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Cowboys’ Potential Draft Picks: G Justin Pugh and RB Christine Michael

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I just posted two scouting reports on potential Cowboys’ draft picks Justin Pugh and Christine Michael.

On Pugh:

Pugh is one of those “what if?” players, but we probably won’t get to uncover the answer to the question “what if Pugh stayed at offensive tackle in the NFL?” The reason is that, although he has 6-5 height, Pugh’s arms measure only 32 inches. That’s a death sentence for an offensive tackle in the NFL; arm length is strongly correlated with success because tackles need to be able to fend off tall defensive ends.

You can already see signs of Pugh’s potential struggles when you watch tape of him at Syracuse. While he generally did an admirable job in pass protection, he can be neutralized if a longer defender gets his hands into Pugh’s chest. At the next level, Pugh will face the best of the best—defensive ends and linebackers who all know how to use their length to control offensive tackles with short arms. On top of that, Pugh struggled at the Senior Bowl when he lined up outside.

See the entire article at NBC.

On Michael:

As I mentioned in yesterday’s breakdown of UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, it’s all but certain that the Cowboys will draft a running back at some point in April’s draft. Teams have historically found success targeting backs in the middle rounds, and that’s probably where you’ll see Dallas jump on a runner this year. If so, Texas A&M’s Christine Michael could be an option.

Scouting Report

Let’s start with the bad; Michael is an off-field concern. He missed two meetings at the 2013 Scouting Combine because he overslept, and he also saw limited action in 2012 because of reported issues with his attitude.

That means he could very well be off of the Cowboys’ board entirely. I disagree wholeheartedly with the idea of taking talented players completely off of your board; if you really have concerns with someone’s character or work ethic, you should move them down. But at a certain point, the upside of a back like Michael outweighs the risk. There’s a big difference between spending a third-round pick on someone with character concerns as opposed to a sixth-rounder. A second-round talent with character concerns is worth a look in the sixth round.

Cowboys fans won’t like to hear this, but Michael also has a history of injuries. He broke his leg in 2010 and tore his ACL in 2011. Combined with his off-field issues, you can begin to see why such a talented player isn’t regarded very highly.

Now let’s discuss the positives. Michael is a big, fast running back with lots of quickness. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash at the Combine—right at the “tipping point” for NFL running backs—and he posted 27 reps on the bench press. At 5-10, 220 pounds, Michael has a really solid combination of size and speed. Michael’s other numbers from the Combine—a 43-inch vertical and 4.02 short shuttle—were even more impressive and put him in rare company.

Check out the entire scouting report at Dallas News.

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