantly upgrade the run defense. And I’ll add that improving the run game is a de facto upgrade to the pass defense itself as it makes the opposing offense one dimensional.

  • boondog

    Now saying that, the second thing is offensive line.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CYQW6J4L7MN6CZFDAEDGWW4XYY Erik

    Very interesting stuff. Thanks for doing these with Wes Bunting. I wonder which of the 5/10/15 guys could go up/down after the combine.

  • TL fan

    what I gather from these articles is that against conventional wisdom, Dallas will probably not use their 1st round pick on their most glaring need.

    that tells me JJ’s needs to spend some $ in FA to improve our OL, no way it only occurs via the draft.

    don’t know the specifics, but am hoping that replacing Davis with Mankins would not be too big a cap hit.

    Assuming they go Prince with their 1st pick, in the 2nd round if the best value is at Safety, wonder if they would take that Safety or are they kind of forced to go OL with the 2nd pick since they passed on one in the 1st round?

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      @TL fan,I’ve got two OTs here, at 10 and at 15. If Garrett gets hot and can get Dallas to 6-10 or 7-9 (that means he finished 6-2) one of the Sherrod, Castonzo duo could be the guy.Of course, I haven’t covered the 2nd round yet.

    • Rat Pack

      I would personally love us to go out and get either Mankins from the Pats or Nicks from the Saints, then worry about Tackles in the draft.

  • Dezislegend

    the reason ive been pushing Peterson is because he is a freak, he is the Dez Bryant of CBs right now
    I love Amukanomra I really do, he reminds me alot of Nmadi from the Raiders
    the reason I like Peterson more is because he reminds me of Charles Woodson
    look if I get either one im gonna bust a nut draft night
    its apples and oranges at this point their both phenomal players and I would buy their jersey that night
    DE is a need and Cameron Jordan is flying up those charts, would be a great fit but again I have problems taking a DE that high because this is one of the deepest DT DE drafts in a long time you can get one later, CB’s this draft is deep too but the fall off from the 1st rd ones to the 2nd rd ones is steep imo though a guy like Ras I Dowling reminds me of Ike Taylor from the Steelers and I would love one of those guys on my team

    I really see us going out and spending money and fixing our OL that way and drafting a guard
    there is no trent williams no russell okung this year
    it doesnt make sense to reach when we can just solve this in free agency
    but CB S DL should be done thru the draft and if a ILB like Casey Matthews is there in the 5th rd I would snatch him up too

  • Dezislegend

    I think Garrett is going to win some games for us and be our head coach, I love this guy man
    either way we are going to have good draft pick thanks to Grandpa Wade and we are going to get a stud
    look at these top 15 players ranked there are some serious players there
    Peterson Amukanamora Ayers Dareus Jordan Heyward Sherrod Claybourne either way we are going to land a stud and have another pick high in the 2nd rd
    really this is gonna be a great draft for us

    wouldnt you guys love to see Akwasi Owusu Ansah and Prince Amukanamora as starters for us just to hear announcers fumble over their words lmfao it would be cool

  • Appraiserkyle

    I really thought that Fairley’s name would be in there.

    • Dez Does Dallas

      should be

    • Dezislegend

      oh god yeah
      Fairley is exactly like Rat but better too
      he would be a option over Dareus imo
      I think because he is a Junior Wes left him out I guess
      im Fairley is the guy after Peterson and Amukanamora are gone

  • Appraiserkyle

    Some people are saying that Tyron Smith OT from USC is a top 15 pick. What is his opinion?

    • Dezislegend

      hes actually really good and I hate USC OL but he is the best ive seen there
      big and athletic