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A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

2011 NFL Mock Draft, Version 2.0: A New Pick for Dallas

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Jonathan Bales

You can view the first version of my 2011 Mock Draft here.

1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

From what I’ve been hearing, the Panthers are targeting three players here: Newton, Patrick Peterson, and Marcell Dareus.  With a new coaching staff in Carolina, there probably won’t be much loyalty to quarterback Jimmy Clausen.  Head coach Ron Rivera personally attended Newton’s Pro Day, and he still seems to be the favorite at this point.

Last Mock: Same

2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

New head coach John Fox always seems to covet top-tier defensive ends, but there are a ton of concerns about DaQuan Bowers’ health.  Von Miller is a beast, but he probably won’t fit into the Broncos’ scheme.  If Denver goes defensive tackle, I think Marcell Dareus will be the choice over Nick Fairley due to concerns about the latter prospect’s work ethic, but Patrick Peterson’s talent may be too great to pass up.

Last Mock: DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson

3. Buffalo Bills:  Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM

Blaine Gabbert is an option here, but I think the Bills will select Cam Newton or a defensive player over the Missouri signal-caller.  With Peterson off the board, look for the Bills to target a top-tier pass-rusher.  They haven’t hid their interest in Miller.

Last Mock: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

4. Cincinnati Bengals:  Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

Are Carson Palmer’s retirement threats real?  I actually think so, but it is beginning to appear as though Cincy may still pass on a quarterback in the first-round.  The Bengals are reportedly very interested in Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, which makes sense with Jonathan Joseph set to hit free agency.  Dareus still seems like the more logical choice here, though, due to a combination of need and value.

Last Mock: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

5. Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

The Cards have shown a lot of interest in Gabbert–so much so that they reportedly prefer him to Newton.  They also like Miller, but it will be difficult to pass on a potential franchise quarterback.

Last Mock: Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM

6. Cleveland Browns:  Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn

The Browns have a lot of holes, and while I still think wide receiver is an option, they’re reportedly in search of a dominant defensive lineman.  Fairley certainly fits the bill.

Last Mock: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

7. San Francisco 49ers:  Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC

Quinn could very well drop due to health/character concerns, but he’s probably the best all-around edge-rusher in this draft and he fits the Niners’ scheme perfectly.

Last Mock: Same

8. Tennessee Titans:  DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Like Quinn, Bowers could fall some in April.  His Pro Day will be huge.  If he performs well there, he’ll be on the Titans’ radar.  Unfortunately, I don’t think Bowers has much value to 3-4 teams.

Last Mock: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

9. Dallas Cowboys:  Tyron Smith, OT, USC

It doesn’t appear as though Dareus has much of an opportunity to still be on the board for Dallas.  If Peterson falls to the sixth or seventh spot, look for the ‘Boys to move up.  If not, they could do the opposite.

If neither situations pans out, I think the Cowboys should target an offensive tackle.  Smith is my top-rated player at the position, but Anthony Castonzo could be an option.  At defensive end, the ‘Boys might look at Cameron Jordan or J.J. Watt.

Last Mock: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

10. Washington Redskins:  Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

In my last mock, I had Washington selecting A.J. Green, but that was only because Jones was off the board.  I think most teams will place Jones ahead of Green, but either player would be a significant upgrade for the ‘Skins.

Last Mock: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

11. Houston Texans:  Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Amukamara helped himself at the Combine more than just about anyone, so he could be off of the board by this point.  Houston’s secondary is atrocious, however, so they’ll be looking for help.  Justin Houston is also an option here.

Last Mock: Same

12. Minnesota Vikings:  Jake Locker, QB, Washington

This is my first major surprise of this particular mock.  There are reports that Minnesota is very interested in Locker, with local newspapers even claiming they would be shocked if the first-round ends with Locker landing in Minnesota.  It’s possible the Vikings will try to trade back into the latter portion of the first-round for Locker, but I think he’s a legitimate option here.

Last Mock: Same

13. Detroit Lions:  Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

The Lions are reportedly seeking a top-tier cornerback.  It will be interesting to see if they provide that label to anyone other than Peterson or Amukamara.  If not, there are rumors they will choose between Castonzo and Nate Solder.  For their sake, I hope they choose the former.

Last Mock: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

14.  St. Louis Rams:  A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

The Rams will run this pick up to the podium.  The more I do mock drafts, the more I think one of the top two receivers will fall to St. Louis.  The Cowboys should root for one of them to get selected before their No. 9 pick, however, so that St. Louis becomes eager to move up ahead of Washington for the other.

Last Mock: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

15.  Miami Dolphins:  Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Is there anyone else to consider here?  If the ‘Phins let free agents Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams walk, they will obviously be desperately thin at running back.  I think running back is perhaps the most overrated position in football, but when your current starter is Lex Hilliard, you have issues.

Last Mock: Same

16.  Jacksonville Jaguars:  Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

I’m not personally a Kerrigan fan, but he just seems like a good fit in Jacksonville, doesn’t he?  The Jaguars could actually look quarterback here, so Locker and Ryan Mallett are also options.

Last Mock: Same

17.  New England Patriots (from Oakland):  Cameron Jordan, DT/DE, Cal

This is a long way for Jordan to fall, but there aren’t many 3-4 teams in between Dallas and this pick.  You know the Pats will have interest in such a diverse player.  They’ll likely value Jordan over Watt if for no other reason than their bad relations with Watt’s agent.

Last Mock: Same

18.  San Diego Chargers:  J.J. Watt, DT/DE, Wisconsin

The Chargers reportedly have a ton of interest in a few of this year’s second-tier 3-4 defensive ends: Jordan, Watt, and Cameron Heyward.  I think Heyward is a reach here and with Jordan off of the board, Watt seems like a surefire pick.

Last Mock: Same

19.  New York Giants:  Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

I would be thrilled to see the Giants take Solder, as he’s just my eighth-rated offensive tackle and 78th player overall.  Either way, I think the G-Men are in a pretty good spot to secure an immediate starter at tackle.

Last Mock: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

20.  Tampa Bay Bucs:  Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

Smith might not last this long due to his impressive measurables, but he’d sure be a great fit in Tampa.  They’d likely choose between him and Justin Houston.

Last Mock: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia

21.  Kansas City Chiefs:  Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor

If Taylor goes to Kansas City, he’ll give the Chiefs one of the most devastating 3-4 lines in the league.  Taylor, Glenn Dorsey, and Tyson Jackson (and even Tamba Hali at times)?  Yikes.  There are also rumors the Chiefs will move left tackle Brandon Albert to right tackle or guard, so a player like Derek Sherrod might be considered.

Last Mock: Same

22.  Indianapolis Colts:  Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

I don’t think Sherrod is the top offensive tackle left, but he fits well in Indy.  The Colts reportedly met with Sherrod at the Combine, so there’s some interest.

Last Mock: Same

23.  Philadelphia Eagles:  Justin Houston, DE, Georgia

The Eagles plan to use their defensive ends in nine-technique positions in 2011–meaning they’ll rely less on an awesome pass-rush repertoire and more on pure speed.  Houston has a ridiculous first step.  I have him higher than just about anyone at No. 5 overall on my Big Board.

Last Mock: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

24.  New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois

The more I watch Liuget, the more I see him as a three-technique player.  He’d be a heck of a run defender as a five-technique in Dallas, but not much else.  He’s a slightly worse Marcus Spears, in my opinion, which won’t please Cowboys fans one bit.  He’s a better fit in New Orleans.

Last Mock: Same

25.  Seattle Seahawks: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

This pick is subject to change based on the Seahawks’ plans with Matt Hasselbeck and even (potentially) Kevin Kolb.  As it stands, however, Ponder’s skill set is a great fit for Pete Carrol in Seattle.  Even with Jimmy Smith still on the board, the Seahawks might need to look quarterback.

Last Mock: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

26. Baltimore Ravens:  Ben Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome values versatility, which is exactly what Ijalana brings to the table.  He’s not being mentioned much as a first-round pick (and I really hope he falls to Dallas in the second), but he should be.  Mark my words: he could be the best offensive lineman out of this class when it’s all said and done.

Last Mock: Same

27. Atlanta Falcons:  Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

I’m not that high on Ayers, but the Falcons really need to bolster their defense.  They over-performed last season.  Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn could also be on the radar here.

Last Mock: Same

28. New England Patriots:  Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida

With the 17th, 28th, and 33rd overall selections, the Pats have a lot of freedom.  That means Pitt’s Jonathan Baldwin may be on their radar, even in the first-round.

I think they’ll love Pouncey’s toughness and versatility, though.  Like Casey Matthews, Pouncey is getting pub for having a talented brother in the NFL.  Unlike Casey Matthews, Mike Pouncey can play well.

Last Mock: Same

29. Chicago Bears:  Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Because teams view Carimi as “only” a right tackle, he will probably drop a bit come draft day.  I think that’s unwarranted.  Carimi is probably the most NFL-ready of all the offensive tackles, and while he may not possess the incredible upside of someone like Tyron Smith, selecting a “sure thing” in the first-round is never a bad idea.

Last Mock: Same

30. New York Jets:  Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn drops out of my first-round due to concerns about the length (or lack of it) of one of his arms.  Kind of strange to me, but you know him much NFL teams value arm length.  Brooks Reed has been gaining steam since his impressive Combine performance, and the Jets are almost sure to target a pass-rusher.

Last Mock: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

31. Pittsburgh Steelers:  Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

This pick is all about talent.  Smith has plenty of it, but will his character concerns be too much to handle?  Miami’s Brandon Harris actually fits Pittsburgh’s style of play quite well, but he’s been falling on most boards.

Last Mock: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

32. Green Bay Packers: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

Predicting the Packers’ selection is very difficult.  They don’t have many holes, but they do have a couple of free agents at defensive end.  If they allow them to walk, Wilkerson is a real possibility.  He received mixed reviews at his Pro Day, but I think his game film is superior to that of Cameron Heyward.

Last Mock: Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State

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17 Responses to 2011 NFL Mock Draft, Version 2.0: A New Pick for Dallas

  1. Vince_Grey says:

    A few points: I’m OK with an OT as our first pick, but if Taylor’s still on the board, I’d rather have him. Please Lord, do not>/i> let us be stupid enough to actually trade UP for a DB. What a waste.

    Under NO circumstances do I want to see us spend a 3rd top ten pick on a DB in the last 10 years.

    Can’t see the Steelers going for Smith. They usually take the “safe” guy, plus Smith is totally not into the kind of physical play Pittsburgh likes.

  2. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – BTW, I went back and re-read your draft assessment of Tyron.

    Here’s what you said:

    “I don’t think he’s good value anywhere in the top 15.

    So, have you re-assessed that statement, or would Dallas be making an at least moderate, if not significant, draft blunder taking Smith 9th? If he’s still there when the Cowboy’s pick comes up, should they really, really endeavor to trade down 5-10 spots, even though Smith and maybe Taylor might be gone, or just go ahead and pull the trigger and go on with life?

  3. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I gotta go against you on this one VG. I read your last article and agree that the data supports your statement of NOT picking a DB that high but I think PP is special. He’s the most talented prospect this year followed by Von Miller. I would be OK w/ trading up to 6 w/ Cleveland (as SF is sure to pick him if he’s avail at 7) as that will most likely cost Dallas the #9 and possibly a 3rd or even 4th round pick as well. Remember, PP is also a KR/PR which makes him that much more valuable and worthy of moving up.

    So, even though I’m a strong advocate of almost always going w/ “the numbers” and picking according to that reasoning, this would be the one time I would say not to.

  4. Vince–Taylor as in Phil Taylor? As you know I love him, but I don’t think he’s a legit option in the top-10. I would have no problem with Dallas moving down for him though.

  5. Vince–100 percent a re-assessment. Tyron wasn’t a top15 value at 280 pounds. He has shown he can move at 300+, however, and he’s got the top pass pro skill set in the draft. I love him at either left or right tackle.

    I’d love to see the Cowboys trade down a few spots, and I’d be fairly confident either Smith, Castonzo, or Taylor will still be on the board.

    Also, I agree with Tyrone’s statements. Your article showed drafting a top 10 DB is a risky proposition, but each case still needs to analyzed on an individual basis. If PP is truly No. 1 on Dallas’ board and somehow dropped to No. 9, it should be a no-brainer.

  6. Vince_Grey says:

    Tyrone – I recall Roy Williams being labeled as “special”, and Newman was universally considered the top DB in that draft.

    Bottom line is, the Cowboy’s have already spent 2 top 10 draft picks in the past 9 years on DB’s with less than satisfactory results. I’d think they would have learned their lesson by now.

    Here’s my question to all you PP lovers (snicker…) if Dallas does take Peterson (And makes it 3 DB’s in less than 10 years) and he turns out to be a bust or no more than just a decent player, will you concede that spending high draft picks on DB’s is not a good idea?

  7. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – Yes, Phil Taylor the NT. I read your assessment of Taylor, as well as those written by others, and by what’s written, I can’t see a negative with taking him at 9.

    Just what exactly drops him out of consideration there? Sure I’d love to trade down but that may not be possible.

    Also, on PP, theoretically, the Cowboys could have a kicker rated number one on their draft board. Doesn’t mean they should take him at 9.

    There are need issues, as well as the value of that position versus others. Yes, we need some DB’s, but not nearly as much as we need some D and O linemen.

    Also, again, for those of you not paying attention:

    1. Fixing the defensive line will go a long way towards fixing the secondary.

    2. Pass coverage is all about the pass RUSH.

    Thus endeth the lesson for today.

  8. Vince_Grey says:

    BTW, just to be clear, if PP really is SPECIAL, then yeah, go ahead and take him.

    BUT… in the last 20 years or so, I’ve seen exactly TWO DB’s who (Whom?) I would rate as “special”, meaning defensive backs who were awesome defensive difference makers enough to justify taking them if at all possible:

    Deion Sanders. Ed Reed.

    That’s it. That’s the list.

    If you want to go back another 10 years, add Ronnie Lott.

    3 TOTAL in 30 years. IMO, that’s just too low a percentage to take a risk on with us having other needs.

  9. moses says:

    I have seen Quinn drop on several mock drafts where Dallas could get him. Should they? Would this mean that they have given up on Spencer? I don’t think Quinn is a 34 DE.

    I have seen Smith come off the board to the Cowboys at the 9 spot. Ideally, the Cowboys could trade down and hopefully still pick up smith and phil taylor. However, the dynamics of the draft don’t always play out in your favor

  10. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    VG, I understand your point and actually agree (somewhat). But here’s where I think the justification can be made to draft PP at 6th overall (or lower if possible).

    This is a weak draft. If you compare the overall talent value to that of 2, 3 or even 5 years ago, you’d probably agree that almost ALL the players who might be drafted in the top 10 seem to project to be above average to solid at best. The bust possibility is high for ALL positions as there are very few elite prospects. Of those sparse elite prospects, PP is certainly one of them and is probably the best.

    PP figures to contribute in 2 phases of the game (vs just one for Newman and Roy Williams) in that he projects to be a very good KR/PR (Newman did return punts but was just average at it). My personal philosophy on KR/PRs are either your 3rd or even 4th string CB, WR or RB. Between Dez, McCann and PP, you’ve got 3 legit “take it to the house” options back there to share those duties. Plus, you and I differ on how good Newman really was in his prime years as I see him as VERY solid to many times showing elite cover skills. Pro Bowls aren’t the only barometer of performance … I think Newman was worth his draft pick.

    Most important, PP projects to FS – the 2nd largest need on the team behind RT. He may not want to play that position, but my thoughts are that he’d be better at it than Ball or Newman (or anyone else on the roster for that matter). And, we don’t really know how free agency is gonna work this year.

    Because of this, Dallas would be drafting a true position of need. Drafting him in the top 10 would be no different than drafting an OT at the same spot who ends up being a bust. At least the Boys’ TRIED to address a position of need – and they would have done so by picking up one of the few guys in the entire draft who projects to be in an elite category. If he doesn’t work out at FS, move him back to his original CB position (which we know he can play), cut Newman and you’re set for the next few years.

    Thus, if the Boys didn’t need FS help and the draft wasn’t so weak AND free agency wasn’t all screwed up, yeah, I’d agree w/ you. But this year is a case unto itself.

  11. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Also, Champ Bailey and Nnamdi Asomugho are ELITE CBs as well. They would’ve been worth drafting in the top 10. Just because they weren’t doesn’t bolster your argument anymore than saying you shouldn’t draft QBs in the top 10 because Brady, one of the best, was drafted in the 6th round.

  12. Vince–You know I’m extremely high on Taylor and I wouldn’t have a problem with him being the Cowboys’ first-rounder. I do think the Cowboys should do everything possible to move down a bit if he’s there guy, but I wouldn’t be overly disappointed if that’s made impossible and the Cowboys draft him at No. 9.

    Moses–I don’t think drafting Quinn would mean they’ve given up on Spencer, particularly with the different schemes Rob Ryan plans to run with plenty of LBs on the field. I personally wouldn’t draft Quinn at 9, however, and I don’t think Dallas will either.

  13. Jonny Danger says:

    This is why I love this site. Awesome arguments and analysis on all sides fellas. I’m taking it all in and enjoying the conversations. Personally I would prefer not to trade up to take Peterson as my philosophy falls with Vince Grey:

    1. Fixing the defensive line will go a long way towards fixing the secondary.

    2. Pass coverage is all about the pass RUSH.

    I also do not like getting rid of draft picks so I’m biased in that sense. I understand PP brings a whole different talent then many others in this draft especially with his ability to transition to FS and be an incredible return man. I would have no problem if we did have the opportunity to trade up and do so successfully. I would welcome him with open arms, though at the time being I am hoping we do not.

    If he was a truly elite DT or Pass Rusher my thoughts would change on trading up because I love those demolisher’s. I still can’t decide who I want Dallas to go for but this site has given my mind reason to go insane with over thinking. I have come to like Tyron and Carimi very much so as well as Dareus, Phil Taylor, Quinn, J.Houston and J.J. Watt. Love the draft so much fun.

  14. Thanks Jonny. Agree with both you and VG that the secondary will have a MUCH easier time with an improved pass rush, which I think will be an inevitable result of Rob Ryan’s presence.

  15. Vince_Grey says:

    Thanks for the support Jonny. I’ve come to notice that JB and I have different philosophies when it comes to diagnosing various trends and key points about the Cowboys and football in general. He’s more likely to look at stats and hard numbers, whereas I’m more inclined to look at things from a historical perspective. Obviously, I feel my way is better, just as I’m sure he feels his way works best, but all that proves is there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Apologies to cat lovers everywhere, though I must admit to being a dog person)

    The funny thing is, we often wind up in near total agreement.

    My take on D-linemen over DB’s is simple: I’ve seen a lot more success with teams having a great pass rush/average secondary than the other way around.

    TJ – Those two DB’s you mentioned are great, but you said “special” and in my dictionary that’s a notch or two above “Elite”. And, even if you throw those guys in, plus several others, over 20-30 years that’s still a low percentage of success.

  16. VG–I’m a dog person as well, so we have that going for us. Which is nice.

    Also..you’re obviously correct that I’m a numbers guy, but not ALWAYS. A lot of stats are misleading, so even though I think stats can be incredibly useful in discerning the proper course of action for not just football, but many decisions in life, it ultimately comes down to a non-statistical evaluation of the merits each numbers holds. Rushing yards SEEM to be a cause for winning, but as we know, they’re only heavily correlated. We can use a “common sense,” non-stat approach to uncover that rushing efficiency is far more important than total rushing yds.

  17. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys 2011 Draft Trade Scenarios: Your Ultimate Guide | Dallas Cowboys Times

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