Lots of Wheeling and Dealing? Partners Wanted

A possible value pick?

Some draft-related crumbs I gathered on the weekend.   The regular caveats apply.  We’re ten days from the draft so the spinning is out of control.

— Lots of teams are looking to deal down.  The Browns of course, made noise on the weekend with news that they’ve talked to several teams about dealing out of the 4th slot.

The Carolina Panthers are also getting mention as a team that wants to deal out of the 9th slot and acquire extra picks if it can.

— Conversely, the Kansas City Chiefs may be a team exploring a move up.   Dontari Poe and Ryan Tannehill are the names connected with them.

— Melvin Ingram is currently viewed  by some as the safest of the edge rushers and may be the first DE/OLB taken for that reason.

— Dre Kirkpatrick is viewed as a faller right now, and could go in the mid-to-late 20s.  The Ravens were mentioned as team to watch with him.  Janoris Jenkins could also fall, though he’s still viewed as a 1st round prospect, because of his skills.

— As a consequence, Stephon Gilmore may now be the first cornerback taken after Morris Claiborne.

— Cordy Glenn is viewed by more teams as a guard only prospect and could fall a bit as a consequence.  He was mentioned as one player who could possibly slide into the early 2nd round.

—  The Cowboys brought Boise State running back Doug Martin in for a visit, but they may not get a chance to pick him in the 2nd round.  He is rising.  The source I spoke to thinks he’ll go somewhere in the late 1st.

— Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill has some mojo and may be a 1st round pick now.

— LSU’s Rueben Randle is also apparently rising and may land in the late 1st, early-to-mid 2nd range, depending on how soon the run on receivers starts.

— Hill’s rise could come at Kendall Wright’s expense.  His buzz has cooled a bit, though he’s still viewed as a late 1st round pick.

— A source passed on that one of his contacts talked up Bruce Irvin as a solid 2nd rounder.  It appears that his restaurant incident has not hurt him, given the need for pass rushers.

— Oklahoma State free safety Markelle Martin has some knee concerns which have caused some teams to red flag him.  It’s not clear if this will cause him to drop on draft weekend.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys Nation.com at Sports Talk Line
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
Rafael Vela

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  • Just a little history lesson for the Fleener fanatics:

    TE’s drafted in the first round this century:

    2010 (Gresham), 2009 (Pettigrew), 2008 (Keller), 2007 (Olsen), 2006 (V. Davis, Lewis), 2005 (Miller), 2004 (Winslow, Watson) 2003 (Clark), 2002 (Shockey, Graham, Stevens) 2001 (Heap), 2000 (Franks, Becht).

    That’s quite a list of players who were perceived to be “can’t miss” and/or “best of the class.”  And, the hit rate for “gamechangers” is what?  Maybe three out of 16?  Yikes.  If a team is going to expend 1st round value on a TE, then he had better be a “gamechanger.”  Simply put, you’re giving up far too much to accept anything less.  Moving on.   

    So, let’s look at notables TE’s drafted after the first round or worse:

    2010 (Gronkowski, Graham, Hernandez) 2008 (Carlson, Fred Davis, Finley) 2007 (Z Miller, Boss, Celek) 2006 (O. Daniels) 2003 (Witten, Gates) 

    Granted, it’a bit unfair to compare such a large group of player’s (after 1st rd) to such a small one(1st rd).  Yet, in terms of value obtained/expended, it’s real important to learn the history lesson here.  And, if you need something more contemporary, then just take a look at various production marks for 2011 TE’s.  You’ll notice that for 2011, TE first rounders make up about half of the top producers.  The rest are a various collection of 2nd rounders, late rounders, and undrafted players.  So…what’s that lesson?  Drafting a TE in the 1st round is usually a massive waste of value.  Each year we get one or two TE’s who are perceived to be the cream of the crop.  But, the conversion rate from predraft perceived value to postdraft actual value is miserable.  Now, don’t misunderstand me, if Dallas feels 100% confident that Fleener is the next Tony Gonzalez, then he’s worth a 1st rounder.  But, it’s not a safe pick by any means.  IMHO, drafting a TE in the first is move reserved for elite franchises stocked full of talented players who draft him at the very end of the round.  It’s a luxury item that elite teams can afford to throw value at.  Dallas is not elite.  As I posted in another thread, kudos to Bill Jones for sticking his neck out there and generating a mock draft.  But, we should all hope that Dallas doesn’t follow his advice.  We need meat and potatoes, not creme brulee.  And, Fleener…at best…is creme brulee.

  • Krazy Cowboy

    Got a Feeling Barron or Gilmore may rise to the Top Ten but if they are there at 14 ,Iam headed str8 to the Mall for my Nu Jersey.

  • Jimmer

    Do you think Dallas has taken J. Jenkins off their board? Peter King said in his MMQB piece this morning that Jenkins has dropped out of Rd. 1. Would Dallas be interested in Round 2? No worse of a gamble at that point than Lee or Carter coming off an injury? Thoughts??

    • AustonainAggie

       I really hope someone else takes Jenkins so Dallas doesn’t consider him and he’d push a more reliable player down.

  • fivetwos

    Nothing against Martin himself, but I’ll be rooting hard for him to be off the board before 45.

    I like him as a player, but Dallas has absolutely no business taking a skill position player that high right now. Especially one who would play a complementary role.

    I wonder if going up to nine for Fletcher Cox would be the right thing to do, although I feel this team needs to come out of Friday with more than two players. Cox may even be gone by nine.

    Cox and DeCastro are the two I want the most. I think Cox has zero chance of making it to 14, and I’m in the minority in thinking that DeCastro will. Just not sure if Dallas actually takes him there.

    My gut tells me that guys like Gilmore, Glenn, Barron, Upshaw, Mercilus, etc. will still be on the board at 14, and the team will feel a minor move down would still net them one of those types. You know Jerry is just itching to make a deal. 

    I just want to see more high level talent put into the OL. One of DeCastro, Glenn, Zietler, Konz, or Blake really needs to be added IMO. 

    • Fan since 1966

      “You know Jerry is just itching ….”

      Hopefully son Stephen and Coach Garrett will dip JJ headfirst in a vat of Lotrimin and cure that jock itch before Friday.

      What Dallas needs is another solid, no-frills, productive draft like last year. The last thing needed is a flashy, too-cute, counter-productive series of draft moves just so GM Jethro can remind the world that he’s still “large and in charge.”  (Yes, I’m still mad about Jerry’s ego running off the Jimster….).

      Be patient, let the draft come to you, trust your board and stick to it. The Cowboys got an A+ for overall talent acquisition in 2011. If we can repeat those results this year and next, Dallas will field an excellent team in 2013 and should be legitimate Super Bowl contenders for years to come.

      And after the last decade and a half of futile mediocrity, it’s about damn time….

      • greatwhitenorth

        No frills in last year’s draft?  Bruce Carter and DeMarco Murray were both “frills” picks, in my opinion.  Jerry’s not getting any flack for it now because the Murray pick turned out very well last year, especially because Felix got hurt and Choice crapped out everywhere.  But neither were the patient, solid, meat-and-potatoes common sense draft that you describe.  

        So while I want what you want this year, I think it’s much more likely that we’ll be first scratching our heads and then talking ourselves into the value of the picks after day 2 of the draft.

        • Fan since 1966

          Point taken!

          I’m still not sold on Carter, but thank God the Murray pick turned out as you described.

          I forget who coined the phrase, but it truly is better to be lucky than good….

  • Jimmer

    Guys I would love to see fall and Dallas move up into the top part of round 2 and grab:


    Any of those three would be worth the additional 4th rounder it would take to move up.

    • Lee1936

      McClellin also.

  • Michael

    My gut feeling says the Cowboys are targeting Dont’a Hightower somewhere in the 1st. There has been so little connection between he and the Cowboys, yet he is exactly the kind of multiple player Ryan loves. He can play ILB, OLB, DE on occasion and as a rusher in nickel formations. Plus he was a traffic director at Alabama.

    • Willself

       Doubt that.

    • greatwhitenorth

      Nah, I just don’t see it.  If there’s no smoke, there’s no fire where the Cowboys draft is concerned.  If they were interested in Hightower, he would have been invited to Dallas with his Alabama teammates.  There’s no reason to disguise their interest if they had any, since he certainly won’t be drafted ahead of them.  He might make the kind of Brandon Spikes slide and be an option in round 2, but I don’t see evidence of them targeting him in round 1.

      • Milkshaker

        But Garrett went to Alabama’s pro day! 😀

        Seriously though, from what I’ve heard, team invites are not the indicator we think. Teams apparently invite far more prospects than they can accept and not everyone invited chooses to accept. Most of the guys who come in for a visit were the ones that answered faster.

        • Michael

          Barron and Hightower are the two QBs of the Bama defense and both were considered team leaders and exemplary athletes. Which is to say – they are JG’s kind of player.

          Barron is moving up the draft board and might not be there at 14. Hightower, on the other hand, should be on the board around 20-25.

          Depending on how Ryan schemes his defense next season it is quite possible that Hightower, or a combo of Hightower and Butler, could replace Spencer at OLB and save 8.8 million. Spencer hasn’t signed or reported.

          Hightower can play OLB on run down then move inside to LB or out to DE on obvious passing downs.

          That could buy the Cowboys an extra draft pick and the ability to sign more talent in FA.

        • greatwhitenorth

          Interesting, I’ve never heard that anywhere.  It makes sense, but the Cowboys do have a pretty serious streak going of taking guys that do visit.  

          It’s kind of funny how much I’m willing to read into a process that I really don’t understand or have many details for.

    • Taylor

      Hightower doesn’t have a natural position in this defense.  He’s a big thud LB, but not very fast.  Be a great mike in a 4-3.

      • Workingtonian

        I don’t see speed an issue he runs a 4.62 at 265lbs.  I think he could be a great ILB in our defense. Just don’t see him in a position of need. 

  • BamBam

    The Cowboys’ interest in Doug Martin makes me wonder whether, if Trent Richardson fell to 14, they’d select him or trade the pick.

    • If Richardson fell that far then Dallas would almost have to trade out of that spot. They have too many other needs. I wouldn’t be very happy with Richardson at 14.

    • greatwhitenorth

      I think they’d probably take him.  If only for the press conference where Jerry can say how surprised they were to get him because he was the #1 prospect on their draft board.  Not going to happen, though–fortunately.