The DC Times

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By Jonathan Bales

Cowboys Potential Draft Picks: Vladimir Ducasse, OG/OT, UMass

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UMass lineman Vladimir Ducasse is very raw, but his upside at all five offensive line positions is off the charts.

In our first Post-Combine Mock Draft, we had the Cowboys selecting Florida G/C Maurkice Pouncey in the first round. We anticipate that Dallas will greatly covet the versatility which Pouncey possesses. Selecting Pouncey would give the Cowboys a viable backup at both guards spots and center.

The quandary the ‘Boys find themselves in, though, is that their starters at offensive tackle are a bigger concern than those at guard and center. Doug Free is an excellent swing tackle (a tackle who is the primary backup to both the starting left and right tackles), so the depth is superior on the outside of the line than on the inside.

So does Dallas target an offensive tackle who may or may not have an immediate impact, or a guard/center who likely would not contribute right away but would provide much-needed depth for the interior line positions?

The solution to the Cowboys’ woes may come in the form of a Haitian-born lineman from the University of Massachusetts.

Scouting Report

Ducasse is the epitome of “high upside.” He was born and lived in Haiti until 2002 when he moved to Massachusetts to live with his aunt. He did not even play football until his junior year of high school.

At 6’5”, 332 pounds, Ducasse is a mammoth lineman. Scouts are drooling over his size and athleticism, but there is no consensus as to where Ducasse will make an impact in the NFL. At the Senior Bowl, Ducasse played all five offensive line positions, and even lined up on the defensive side of the ball. Ducasse’s natural strength is off the charts and he has very long arms, so there is no doubt that he could be the potential successor to Flozell Adams at left tackle.

Ducasse is very raw, so there are concerns about how fast he can make an impact for the Cowboys. He can sometimes get too high in his stance and may take a year or two to develop. The return on investment Ducasse could provide is huge, though. Just imagining a player who could potentially be a “swing lineman” (as opposed to just a swing tackle) must have Dallas ecstatic.

In a way, Ducasse’s inexperience is a good thing. It will allow coaches to teach him proper technique from scratch rather than having to correct poor habits. However, this may take a significant amount of time, and there are questions about how long a “win now” team like Dallas will wait.

There are also concerns about Ducasse’s intelligence after he scored just 13 on the Wonderlic exam, but we see these questions as unjustified. One must take into consideration the fact that English is not his first language and he did not speak it regularly until 2002.

Projection

Ducasse figures to get selected somewhere in the second round. We see him as a top 15 talent in terms of natural ability, but his inexperience will scare some teams away. Thus, the value and upside the team which selects Ducasse will receive is enormous. We believe his versatility and raw athleticism will shoot Ducasse up draft boards, so he may only be an option for Dallas if they trade out of the first round or move up in the second.

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