Cowboys’ Draft, Day 1: Stand and Deliver

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…

     *     *     *     *

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.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for
Rafael Vela

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  • Bug Mcfarland

    I will be VERY VERY disappointed with Brockers.

    I’d take risks like Coples, Poe, even Janoris Jenkins before I drafted Brockers. He had little to no production and doesn’t show the athleticism necessary to project him to being a stud like the other guys mentioned. At least they have elite athleticism. Brockders is a big blob.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I cant remember a time I have been. The player I wish for ALWAYS outperforms the Cowboys choice. I am sorry but its true and I have a track record for ten plus to prove it.

  • hardwater

    If Cowboys take Brockers they are using a #14 on a player with potential but no real demonstrated game production as a pass rusher. Hard to believe they would do that considering what they have stated they are looking for and when they have so many positions of need and can’t afford a possible bust in the first round. DeCastro very likely solidifies the O-line for years and even makes the defense better by allowing the Cowboys to run the ball more and late in games. Cowboys just doesn’t have the leisure of taking any early round flyers on potential. They need good solid starters who make the team better now.

  • Samoyed

    All I know is that I don’t know…which is precisely how I felt before every law school exam.  So…I’m in a good place.  And, Brockers does seem to be the favorite if the Cowboys select at #14.  At least, that’s how the puzzle pieces are forming together.  But, as we approach zero hour, I’m get the sneaking suspicion that a minor trade down scenario is being seriously considered.  Think Alabama LB.  Regardless, to be perfectly honest, I’m far more interested in tomorrow’s picks than today’s.  In regard to the Blue Star, rounds 2-4 will be where the draft is made or missed.  We’ve got to hit on those picks.  I’m more nervous about that than today’s decision.

    • MortonBathSalts

       Agree. The draft is won after Round 1. 14 is just one horse.

  • Michael

     Brockers and DeCastro are very similar in that each can line up at multiple spots along the line. Brockers has been talked about as a 0 , a 1, a 3 and a 5 technique while I have seen DeCastro projected to Center, Guard and Right Tackle.

    And really, what is the situation at backup Tackle?

  • Willself

    I can’t imagine the Cowboys having a first round grade on Brockers.  He is not an upgrade to what we have on the d-line.  He gives no pass rush, but is a good run stuffer.  But since many teams pass and don’t run much, what does he give this team.

    One other thing: I’m very surprised and disappointed with Wes Bunting’s grade of Brockers.  An 8? 

  • Lee1936

    “Now, if the team takes Dontari Poe… ”  
    With Poe, the risk is high, but his ceiling is out of sight.
    I recall that GM Jerry has thrived on risk-taking all his life (oil business) and is known to enjoy trips to Las Vegas.  He loves gambling, and he loves the public spotlight.  If Cox, DeCastro, and Barron are gone…?  

  • AustonianAggie

    Awesomeness. I actively like watching great defensive linemen play so I’d love to see a significant improvement over our current 5techs. If Dallas took DeCastro at 14 I’d also love that, because great guards lead to great offensive consistency, which can also help a defense in the 4th quarter. Both of these guys would ultimately help the defense.

  • Montecito Tex

    Jerry Jones needs to stand on his head.

  • Brian Carwana

    No one thinks Brockers can get to the QB. Spencer can’t get to the QB…Spears can’t….how do you play the Giants every year, watch them win two SBs in recent yrs by beating you and think that run stoppers are what you need?

    Brockers is a fail.

  • The TURK

    I could be wrong but Brockers = Spears to the Turk…

    I would go DeCastro because of the lack of question marks if they are both there – then I would go trade down

    Brockers is the last resort at 14 in my opinion

    Lets hope luck is lady tonight…..

  • Kjd811

    It looks like good guards are gonna be available into the 4th round at least, can’t find a guy like Brockers late. The drop off from Brockers to a guy like Wolfe is significant. I’m a fan of Brockers but would also be fine with DeCastro who probably has a lower bust potential.

    • Lee1936

      DeCastro replaces Costa, a HUGE UPGRADE.  

    • dezdoesdallas

      I’d actually prefer Wolfe to Brockers straight up. He’s more athletic in all the combine metrics, most importantly the 10 yard split, vertical, and short shuttle– which sets him far apart. He has far more production and has good size with long arms. 

      Give me Barron — I’m sure he’ll be gone —  or Decastro in the first and run to the podium to take Wolfe if he’s there in the 2nd. 

  • Emmitt>Barry

    Any update on where Konz is going these days? Is there a chance he’s available in the early 2nd?

    • fivetwos

      I think this time tomorrow, he is still there.

      I think Zeitler and Silatolu go before him actually.

  • fivetwos

    Barron (hoping for a him and Zeitler combo)

    In that order. Not as concerned with the DL as I am with the OL.

    I think Sean Lissemore is ready to step up to being an impact player.

    Anyone think the same of Arkin, Nagy, Kowalski, etc?

    Barron at 14 and Zeitler at 45 and Jerry and his kids can take all the project, we’re smarter than everyone picks they want the rest of the way and I’ll still applaud.

    Those two would inprove the team to the point where it would be noticed in the standings.

    Think the same of a 20-year old DE project who doesn’t look very strong and ready to me will do the same?

    Of course neither Barron or Zeitler are likely to be available at 14 and 45 respectively, but that fact kind of ruins my point…and my fun. 🙂

    Fun will be over soon enough. Brockers fans rejoice. Those who think he’s the next Justin Smith or JJ Watt, dream away. He is a long, long way from making an impact as a pressure 34DE.

  • cknbonenowison

    My top three choices:


    I think those players will be better at their respective positions than Brockers.

  • Chris

    My preference would be Cox, Decastro, Barron and Brockers in that order.

    • Ridgelake

      Thats my order as well.  Put Ingram after Cox.

  • Juz Sayin

    If The Skins get RG3,Eagles trade  up 4 Cox & we get Brockers I can see Brockers as a good player but I see us in 4th place however if we get Barron I can see a pro bowler who makes the whole secondary better along with Carr, So i say trade up with KC & lets take back 1st place in the EAST!(most our 3rd pics dont ever make the pro bowl anyway)

  • fivetwos

    Of all the names tied to Dallas, Brockers is by far the one I’d be the most upset with. Probably the only one I don’t want actually.

    DeCastro and Barron start right away and would be a major improvement over what they currently have at those spots.

    Brockers is a project who would be part of a rotation. The team gets no better right now by drafting him.

    I just CANNOT wrap my head around the concept of leaving a better player on the board (DeCastro for example) to take a guy like Brockers with the reasoning being the dropoff at DE in the later rounds.

    That’s a fan thinking every “need” has to be filled in THIS draft.

    My heart and head have been telling me DeCastro will be the guy.

    My gut, factoring in the way I’ve felt during and after many a draft day with Jerry and friends, that Brockers will be a Cowboy by the end of today. 

  • Gremmie

    I am sold on Barron and to me if you the Cowboys are sold on him too then they need to be prepared to do what it takes to get him. If that means trading up so be it. Like going to a dealership and finding the exact car you want and then walking on the deal because you can’t get it for retail. Pay the extra to get the car you want.

    Now maybe the Cowboys don’t view Barron this way but I do. I think it’s between DeCastro and Barron…if it can’t be either of these guys I’d be just as happy with them trading back and stockpiling picks. I don’t think anyone outside of Barron or DeCastro will make an impact right away (unless someone like Cox is there). I would even advocate taking Hightower over Brockers. What did Brockers do against Alabama in the title game??

    • Mandmeisterx

      Watch this clip, showing all of his snaps from the game, and tell me he did nothing.  He was a force in the run game.  He chased plays down backside.  He made hustle plays on screens.  He blocked a field goal.  He was one of LSU’s best players in that game.

      • Gremmie

         It’s funny you mentioned that clip, I had just watched it this morning and it was part of the reason that I’m not sold on Brockers. I would rather take 52, the guy blocking Brockers most of the time. Brockers was a non factor…Marcus Spears is already a force in the run game. We need someone to apply pressure to the QB and Brockers did none of that. In addition on several plays he seemed to just give up when he got double teamed. There were a few plays where he was supposed to be double teamed but the second guy never had a chance to get on him because the first guy took him out of the play. If we take Brockers he will be the biggest 1st round mistake probably since Spears.

        • fivetwos

          We are trying to stockpile block-occupying, run defending five-techs….in a passing league.

          Good plan.

          Like I said below, at best, he is a looong way away from becoming a force as a pressure five, if he becomes that at all.

          The Spears comparisons have little to do with LSU in my eyes, and everything to do with a guy poised to make little impact on the team, and be on the bench for at least a third of the defensive snaps. 

          I’m unsure what this teams’ goal is for being ready to contend. It’s project after project.

          Brockers makes little sense, and I want to think this is smokescreen work.

          At any rate, I think he’s last of all the preferences at 14 in the teams’ eyes.

          Only 13 players can go in the top 13. With all of these late risers, others must fall. Simple physics.

          • Gremmie

             Agree wholeheartedly and while the comparisons between Spears and Brockers seem to be put forth because they both went to LSU, I think the comparisons in their play and their hype are valid.

          • Mandmeisterx

            He wasn’t even playing the same position he would play for us.  He was double teamed almost constantly in those clips.  I don’t know what people are expecting out of a 5 techinique.  You’re not going to get Demarcus Ware on the inside.  Would you like to see the pocket pushed a little more from him?  Sure.  But the guy is clearly disruptive, and I think he’s nowhere near his ceiling.  If I never have to see a repeat of that first Eagles game from last year, that will be fine for me.

          • fivetwos

            At pick 14 with what else may be on the board, I expect a pressure player type from a five. He isn’t that by any stretch. Body type alone tells me that he will never be.

          • Gremmie

            He wasn’t doubleteamed constantly, most plays he was handled by Alabama’s #52. Not sure which game you are watching. There may have been two guys assigned to him but rarely was the second guy needed and if he was they neutralized Brockers quite easily. What do you think he’ll see in the NFL? Caliber of play will be higher than Alabama. At 14 you need to get a guy that starts, plays every down and makes some sort of impact. I don’t see Brockers making anymore of an impact over what we already have. I would rather see us pick Hightower who could at least rush off the edge and backup the interior linebacking corps.

        • Lanceb17

          I was thinking the same thing, the guys blocking him kept him in check

        • Taylor

          I agree, I saw nothing special, have never seen anything special from Brockers.  I just don’t see drafting a two-down player at 14.

    • Workingtonian

      I’m not for trading up for anyone. I’m still sceptical of Barron. If he were a ball hawking free safety I’d take him, but I doubt he can become that. I saw Bill P doing his draft show and agree with his assessment that in today’s game teams should be thinking of only going with 1 safety and playing an extra pass defender. I guess Barron could be our one safety, but I doubt he can be a ball hawking free safety. I would not use the 14th pick on someone who could be a SS. If we pick him I will be all for him and sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I’d rather take Coples, DeCastro or Brockers. Coples would be my pick.

  • connery

        If we chose Brockers than I would have to accept it and hope for the best. However, I can’t say that I expect much more than a run-stuffer at this point.

        I’m not the huge DeCastro supporter that many seem to be either, but let me ask one question: Do you really think Brockers will be a major factor in The Dallas Cowboys winning a lot of games? I can’t say that I do, but I hope I’m wrong.

    • DW

      I know little to nothing about good/bad technique etc, but when I watch clips of Brockers one thing stands out immediately-  He is doubled teamed a LOT.  So while he’s not a sexy pick, if he truly is that strong and can demand that attention at the next level then he will be upgrading more than just his position. 

      But if Barron does slip, then I can’t imagine they pass on him.  I don’t think Rob Ryan was lying when asked what he was interested in… DB’s, DB’s, and DB’s.

  • NateBfromNeb

    1. Mark Barron – S – Alabama

    2. Kevin
    Zeitler– OL – Wisconsin

    3. Orson Charles – TE – Georgia

    4. Akiem Hicks – DL – Regina

    4. Keenan Robison– LB – Texas

    5. Rob Brooks– CB – LSU

    6. Leonard Johnson – CB – Iowa

    7. Jeff Fuller– WR – Texas

    • Emmitt>Barry

      I think it’s unlikely we come out of this draft without a RB. Which I’m cool with, this regime has done an excellent job at finding mid and later round value at the position.

      • Lee1936

        Excellent job finding mid and later round value?  Sorry, I believe the reason for our 15 year run of mediocrity is GM Jerry’s failure to acquire enough talent.  For example, he should have replaced Newman two years ago.  Same with Kozier, Flozell, Gurode, Davis, and Colombo.  Same with Brookings and James.  He keeps his players until they’re blind and lame, because he can’t find replacements fast enough.  He’s always two drafts behind. 

        • DannyWhite

          You need to read what he wrote. He said the org has done “an excellent job at finding mid and later round value AT THE POSITION (of RB)”. And they have, for the most part. Barber was a 4th. Murray was a 3rd. Choice was a 4th.

          • Emmitt>Barry

            Thanks Danny. Lee, you’re a twit.

  • Samson254

    One guy that is also flying up the draft boards and I think (from looking at tape) is better than Brockers is Chandler Jones from Syracuse. He plays the DE in there 3-4 and it just seems like he cant be stopped. Whether its the run or pass 

    • Taylor

      Jones is in that mix of guys who are more LB than DE.  A 6’4″, 260 kid cannot play a hand down DE at the next level.  McClellin, Upshaw, Ingram-Anthony Spencer clones.  They might be an upgrade for Spencer, but will not produce interior pressure.

  • Starmesh23

    The draft works out in mysterious ways. I think KC and AZ stand in the way of Barron falling to 14. I’ve heard Buffalo wants to try and make a run for Kahlil. If the Vikings trade back I think Gilmore or Floyd could be their guy. Other than that the top 5 will stay as projected. The Rams should stay and get the last blue chip player, while I doubt anyone wants to move up at Jacksonville’s pick before Tannehill goes to Miami. Maybe Philly for Cox but that seems like a high price to me. Carolina will be happy for Fletcher Cox which then should lead to KC being on the clock. Pioli could trade back or take BPA on a team with no major holes. If they trade back Barron is gone imo. I see Seattle taking late rising Chandler Jones or another rusher. Arizona could also trade back and ruin any celebrations for Barron.

  • Lee1936

    Tonight, I want our interior OL fixed permanently for the next 12 years, by grabbing OG/OC David DeCastro at 14, one of the six elite blue chip prospects.  We can’t afford to trade up, and I don’t want to trade down.  Just take the best the draft offers.

    • Chris

      I agree. If you rated the best players in this draft regardless of position, Decastro is probably top 5 and undoubtedly top 10. Plug him in and watch him start for the next 10-12 years and go to 6-7 ProBowls. He’s the most can’t miss player in the whole draft including Luck.

  • chum

    My gut says that I would hate a Brockers pick.  How much is he upgrading us, you know?

    • Jimmer

      100% agree. I watch Brockers tape and I see Igor Olshansky.

      • Emmitt>Barry

        In Soviet Russia, draft picks you!

        I miss Soviet Igor jokes.

  • Ware94

    Yes, sir. You are right. It will be Brockers. Barron won’t make it past KC. This team needs help on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas will have a young, big, strong & long new DE with huge upside. Look for Phillip Blake in round 2. Dallas is very, very high on him.

    • Emmitt>Barry

      Don’t know if I buy it that Barron goes that early. His 10-15 pick rise has occurred entirely in the last month, a period during which NOTHING changed about him– no new game tape, no new combine numbers, etc. To me, it seems like a lot of it could be smoke.

      We’ll find out tonight.

      • DW94

         I think it’s more the case of media inaccuracy. His stock has always been high, and the closer to the draft the more the media finds out how teams’ draft boards are actually structured.

        In fact I’d say it’s probably the case with most players – not just Barron.