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April, 2013 | The DC Times

The DC Times

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

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A Bunch of Cowboys Draft Analysis: More on Frederick, Escobar & Co.

I’ve published a bunch of Cowboys draft content over the past two days. Here are a few links and previews.

A statistical view of Travis Frederick and Gavin Escobar at DallasCowboys.com

From a numbers standpoint, what we know about Frederick is that he’s 6-4, 312 pounds with 33-inch arms, which is right around average and certainly adequate for a center. Arm length is a good predictor of offensive tackle success. I haven’t seen any analytics on arm length for interior linemen, but I’d assume the correlation extends inside. Frederick ran a 5.58 40-yard dash, jumped 28.5 inches, and recorded 21 reps on the bench press. He’s not an explosive athlete, but you don’t need to be to play well at center in the NFL. You simply need to possess a baseline level of athleticism. Frederick isn’t so athletic that you automatically know that’s the case, such as with a guy like Eagles first-rounder Lane Johnson, but his quality game tape suggests he can play with the big boys.

TE Gavin Escobar

Although it’s “blasphemous” in some circles to use a player’s college stats to help grade him, I think it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of scouting. Simply put, if a guy played well against a high level of competition in college, he has a good chance to do it in the pros.

Escobar didn’t play in a major conference, but it’s still important to look at numbers for small-school players. We’d expect exceptional small-school athletes to dominate inferior competition; if they don’t, that might be a sign that something is amiss.

During his three-year career, Escobar’s personal bests in catches, yards and touchdowns all came in 2011, when he turned in a 51/780/7 season. That’s hardly dominant, but don’t forget that tight ends aren’t typically utilized in the same way in college as in the NFL, and there were some concerns that Escobar was actually misused as an in-line tight end at San Diego State.

More on Escobar at NBC

More on Frederick at NBC

What I Like

Obviously, Frederick has some really good tape out there. He plays with awesome technique, and you can tell just how cerebral he is on the field. After hearing him in his first press conference in Dallas, you can tell he’s a really intelligent kid. That’s important, especially for a player who will be making the line calls.

From all accounts, Frederick is also a natural leader. He seems confident in himself—which will be vital for someone the fans already dislike because of his draft spot—and he seems to be very focused on improving his game.

What I Don’t Like

Again, I question if Frederick has enough athleticism to really thrive in the NFL. You don’t need to be a freak athlete to play center, but I watched more tape of Frederick struggling with speed at the college level. I think he has the determination and work ethic to improve, but it won’t matter if he’s not athletic enough to play with NFL talent.

I also don’t like that Frederick is a low-ceiling player. I really doubt that he can ever play at an All-Pro level, even if he maxes out on his potential. It’s smart to invest in safe players in the first round, but the Cowboys probably could have drafted a safe player with more upside.

My initial reaction to the Cowboys’ first four picks

A look back at the Cowboys’ 2010 big board at Dallas News

  • FIRST ROUND

1. Sam Bradford
2. Gerald McCoy
3. Ndamukong Suh
4. Russell Okung
5. Trent Williams
6. Eric Berry
7. Rolando McClain
8. Joe Haden
9. CJ Spiller
10. Mike Iupati
11.  Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant
12.  Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant
13. Bryan Bulaga
14. Sean Lee
15. Jared Odrick
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
17. Derrick Morgan
18. Kyle Wilson
19. Maurkice Pouncey
20. Navarro Bowman
21. Jahvid Best
22. Tyson Alualu
23. Jermaine Gresham

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2013 Cowboys Draft Recap/Analysis

I wrote a buttload of content throughout the draft. Here are some links. Check ’em out to read the entire articles.

One thing that worries me about Terrance Williams

I really liked the Cowboys’ third-round selection of Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams. Although wide receiver wasn’t considered a major need, I’ve suggested for a few months that the Cowboys could be in major trouble if Miles Austin or Dez Bryant got injured; until the selection of Williams—6-2, 208 pounds—the Cowboys really didn’t have another option to play on the outside.

In addition to his size, Williams adds 4.52 speed. That size/speed combination helped Williams explode for 97 receptions, 1,832 yards, and 12 touchdowns last year at Baylor. The numbers on Williams are very impressive, and the ‘Boys surely found value on the star receiver.

But there’s one issue to monitor: Williams’ age. When the 2013 season begins, Williams will already be 24. He’ll be older than some receivers who were drafted two years ago. And historically, older players have performed better in college—and subsequently worse in the pros—than younger ones. How many current NFL wideouts could potentially dominate the college ranks if they stayed until age 23?

Again, I really like Williams’ skill set. Examining his closest comps, we see some impressive names. Take a look:

Terrance Williams: 6-2, 208 pounds, 4.52 40-yard dash, 42 percent of Baylor’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game

Hakeem Nicks: 6-1, 212 pounds, 4.51 40-yard dash, 49 percent of UNC’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game

Jordy Nelson: 6-3, 217 pounds, 4.51 40-yard dash, 48 percent of Kansas State’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game

The primary difference is that Nicks and Nelson were 21 and 22 years old, respectively, when drafted. That’s important.

Tight end Gavin Escobar’s fit in Dallas

The biggest positive for Escobar, in my estimation, is that he’s a big-time threat in the red zone. He converted 13.9 percent of his college receptions into touchdowns—a fairly high rate—and that’s a trait the Cowboys covet. Witten has traditionally been subpar inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, and it isn’t as if the running backs are pounding it in for touchdowns.

Escobar is a really talented athlete—not as explosive as you might like with only 4.78 speed—but a player with tremendous ball skills. He can certainly add something as a receiver, but as I mentioned in my immediate reaction of the pick, the Cowboys don’t necessarily need that. They have Miles Austin and Dez Bryant on the outside, and second-year man James Hanna showed some things last year.

The Cowboys obviously think they’ll be able to fix Escobar’s blocking. As it stands now, I see Escobar putting himself in a poor position and frequently lunging at defenders.

Safety J.J. Wilcox’s fit in Dallas

Upside

One of the reasons Wilcox is so intriguing is his upside. People often view a “raw” prospect negatively, but Wilcox’s lack of experience just means he has tons of room to improve on an already impressive 2012 season.

Jjwilcox2_crop_exact

Plus, the third round is a good time to begin seeking upside over safety. Mid-round picks don’t work out as much as people think they do, so it’s often better to swing for the fences than to land a “safe” player who won’t contribute much anyway. While I don’t view Wilcox as a major risk, there was no player on the board with more upside.

Fit in Dallas

It will be interesting to see where Monte Kiffin plays Wilcox—as a free or strong safety. I think he can play either position, continuing the Cowboys’ trend of seeking versatility.

Wilcox will get a fair shot to win a starting job in training camp, and I tentatively expect him to beat out Johnson and Will Allen for that job. If that happens, I think you’ll see Wilcox as a free safety, patrolling the deep half with Barry Church and deep middle when Church plays in the box.

The Cowboys figure to play a whole lot more Cover 3 this year than people anticipate, so whoever plays free safety for them will be in the middle of the field quite often.

Cornerback B.W. Webb’s fit in Dallas

Scouting Report on B.W. Webb

Webb is a 5-10, 184-pound cornerback, so it’s unlikely that he’ll play on the outside. That means he’ll most likely strictly be a nickel back in the NFL, playing in the slot. He certainly has the skill set to thrive in there; he’s one of the quickest players in this draft.

When you watch tape of Webb, that suddenness stands out, and it’s confirmed in hismeasurables. He recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash, but more impressive were his 40.5-inch vertical, 11-0 broad jump and insane 3.84 short shuttle.

Actually, that short shuttle time was the fastest for any single player at the 2013 Scouting Combine. The vertical and broad jump both ranked him third.

Webb was a play-maker at William & Mary, picking off eight passes and returning two for touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Webb also displayed big-time return ability, which is where he’ll be able to immediately make an impact.

Webb excels in man coverage. He won’t be able to consistently press—especially with his 30-inch arms—but he actually plays well from a press position where he can mirror receivers. He’s got some of the quickest feet in this draft.

Despite his small stature, Webb isn’t afraid to help out against the run. That’s a primary weakness for current nickel back Orlando Scandrick.

Running back Joseph Randle’s fit in Dallas

Is He Explosive?

Randle isn’t explosive from a straight-line speed standpoint, but oddly, he measured pretty well in the vertical jump (35 inches) and broad jump (10-3)—two measurables that are strongly correlated with the 40. He also recorded a 4.25 short shuttle, which has to make you at least wonder if his 40 time was an aberration.

Late-Round Backs

Even though I would have drafted a different running back at this point, I love the idea of waiting to secure a runner. Since 2000, first- and second-round backs have totaled 4.23 YPC. Compare that to 4.25 YPC for backs drafted in the third, fourth or fifth round. There’s actually no correlation between draft spot and NFL efficiency for running backs, meaning there’s also little reason to draft one early.

2013 Projection

Like I said, Randle will step in as Murray’s backup. The way things have gone with Murray, there’s a good chance that Randle could take over as the starter at some point in 2013 if Murray gets hurt. Assuming Murray stays healthy, though, I’d expect Randle to eat up about 30 percent of the carries and take over the majority of third-down work. That works out to 107 carries, and, say, 30 receptions.

A look back at my original Randle scouting report

Randle is a natural pass-catcher. When combined with his willingness to protect the quarterback, you have the makings of a potentially successful third-down back.

Despite all of his success in college, you have to wonder if Randle can overcome his lack of long speed. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Combine and then followed that up with times between 4.54 and 4.63 at his Pro Day. Simply put, he’s not a burner.

We can discuss the importance of lateral quickness all day, but you can’t overlook the fact that running backs who have clocked in around Randle’s time have recorded about one-sixth the NFL production of those who ran as fast as Murray (4.41). That doesn’t mean Randle can’t possible succeed in the NFL, but the odds are against him. If the job of NFL teams is to maximize their chances of hitting on any given pick, it’s hard to justify using a mid-round selection on a lean running back with sub-par speed.

Linebacker DeVonte Holloman’s fit in Dallas

Safety Valve

It’s worth noting that Holloman actually played the first three years of his South Carolina career as a safety. He was a highly recruited prep player who started for the Gamecocks as a freshman. That sort of hybrid player is exactly what you’d expect new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to target at the outside linebacker position.

College Production

Holloman never totaled more than 69 tackles in any season, and that came in 2010 as a sophomore. When Holloman moved to outside linebacker as a senior, he recorded 59 tackles, but he also added eight tackles-for-loss—a career-high—and two sacks. Holloman ended his South Carolina career with seven interceptions.

Measurables

At 6’2″, 243 pounds, Holloman is a prototypical 4-3 outside linebacker. He’s limited in what he can do; he’ll probably be best suited playing as a weak-side backer, although I have a feeling the Cowboys will give him a shot at the Sam spot to start. For the most part, Holloman turned in subpar measurables: a 4.71 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical and 9’5″ broad jump. However, he also interestingly recorded a 4.26 short shuttle; that’s a really fast time for someone his size and could indicate some short-area quickness.

Grades for some of the notable second-round picks

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B.W. Webb Senior Bowl Tape

Second play, beat by Cowboys third-rounder Terrance Williams

 

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Video of J.J. Wilcox Receiving Phone Call from Jerry Jones

 

 

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DMN Cowboys Draft Chat

Just participated in a chat at Dallas News. Here’s a portion:

  • Hey what’s up guys? I’m here and all set to take your questions.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:00 PM
  • Did the cowboys not take Elam due the fact the tampa 2 doesn’t need great safeties to work
    by eric from indy 12:00 PM
  • A few points: first, Monte Kiffin will run some Cover 2, but there’s going to be a whole lot of different looks, including more Cover 3 with Barry Church in the box. This isn’t going to mirror everything he did in Tampa a decade ago. Having said that, there’s no doubt that he wants and needs a play-making safety in the back end. I don’t know if he has that in Matt Johnson, but I still think the Cowboys want a safety. They didn’t take Elam (or another safety) because, as I’ve mentioned before, the position isn’t scarce in this draft. If they like Elam, Cyprien, Thomas, and Wilcox all around the same, it wouldn’t make much sense to take one of them early when you could grab one in the second or third. I still think that they’ll address the position in those rounds.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:03 PM
  • Cowboys’ offensive lineman had many injuries last year switching to Bill Callihan’s technique. what are the chances that the same happens to Frederick? Also, should he lose weight?
    by DeMario Davis 12:03 PM
  • I don’t think the injuries had anything to do with Callahan’s zone blocking scheme; they just got unlucky. The chances of Frederick getting injured under Callahan are the same as they’d be under any other coach. I don’t think he necessarily needs to lose weight, even if the Cowboys will be zone blocking, because that’s not his game. He’s not Jonathan Cooper, so there’s no sense in trying to become that. Plus, the Cowboys really need guys who can win at the point in short-yardage situations when they run up the middle. I don’t know if Frederick can do that, but losing weight wouldn’t help his cause.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:05 PM
  • If San Francisco wanted the Cowboys 18th pick so bad, why didnt the Cowboys hold out until San Fran gave up their 2nd round pick?
    by Justin H 12:06 PM
  • I just posted an article on the trade, but I’m really not sure. I’m sure the Cowboys tried to get the second; it’s unlikely Jerry would just immediately accept a third, but I still think they could have gotten better compensation. It’s not that the deal is inherently poor for the Cowboys, because it’s not. What they got back is actually fair for the move down, but the point is that if they could have gotten more, they should have. It doesn’t really matter what the picks are “worth” outside of what the Niners perceived them to be worth, and if the Cowboys could have gotten more, it was a sub-optimal trade. I have a difficult time believing they couldn’t have at least gotten another late-round pick out of a team that was obviously desperate to trade up.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:09 PM
  • Why is Ratliff still on this team? Isn’t Floyd better (and much cheaper) than Ratliff is right now?
    by Big Kev 12:09 PM
  • I don’t know if Floyd is a better player than Ratliff right now. He will be in a few years, obviously, but the Cowboys obviously felt as though they have bigger needs. And although Floyd was hyped up like crazy heading into the draft, I guarantee you he wasn’t as high on most teams’ boards as he was in the media. Before the draft, I had Floyd as a borderline first-round value, and I didn’t think he was the best player available when the Cowboys were on the clock. I actually think Dallas made the right move in trading down, but they needed to get more in return and, perhaps, a different player. In hindsight, I’d probably take Floyd at 18 over Frederick at 31 and a third-rounder, but that doesn’t mean the trade wasn’t smart at the time.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:12 PM
  • So, which DT with long arms and a quick twitch are the Cowboys going to be able to find in today’s rounds?
    by OKC Cowboy Fan 12:12 PM
  • For me, that player has to be Kawann Short. Actually, when the Cowboys were on the clock at 31, I thought that would be their guy. He’s the top defensive tackle remaining on my board by a long shot. He’s actually so scarce at this point that I’d strongly consider moving up for him. The Cowboys have extra ammo now, and I see the drop from Short to the next tier of defensive tackles as being a big one.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:14 PM
  • wouldn’t Sly Williams have been a better pick at 18 rather than trading down?
    by Rod Bower 12:14 PM
  • Yes, probably, but the Cowboys had to take on the uncertainty of not knowing who would be available when they made the deal. No matter what they tell you, I don’t think they’re happy to have Frederick at 31 and if they could replay the draft and they knew what would happen, I think they’d stay at 18. Not sure if Williams would have been their guy there, but Frederick was low enough on my board that I would take Williams over Frederick and a third. Again, that doesn’t mean the trade was a poor one when the Cowboys made it because they had to take on that uncertainty. It just didn’t work out for them.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:17 PM
  • How important are things like short arms, slow 40, (and slow in shuttle I think)? I watched some tape and to my untrained eye, he looked good.
    by How important are things… 12:17 PM
  • If you mean for Frederick, I think the most important trait is arm length. You’d like to see more athleticism out of him, but he just needs to surpass a certain baseline to be able to play center in the NFL. The Cowboys obviously believe he’s athletic enough. I have my doubts, but it’s not due entirely to his measurables. You’re right that on tape he looks good, but my problem is that he might have maxed out his potential. He plays intelligently and with great angles, but how much better is he going to get? I think it’s smart for teams to emphasize safety in the first round, but you can probably find a guy just as safe as Frederick with a much higher ceiling.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:20 PM
  • Do you think the Cowboys panic’d a little as some of the OL’s and safeties went off the board right before pick 31?
    by Michael 12:21 PM
  • I do. I think what they did in trading down in the first round and then selecting an interior lineman is smart on paper, but it wasn’t the right move in this particular draft. Historically, the area to where the Cowboys traded provides an amazing return on investment relative to the cost of the pick, but they didn’t get great compensation in the trade. They also probably knew that first-round interior linemen have generally been among the most successful of any first-round position, but we’ve also never seen a run on linemen like we saw this year. So instead of getting a guy like Warmack at 18, the Cowboys were forced into a much worse option: good in theory, but probably not so valuable in reality because of the nature of this draft.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:24 PM
  • If Tyrann Mathieu is available at the beginning of the 3rd round, do you see Jerry trading both his 3rd picks to get him?
    by Justin Hlubek 12:24 PM
  • No. Mathieu probably isn’t on the Cowboys’ board, and that trade would never happen for any player. Even if Mathieu were squeaky clean off of the field, he’s not an elite player. He might not even get a third-round grade from the Cowboys in any situation because he’s 5-9 with average speed. Where do short nickel backs with return ability typically get selected? Maybe the third or fourth round. So factor in Mathieu’s off-field issues, and I think he’s borderline undraftable.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:27 PM
  • There was a historic run on OL in the 1st round. Seems like Dallas got caught up in it and drafted a lesser player instead of BPA. Your thoughts?
    by MJD 12:27 PM
  • They say they drafted the highest-rated player on their board. I don’t think teams need to draft the highest-rated player in all situations, but obviously it’s ideal to get the best player available at the position of top need. Apparently the Cowboys did that (assuming Frederick can play guard), but it’s just not the player we thought it might be.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:28 PM
  • Don’t they still need at least 2 more starters on the OL: RT and another interior O-Lineman?
    by h 12:28 PM
  • Depending where they play Frederick, we might be looking at Smith/Livings/Costa/Frederick/Parnell right now. Parnell showed some good things last year, but I don’t think Dallas is counting on him to start and excel. I’d say that four of the Cowboys’ five starting offensive linemen are currently on the roster.
    by Jonathan Bales 12:30 PM

Here’s the full chat.

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2013 Cowboys/NFL Draft Coverage, All In One Place

Okay, so I’ve been late updating the site because I’ve been busy as shit. Can I just say ‘shit’ like that? Yes, this is my blog. Anyway, here are some recent articles/blogs I’ve been working on. Check them out.

Live Draft Blog at New York Times

My Photos from Radio City

That slideshow above contains this photo I took at 2:30 am after everyone except the janitors and I had left. We had some good laughs about the Frederick pick.

Cowboys’ Day 2/3 Mock Draft

Travis Frederick Pick Analysis

Travis Frederick’s Fit in Dallas

Thoughts on “The Trade”

There are two ways to look at the Cowboys’ deal. The first is that they received poor compensation for moving down 13 spots in the first round because they could have gotten a better haul. I think that’s true, and in many ways it’s all that matters. But what about the actual value of the selections based on historic value? Below, I charted the historic value of every single pick since 1990 based on the trade chart and players’ approximate value.

If there’s one thing the Cowboy did well, it was get to an area of the draft where the actual value of picks tends to exceed their perceived worth. That’s always a smart move, but only if you receive the right compensation; it would be foolish to move down simply for the sake of moving down.

Based on historic NFL production, the No. 18 overall pick has traditionally compiled 1.5 percent of the total approximate value for the entire draft class. Meanwhile, the No. 31 overall selection has been around 1.1 percent, with the No. 74 pick checking in at 0.6 percent. So based on actual on-field play, the Cowboys did indeed get value. That’s especially true in a draft class that’s weak at the top but deep in the middle.

Having said that, you can’t tell me the Niners wouldn’t have given up another pick, even if late, to move up for their guy. Despite the fact that the Cowboys acquired actual value in their trade-down, it was the wrong move from the standpoint that they could have gotten more.

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NY Times Live NFL Draft Blog

Here’s the link to the live blog I’ll be doing over at the Fifth Down. Not sure if updates will show up there, so if not you can just check back at the Fifth Down home page.

You can check my Twitter for updates as well. I’ll post some stuff there, but the majority of the updates will be at the Times.


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More Cowboys Mock Drafts

Earlier I posted the Cowboys mock draft I completed for Bleacher Report. Well here’s another Cowboys mock draft, this one assuming the ‘Boys can’t land one of the elite guards in the first round.

Round 1: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

With Kenny Vaccaro still on the board, I think the Cowboys will realize the safety position is so deep that drafting Vaccaro won’t maximize overall value. If that’s the case, Williams might be a major consideration. From my Williams scouting report:

“Williams is a big, powerful defensive tackle who nonetheless can move with speed. He’s extremely quick off of the ball—consistently the first person off of the snap at UNC—despite his 6-3, 313-pound frame. Like Purdue’s Kawann Short, Williams is one of the few defensive tackles in this draft that I see being scheme versatile. He’s strong enough to hold up at the point, but he’s fast enough to penetrate as a one-gap defensive tackle. He was used as the latter sort of defensive tackle at UNC.

As a pass rusher, Williams parlays his quickness and strength into an excellent bull rush. When he gets a jump on the ball, he can quickly drive interior linemen into the backfield. He combines his bull rush with an outstanding swim move—probably the best in this draft class. Williams also has great play recognition; I saw about a half-dozen screens thrown against him and he wasn’t fooled by one.”

Williams can play both defensive tackle positions and would eventually take over for one of the Cowboys’ two aging interior defensive linemen.

Round 2: Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse

I’m not very high on Pugh, but a lot of teams think he has guard/tackle versatility. The Cowboys have visited with 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.”

Pugh would be a starting guard right off the bat.

Check out the whole mock at NBC.

I also published my final 32-pick mock draft at Dallas News.

1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

The only other legitimate option here is Eric Fisher, but Joeckel has been the favorite for a couple months. The Chiefs’ GM reportedly prefers Joeckel, so that’s the direction I’m leaning.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

I have to say that I’ve had Geno Smith in this spot for weeks and I just took him out at the last minute because of all the evidence pointing to Jacksonville taking a safer player. I really think it could all be a smokescreen, however, with Smith being their guy all along.

3. Oakland Raiders: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

The Raiders could easily take Sharrif Floyd at No. 3, but there are lots of reports that they’re going to move this pick, possibly to Cleveland. Jordan could be in play for Oakland, but either way, I think he’s the most likely player to come off of the board at this spot.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

I originally had Fisher here, but the more I think about it, the more I believe Chip Kelly will prefer Johnson—one of the most athletic linemen to come out of the draft in years—no matter which linemen are on the board.

5. Detroit Lions: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

With the top three offensive tackles off of the board, Detroit’s pick becomes a very interesting one. They could surprise everyone with one of the elite guards, but it seems more likely that they’ll look to upgrade their pass rush.

6. Cleveland Browns: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Despite reports that Milliner could be out until August with a shoulder injury, the Browns have reportedly shown a lot of interest in the draft’s consensus top cornerback.

7. Arizona Cardinals: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

This is where things get interesting. The Cardinals would love to see one of the top three offensive tackles fall to them, but I don’t see it happening. There have been rumors that they like Fluker, which would be a monumental reach at this point.

8. Buffalo Bills: Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

I originally had E.J. Manuel here, but it appears as though the Bills favor Nassib.

9. New York Jets: Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

Oakland is the key to Floyd’s draft spot. If they pass on him, there’s a good chance that he’ll drop. I can’t see him falling out of the top 10, however, because it seems as though enough teams like him that someone will be willing to trade up. The Jets reportedly still want to move back, so I’ll place Floyd here—whether he goes to the Jets or not.

10. Tennessee Titans: Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYU

Another value pick, Ansah fills a need for Tennessee. Chance Warmack and Xavier Rhodes are also options here.

11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

I actually think most teams will have Jonathan Cooper rated higher than Warmack, but the latter is a better fit with San Diego.

Here’s the rest.

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Star Magazine “On Air” Podcast, Episode 10: Free Agency Discussion…Just Kidding, More Draft Talk

The latest “On Air” podcast was posted today at DallasCowboys.com. Jeff, Josh, and I discussed our latest mock drafts. I also talked about why I like small-school prospects in the middle and late rounds. My segment starts at around 28:00, but the entire show is a good one if you have the time.

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Cowboys’ First-Round Options

As mentioned, I’ll be covering the draft for the Times and Bleacher Report. My BR content will include instant analysis for each Cowboys pick. I’ve already posted two slideshows at BR: a mock draft for Dallas and a list of the most likely options in the first round.

You can use that latter link throughout the draft. It’s where I’ll post my reactions and grades after each selection. I’ll also have scouting reports on every Dallas pick and revised mock drafts on Friday and Saturday.