Wes Bunting’s Draft Chat: Back to the Mailbag

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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.

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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
  • fapfap

    Raf,
    What about Gabe Carimi? It seems at one point he was more highly thought of than either Costanzo or Solder, but now he is not being mentioned as much?

    • Rafael Vela

      Have not heard much on him lately. Can’t say where he falls on Dallas’ OT list.

      • AustonianAggie

        I’m not an expert! but as or Gabe I consistently see him in the late 1st round. As Wes might say, he’s got plenty of power for the right side, but unlike Solder, totally lacks the speed to play Left.

        Maybe he’s a guy available at 40 for RT?

        • MillaRed

          If anyone could guarantee Gabe at pick 40, I would def trade out of pick 9, get another 2nd rounder and get a DE with the top pick. That fills two needs and gives you a chance at a good corner or DT with the extra pick.

        • Dallas965

          Carimi is faster than Matt Light ever was and Light is 1 of the best LT n the NFL

          • Huyre

            more about quickness than straightline speed

      • Chandus

        I think that it has to do with the new mold for a Tackle, Doug Free, no Flozell Adams. A smaller, more athletic kind of guy, better pass protector than run blocker.

        That’s the only way in which I can explain their reasoning in apparently liking a prospect like Solder… The guy has potential…

    • MillaRed

      If he is there at pick 40, he is a Cowboy. I don’t think the other guys will last that long. Gabe might not either.

  • desus32

    Raf, I think it’s interesting that (at least from what you’ve gathered) the ‘Boys have Smith, Costanzo, and Solder as their (likely) top rated tackles. They’re the “athletic” group of tackles (along with Sherrod) whereas Carimi is more in the mauler mold of Davis/Colombo. All off-season you’ve spoken about templates and when discussing the o-line you’ve mentioned that the ‘Boys have a mismatched line with athletes on one side (Free/Kosier) and road graters (Davis/Colombo) on the other.

    Do you think the way the Boys have the OT prospects slotted speaks to the fact that they may be moving more in the “athlete” direction for their line? If so, who do you think that would be a prime target at OG? Does Watkins fit that mold? Would Wisniewski now be a more realistic target?

    • Chandus

      D’uh, didn’t see your comment and I just said pretty much the same thing…

      • desus32

        You know what they say, great minds, and all that.

  • Raja

    Don’t know if the draft board in Parcells’ ESPN draft show y’day is true, but he did have Nate Irvin as a 1st round talent – Martez & Mason were graded second round

  • Dallas965

    Cannon may b a late round steal he could replace Davis n 1 to 2 years depending on his recovery and how Davis plays. He could b put on injury list this year.

    • Rafael Vela

      What are the odds he returns 100% to the player he is today? I wish Marcus Cannon nothing but success, but have you ever had a family member endure chemo? It takes a lot out of you.

      And you’re willing to leave Davis at RG in the meantime and wait on Cannon?

      • AustonianAggie

        Well, it’s sounding like Cannon is going from 2nd round prospect to 7th round flier. I wish him the best, I think he still gets drafted, but he’s going to get the Roger Staubach treatment where ever he goes. (I mean, they’re drafting him to stash him for a year or two)

      • Dallas965

        Davis is not as bad as some think I was looking on blogging the boys, and they had a article that had him rated as the 10 rated guy based on sacks, qb hits and pressures. The oline did play better the second half. Davis can stay for 1 reason it will take 2 much 2 release him. I believe Cannon would b worth a shot n the bottom of the 5th all the way 2 the 7th if he comes back only 60% he would still b a quality back up.

    • Huyre

      I’m thinking he’s a UDFA target now. I hope he gets better but I wouldn’t risk a pick on him.

  • Jarron Gilbert

    Can we draft whomever can jump the highest out of a pool?