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Dallas Morning News Chat: Kenny Vaccaro, Jonathan Cooper, and Other Draft Notes

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I did another live chat at Dallas Morning News earlier today. Here’s part of it:

  • Hey what’s up guys? I’m here and ready to answer your Cowboys and draft questions…
    by Jonathan Bales 2:00 PM
  • Do you think the Cowboys are content to sit and wait for their pick, or is Jerry itching to trade up to target a player he’s become obsessed in getting?
    by Artie 2:00 PM
  • We’ll just have to see how the draft unfolds. There’s no harm in trading up a few spots if an elite player slips (Lane Johnson, for example). However, I’d say a trade-up is pretty unlikely this year due to the nature of the draft class. If they can swing it, I’d anticipate the Cowboys moving back in the first round if a handful of potential targets are off of the board. You don’t need to be worried about the Cowboys moving up a bunch of spots and then drafting a guy like Tavon Austin, though.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:02 PM
  • Where would some of the Cowboys recent high draft picks (Tyron Smith, Claiborne, Dez) rank if they were coming out this year?
    by Vince in NY 2:02 PM
  • Good question. If we’re throwing out their NFL careers and assessing them as they were coming out of college, you’re still looking at three surefire first-rounders. Smith would probably be the top-ranked or No. 2 OT on my board, behind Lane Johnson. Claiborne and Bryant would both be the top player at their respective positions, hands down. Both were truly elite prospects, and Bryant fell only because of off-field issues.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:04 PM
  • How much information do teams really release about their draft plans? Sometimes it seems that the mock drafts are completely off the mark, yet other times all the rumors about a team falling in love with a player are true. Thoughts?
    by Bill Wolf 2:04 PM
  • It depends on the team. Every team is secretive about their plans, but some teams don’t really try to hide their interest in players too much. The Cowboys, for example, have historically drafted a lot of the players they’ve interviewed at the Combine and brought in for visits. If you examine those lists alone, you’re probably looking at a few future Cowboys.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:06 PM
  • Robert Gallery saved/helped his career with the Raiders by moving inside to guard. Can Free do the same thing or does his position w/ the team hinge on the draft?
    by clark 2:06 PM
  • No, I don’t think so because Free is a different type of player. He’s a finesse guy who already struggles at the point on the outside, so there’s no way he could hold up against 330-pound defensive tackles. The interior line is crucial in short-yardage and goal line situations, and Free would get manhandled there.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:07 PM
  • I have read from more than one draft expert that this draft is deep in OL and S. This should set up well for the Cowboys. Does Jerry see this? Or will he fall in love with some wide reciever? Please Jerry don’t screw this up.
    by AppraiserED 2:07 PM
  • I think some of the offensive line depth is overblown, but it’s certainly deep at safety no matter how you slice it. You have guys like Matt Elam, Shamarko Thomas, Phillip Thomas, Bacarri Rambo, and JJ Wilcox who could provide really good value in the middle rounds. That’s one of the reasons it’s important for the Cowboys to do what they can to get a lineman in the first and, if possible, avoid Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro isn’t a scarce commodity by any means. Why draft him in the first if you can get a comparable player in the third? I’m sure Jerry understands the depth at each position, as everyone in the organization does, so hopefully they use it to make their selections.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:10 PM
  • Everyone is saying that we should draft a running back, but do you think Lance Dunbar could develop into Murray’s backup?
    by Michael 2:10 PM
  • I like Lance Dunbar as a third-down back, but he’s 5-8, 191 pounds. He’s probably best suited in that No. 3 role. If they fail to bring in a running back and Murray goes down, are you really comfortable with Dunbar and Tanner as your top two running backs? Running back isn’t an incredibly important position, but there’s a big gap there. Plus, you can find a really good complement to Murray in the middle and even late rounds of the draft. The cost for a guy like Zac Stacy out of Vanderbilt makes it worth the investment.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:13 PM
  • With the draft right around the corner, what’s your gut feeling on what the Boy’s will do at 18?
    by R. Mitchell 2:13 PM
  • My gut is that there’s no way they would let either Warmack or Cooper fall past them. The question is whether or not either player will still be available, and I think that’s a coin flip. If they’re gone, I think the Cowboys will look to trade back. Otherwise, I’d say Kenny Vaccaro and Sheldon Richardson would be the most likely options.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:14 PM
  • Who do you think represents better value at safety for the Cowboys, Kenny Vaccaro in the 1st or Philip Thomas in the 3rd?
    by Dan T 2:14 PM
  • Thomas, without a doubt. I’m not very high on Vaccaro; I think he’s more of a second-round type of guy. But here’s the thing: EVEN if Vaccaro were the Cowboys’ highest-rated player at 18, they STILL might want to consider avoiding him due to the depth at the position. If they like Thomas nearly as much as Vaccaro, for example, the overall value (relative to the cost) would be greater for Thomas, even if he’s rated slightly lower. These picks aren’t made in isolation; they come at a cost, which is the value of the pick and which players you have to pass up with each choice.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:17 PM
  • How do you feel about Barry Church? Dallas seems to be asking for an intimidating safety, but I think we’ve got him in Church. I think Churxh can be out big hitting predator in the secondary that can take command and really make receivers think about jump balls. He may not be a ball hawk type of player, but I see a field general in him. Your thoughts?
    by Safwan 2:18 PM
  • Yeah, I really like Church. I labeled him as a breakout player before the start of the 2012 season, and he showed some good things before his injury. I really think Church can excel in this new defense because you’re probably going to see a whole lot of Cover 3 from Monte Kiffin this year. In that coverage, the strong safety typically plays an underneath zone, and that’s where Church can thrive. You could see him play the “Kam Chancellor” role if we’re continuing the comparison of Kiffin’s defense to the 2012 Seattle defense.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:20 PM
  • With the amount of quality players at positions of need in this draft, what are your thoughts of trading a couple of picks next year to get back in the first or second round this year?
    by Matt Keele 2:20 PM
  • Unless there is an elite player who unexpectedly dropped, trading back into the first has typically provided a really poor return for those teams moving up. Like you said, there are lots of quality players in the second and third tiers, so why move back up? The second-round prospects are nearly as talented as those in the back of the first this year, so the Cowboys should really be doing everything they can to try to stockpile picks in the second and third rounds. Plus, you never want to get rid of future picks unless the deal is too sweet to pass up. Too often you see teams trade valuable picks for what they believe is a “can’t-miss” prospect, but then that guy flops, i.e. the Saints giving up future picks for Mark Ingram a couple years ago. You have to factor uncertainty into each and every pick, and that can limit the advantages of trading up because you never REALLY know what you’re getting. The easiest way for the Cowboys to improve their drafting is to have as many chances at hitting on a player as possible.
    by Jonathan Bales 2:25 PM

The full chat is right here.

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