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2011 Draft
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Hawk
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: 2011 Draft  Reply with quote

Yes I know its early, but for those interested it will give us something to talk about.

It's never too early to talk about the draft anyway.

But is there a way to make talking about the draft this early more than just idle speculation? I have painstakingly reconstructed what the Dallas Cowboys Scouts have been up to, I've pored over college rosters and I've scoured all available draft rankings to figure out what the Cowboys draft strategy could look like.

Fact is, if you disagree with the conclusions, you can easily duplicate the exercise for the Cowboys - or for any other team - and you may come up with different conclusions.
Cowboys Scouts have attended these games for sure.

Date Teams
23-Oct Georgia Tech @ Clemson
16-Oct Missouri @ Texas A&M
16-Oct Baylor @ Colorado
9-Oct Tennessee @ Georgia
9-Oct Auburn @ Kentucky
2-Oct Ohio State @ Illinois
2-Oct East Carolina @ North Carolina
Date Teams
2-Oct Penn State @ Iowa
25-Sep South Carolina @ Auburn

11-Sep South Florida @ Florida
6-Sep Boise State @ Virgina Tech

4-Sep Richmond @ Virgina

4-Sep Oregon State @ TCU

4-Sep Weber State @ Boston College

The first question we need to answer as we look at these 14 games, 27 teams and something like 600+ starters is: Which players were the Cowboys Scouts watching at each of these games? I used a process of elimination to whittle down the number of players:

First, we eliminated all players on each team that were ranked with a draft grade lower than a 4th round in the cbssports.com 2011 draft database. Two reasons for that. One, I want to figure out what position the Cowboys will draft with their top picks, and two, dipping into the shallow end of the draft pool makes things very murky.

Second, I threw out all positions that I didn't think the Cowboys will place a high priority on next year:  WR, RB, TE and FB.

Finally, since cbssports, like many other draft boards at this time of year, doesn't have any juniors or sophomores in their database, I added those juniors and sophomores that I found on draftsite.com's list to the CBS list.

Somewhat surprisingly, the 14 games only resulted in 26 player names who could be on the Cowboys' short list. Here's what I think that shortlist could look like so far (* denotes juniors):

Short list of players the Cowboys possibly scouted


Proj. Rd  Player
Pos. School Wt. Ht. 40 Time
1 Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa 286 6-3 4.79
1 Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State 285 6-5 4.92
1 Da'Quan Bowers* DE Clemson 280 6-4 4.80
1 Nick Fairley* DT Auburn 298 6-5 4.81
1 Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College 308 6-7 5.06
1-2 Stefen Wisniewski C Penn State 298 6-3 5.16
1-2 Ras-I Dowling CB Virginia 200 6-2 4.54
1-2 Nate Solder OT Colorado 315 6-8 4.89
1-2 DeAndre McDaniel SS Clemson 215 6-0 4.54
2 Jimmy Smith CB Colorado 205 6-2 4.49
2 Christian Ballard DE Iowa 298 6-4 4.86
2 Marvin Austin DT North Carolina 310 6-3 4.96
2 Quan Sturdivant ILB North Carolina 235 6-2 4.63
2 Mike Pouncey OG Florida 310 6-4 5.29
2 Mark Herzlich OLB Boston College 245 6-4 4.75
2 Marcus Cannon OT TCU 358 6-5 5.34
2-3 Chris Culliver CB South Carolina 201 6-0 4.47
3 Marcus Gilchrist CB Clemson 190 5-11 4.49
3 Ahmad Black SS Florida 190 5-10 4.51
3-4 Kendric Burney CB North Carolina 190 5-9 4.47
3-4 Rashad Carmichael CB Virginia Tech 182 5-10 4.38
3-4 Deunta Williams FS North Carolina 210 6-1 4.53
4 Wayne Daniels DE TCU 250 6-2 4.79
4 Jermale Hines FS Ohio State 215 6-2 4.59
4 Clint Boling OG Georgia 304 6-5 5.16
4 Marcus Gilbert OT Florida 320 6-5 5.23

Is This The Deepest 3-4 Defensive End Draft Ever?

The Cowboys have already scouted four DE's (Fairley, if he comes out, would project nicely as a 3-4 DE) who could likely earn a first round grade. Add Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Allen Bailey from Miami (Fla.), and you'd have 6 DE's who could go in the first round. This would mark the first time in NFL history that 6 DE's would be taken in the first round. The Cowboys are sure to scout this position extensively, likely rounding out the top prospects but also looking at more prospects for later rounds like Hampton's DT Kenrick Ellis, currently projected as a 2nd-3rd rounder.

The Cowboys are definitely looking for help at DE. Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher are free agents after the season, and Olshansky's contract is up in 2012. Sean Lissemore could be a great player, but he can only man one spot.

The Cowboys scouts have looked at a lot of DEs with first round grades. Given the quality of the class and what is increasingly looking to be a very high pick, the Cowboys look likely to go for one of the premier DEs in 2011 in the hope of solidifying the D-line for years to come.

But what about the O-line?

2011 is not shaping up to be a great year for tackles. In Castonzo and Solder, the Cowboys Scouts have looked at two of the premier tackles available (with Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod the odd man out - so far), but it's possible that the Cowboys may go for more of the T/G tweener type players like Marcus Cannon, DeMarcus Love and Benjamin Ijalana who're likely to still be there in the second round. Also, Stefen Wisniewski is a great center prospect.

But as you look beyond my self-imposed limit of a 4th round grade, there are some intriguing prospects for the O-Line that our scouts have already seen in live action:

O-line candidates the Cowboys possibly scouted

Pos. School Wt. Ht. 40 Time
1 Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College 308 6-7 5.06
1-2 Stefen Wisniewski C Penn State 298 6-3 5.16
1-2 Nate Solder OT Colorado 315 6-8 4.89
2 Mike Pouncey OG Florida 310 6-4 5.29
2 Marcus Cannon OT TCU 358 6-5 5.34
4 Clint Boling OG Georgia 304 6-5 5.16
4 Marcus Gilbert OT Florida 320 6-5 5.23
4-5 Chris Hairston OT Clemson 325 6-7 5.18
5 Justin Boren OG Ohio State 320 6-3 5.24
5-6 Lee Ziemba OT Auburn 320 6-6 5.22
6-7 Tim Barnes C Missouri 300 6-4 5.14
6-7 Jarriel King OG South Carolina 324 6-5 5.23
7 Jake Kirkpatrick C TCU 305 6-3 5.14

Two sleepers on this list might be TCU's Center Jake Kirkpatrick and Auburn's OT Lee Ziemba. Kirkpatrick gets ranked low maybe because he didn't start playing football until his senior year of high school, but he is a natural athlete with good size. And Ziemba would make a real nice RT and has tons of starting experience. Also, Mizzou's Tim Barnes is having a pretty good year, and while he might be a better fit in a ZBS he still has the size to play in our scheme.

And where does that leave the secondary?

The Cowboys appear to like like AOA and their two UFA's, Church and McCray as options at safety and will probably give them a chance to make something of themselves. The Cowboys have scouted DeAndre McDaniel out of Clemson and some later round safeties, and obviously they still have a couple of games to scout, but based on the scouting trips publicized so far, it's unlikely the 'Boys will go high for a Safety. Look for a free agent signing here as the likelier option.

Based on their scouting behavior, the Cowboys think they have a bigger need at corner. If you sort the Short List above by player position, you'll see that the Cowboys have scouted six corners between a 1-2 round grade (Ras-I Dowling) through a 3-4 round grade. That translates into a corner roughly every 15 spots. This may be pure coincidence, but this could also indicate that the Cowboys are keeping all their options open regarding a corner and will take one whenever there's an opportunity.

A couple of linebackers round out the short list, and linebackers are always in demand on 3-4 teams, particularly if Jason Williams doesn't pan out.

And that leaves?

Free Agency. There are too many holes on this team to fix in one go and the holes from the botched 2006 and 2009(still not sure what will happen with the players left from 2009) drafts (and to some extent also the 2007 draft and 2008) are showing. If Jerry wants to avoid going into a complete rebuilding mode, he'll have to shell out for a couple of choice free agents to bolster the team.

I will post my free agents list later
I also believe the Cowboys might just opt for a Franchise QB in the Draft this year. But who will be available?


Last edited by Hawk on Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nightrider
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Post: Just a thought, make this a sticky so we all can come back later with our thoughts.
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Desperado
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Way, way to much info for me to digest.

Theres so much season left, and guys will get injured, so its tough for me to start thinking this early. Hey I like to watch the Senior bowl before I make my picks.

Hawk make it a sticky like NR suggested, so we can come back to it.
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El Kabong
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Free Agents:
Doug Free - resign to a 5 year deal shouldnt be too expensive
Alex Barron - let go
Kyle Kosier - let go too old and injury prone and not good anymore
Marcus Spears - resign for a cheap 1 or 2 year deal.
Gerald Sensabaugh - re-sign to a 1 or 2 year deal...
Alan Ball - let go
Montrae Holland - let go
Sam Hurd - let go

Jared Gaither - talented player who would be a great starting RT for us. Fill in immediately, great size, he would be a huge upgrade over Marc Colombo and give us some solid bookends we could work with over the next 5+ years.

2011 NFL Draft:

1st round) Patrick Peterson - CB LSU
Elite cover corner with great size at 6'1 211. Went up against AJ Green and Julio Jones arguably the best two receivers in the country and did pretty well. Great football IQ and awareness, and can start for us immediately. Peterson and Jenkins will make a great combo for years to come. The additions of Bethea and Peterson to our secondary will be a huge boost, along with better coaching.

2nd round) Marcus Cannon - LG TCU
Kosier is gone and we need someone who can step in immediately. Cannon has great size and will help form a much improved offensive line.

3rd round) Greg Jones - OLB Michigan State
We need to replace Brooking immediately, he is a good leader but too old and slow. Greg Jones is a playmaking Ray Lewis type of linebacker he hits hard and is all over the field. Also fast and good in coverage he would help out in our pass defense and run defense. Very productive in college and has a great motor he should be able to start for us right away.

4th round) John Moffitt - G/C Wisconsin
Moffitt has good size at 6'5 320 and can play both Center and Guard. Perfect fit for us as a future starter and backup depth.

5th round) Pat Devlin QB Delaware
Great size at 6'4 220 and great toughness.Good arm strength, decent athlete. Looks good so far 6 TD's and 1 INT and 16/9 last year. Could challenge McGee for the backup spot and maybe be the backup we need and possible future starter.

6th round) Andrew Rich S BYU
Had 4 picks last year and is a good tackler with good size.

7th round) Brandyn Thompson CB Boise
11 career picks, he could fill out our secondary and provide some depth if we get injuries.

Rough Depth Chart

QB: Romo/McGee/Devlin
RB: Jones/Choice/Barber
WR: Austin/Bryant/Williams/Ogletree/Holley
TE: Witten/Bennett/Phillips
LT: Free/Pernell/Young
LG: Cannon/Moffitt
C: Gurode/Costa/Moffitt
RG: Davis/Moffitt
RT: Gaither/Young

RDE: Demarcus Ware/B Williams/Butler
LDE: Spencer/Hatcher/Bowen
DT: Ratliff/Spears/
DT: Igor/Hatcher/Bowen
WLB: Jones
MLB: Bradie James
SLB: Lee
LCB: Jenkins/Newman(slot)
RCB: Peterson/Scandrick/Thompson
FS: Bethea/AOA
SS: Sensabaugh/Rich

Just some possibilities and things that I wish would happen. I really think we need to focus on the OL and Secondary in this years draft. Plus we get a new coaching staff, and hopefully a better record. I dont think its realistic to expect us to hire Cowher Gruden or Dungy this year.
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Hawk
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Cowboys pick: Amukamara

Why Amukamara Is Special: A top-flight senior talent with all the qualities of a shutdown cornerback, he has extensive experience and is a willing tackler that will always fight for the ball.



Why Amukamara Goes Here: He's the second best cornerback on the board, with the potential to be an even higher pick. The Cowboys' other needs would be reaches here.



Why Amukamara Fits: Mike Jenkins was exposed a bit this season and Terrence Newman has seen better days and will continue to get older. Their nickel back, Orlando Scandrick, is exactly that, a nickel back at best. Amukamara brings help into a unit that has to play the the Giants and Eagles receiving corps twice a season.
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Desperado
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay Hawk, I know you are a sly dog lol. I thinkn you are dead on, if there is a strike, because you know the cowboys can't do anything in FAs.

But no strike, I think they go with your first prediction of a D-Guy ans his name is Watt...haha
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mybadazzcat
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see the Cowboys drafting a DLineman in the first round. It is a need and no Olineman is rated high enough to pick at number nine. This could change if the kid Peterson from UCLA is available.

Second I see maybe Oline or get ready, RB.

WR at the third or possibly a CB.

Going to be a tough year for FA's..There may be a two or three week window to sign them and I feel teams, including the Cowboys will concentrate on their own. You may see a lot of one year contracts.

All of course IMHO..
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LoneStar
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds a lot like what Des said, but but but, please no Wrers anything but that.

 Cowboys would take Peterson in a heart beat, but he'll be gone, but I'll tell you this, after the combine if they hold it, you'll see at least 2 guys that could go in the first round that are OLmen.

Plus I do like what I've read about Watt, he looks like a good fit. Badazz, you know by what you said FA is really up in the air, hell its going to be a crap shoot, let the chips fall and then we'll have to figure it out.
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Nightrider
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peterson and the Prince will be gone before the Cowboys get to pick.

Most don't think Watt is a top 10 pick instead a top 20, not really much difference.

But I think Cowboys will draft Von Miller 9th OLB, this fits with Brooking going by by. But there are some players working out at Valley Ranch and Brooking is one of those guys paying attention to Ryan right now.
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Desperado
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the crap shoot opinion, because thats what it boils down to.

CBS sees it this way: note the OL guys, there is some tallent there.



1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: Shutdown corner with the ability to impact the game as a returner, he's the safest player in the draft.

2. Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: Hard to believe he's more impressive against run than pass considering he led nation with 15.5 sacks.

3. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: The most talented player in the draft, but I have concerns about his maturity and work ethic once he gets a multi-million dollar contract.

4. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M: Answered only questions about his game by proving he's a legitimate 6'2 (and 5/8) and 237 pounds, as well as proving fluidity in coverage at Senior Bowl.

5. Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina: A more explosive pass rusher than Bowers; is viewed by some as a better fit as a 3-4 rush linebacker.

6. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: Has to prove speed to move into my top five, but has a combination of hands and body control that have helped Larry Fitzgerald and Sidney Rice dominate when protected with solid QB play.

7. Marcel Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama: Strong, stout and quick, Dareus can play inside and out in either scheme.

8. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: Rare to see two corners with a top 10 grade, but Amukamara deserves it. Size, physicality to compete right away.

9. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: Rare size, strength and physicality for position will make him an early standout. There is some Anquan Boldin-like toughness here.

10. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa: Stats say he struggled this season, but a closer look shows he did all of the little things well. I'd have no problem using a top-15 pick on him, especially for a team running a 4-3 alignment.

11. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Tough to assign a grade this high on any running back, but Ingram's rare combination of vision, balance, burst and low-center of gravity remind me of only one back -- Emmitt Smith.

12. Aldon Smith, DE/OLB Missouri: Was surprised to see him come out; as he would have ranked as an elite defensive prospect had he returned. Raw, but spectacular upside.

13. Cameron Jordan, DE, California: Showed everyone at Senior Bowl what I've been saying for months -- he's arguably the most versatile defensive lineman in a class blessed with them.

14. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: Size, arm strength, good accuracy and a quick release, he has all of the tools -- but wasn't consistent enough to land a top ten grade in my eyes.

15. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: Solder's weak base and moderate strength are concerns, but his rare size (6-8, 314), athleticism and flexibility make him an ideal left tackle prospect.

16. Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida: Size, strength and the athleticism to block at the second level, Pouncey's ability to stand out against SEC competition make him an easy first round pick.

17. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: Not as athletic as Solder, but another true left tackle who played with greater strength at the Senior Bowl than I'd previously given him credit for.

18. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: As I've said since January, Newton is going to wind up in the top 10. His orchestrated workout didn't answer any of the questions I have about him. Namely, whether he can adapt mentally from Gus Malzahn's relatively simple spread-option offense to an infinitely more complicated pro-style attack against infinitely more complicated defenses.

19. Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois: Penetrating three-technique defensive tackle who quietly rates behind only Fairley and Dareus on many teams' boards.

20. Tyron Smith, OT, USC: In terms of pure talent, Smith is this year's best tackle -- but his experience lies on the right side, his future lies on the left and scouts have questioned his maturity. I'll wait to outside the Top 20 for a gamble on greatness.

21. Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor: It is pretty hard to give a 26 year-old guard a first-round grade, but Watkins, with only four years of football, isn't beaten up and was very impressive at the Senior Bowl.

22. Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: Legitimate top-15 talent, but off-field concerns. The fact that he didn't compete at the Senior Bowl drop him down my board.

23. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: A road grader with enough size, reach for pass protection, Carimi would be best off moving to right tackle.

24. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fla.): Struggled against big receivers, including Notre Dame's Michael Floyd in the Sun Bowl, but boasts even quicker feet for coverage than Peterson or Amukamara.

25. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: Undeniably an elite athlete and one who may wind up drafted much higher than my ranking indicates, but Ayers' moderate instincts and tendency to over-run the play make him a gamble, in my opinion.

26. Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: I'm admittedly higher on Sherrod than most, but see him as an ideal swing tackle capable of stepping in immediately and is well worth first round pick.

27. Muhammad Wilkerson, DL, Temple: The best defensive lineman no one seems to be talking about -- yet.

28. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: Lots to like about Kerrigan's hustle and production, though his thinner lower body and marginal hand play are concerns.

29. JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin: The ideal defensive end for the 3-4, but may not have a fit in the 4-3, limiting his grade.

30. Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor: A top 20 talent athletically, but will have to answer questions about his suspension and transfer from Penn State to get drafted there.

31. Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland: Currently leads Kentucky's Randall Cobb in a tight race to be the third-ranked receiver in this class due to greater height, straight-line speed.

32. Aaron Williams, CB, Texas: One of the few bright spots for the Longhorns this season, the 6-1, 205 pound Williams has the size, speed and cover skills to warrant a look in the late first round.

Next 10

TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
RB Mikel LeShoure, Illinois
WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky DE Cameron
Heyward, Ohio State (injury)
DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State (injury)
QB Jake Locker, Washington
C/OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State
QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas


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