Cowboys’ Draft, Day 1: Stand and Deliver

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Might he be Dallas’ 1st pick?

Day one of the draft has finally arrived.  Since the real teams will only pick one round on Thursday, I’m going to focus on that.

We’ve chopped the Cowboys short board to bits, and I think the rumors have meat to them.  Dallas is looking for a defensive end, a safety an interior offensive lineman, a corner and a slot receiver.  Look at the visits list.  Lots of early-round ends (Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, Derek Wolfe) lots of early round guards (David DeCastro, Cordy Glenn, Amini Silatolu, Jeff Allen) the only top-level safety (Mark Barron) and several high-round cornerbacks (Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick, Casey Heyward, Josh Norman).

Let’s go back to the Combine and look for early data.  Dallas was looking at the top ends, Cox and Brockers, back then. David DeCastro has been the rabbit, taking the early draftnik lead and hanging in the discussion all along.  The Cowboys also looked at Alabama’s defensive quartet of Barron, Kirkpatrick, Upshaw and Hightower, with Barron emerging as the favorite.

Cox has risen into the top 10.   He’s been linked with the Rams and Panthers.  Philadelphia has allegedly explored trading up to select him.  The odds of his dropping close to pick 14 appear very low today.  Barron has also become a hot and a “safe” pick.  He’s been tied to Buffalo, Kansas City and Seattle in the 10-12 range.  Philadelphia and San Diego are teams rumored to be weighing trades to grab him.

I think the odds are less than 50% that either falls into Dallas’ reach.  I also don’t think the Cowboys will move up.  Despite Tom Ciskowski’s comments to the contrary, the team’s roster needs several players.  I don’t think Dallas can play it the way it did in ’08 and ’10, when it burned 3rd round picks to move up and grab players. 3rd rounders can contribute early, as DeMarco Murray did last year.

Might this guy be the pick?’ 

So, Brockers or DeCastro?  You may like one and dislike the other, but Dallas likes them both.  Which one do they like more?

I think supply will dictate this pick.  Last year’s pick came down to Tyron Smith and J.J. Watt.  The lack of 2nd round OTs comparable to Smith and the severe need nosed Smith ahead.

Need won’t break this tie.  Dallas has been looking for a quality 5-technique for some time.  The team could also use a plus interior offensive lineman, even after signing two guards in free agency.

If the Cowboys stay at 14, I think they take Brockers.  I don’t think they can move down and get him.  I do think they could deal down, say with a San Diego, and grab DeCastro at 18.

Might the team make such a deal?  It depends on which players are on the board at 14, and what type of offer or offers the team receives.  Furthermore, where are these players on the Cowboys’ board?  If both of these guys are top 10 or top 12, should Dallas risk losing both to gain an extra 3rd round pick?

I’m fine with either pick.  I think DeCastro would be an immediate upgrade at guard and would applaud the pick.  But I also like Brockers and think he would be better that what the Cowboys have at his position.  I’m not moved by the he’s-another-Marcus Spears argument.  Every player has to be judged on his own.  Michigan QBs were ripped before Tom Brady. Nobody rips them now.  Tennessee QBs were all knocked as pro prospects, until Peyton Manning shut that meme up.  When Aaron Rodgers fell in ’05, critics pointed out that his head coach Jeff Tedford had produced three 1st round busts in Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and Kyle Boller.  You don’t hear those critics anymore.

Now, if the team takes Dontari Poe…

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I’ll be on BlogTalk radio tonight, starting at 9:30 ET/ 8:30 CT.  DC Fanatic and I will talk you down to the Cowboys’ pick.  Join us.

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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