|How safe a 1st-round pick is
Today’s chat with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting covers some later-round pass rushing prospects, the odds of drafting Dre Kirkpatrick as a safety and the current post-Combine thinking on Dontari Poe.
Cowboys Nation: We talked about Adrian Hamilton way before his bowl game and you were very excited to see him, because he had 20 sacks at his level. Then you reported back and said he was less than you expected. He’s getting more attention now because of those sacks. Where does he fit in your current board?
Wes Bunting: I gave him a high-end free agent grade. He’s got a thin lower half. He’s got a little explosion and he’s tight-hipped. He’s got some production and he’s got some savvy as a pass rusher. I just saw him against ho-hum competition and he didn’t stand out. I gave him a free agent grade. I wouldn’t draft him but you could bring him to camp. I think you can stand him up in a 3-4 and let him rush that way, but as a nickel rusher? I think there are more dynamic players out there.
CN: Here’s another name we talked about at the Senior Bowl, Arkansas’ Jake Bequette. The Cowboys have shown some interest in him and he had some really good workout numbers at the Combine. He’s 270 lbs. Is he somebody the wide-9 teams will pursue, or is he a player you can stand up in a 3-4, at outside linebacker?
WB: This is what is so ridiculous about the Combine. When I watched him on tape, I didn’t think he was a very good athlete. I thought he was kind of blah, and then he works out well, so I went back and watched his tape again.
He doesn’t have a great get off. He’s at his best rushing against offensive tackles who can’t anchor. I think he’s a little stiff, doesn’t have a great first step. But he plays hard. He knows how to use his hands and he’ll overwhelm, but against stronger guys who can engulf him, he struggles to shed their blocks. I think he’s a solid run defender. I thought he may on his best day be a swing end at an okay level in a 4-3, but more and more 3-4 teams are liking these big guys. Ryan Kerrigan made it work last year for the Redskins. I don’t think Bequette is as good a pass rusher as Kerrigan, but I can see some 3-4 teams looking at him.
CN: A reader asked you to compare Dre Kirkpatrick to Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins was a corner entering the draft and the Saints have moved him to safety. I’ve seen chatter that some teams feel Kirkpatrick’s best position will be safety. He’s 6’2″. Do you see similarities in their games?
WB: I’d say there are some. I’d say Jenkins was more of a quick footed player. That’s one area where I’m not a big Kirkpatrick fan. I feel he’s not quick footed laterally, but he’s smooth and he’s flexible and he tracks the football decently. He ran in the 4.4s at the Combine. I think if he’s going to play corner he’s either got to be in a pure press scheme where he plays up on the line and uses his length to jam and re-route or he’s in a pure zone where’s he’s looking into the backfield, using his fluidity to turn and run and track the football and he tackles well.