Wes Bunting’s Draft Chat: Back to the Mailbag

Part Two of Cowboys Nation’s weekly chat with The National Football Post’s Wes Bunting continues with readers questions and looks at some intriguing top 10 draft rumors.

Cowboys Nation:  Next question — which player in this draft class compares to Tyson Alualu, and where would that player go?

Wes Bunting:  I think you look at Cam Jordan.  Jordan is a little taller and longer, but you’re looking at guys who can play on the outside and in.  They’re both smart guys, high motor players.  I’d say Alualu is a little more street fighter than Cam Jordan, but overall, with the versatility they give you, I think they’re similar.

CN:  Where do you think Cam Jordan goes now?  We talked about him a lot early, but the attention has shifted to the offensive tackles and the 5-technique scuttlebutt from Dallas has them liking J.J. Watt.

WB:  In my mock draft tomorrow I have him going to Washington.  I still think that’s very possible.  I think Minnesota at 12 is possible.  I think Detroit at 13 is possible.  I think St. Louis at 14 is possible.  Jacksonville, New England, San Diego at 16, 17 and 18 are all possible.  I can’t see  him falling past the Chargers at 18.  I think his ceiling is Tennessee at 8, so I’d say 8 to 18 is his range.

CN:  Somebody has to take him, with so many teams in that range looking for defensive linemen.

WB:  We just had our NFP mock, where we go round table, and I picked for Washington and moved down from 10 to 14, and got a 3rd round pick out of it and took him there.  I would have taken him at 10.  I like Cam Jordan, but you know that.

CN:  Do you have an update on Deunta Williams’ health, and where does he project now?

WB:  I think he goes in the 4th to 5th round range.  He broke his leg the last game of the season and it takes time to heal.  He hasn’t been able to work out and it has hurt him.  Teams won’t take a guy high  when they can’t work him out.

CN:  Dallas has looked at Nate Irving as a late-round prospect and I have a question about his game.

WB:  He’s a good fit in a 3-4.  He’s a later round guy.  He’s got some thump downhill.  He’s stiff in his drop and he probably has some medical issues from that car accident that cost him all that time two years ago, but he’s a solid player.  I think the earliest you see him come off the board is the 4th, but I think the 5th to 6th rounds are more likely.

CN:  Question about Florida’s OT Marcus Gilbert.  How likely is he to contribute as a rookie?

WB:  I’d say 50-50.  Coming from Florida, he didn’t play with his hand on the ground very much.  I think that’s the biggest concern.  I have him going early in the 3rd round to Buffalo in my mock, and he’s a guy you’re ideally looking to give you time in his second or third year.

CN:  A question about three tackles the Cowboys like, Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo and Nate Solder.   That appears to be the order.  The reader wants to know how much of a dropoff there is from Smith to the other two player right tackle early in their careers?

WB:  I’d say it’s significant, because both of those guys, Castonzo and Solder, have weaknesses against power players.  If they’re right-sided players that’s all they’re going to see are power players.  You’re not allowing them play to their strengths.  I’ve got questions about them against power players on the left side.  I think they’re athleticism will mask some of that, but against the base guys you’re going to see on the right, I don’t like either one of them.

CN:  You think they would struggle if they had to play most of their careers as right tackles?

WB:  I think Solder would have have a better chance because he could put on more weight.  He’s 6’8”, 305 and he could get up as high as 335 if he had to,but I don’t think he’s naturally that big.  He and Castonzo are both narrow framed guys. Tyron Smith has a wide base and that’s why I think he could handle it better than those two.

CN:  A general question about the quarterbacks.  They seem to be all over the map.  At the end of last week the question seemed to be can five or maybe six quarterbacks go in the first round?  Yesterday, the story was could Blaine Gabbert fall to 15.  What’s your take on the quarterback position?

WB:  I still think two go in the top five.  Blaine Gabbert goes one or three and I think Newton goes one or three, and then we have a lull, until pick 23, where the Eagles pick.  I think that spot will be a potential trade up spot for teams looking to get ahead of Seattle, who I think will consider a quarterback at 25.

I see four quarterbacks going in the first round and the other three going early in the 2nd.

CN:  Which two do you project to the late 1st?

WB:  I think Jake Locker is definitely one, and I’ll say Christian Ponder is the other.

CN:  Where do you have Mallett and Dalton going?

WB:  I think Dalton goes in the top ten picks of the 2nd.  I think the Redskins would be a good fit for him.   I think Mallett could go to the Bengals in the 2nd, to the Vikings in the 2nd, the Raiders in the 2nd.  I think he’ll wind up with one of those three teams.

CN:  You think he drops that far?

WB:  He could potentially.

CN:  Sad story today.  I saw a treet from Adam Schefter that he has non-Hodgkin lymphoma and will start chemotherapy treatments on Wednesday.  Do you have any information on him, and how this affects his stock?

WB:  That’s the first I’ve heard of it and that’s an absolute shame.  I don’t know if you draft a guy who’s about to start chemo.  That’s a shame.

CN:  His prognosis looks good. The success rate for the treatment is around 90 percent.  That’s very good, but the treatments take a lot out of anybody, even a well-trained athlete.

WB:  You look at Mark Herzlich.  It’s awesome what he’s done to come back, but the guy is a shell of himself, from where he was in 2008.  He’s not the same player.  I don’t say that to be mean, but you watch the tape and he’s not the same player.  Of course you blame the chemotherapy for that and it’s awesome that he was able to beat his cancer, but he would have been a 1st-round pick and now we’re looking at him as a later-round pick.  

Cannon was a 2nd round pick, a 3rd rounder and now?  It makes it really tough to keep him high.

CN:  Here’s a question I’m going to tweak a little.  It follows, would the Cowboys consider Titus Young in the 3rd?  I’m going to expand that to the 2nd, because I don’t think he’ll last until pick 71.

WB:  I don’t either.  I think they could consider him in the 2nd.  A lot of teams in the mid-2nd like him.  I have him going in the mid-2nd right now.  I don’t think there’s a team in the league that wouldn’t like this guy running routes for their offense down the field.  The question is where do you take him and get a good value?

CN:  Where does the window open for Titus Young?

WB:  I’d say late 1st round.  More likely I think early to mid-2nd is where we see him go.

CN:  Which teams would look at him there?

WB:  Teams that run vertically breaking routes, the Eagles, the Chicago Bears, the Kansas City Chiefs, they need a burner on the outside.  Teams that would play him in the slot with bigger guys outside of him.  That’s why I think the Cowboys could come into play.  The Green Bay Packers at the end of the 1st could be an option.

CN:  Here’s an interesting hypothetical.  Would the Cowboys be willing to make the kind of trade down they made with Cleveland in the Brady Quinn deal, to stock picks next year to go after Andrew Luck?

WB:  It’s not a bad idea, if they’re thinking long term.  You always get better value if you’re patient and are willing to make trades for down the line.  Is Jason Garrett on a one-year deal or will he be around longer?  If he knows he’s got time to set up his program, sure.  And Andrew Luck, there’s not a team out there that wouldn’t want him.

CN:  With the Patriots always cutting deals for futures picks that has to be part of their thinking, that maybe we get lucky, find the golden ticket and can groom Luck behind Tom Brady.

WB:  Absolutely.  And they have so many picks this year they can’t bring all those guys in and expect them to make the roster.  They could be cutting 3rd round picks, so you either have to pick up picks for next year or package them to move way up and get a guy now.

CN:  That gets us through the questions.  Let me ask you about the division.  Have you heard anything about Washington?  Are they making any phone calls?

WB:  They have a 1st and a 2nd round pick and they don’t pick again until the 5th, and I hear they want to get out of ten in the worst way and get some extra picks.  They’re hoping that Julio Jones falls because he gives their pick so much more value.  I’ve heard them linked with Kansas City.  I’ve heard them linked with St. Louis.

CN:  That’s interesting because the assumption has always been that they want Julio there so they can pick him.  Now, you’re saying they want him there so they can flip him.

WB:  I think they realize that even if they get Julio Jones and they don’t have a quarterback, they’re still going to be 4-12.

CN:  Let’s talk about Patrick Peterson, because he’s been mentioned as a trade-up target for the Cowboys.

WB:  I haven’t heard Dallas as a trade up partner with Cleveland for Peterson.  I’ve heard Minnesota and I’ve heard Detroit.  Cleveland keeps popping up as the trade partner.  You’ve got to get ahead of San Francisco, is the thinking.  I have not heard Dallas, but maybe they’re good at playing poker.


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