Cowboys Nation: Let’s go to the reader questions. We have some detailed ones today. One reader wants to know, are there any small school players being talked about as first round prospects?
Wes Bunting: No. The only one I think has a chance is Benny Ijalana from Villanova. I don’t even count him as a small school guy cause he’s a big-time player and he’s from Villanova, they play good football there.
He could play tackle and be a really good guard some some team, but the thing that really hurt him is one, he’s raw a bit and two, he suffered a sports hernia and is going to miss the Senior Bowl now, which would have given him a good chance to impress. I think that takes away his ability to move into the late 1st round. I think he’s a solid early 2nd round pick.
CN: My readers are probably happy about that. I think they want as many 2nd round offensive line options as possible.
Also got a question about Florida safety Ahmad Black. A reader wants to know if he has the frame to get bigger or if he’s maxed out physically?
WB: He’s only 5’10”, and he’s not a really big guy. I think he could add a little more girth and get up to 195. The thing is you don’t want him losing any more speed bulking up because he’s a bit limited in that already. He’s got some man-to-man cover skills. I think he could play some nickel for you early and maybe become a starter later. I gave him a potential starter grade. He plays the way you want him to. He’s got pretty good ball skills.
I like the guy. I wouldn’t take him overly high, but I think he can carve a niche and contribute for a team fairly early in his career.
CN: Given that weight limitation, can he become an every down NFL safety at that weight?
WB: The thing is he’s gonna have to play on the strong side too. He throws his weight around. He plays angry. I don’t have any qualms about him if he’s 5’10”, 195 lbs. because he beat plays with thump. He’s got some explosion in his game.
CN: More questions about Florida players. I’ve been asked about Marcus Gilbert and Mike Pouncey. Now, you talked about Gilbert in our chat last week. This reader wants you to compare Mike to his brother Maurkice as prospects.
WB: Mike is a poor-man’s version of Maurkice. He’s not quite as athletic, not quite as fluid, not quite as physical and not quite as balanced or technically sound, with his hands or his feet, but he’s good enough to start in the NFL as a guard only. I don’t think he’s a center and give you reps. I think he can create some movement, but when I graded out Maurkice some people were ready to kill me when he was the 4th overall guy on my list last year, but he was the best center I have ever seen coming out. I was going back and thinking this guy can’t be that good. He was phenomenal.
Mike is good, but he’s not as talented as his brother.
CN: This a multi-player question about offensive linemen from smaller schools. This reader wants to know about later round tackle and interior offensive line prospects. I’m going to read you the names one at a time and you can tell me what you think.