Cowboys Draft 2013: Compare and Contrast

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Margus Hunt is one of several
DL prospects who splits the draftniks.

Last week I asked two draft analysts to rate the player the Cowboys invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits. Their opinions varied quite a bit on several players, which fits with what I’ve heard since the late fall, that this draft class is very thick in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounds but there will be a lot of difference of opinion on players within that range.  Today, I’m comparing Eric Galko’s and TD’s remarks on the defensive tackles.

Cowboys Nation:  I want to play a game . I have a list of the 30 players Dallas invited to its headquarters for pre-draft visits.  I want to know where you think these players will be drafted?

Some of these players are obvious.  Guys like Chance Warmack and Sheldon Richardson will be 1st rounders, so I want to focus on the less certain names.  Let’s begin with DT Kawann Short.

Eric Galko:  It’s tough because I think we going to see a lot of defensive tackles who are regarded as safe picks go somewhere in the top 23 because they’re so hard to find.  I think he goes somewhere in the early to mid 2nd round area because of his sheer. size.  I think Alameda Ta’amu went to the 3rd to the Steelers. I think Kawaan Short is a bit better than him and more consistent, but not by much. I’d say the 2nd round.

TD:  I think teams have Short rated in the 25 to 50 range. He’s one of those goofy players who could be a mid 2nd round pick where you go, “how did that guy fall that far? Or, he could be a 2nd rounder.”

CN: Where does Margus Hunt go in your opinion?

EG:  I’ve seen some mocks put him in the late 1st round.  I don’t believe that at all.  Based off what I’ve heard, some scouting entities had him as an undrafted free agent at mid-season. I’m sure that will change quite a bit but I’d very surprised to see him as a top 40 to 50 player.  Maybe he could go to a playoff team in the bottom of the 2nd round, but for me he’s a 3rd round value.

CN:  Where does Margus Hunt project in a four-man line?  Why would 4-3 teams be interested in him?

TD:  You need a power end, and I certainly think he can do that.  He reminds me a bit of Matt Shaughnessy from the Raiders.  He plays on the left side.  Has the frame to defend the run, can be a power rusher on passing plays.  He has some quickness to his game, has some length, has some power.  I think he could develop into a power end in a 4-3.

CN:  Jordan Hill from Penn State?

EG:  I’m going to write him up later for our draft guide. I think he’s a 5th or 6th round pick.  I think he’s a guy who could have come out as a junior.  He looked a lot better with talent around him.  He stayed in school and it ended up being a bad decision for him.  He can play a couple of different positions on the line.  I think he can play a 5 or a 6 technique if you want to play a three man line. I think he can line up on the nose at times.

Overall I think he’s in the 5th or 6th round range.

TD: We’ve brought [Hill] up a couple of times. He reminds me of Mike Patterson in his heyday with the Eagles.  He’s about six foot.  He’s got some length.  He’s a one-gap player.  He can only play the 3-technique. He’s not overly powerful but he can stop plays before they start.  He’s going to struggle with double teams but if he can beat the blocks off the snap.  He can chase sideline to sideline. I think he can develop into a 3-down player but I think initially you can play him on 3rd downs as a pass rusher.  He does the things teams want right now. He gets after the passer quickly from the interior of the offensive line.

I would not be shocked if he’s taken late in the 2nd round…  I’d say late 2nd is his ceiling and early 4th is his floor.

CN:  Bennie Logan from LSU.  Where does he rate?

EG:  I talked to our SEC guy about him the other day.  I read his report and it read much higher than I did.  I think he’ll wind up in the 2nd round based on his report and that defensive tackles are always valued.  I think he’ll go in the 2nd and I’d be surprised if he fell out of it.

TD:  You know, there was a lot of talent on that LSU line.  I think Logan was one of those guys who was overlooked.  I’d say more blue collar than Sam Montgomery or Barkevious Mingo.  He’s got some power in his hands.  He has ability to chase.  He’s not overly productive, but he has the ability to chase. He needs better ball awareness to find the football consistently but I think he has a chance.

Next:  I compare the draftniks’ opinions on the Cowboys offensive line invitees. 

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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
  • chuckcowboy

    That’s just great about Bennie Logan moving up–not! My hope was that he would indeed be overlooked and we get him in the 4th or 5th.

    • I’m a Cowboy

      I’m with you I think this late Logan rise is just a smoke screen to have other guys drop. I would love to get him in the 4th but would not be upset to hear his name called in the 3rd. With him at the 1 Rat could slide to the 3 and have a Probowl type season.

  • LT

    I wonder if the Cowboys already have their 3 tech in Tyrone Crawford? He was at 285 last season and will probably be around 295 this season. He’s got the quickness/speed that Kiffin likes. I actually think they need more help at DE than DT. Personally, I’d rather the team grab Tank Carradine in the first than Vaccaro. If it wasn’t for the ACL tear, I think Carradine would be a top 5-7 pick. Let Spencer play this year out and rather than resigning him, let Tank take the spot a year later.Tank in the 1st and Terron Armstead or Kyle Long in the 2nd would be my ideal start to the draft.

    • Northtexan95

      It all depends on how Kiffin/Marinelli see things. Do they see Crawford as a 3? Do they like Ratliff/Hatcher at the three but really need a 1? We won’t really find out those things until draft time.

      • LT

        Agreed. Just thinking back to last year before the draft when Jerry Jones said pass rush was one of the areas they needed to address.. I think Tank solves that problem. Taking Tank would be long term thinking by the team… does Garrett have enough job security to think past just this upcoming season?

        • kameleon_o

          “does Garrett have enough job security to think past just this upcoming season?”

          Great question. I’ve wondered that myself. He’s not the only coach like that. You see a lot of them where they don’t want developmental players cuz they don’t help out soon enough to help with job security.

      • kameleon_o

        Maybe it’s just me but I was kind of excited by the prospect of Crawford as a 4-3 DE. I thought he was miscast in a 3-4. I think if he was slimmed down to 275 he’d still be quite a bit bigger than Spencer, have a little more quickness, and be the 4-3 run stopping DE we need with some pass rush ability. I think he might of shined. At the very least a good rotational guy. I hope we get to see him play DE. I just don’t think he’s a DT.

    • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

      Interesting proposition. I like Carradine, but in another context. I’m hearing from both of the draft guys that he’s rising and may be in that late 20 mix. Now, if the guards and Vaccaro are gone, do you think Fluker at 18, or go for Carradine and look for a Kyle Long in the 2nd?

      In that scenario, your 2-step start makes an awful lot of sense, IMO.

      • LT

        Id actually rather have Tank than Vaccaro. I really think the Cowboys believe Matt Johnson is their FS of the present/future, and Will Allen was signed as insurance for him. After watching him practice Garrett raved about him during the season and they tried their best to keep him off IR last year. I don’t see Fluker being the pick because he’s strictly a RT. Id rather take someone like Armstead in the 2nd who has the ability to play either tackle spot – you know the Cowboys love position flexibility.

        Tank in first, Armstead or Long in the 2nd and a SS prospect in mid rounds as insurance for Barry Church’s injury would be my plan.

        • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

          You may, but I think Vaccaro is the guy the Cowboys really want. They were hot on Earl Thomas in 2010 and had Mark Barron on a very short list in 2012. They’re been trying to scratch the FS itch for a while, but the draw in front of them will tell.

          • LT

            Yep, I can see a bunch of scenarios play out that would make sense for the Cowboys. During your next draft chat, can you ask about Colorado LT David Bakhtiari? Athletic, gets to the 2nd level and has long arms. I’m hearing a lot of teams like him as a 3rd rd guard prospect. How soon do your draft connects think he can contribute?

            Thanks for the continued coverage, Raf.

          • http://www.cowboysnation.com Rafael Vela

            I had a little bit on Bakhtiari in one of the recent TD chats. Did I not post that part? In any case, I’ll ask again.

          • I agree

            Yeah they need to cure that itch & get Vaccaro!

          • Taylor

            We just gave Tony 55 mil guaranteed. Beyond question, the weakest area of the team was the offensive (in all senses of the word) line. Please, there will be another Vaccaro next year. Fix the big guy department, keep Tony upright, create some running lanes and upgrade the overall team performance.

          • kameleon_o

            A lot of fans have asked you that in your chats with the draft guys to rate players like DeCastro to Warmack/Cooper, but unless I’ve missed it I haven’t seen anything on Vaccaro compared to Barron or Earl Thomas. Barron was a top 10 safety. Maybe if we could hear more about why Vaccaro compares favorably to those two, or how he fits a Monte Kiffin scheme, some of us who don’t think much of the Vaccaro pick might come on board. Right now, I’d rather a Swearinger in the 3rd than Vaccaro because I don’t see “special” when I look at him. Even one of your guys has a mock that shows Cyprien going ahead of him. If that happens, I’d say taking the 2nd best safety at 18 is kind of scary.

      • 77

        Raf & LT,

        Good and interesting conversation and I can see both scenarios playing out. To me the biggest unknown is how the staff views their 4-3 D line and who they have confidence in slotting where. Is Hatcher starting at DT or rotating between DE and DT? Crawford? Is Wilbur backing up DE or in the mix at SAM LB? Allbright? Is Price a viable 1 or 3 tech option? Wish I was a fly on the wall while Marinelli and Kiffin were watching and grading film.

        • Steven Van Over

          Great questions – If I may throw some info at this, we have been tracking that information (DL rotation) with the Off Season Depth Chart (link top right off every page) by following every blurb we can, that the coaches (reportedly) let slip. According to the always reliable :) internet quotes (from coaches) – Wilber is going to get a look at backing up Ware. Albright is in competition to start at SOLB and can backup all 3 LB positions (at his size that is freaky). Hatcher is penciled in as the starting 3 T with Crawford backing him up. They are (indeed) going to look at Crawford at the 3 and at Spencers position (DE). Unless they use a first round pick for a 1T, Rat is the man there by default.

          The draft (of course) should change this somewhat. However I could see them taking a 1T DL late this year and developing him, which would leave the current (described) rotation pretty much intact.

          Off Season Depth Chart – http://www.cowboysnation.com/2013/03/cowboys-nation-off-season-depth-chart.html

          • 77

            Steve,

            Thanks for the info! I no idea the charts reflected that much work and pieced together info-thanks for keeping all that updated!

          • 77

            *had

  • I agree

    Set that D line off w/Sheldon Richardson!

    • Jimmer

      Richardson is a bust waiting to happen.

  • BamBam

    I’ve seen scenarios in which Mingo drops to 18. I wonder where the Cowboys rank him relative to Vaccaro, Richardson, and the two guards. If Mingo fell to them, would he represent such value that they’d pass on players at positions of need to take him?

    • AustonianAggie

      I think Mingo needs a 34, he’s not Von Miller, who can flip between DE and LB with ease. Mingo is going to be a pass rush specialist that’s hard to keep on the field because he only weighs 240lbs. That can work in a 34 but not for a DE in 43 as I see it.

    • kameleon_o

      I wonder more about Werner. A month or so ago he was a top 10 pick. I’d even seen top 5. Now I see mocks where he’s slipping to the end of the 1st round and even into the 2nd. He’s a perfect replacement for Spencer if we don’t sign him to a long term contract IMO and personally, I don’t want Spencer long term. Nothing personal but he’s already 29 and I don’t want to sign a guy to a 5 or 6 year contract at that age. I wonder more where Werner is on the Cowboys board. If we sign RT Winston in FA, I wonder what Cowboy fans would think of draft of Werner in the 1st and an OG like Warford in the 2nd??

      • Lee1936

        Signing Winston would enable us to exploit Werner’s slide, and still rebuild our offense.

        • kameleon_o

          Exactly. We have to take O-line IMO in the 1st round unless we sign Winston. Then we can go OG in the 2nd if we do that. I think a two round haul of Werner and Warford would be a fantastic upgrade for the team IF we sign Winston.

          • Lee1936

            IMO pick 47 is too soon for Warford, but Long might still be available, and could start inside until Winston wears out.

          • kameleon_o

            I think Long will be gone by then since he’s got OT ability but personally, I think 47 is just about perfect for Warford. Long only has 4 starts at OG for the Ducks while Warford had 37. I think he slots right in. Long has great upside but his floor is lower than Warford as well IMO.

  • AustonianAggie

    I can’t sign off on getting pumped for a UT player. As much as I think Rich Gosslin is a negative nancy, I agree with his view that Dallas should draft an offensive linemen in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I’d do backflips down my drive way. I’m looking for a Guard, Tackle and Center. If I don’t get a center, I’m looking at them in the 5th and 6th too.

    Texas A&M has a center who started last year and may not be drafted. He’s a big 300 lbs kind of center, and playing like the Aggies did last year, he’s a lock to end up on someone’s team.

    I’d resign Felix because he can block, is fast and I don’t see Dallas drafting a RB who can help right away.

    I obviously want a lot of juice injected in the to the Oline, real depth and competition. After accomplishing that, I don’t see the purpose of a 4th round safety when we already have Matt Johnson, a 4th round safety.

    Dallas is actually pretty good at selecting big bodied Defensive players late in the draft – viable rotation guys. Chris Canty, Jay Ratliff, Sean Lissemore, Josh Brent. I’d look for Run Defending DTs late.

    Earl Thomas was almost a CB coming out. Vacarro is not his caliber of athlete, and I’m wary that Vacarro is getting a rising tide from associating with UT + Earl Thomas.

    • Lee1936

      I admire Gosselin’s top 3 picks reserved for fixing the OL. The probable sequence would be:

      G, OT, C. Or OT, G, C.

      I would suggest further radicalizing Gosselin’s plan to fix not just the OL, but the other two glaring needs on offense. This is a strategy to maximize effectiveness of the offense completely and immediately, for the remaining (3?) Romo years.

      After the 3 OLs, then take an (arguably probable) starter-quality RB in Rd4. Then in Rd5, a blocking TE to replace the departed John Phillips. (We currently have only Witten and Hanna!) Our pick in Rd6 can be trade bait for moving up slightly to secure a bargain in the late rounds, or take a S or LB tackler for special teams.

      This strategy has nothing for defense, which will be understandably offensive to many. It nervously relies on the unknowns at S (Church and Johnson) and the elderly knowns at DT.

      But it gives Dallas a COMPLETE OFFENSE: long term upgrade for OL; hope for a reliable running game; new life at RB; and a required blocking TE. In just one draft, it gives our offense a solid chance to climb out of the dumpster and dominate!

      And our next franchise QB will have the protection of a young and talented OL, a luxury Romo has never experienced.

      • Lee1936

        And if the Boys sign Winston for ROT, then they could take a S or a DL in Rd 1 or 2, and still build a complete offense this year.

        • kameleon_o

          I don’t think resigning Winston would be a step back, or a continuance of the old Jerry paradigm, at all like some people do. He’s an immediate upgrade over Free.

          Also, the dead money argument for if we cut Free, while absolutely valid, doesn’t actually hurt us in my opinion. While there’s a lot of dead money, the actual cap savings THIS year are very significant. The contract we could sign Winston to not only wouldn’t come close to using all of the cap savings this year, but it wouldn’t hamstring us at all later on.

          • Lee1936

            Signing Winston would greatly simplify Dallas’ draft.

          • kameleon_o

            Yep. We wouldn’t have to worry about a Fluker in the 1st or even an Armstead in the 2nd. You slot in a starting caliber OG and now you’ve got the workings of a much improved line. A much improved run game as well.