Cowboys Potential Draft Picks: Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
It is no secret that Roy Williams has struggled in his year and a half with the Cowboys. When we watched the game film again, it was stunning to see how Williams’ confidence took a noticeable downward turn as the season progressed. It is true that Williams is a bit limited in what he can do, but this lack of swagger is what affected his play most in 2009.
Still, Roy is going to be on the team this season. Despite his lack of production, Williams was a very effective player in Detroit, so there is some potential there. It is up to Romo, Williams, and Garrett to figure out which routes work best for Roy and to develop the requisite chemistry for success.
A lot of people believe Kevin Ogletree could push for Williams’ starting spot in camp. This is certainly a possibility, but Williams will be given every chance to win the job. His contract means he really is not going anywhere in 2010.
Despite this, the number one position we hear fans claim must be upgraded is wide receiver. We disagree, as the position is actually fairly strong and deep, but a wide receiver who can return punts and kickoffs would be a nice addition. In reality, if a player’s primary role is as a returner, it does not matter which position he plays. The Cowboys used a roster spot last season on a return specialist (albeit for one game), so if a returner can play wide receiver that is simply a bonus.
Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford is a guy the Cowboys could look at to fill this role. The key, of course, will be to not overreact to his Combine-best 4.28 forty-yard dash.
Jacoby Ford is a track star. He is literally one of the fastest people in the country, evidenced by his Combine forty time. In our opinion, though, his speed does not translate to the football field. Unlike his college teammate C.J. Spiller who is a football player who runs track, Ford is a track star who plays football.
Just as important in football as a player’s speed is how fast he can stop. If a wide receiver can only run one route, it is awfully easy to defend it. Ford appears to be one of these players. He is faster than he is quick, and this straight-line speed is rarely utilized on the field.
Because of these flaws, Ford is very raw at wide receiver. He is a terrible route-runner with average hands at best. Ford may be able to learn to run better routes, but unfortunately you cannot teach a player to have better hips or be more fluid. Ford reminds us almost exactly of Dolphins’ receiver Ted Ginn. Their straight-line speed is not matched by their on-field production.
On top of this, Ford is very small. At 5’9”, 186 pounds, he will not be anything more than a slot receiver in the NFL. Where Ford truly figures to make an impact is as a returner. Thus, if he is available in the middle rounds, Dallas may select him as a returner (and nothing more).
Before the Combine, Ford was probably a fifth-round selection. Now, we can see a team like the Raiders jumping on him as early as round three. In our opinion, he is nothing more than a late-round prospect, but the Cowboys will probably think long and hard about him if he is still available in the back of round four and they have not yet upgraded their return spots. In fact, we have the team taking the Clemson speedster in our latest Cowboys’ Mock Draft. This does not mean we want the team to draft Ford, as we believe there are other returners available that offer more upside at their particular position (Mardy Gilyard, Dexter McCluster, Jordan Shipley, or Javier Arenas).