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BTB’s Writer’s 2012 Mock Draft: Round One Picks 1-8 Plus Community Mock News - March 20, 2012 by indyfootballreport

The BTB Writer's Mock gets underway with the first eight picks of 2012.

While we were taking volunteers to field our BTB Community Mock, my fellow front-pagers and I were getting our own Mock Draft activity under way. O.C.C., Rabble, Archie, Tom and Coty have joined me in being assigned each of the 32 first round slots and making GM decisions for the teams in question.

Fortunately, we’ve had a week of free agency to help shovel in some initial holes, unlike last year, so teams aren’t using the draft to fill their biggest needs.

Now while the community mock will only cover the first round, we’re probably going to take the writer’s mock as far as it can go, since it moves at a much quicker pace. Last year, we successfully completed two rounds. Each article will feature eight selections at a time, and you’ll have your chance to vote on which selection you think was the best for the specific team.

Without further ado, here are the first eight picks from the 2012 Writer’s Mock Draft.

Draft Pick Team 2011 Record Assigned Writer Selection
1 Indianapolis (2-14) OCC QB Andrew Luck
2 Washington (5-11) Coty QB RG III
3 Minnesota (3-13) KD LOT Matt Kalil
4 Cleveland (4-12) Tom WR Justin Blackmon
5 Tampa Bay (4-12) Archie CB Morris Claiborne
6 St. Louis (2-14) Rabble RB Trent Richardson
7 Jacksonville (5-11) Coty OT Riley Reiff
8 Miami (6-10) Archie QB Ryan Tannehill

Follow the jump for pick justifications from each writer, as well as some IMPORTANT INFO on the BTB Community Mock process, including dates and how to submit your picks.

O.C.C.’s pick

Indy: Stanford QB Andrew Luck

I was sorely tempted to pick RGIII for the Colts, just to mess with CotySaxman who has the next pick and has probably already prepared an extensive write-up on RGIII. But Luck it is. Even with Luck, the Colts will likely need a while before they are relevant again as they embark on a major rebuilding project. But at least they have a franchise QB to help get them started.

Coty’s pick

Washington: Baylor QB Robert Girffin III

The Redskins have been struggling for what seems like the past couple decades due largely to their lack of a franchise quarterback. The trade to get here made headlines; no surprises here.

KD’s pick

Minnesota: USC LT Matt Kalil

After failing to acquire more picks for the #3 slot, the Vikes decide to go with the best tackle prospect in years. They may not really believe in their quarterback solution, but they at least believe in protecting their investment. Kalil should give them the blindside protection to give Christian Ponder all the time in the world to prove he doesn’t belong.

Tom’s pick

Cleveland: Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

It was a very close call between him and Morris Claiborne. On my last Averaging the Mocks, they are just about a toss up for BPA, so neither could be considered a mistake. Since the team looks to have a little more need on offense, Blackmon gets the nod here.

Archie’s pick

Tampa Bay: LSU CB Morris Claiborne

Even though the Bucs signed cornerback Eric Wright in free agency, Claiborne is the BPA on the board. He is the best cornerback in the draft and a great pick to upgrade the Bucs secondary. Trent Richardson was another option here, but this time the elite cornerback trumps the elite running back.

Rabble’s pick

St. Louis: Alabama RB Trent Richardson

Rams take running back Trent Richardson. After feverishly working to broker a trade, St. Louis takes the best player on the board, and the best collegiate runner since Adrian Peterson. Richardson will team up with Stephen Jackson to take a lot of pressure off of franchise QB Sam Bradford.

Coty’s pick

Jacksonville: Iowa OT Riley Reiff

After witnessing Gabbert’s struggles remaining upright in the pocket, Jacksonville decides to bolster their offensive line. With the signing of a deep threat receiver in Laurent Robinson, Gabbert will need more time in the pocket. Reiff will be drafted to play right tackle, but can eventually develop into a left tackle, giving the Jaguars flexibility in the future.

Archie’s pick

Miami: Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill

The Dolphins are considering Matt Flynn, but are out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Tannehill gives them a franchise quarterback to begin building around. If they did sign Flynn, I would make a defensive pick here. (Flynn has since signed with Seattle)



Over the weekend, we took assignments for the BTB Community Mock here. We will try to get these done one per day. This is where I will present a full work-up of each of the top candidates. The community mocker will be responsible for emailing me between 1-3 paragraphs on why they made that specific pick. I will provide a wrap-up of evaluations on said player. This will be one per day and move quickly, so you MUST EMAIL ME SO I CAN LET YOU KNOW THE PRIOR PICK TO YOU AS SOON AS IT COMES IN.

Email me now at

Subject Line: BTB MOCK [Your BTB Name] [Your Mock Pick Number]

ex: BTB MOCK n8dgr8 Pick #1

I am aiming to post the first community pick on Wednesday, March 21st. I appreciate your compliance and remember, don’t re-enact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen.

Which writer made the best selection for their franchise?

  25 votes | Results

Blogging The Boys

Cowboys 2012 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock’s Post-Combine Top 5 Players Per Position - March 19, 2012 by indyfootballreport

The Combine reshuffled the top five prospect rankings.

Over the weekend, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock released an updated, post-Combine version of his top five players per position (full rankings here). The Cowboys have been very busy in free agency so far, but there still are a number of positions of need for the Cowboys. Notably, the Cowboys haven’t made any free agency moves so far along the defensive line, so we’ll look at the defensive line and other positions of need as we review how Mayock’s rankings have changed since his pre-Combine version from February.

Defensive Tackles: A popular topic among many Cowboys fans is the idea of drafting a big guy for the middle of the defensive line. While it remains to be seen whether the Cowboys have any interest in doing that, it is also clear that outside of Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff is the oldest Cowboys defender currently under contract: he’ll turn 31 at the start of the season.

Rank Previous Ranking (2/14)
Updated Rank (3/16)
1 Michael Brockers, LSU Dontari Poe, Memphis
2 Jerel Worthy, Michigan State Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St.
3 Dontari Poe, Memphis Michael Brockers, LSU
4 Devon Still, Penn State Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
5 (tie) Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St. Kendall Reyes, UConn
Kendall Reyes, UConn Devon Still, Penn State
Brandon Thompson, Clemson

Mike Mayock gets off the Michael Brockers train and elevates combine phenom Dontari Poe to the number one spot. Fletcher Cox also sees his stock jump dramatically as he moves into the number two spot. The 6-4, 298-pound Cox is gaining momentum as the flavor-of-the-week candidate for the Cowboys as a defensive end, and he could be available at the #14 position.

After the break, we look at offensive linemen, corners and defensive ends and OLBs.

Interior Offensive Linemen

Rank Guards (3/16)
Centers (3/16)
1 David DeCastro, Stanford Peter Konz, Wisconsin
2 Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin Philip Blake, Baylor
3 Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State Ben Jones, Georgia
4 Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State David Molk, Michigan
5 Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH) Michael Brewster, Ohio State

Where Mayock had previously lumped the interior linemen together in one top five list, he has now split them out by position. Not much has changed for the guards, save for the addition of Brandon Brooks as the fifth-ranked guard.

Mayock does not seem to share the medical concerns that have been associated with Peter Konz, and keeps him atop the center board. Of note, some of the names on the center list are projected to go as late as the fifth/sixth rounds. If the Cowboys want a center, they’ll likely find one waiting for them in almost every round.

David DeCastro remains the fan favorite for now, but many of the other names on this list are also worthy of consideration in a trade down scenario or with later-round picks.

Cornerbacks: With the acquisition of Brandon Carr, it seems unlikely that the Cowboys will use their first pick on a corner. But the Cowboys will probably have a keen eye on any corners who start slipping on draft day, as cornerback is widely believed to have some of the best depth in this draft and the Cowboys can always use more corners.

Rank Previous Ranking (1/24)
Updated Rank (2/14)
1 Morris Claiborne, LSU Morris Claiborne, LSU
2 Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
3 Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
4 Trumaine Johnson, Montana Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama
5 Leonard Johnson, Iowa State Josh Robinson, Central Florida

Unfortunately, if you had harbored hopes of perhaps snatching up Stephon Gilmore with the Cowboys’ second-round pick, those dreams are likely over. Similarly, many mock drafts had Josh Robinson as a later-round favorite for the Cowboys, but his exceptional combine showing has him being talked about as a potential first-rounder.

Defensive Ends/OLBs: Even though the Cowboys slapped the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer, the Cowboys are still likely to look for ways in which to improve their pass rush. The latest rumor, according to Calvin Watkins at ESPNDallas, is that there is mutual interest between the Cowboys and outside linebacker Erik Walden. Regardless of how that turns out, an improved pass rush must rank at the very top of the Cowboys’ to-do list entering the draft.

Rank Defensive Ends (3/16)
OLBs (3/16)
1 Quinton Coples, North Carolina Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
2 Courtney Upshaw, Alabama Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
3 Nick Perry, USC Andre Branch, Clemson
4 Vinny Curry, Marshall Ronell Lewis, Oklahoma
5 Jared Crick, Nebraska Shea McClellin, Boise State

DEs and OLBs are another position that Mayock had lumped together in his previous positional rankings, and he pulls them apart this time. Notably absent from both lists: Bruce Irvin, who had turned heads at the combine and is another fan favorite as a Cowboys pick, but who may have hurt his draft stock a little with an arrest on Saturday for allegedly breaking a sign in a Jimmy Johns Sandwich Shop.

The Cowboys showed a lot of interest in J.J. Watt last year. Whether the Cowboys try to improve their pass rush via a DE or OLB remains a topic of much debate. But we do already have one hint of where they may be leaning: OLB Ronell Lewis has received an invitation for an official pre-draft visit with the Cowboys.

Overall, many of the dark horses that we had been secretly hoping would be available in the later rounds for the Cowboys are making a push for the top: Stephon Gilmore, Josh Robinson, Fletcher Cox or Shea McClellin are no longer flying under the radar – if they ever were.

Blogging The Boys

The Steelers, Under-the-Radar Yet Still Important Positional Needs, and The Draft - March 15, 2012 by indyfootballreport

Due to their need for depth and future starters at the Safety spot, Mark Barron could be on the Steelers' radars come April. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Most of “Steeler Nation” would agree that Guard, Nose Tackle, and Inside Linebacker are the positions with the most issues surrounding them entering the 2012 season.  All three positions need either upgrades and/or talented bodies to fill the vacated spots on the roster, and Pittsburgh will likely be looking at all three spots early and/or often this April in the Draft.

While the Steelers’ most glaring needs exist at Guard, Nose Tackle, and Inside Linebacker, there exist some other holes/needs for upgrades at different positions on their roster which the Front Office might consider filling and upgrading this April as well.  Thus, I would like to do a short breakdown of six other positions which the Steelers could look to target in this April’s Draft, and why Pittsburgh would consider going in those different directions.

… [visit site to read more]

The Steelers, Under-the-Radar Yet Still Important Positional Needs, and The DraftNice Pick, CowherNice Pick, Cowher – A Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Nice Pick, Cowher

Second Round Prospects Talented and Deep in 2012 NFL Draft - March 14, 2012 by indyfootballreport


The strength of this year’s draft class is in the middle rounds. This year’s class features numerous starters and potentially outstanding players likely to be taken in the second and third rounds.

There are two scenarios in which a draft can be spoken of highly due to the talent available after the first 32 picks. The first is it being a really top-heavy class, full of elite prospects. That’s partially true this year. The second, however, is the talent available after the first round is worthy of a first-round pick, but size or experience cause them to fall.

That’s a bit more fitting with this year, but each year brings with it more and more high-level talent not possessing prototypical physical stats (see: Brown, Antonio, 6th Round Steal).

Here are a few prospects I can see getting selected in the second or third rounds, and making an impact in the NFL.

1. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State - Martin is a very good RB prospect with all the tools to be a dominant back. He has good speed (4.47 was his fastest time), great power, great vision, and a violent, violent stiff arm. He has the build of Ray Rice and the vision of Maurice Jones Drew and could be one of the biggest steals in this years draft. Some mocks even have him falling into late first round consideration.

2. Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami - if Stephen Hill is the most physically gifted WR in this class, Tommy Streeter is a close second. He ran a 4.40 at the combine which is incredible because he is 6’5″ 220 pounds. He is an above average route runner, has good hands, and knows the game but for some reason his production at Miami was not very good. However, as a mid second round pick a team is getting a player with top 10 potential.

3. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers - Unlike Streeter, Sanu had a “bad combine” according to the experts. He ran a paltry 4.65 on both attempts. However, that does not really mean anything. This is a guy who caught 115 balls at Rutgers (a Big East receptions record) while being double or triple teamed on every single play and catching passes from one the worst QB in Division I football for half the year. ESPN’s Todd McShay says he can’t get open. That’s not what I see. While Sanu may never be the elite No. 1 receiver that Hill, Blackmon and Floyd might become, he should be a very good No. 2 WR and a possible landing spot for him is back with his college head coach Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay.

4. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin - Here is a Steelers prospect. Zeitler is the No. 2 rated guard in this draft and has all the tools to be dominant guard in all the phases. He is an excellent run blocker, a good pass blocker and has great strength. He is also versatile and has been working out as a center for some teams. Due to that versatility and talent, as well as the four-year body of work he has, he is a very likely pick for the Steelers if he makes it to them in the second round.

5. Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California - Kendricks is about as safe as they come in terms of Day 2 prospects. He has the game film, production and the Combine performance to make scouts and GMs comfortably believe they are getting a good player with elite upside. The one knock on Kendricks is that he is only 5-foot-10, but he should be able to make up for that with a 38-inch vertical. Kendricks is also very versatile and can play really and of the linebacker spots in a 4-3 or a 3-4 but the Buck in a 3-4.

6. Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana Lafayette - Bentley is flying up draft boards and for good reason. He has the potential and ability to be an absolute lockdown corner at the next level. While at Louisiana Lafayette, he simply dominated the weaker competition he faced. Time after time after time he lined up in one on one coverage with a WR with no safety help and stone walled them every time. He could very well end up being a first round prospect and the second cornerback taken. He has no personal baggage and it’d be a steal to get him in the second round.

Behind the Steel Curtain

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Another Offensive Tackle For The Chiefs - February 22, 2012 by indyfootballreport


A month ago, Don Banks of put out a 2012 NFL mock draft that had the Kansas City Chiefs selecting DT Devon Still. Today, Banks’ latest mock draft has the Chiefs selecting OT Jonathan Martin out of Stanford.

Here’s what he said:

The Chiefs have to upgrade at right offensive tackle, and Martin is the most obvious direction to head with both Kalil and Reiff already gone. An inside linebacker like Boston College’s Luke Kuechly or a defensive tackle like Memphis’ Dontari Poe would fill other areas of need with players who will wind up with grades in the top 15-20 range.

In this scenario, both Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff are off the board, which leaves Martin (and Mike Adams out of Ohio State) as the next best offensive tackle.

This jives with Adam Teicher’s suggestion this morning that the Chiefs should draft an offensive tackle. You’d get a right tackle for next season and some insurance for the season after that depending on how Branden Albert’s contract situation plays out.

One interesting situation that presents itself in this mock draft is Texas A&M’ QB Ryan Tannehill being available at the 11th pick. I’m not saying the Chiefs should take him but, in this scenario, the Seattle Seahawks are right behind the Chiefs. They very well could take a quarterback, which makes the Chiefs position one spot ahead of them potentially desirable for a trade down. Something to remember is that teams will trade up for a quarterback. Maybe not many other positions, but a quarterback they will.

Any strong feelings one way or the other on the Chiefs trading down?

Arrowhead Pride

Injuries and a lack of P.T. hampered the 2011 draft class of the Green Bay Packers - February 18, 2012 by indyfootballreport

With their eyes on repeating as Super Bowl Champs, the Packers didn’t have much P.T. to offer their rookies in 2011. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t find some keepers though. Here is a look at how the rookies did during the regular season in 2011:

22-year old OT Derek Sherrod was the Packers’ first round pick last April. He only played in 5 games (0 starts) for the Packers in 2011 as his season ended early due to a broken leg. Sherrod will be a starter for the Packers in the near future as long as he can stay healthy.

21-year old WR Randall Cobb was picked in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Cobb played in 15 games for the Packers this year in which he caught 25 passes for 375 yards (15.0 avg) with 1 TD grab and he also carried the ball 2 times for 5 yards (2.5 ypc). He made his biggest mark on special teams for the Packers in 2011. Cobb returned 26 punts for 195 yards (11.3 avg) with 1 TD return and he also returned 34 kickoffs for 941 yards (27.7 avg) with 1 TD return this season. Cobb has a huge upside as he will be the best player the Packers picked in this draft.

23-year old RB Alex Green was picked in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. Green only played in 4 games for the Packers last year and he carried the ball 3 times for 11 yards (3.7 ypc). He also caught 1 pass for 6 yards for the Packers this year. He missed most of last season due to knee surgery.

22-year old CB Davon House was a 4th round pick of the Packers. He played in 2 games for the Packers this year and he had 1 whole tackle.

23-year old TE D.J. Williams was a 5th round pick last April. He played in 13 games for the Packers this year and he caught 2 passes for 13 yards (6.5 avg). He also had 2 tackles for the Packers.

24-year old OG Caleb Schlauderaff was a 6th round pick last April. He played in 6 games (1 start) for the Packers this year. Schlauderaff was a nice find for the Packers so late in the draft as he will likely stick around for a while.

22-year old LB D.J. Smith was a 6th round pick of the Packers. He played in all 16 games for the Packers this year and he had 43 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 interception and 1 pass defensed. Smith could be a starter down the road for the Packers as he was another nice find for Packers’ GM Ted Thompson.

23-year old DE Ricky Elmore was a 6th round pick last April. He was cut by the Packers before the 2011 season began and he wound up with the 49ers. But, he didn’t get into any games for the Niners in 2011.

24-year old TE Ryan Taylor was a 7th round pick of the Packers last April. He played in 15 games for the Packers this year and he caught 1 pass for 4 yards and it was a TD. He also had 7 tackles this year for the Packers.

21-year old DT Lawrence Guy was a 7th round pick last April. He spent his rookie season on the Injured Reserve List due to a concussion.

GRADE FOR 2011: C-


Green Bay Packers NFL News – Packers Football Blog

NFL First Round Mock Draft 2012 - February 16, 2012 by indyfootballreport


The NFL draft may still be a couple months away, but it’s never too early to start talking predictions. This took a lot of time and I will hope all NFL fans will be able to relate to this mock draft. So without further … [visit site to read more]

NFL First Round Mock Draft 2012Lombardi AveLombardi Ave – A Green Bay Packers Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Lombardi Ave

Cowboys 2012 Draft: How Good Is Dallas At Assembling A Draft Board, Part IV: The 2010 Board - February 11, 2012 by indyfootballreport

Sean Lee has fulfilled his pre-draft promise, club and all

In the first three parts of this series, I looked at last year’s “little board,” assembled from players invited to Valley Ranch for “Dallas Day,” then zeroed in on the offensive players from that board (part II), followed by the defensive guys (Part III). In doing so, I confirmed what people with access to Valley Ranch have been saying for years: that Dallas Director of Pro Personnel Tom Ciskowski (and, before him, Jeff Ireland) do a masterful job identifying potential Cowboys and building a draft board.

Still, as I admitted at the time, those conclusions are based on a great deal of conjecture, as we cannot know exactly where each of the players was drafted; the “little board” upon which all of this is based is largely speculative. For example, did the Cowboys see DeMarco Murray as a third rounder? A second rounder? If so, how high a second rounder? In short, its difficult to ascertain how accurately the Cowboys judged 2011′s incoming talent without knowing exactly where they were slotted.

Which brings me to the famous “leaked” 2010 draft board. Immediately after that draft, you may recall, several intrepid BTBers, among them JBell523, Theebs, Cowboysaficionado, 24Hz and Requiem, managed to piece together the Dallas War Room’s big board from video that had been taken during the draft. From this information, they were able to assemble an almost complete version of the Cowboys board (hit the above link and scroll down), thus providing us with a cornucopia of highly valuable information. Most importantly, by comparing where the Cowboys slotted certain players versus where they were actually drafted, it give us some idea of how Ciskowski and his team of scouts stack up against the rest of the league as talent evaluators.

Some cool stuff after the jump…

For the purposes of this exercise, I have focused on players who Dallas seemed either to over- or underrate relative to the rest of the league. I have created two tables, one for guys who were drafted two or more rounds before the Cowboys thought they should go (according to their board) and another for those selected two or more rounds later than where Dallas slotted them. In looking at their performances after two years in the league, I’m hoping to determine whether, for example, the Cowboys under-rated certain players or some other team overrated them.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the first group, the guys drafted earlier than they appeared on Dallas’ board:

Team and Round (pick #) Position on Dallas’ Board (round, slot) Games Played/ Starts Position on Depth Chart (as of today)

PFF Grades 2010/ 2011

Total Snaps 2010/ 2011 Two year AV 2010/ 2011
Anthony Davis SF 1 (11) 3, 2 32/ 32 1 (RT) -28.1/-17.1 1011/ 1164 7/ 6
Ryan Matthews SD 1 (12) 2, 12 26/ 22 1 (RB) -1.3/ 10.5 291/ 532 6/ 13
Patrick Robinson NO 1 (32) 3, 4 26/ 11 2 (RCB) 0.2/ 1.4 289/ 833 2/ 4
Rodger Saffold STL 2 (33) 3. 17 25/ 25 1 (LT) -12.4/-14.7 1068/ 618 6/ 2
Zane Beadles DEN 2 (45) 3, 26 32/ 30 1 (RG) -8.6/ -25.7 949/ 1215 6/ 5
Javier Arenas KC 2 (50) 4, 2 31/ 3 2 (RCB) 2.2/ 3.4 516/ 381 2/ 0
Vladimir Ducasse NYJ 2 (61) 4, 3 18/ ?? 2 (RT) Also TE? 2.9/ -5.6 70/ 97 0/1
Torell Troupe BUF 2 (41) 4, 8 20/ 2 3 (LDT) -6.3/ -3.4 303/ 94 2/ 0
Linval Joseph NYG 2 (46) 4, 12 22/ 15 1 (LDT) -1.8/ 1.1 63/ 614 1/ 6
Ben Tate HOU 2 (58) 4, 18 15/ 2 2 (HB) NA/ 8.3 NA/ 333 0/ 7
T.J. Ward CLEV 2 (38) 4, 23 24/ 24 1 (SS) -0.1/ 5.6 1077/ 478 7/ 0
Jason Worilds PIT 2 (52) 4, 27 26/ 7 2 (ROLB) 2.2/ 4.5 43/ 521 2/ 5
Jared Veldheer OAK 3 (69) 6, 1 32/ 27 1 (LT) -27.2/ 5.9 916/ 1097 6/ 8
Mike Kafka PHI 4 (122) 7, 3 4/ 0 3 (QB) NA/ -0.6 NA/ 33 0/ 0

Some thoughts: Several of the players on this list haven’t seen the field much. This might mean that they are on the verge of becoming busts (like Vlad Ducasse, who couldn’t unseat the mediocre Wayne Hunter), or simply that they have been playing behind a solid veteran starter and will soon get a chance to shine (as is Patrick Robinson’s likely path). Given that so many of these guys were drafted in the “premium” rounds, however, the fact that more of them haven’t acquitted themselves better suggests that, as a collective group, the Cowboys were more right than wrong about them.

One subgroup here that seems to have logged a goodly amount of games and starts are the offensive linemen. Yet, a closer look suggests that its not necessarily because they have played well. For example, Anthony Davis, who received a third round grade from the Cowboys, immediately took over at right tackle for a good 49er offensive line. But his AV is only so-so and his PFF grades are abysmal; in fact, he received the offense’s worst grade in 2010 and was in the bottom three last season. The same could be said of Denver OG Zane Beadles and Rams and Raiders left tackles Roger Saffold and Jared Veldheer. All three were O-linemen of interest to Cowboys fans who Ciskowski and Co. seemed to have rated lower than expected. Thus far, they have all played a lot; however, the early indications are that they haven’t necessarily played well.

On the other hand, two players from this list that Dallas seems to have underrated were Oregon Safety T. J. Ward and Virginia Tech DE/ OLB Jason Worilds. They saw both players as fourth-rounders, yet both have prospered in a similar defensive scheme (both Cleveland and Pittsburgh run 3-4s; Ward played for current Cowboys DC Rob Ryan in 2010). Worilds in particular seems poised on the cusp of excellence–if only he can squeeze in more snaps with Lamar Woodley and James Harrison manning the Steelers‘ OLB positions.

Alright, now lets take a look at the players that Dallas appeared to value more highly that the rest of the league in April 2010:

Team and Round (pick #) Position on Dallas’ Board (round, slot) Games Played/ Starts Position on Depth Chart (as of today) PFF Grades 2010/ 2011 Total Snaps 2010/ 2011 Two year AV 2010/ 2011
Sean Lee DAL 2 (55) 1, 14 29/ 15 1 (RILB) 9.4/ 13.7 169/ 863 2/ 8
NaVorro Bowman SF 3 (91) 1, 20 32/ 17 1 (ILB) 3.7/ 32.2 217/ 1012 2. 19
Morgan Burnett GB 3 (71) 2, 7 20/ 20 1 (SS) -2.1/ -0.6 200/ 1166 2/ 5
Brandon Ghee CIN 3 (96) 2, 15 13/ 0 2 (LCB) -0.9/ 0.0 11/ 2 0/ 1
Joe McKnight NYJ 4 (112) 3, 6 24/ 1 3 (HB) -0.2/ 2.3 72/ 112 2/ 9
Carlton Mitchell CLEV 6 (177) 4, 9 17/ 0 3 (SE) 0.1/ -1.0 12/ 42 0/ 0
Tony Pike CAR 7 (204) 4, 22 1/ 0 waived injured in August 2011 -1.1/ NA 22/ NA 0/ NA

Some thoughts: The most obvious is that Lee and Bowman, Dallas’ two first-round, Penn St. linebackers (guys who most of us slotted in the third or fourth round–where a lot of draft gurus had them–when we heard that they were Dallas Day invitees in early April 2010), seem to have fulfilled the promise the Cowboys saw in them (and the rest of the league doesn’t seem to have). For their work on Sean Lee and NaVorro Bowman, Ciskowski and Co. get gold stars.

-The defensive backs on this list offer less shining examples: although Morgan Burnett has earned a starting safety position in Green Bay, the Packers pass defense has been suspect (on the other side of the coin, Burnett’s 2011 PFF grade was the highest in the Packers’ secondary). Brandon Ghee, the kind of size/ speed ratio DB who peaked the Cowboys’ interest in recent years (along the lines of Tracy Porter, Charles Godfrey and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah), has done little to nothing of note in Cincy.

-Nobody on this second chart received the egregiously low PFF grades that Davis, Beadles and Veldheer carry. As a result, its hard to say that the Cowboys overvalued anybody. An notable exception might be the aforementioned AOA, who was drafted about where Dallas rated him. Because of this, we cannot know what the rest of the league felt about his skill set. Given that he’s been a washout thus far, a strong argument can be made that the Cowboys overrated him.

To Ol’ Rabble, still haunted by the memory of disastrous drafts during the Larry Lacewell years, when Dallas was drafting guys like Shante Carver in the first round when they carried seventh-round grades in Green Bay (according to Ron Wolf), the fact that Dallas’ current draftmeisters seem, at the very least, to be in accord with–if not slightly ahead of–the rest of the league in terms of talent evaluation is a welcome sight. These numbers seem to agree with Valley Ranch insiders: CIskowski and his guys do an excellent job setting up the Cowboys draft board. The league appears to agree: Ciskowski was on the short list to replace Bill Polian as the Colts‘ GM.

As we know all too well, the problem in the past has been that Jerry Jones has listened too much to his head coaches (AOA was a Wade pick, after all), allowing their opinions to outweigh that of the team’s scouts. But Jason Garrett is no Wade; he comes from a scouting family and is exponentially more likely to respect Ciskowski’s board–something we got a taste of in April 2011, when Dallas stayed put and took their guys. Because of this, there is a glimmer of hope not only for April 2012, but also–and more importantly–for a steady upswing in the Cowboys’ ability to draft consistently well in coming years.

Blogging The Boys

Packers Draft 28th: A Look At Recent History - February 8, 2012 by indyfootballreport

Mark IngramThe Green Bay Packers will have the No. 28 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Here’s a look at the last five players selected at No. 28, their stats and how they panned out.

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The Dallas Cowboys did a solid job in last April’s NFL Draft - February 7, 2012 by indyfootballreport

Owner/GM Jerry Jones did a nice job in last April’s NFL Draft as they found two impact players on offense in OT Tyron Smith and RB DeMarco Murray.  They also got some nice complementary type players who could see their roles expand in the future.  Here is a look at how the rookie class did in 2011:

21-year old OT Tyron Smith came to the Cowboys in the first round last April and he was really good as a rookie.  He played in 16 games (all starts) for the Cowboys last year.  He is going to be a big part of the foundation of the Cowboys’ O-Line both now and in the future.

23-year old LB Bruce Carter didn’t get to play much as the Cowboys have a pretty solid LBing unit.  Carter played in 10 games for the Cowboys last year and he had 8 tackles and 1 pass defensed.

23-year old RB DeMarco Murray was a steal in the 3rd round for the Cowboys.  He played in 13 games for the Cowboys last year and he carried the ball 164 times for 897 yards (5.5 ypc) with 2 TD runs.  He also caught 26 passes for 183 yards (7.0 avg) and he returned 2 kickoffs for 36 yards (18.0 avg).  Murray is likely going to push Felix Jones out of his starting role in 2012.

24-year old OG David Arkin was a 4th round pick last April.  He didn’t get into any games for the Cowboys in 2011 as he was banged up most of the year.  He still could develop into a decent O-lineman if he can stay healthy.

22-year old CB Josh Thomas came to the Cowboys in the 5th round last April.  He didn’t make the cut with the Cowboys and he was picked up by the Panthers.  Thomas played in 9 games for the Panthers last year and he had 1 tackle and 1 fumble recovery.

24-year old WR Dwayne Harris was a 6th round pick for the Cowboys.  He was outstanding in the pre-season for the Cowboys but he didn’t catch any passes for them in the regular season.  Harris played in 7 games for the Cowboys last year and he returned 15 punts for 80 yards (5.3 ypc) and he also returned 8 kickoffs for 231 yards (28.9 avg).  The Cowboys cut Harris early in the season but they brought him back a few weeks later and he’s still with the team.

23-year old FB Shaun Chapas was a 7th round pick of the Cowboys.  He only played in 3 games for the Cowboys last year and he didn’t touch the ball.

24-year old OG Bill Nagy was also a 7th round pick of the Cowboys.  He won a starting job right off the bat.  He played in 4 games (all starts) for the Cowboys last year.  His season ended due to a severe ankle injury.  I look for Nagy to reclaim his starting job in 2012 if he can stay healthy.



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