The DC Times

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

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys Pre-Draft Rumors, Notes, Potential Picks and Trade Scenarios

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Jonathan Bales

There is a lot of information flying around right now about the Cowboys and, as is the case with all NFL teams, most of it is untrue.  Here is what I am hearing about the Cowboys’ draft plans. . .

  • The Cowboys don’t “know” whether they will trade their pick or stay in the ninth slot, as it depends on how the draft plays out.  I originally thought the Cowboys’ most likely trade partner if they move up (for Patrick Peterson) is Cleveland, but I have heard the Browns will select Peterson themselves if he drops that far.  Thus, the most likely trade partner for the Cowboys is Arizona at the No. 5 overall selection.  They reportedly are not in love with Blaine Gabbert and may want to move back.  If Dallas does not move up to the fifth pick, I don’t think they are moving up at all.
  • If the Cowboys are able, I think they will try to move back.  I posted a guide to all Cowboys trade scenarios a week ago.  If I had to guess, I would say the current “pod” of potential first-round picks includes Tyron Smith, Anthony Castonzo, J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan (in that order).  Thus, if the Cowboys move down a few spots, I think Castonzo is the most likely pick.  If they move down past St. Louis at No. 14, I think they will choose between one of the defensive ends.  This might not be a death sentence, as the extra third or even second-round pick they acquire could be used as ammunition to move up for a premiere offensive tackle such as Ben Ijalana or Gabe Carimi.
  • If the Cowboys stay in the ninth spot, I think Smith is the pick, but don’t be shocked to see the team take Castonzo.  I am unsure on which player they are higher.
  • Ultimately, I would rate the chances of each first-round scenario taking place as follows:  Move up for Peterson (15 percent), stay in pick and select Smith (30 percent), stay in pick and select Castonzo (10 percent), stay in pick and select defensive end (5 percent), move back and select offensive tackle (30 percent), move back and select defensive end (5 percent), other (5 percent).
  • Here is where it gets crazy. . .I have heard from more than one person in the organization that Jason Garrett loves Andy Dalton and will seriously consider him at No. 40.  Dalton may not reach that pick (hopefully), but he could be the pick if he falls.  I think the possibility of it happening skyrockets if the Cowboys move back in the first round.  If the team can stockpile a few picks, they will be far more likely to take a risk on Dalton.
  • Otherwise, the Cowboys may target a free safety in the second round, with Aaron Williams and Rahim Moore both options.  I still think a defensive end such as Cameron Heyward is more likely.  Again, don’t rule out nose tackle Kenrick Ellis.
  • At this point, I would be shocked if the Cowboys pass on Will Rackley if he is available in the third round.

After much consideration, I have listed the players I think are most likely for Dallas in each round.  These names are based on information I have gathered on the Cowboys’ interests and my own views on the availability of certain prospects.

First Round

USC OT Tyron Smith, Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo, Wisconsin DE JJ Watt, Cal DE Cameron JordanLSU CB Patrick Peterson

Second Round

Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward, Alabama OT James Carpenter, Baylor G Danny Watkins, UCLA FS Rahim Moore, Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton, TCU QB Andy Dalton

Third Round

William Rackley, OT, Lehigh, Washington OLB Mason Foster, Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville, Georgia G Clint Boling, Florida State G Rodney Hudson, Miami CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami CB Brandon HarrisMarcus Gilchrist, FS, Clemson

Rounds 4-7

TCU G Marcus Cannon,  Boston College ILB Mark Herzlich, Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts, LSU RB Stevan Ridley, Louisville RB Bilal Powell, Fort Valley State WR Ricardo Lockette

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8 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Pre-Draft Rumors, Notes, Potential Picks and Trade Scenarios

  1. Derek says:

    Any attempt to get Steve Smith, who wants out of Carolina, with a 3rd or 4th round pick? Imagine those quick wide-receiver-screens with Steve Smith as the target. Is is way too much to think Smith could be The Cowboys’ s new slot receiver?

    But, then again, it seems that only The Cowboys have been foolish enough to overpay for such trades. So, why would Carolina budge from asking for a 1st or 2nd round pick?

  2. Rick says:

    Steve Smith is half the player he used to be but is still being paid like he’s elite. The team doesn’t need a new overpaid #3 receiver.

  3. Omar says:

    If it’s a first and a second to get Peterson, in a weak sauce draft…I’m okay with that. This team probably won’t have a shot at an elite best in the draft prospect like Peterson for quite sometime. Take the chances when you get them, is what I say. Sure there’s other more pressing needs, but there isn’t really a tackle worth taking at number nine, nor is there a DE worth taking at nine. I’d probably rather have Peterson than Tyron Smith and Rahim Moore.

  4. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    OK, let’s keep our perspective…

    1st off, NO team can have THAT many superstars at one position and be successful for the long haul. Unlike Madden or NFL Head Coach video games where you can stack talent like Manning, Brees and Rivers all on one team at QB, that won’t last in real life. In that scenario, the one QB who starts will be OK and the other two will complain all the time and will press management for a trade continually (destroying team cohesion in the process) while also occupying a large percentage of the salary cap. Every team needs BACKUP players.

    Here’s a simple grading scale:

    ELITE – game changers; guys who make the HUGE play at a critical juncture game after game, season after season; one of the best in the NFL at their position; probable HOF players. Demarcus Ware and Jason Witten are the Cowboys’ elite players (elite ranking granted only after multiple years of above solid play)

    SOLID – players who win a majority of their individual battles and occassionally come up w/ the huge play; routinely produce above average numbers; in the top 1/4 of all players at their position. Miles Austin, Doug Free, Bradie James and Tony Romo are solid players

    GOOD/AVERAGE – players who win about 50% of their individual battles; 1/2 their games they play solid the other half they play below average; rarely are elite but are rarely poor. Most of the teams’ starters fall in this category including Newman, Gurode, Sensabaugh and Spencer.

    NOTE: A few players (Felix Jones, Kyle Kosier, Roy Williams, etc.) played somewhere between average and solid. I would lump Dez Bryant in the “between” category as well – his play was certainly solid to elite but the fact that he was injured AND he has off the field issues drops him down into a lesser category.

    BELOW AVERAGE – players who routinely lose more than 50% of their battles; the opposite of solid. Most of the teams’ backups would fall into this category if they were starting. Keith Brooking and Mike Jenkins were below average last year.

    POOR – players who shouldn’t be on the team (or perhaps in the league) as they have questionable ability as a backup. Pure prospects or overused veterans. Alan Ball and Marc Colombo played poorly last year.

    NOTE: Sometimes less than solid play is indicative of poor play calling (ie. the player has greater potential in a different scheme) or due to injury – a fact that JB has so astutely pointed out for guys like Felix Jones, Jat Ratliff, etc.

    Now, as mentioned, MOST teams have a majority of players in the average category as there were more teams that had records in the 6-10 to 10-6 range than any other. Playoff teams have talents #s where most of the players are solid. But NO team has more than 5-6 elite players on either side of the ball.

    So, it goes w/o saying that every team in the league needs BACKUP players. Most guys who are backups will never be elite (any exceptions are usually QBs). Quite a few will never even be average – the best backup is a guy who used to be solid and therefore knows lots about the league, proper technique, etc. but just doesn’t have the youth and athleticism anymore (like Jon Kitna).

    If Dallas was smart, next year Newman, Davis and possibly Brooking will be backups. As things stand now contractually, they’re too expensive to not play and project to be cut (if the players were smart they would restructure their current contract for much less money but for greater time so as to remain in a backup capacity – but that is another discusssion). So given that they’re cut, Dallas will be forced to find NEW players to replace them – hopefully ones who can play at at least the average to solid level. W/ free agency being up in the air, the best attempt at doing that will be via tonight’s draft.

  5. Derek–Roy Williams will probably be here in 2011, so I don’t know where Smith would play. He could return, I suppose, but why stunt the progress of younger guys?

  6. Tyrone–Great thoughts. As far as Newman, Davis and Brooking…I think replacing two of three in 2011 is possible, but all three will be difficult. It’s starting to look like Newman will actually stay this season, and I don’t think anyone other than Peterson or Amukamara would start ahead of him. Brooking SHOULD already be replaced by Sean Lee, and Davis COULD be replaced, although I don’t think he will. Don’t forget Kosier is a FA, so even if the Cowboys land a guy like Pouncey, Hudson or Boling, he could be starting at LG for Kosier.

  7. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    The ELITE – POOR grading scale also works for draft prospects but only in terms of likelihood of occurrence. I think most would agree that Cam Newton has a ceiling of ELITE but also a floor (considering off the field issues) of poor. However, there are many opinions about the likelihood of where his play will land him over an entire career. My money is on somewhere between average and solid. He’s David Garrard or Donovan McNabb to me.

    Therefore, he’s not a #1 draft pick IMO.

    The safest bet in this year’s draft is Patrick Peterson. Hands down, he’s the best overall value, has the highest chance of impacting both defense and special teams and has the highest expected floor (most project that he will be AT LEAST solid).

    If I’m the Carolina Panthers, I draft PP and go with Clausen at QB one more year. As Colin Cowherd mentioned today, Andrew Luck is coming out next year as well as Matt Barkley (much safer picks that Cam Newton).

  8. Vince_Grey says:

    UPDATE:

    Cowboys take Tyron (I’m fine with that) and overrated QB’s are flying off the boards, (All Good!) meaning more defensive players dropping to the 2nd round for da boys.

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