Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drafting Guru and Sherpa of Camp Sites

Here at the big and the brown, we love all things sports, fake or real. With that in mind we have no problem moving aside for a moment when someone of fantastic knowledge of a topic wants to put their two cents in.

I would like to introduce you to Tioga, the Sherpa of Camping, and his vast understanding of the NFL draft, which is matched only by his hatred of "writer," Micky Spagnola. If Big is a draft dork, Tioga is his supervisor at kinko's. Its a tad bit long, but its good stuff. If you ever wanted to know about what the Dallas Cowboys should/might do at the draft, read this. Any questions can be asked in the comments.

It's draft time again, actually only little more than a week away. With free agency ebbing and pro days mostly completed the draft boards are for the most part set. The 2008 draft is an unspectacular one this year as there is a lack of star power for teams needing an immediate impact; and in fact, the only thing that saves it this year is that there's some depth at most positions which could pan out in a couple of years. This lack of star power has most of the teams wanting to trade down in order to not have to overpay for average talent, and pick up extra picks in the process. The problem is that outside of only a few teams looking to pick up a certain need player, most teams wont or can't move up. All that said, the top half of this draft looks to be very fluid and dynamic, which in turn will affect what Dallas does. So lets start off with looking at what Dallas needs to come away with at some point.

A quick glance at the Cowboys roster points out that they need CB help/depth, WR depth, and a new RB; plus depth and development along the DL.

At Corner Back, outside of starters Newman and and Henry there is no depth, not to mention quality. With both being 30 and plagued by injuries last year the future and present are needed now; esp. considering all of the teams using 3 and 4 receiver sets. - a solid #1 or #2 player is needed.

No less important is the WR position this year. T.O. will be 35 and is in the last year of his contract but at least still playing at a high level for now in a blue star helmet. The same can't be said for his fellow starter, Glenn. The two were supposed to form an unstoppable duo last year, but Glenn went down with a knee injury that doesn't look promising for this year either. Crayton stepped in admirably last season but is best suited for a #3 role. - a vertical #1 or #2 receiver is needed to replace Glenn who can't be counted on.

The good news is that Barber will now be the starter; the bad news is that Jones cried all the way to Seattle and his replacement isn't on the roster. - a speedier RB to compliment Barber's physical style is desired, but one with the ability to possibly fill in should MB3's style lend to injury.

Defensive Line is a punishing physical position, esp. in a 3-4 where the constant pounding takes it's toll. (much like Big's feet or Brown's hand/schlong) Factor in that it's only Tank and Ratliff at the NT after trading Ferguson; plus at DE Spears is on his way out and Canty will be a free agent. Though not as pressing of a need, the DL is in need of some fresh talent.

So now that the obvious is outta the way, I'll go to the other obvious point; that being Dallas' draft position.
Most of you should know, but I'll start with their two first being #22 and #28. In any other draft not so bad, but this year those two numbers mean that you're paying 1st round money to 2nd round talent and the #22 pick gets uglier by the day.

In the 2nd we have the #61 pick leaving us the option of nabbing a player sliding in the round or reaching for a player rated in the top of the 3rd.

The 3rd round sees the Cowboys picking at the #92 spot; pretty much their last chance at grabbing a contributor for this year.

In the 4th it's #126, #163 in the 5th, with the first pick in the 6th at #167 for now, and finally #235 in the 7th.

And now finally with the needs and draft spot's addressed, I can finally get to the good stuff and the reason that most of you are still reading; that being the players and which ones that Dallas will get.

The first position I'll list here is CB seeing as how one of these guys will most likely being our 1st round pick. Although the position is scattered with some talent; there are question marks surrounding each prospect making each a risk/reward player at this point. The players rated to be 1st or 2nd rounders this year are highly overrated and will produce more bust than hits this year, with the players looking more like #2 or #3 talents. Another thing to take into consideration is the style of defense teams play; some are zone coverage like Tampa Bay and Indy while others run man coverage like Dallas and Baltimore. Most of the CB's this year figure to be stronger in zone due to less importance placed upon elite athleticism by the zone teams.

1st round:
1)- Leodis McKelvin 5'10 190 4.39- Troy St.- (man)
2)- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 6'1 184 4.33- Tenn. St.- (man)
3)- Mike Jenkins 5'10 197 4.44- South Florida- (man)
4)- Aqib Talib 6'0 202 4.49- Kansas- (zone)
2nd round:
5)- Patrick Lee 6'0 194 4.41- Auburn- (balanced)
6)- Brandon Flowers 5'10 189 4.57- Virginia Tech- (zone)
3rd round:
7)- Justin King 5'11 192 4.36- Penn St.- (man)
8)- Tyvon Branch 6'0 204 4.33- Connecticut- (zone)
9)- Charles Godfrey 6'0 207 4.47- Iowa- (balanced)
10)- Tracey Porter 5'11 188 4.47- Indiana- (man)
11)- Antoine Cason 6'0 191 4.54- Arizona- (zone)

The rest of the CB's from here forth either are 5'9 and nickle at best corners, or they're slow zone CB's. Therefor that leaves one of the above mentioned players being the Cowboys guy for years to come. The biggest problem with that is that several have character issues, physical limitations, and/or production concerns. McKelvin is the only solid enough to draft at #22 but he'll be gone by then. The other 2 man corners may not be available at #28, but shouldn't be drafted at #22 without some reservation. In the 3rd, there is some intrigue as to whether the man CB's King and Porter will last to the #92 pick but if either do it would be in the Cowboys' best interest to nab them if they do.

Another interest of concern is the WR position; but much like the CB's, they leave much more to be desired. Even though there are a good enough number of talented players at the position that quality can be found in the 4th and 5th rounds; the position lacks any one player featuring star qualities. Instead it's loaded with big, slow, possession type receivers as well as, quick speedy players who are short, skinny, or both. Some of the top tier players that seem to blend size with speed being a little of both exceptional at neither, have character and/or production concerns.

1st round:
1)- Limas Sweed 6'4 215 4.54- Texas- injury prone and lacks production
2)- Devin Thomas 6'2 216 4.42- Mich. St.- speed guy but 1 year wonder?
3)- Malcolm Kelly 6'4 224 6.6- Oklahoma- slow and immature
1st/2nd rounders:
4)- James Hardy 6'5 217 4.54- Indiana- size w/ speed, but immature
5)- Mario Manningham 6'0 181 4.56- Michigan- gamer but ? on character
6)- DeShaun Jackson 5'10 169 4.39- Cal- fast but tiny w/ ? on character
7)- Early Doucet 6'0 209 4.56- LSU- still hasn't become what he's billed
2nd/3rd rounders:
8)- Andre Caldwell 6'0 204 4.39- Florida- athletic gamer, underrated
9)- Donnie Avery 5'11 192 4.46- Houston- speedy but raw still

The rest of the WR class looks like #3 guys which we already have in Crayton. Therefor one of the above mentioned guys should be drafted early on and hopefully won't require the 3 years it seems to take for the position to develop. The first three listed probably won't last 'til the #28 pick, yet each has concerns regarding picking them at #22. The next four would be a reach picking them at #28, but don't figure to be available at #61. And the last 2 should be around at #61 but not at #92.

And that leads us into the RB position. With an established starter a complimentary guy will be targeted with a focus on speed. The good news in this draft is that it's loaded with RB talent so good value can be found later than normal at the position.

1st rounder:
1)- Felix Jones 5'10 207 4.51- Arkansas- speed guy but 1st on backup?
2nd/3rd rounder:
2)- Jamal Charles 5'11 200 4.41- Texas- speedy and productive
3)- Chris Johnson 5'11 197 4.29- E. Car.- fast but small
3rd/5th rounder:
4)- Steve Slaton 5'9 197 4.49- W. Vir.- productive but small w/ ? character

It's been trendy on most mocks for the cowboys to take Jones due to the Arkansas connection but to waste a high pick on a guy who'll only get 10-15 snaps a game is a luxury. I think the cowboys could find a similar player late in the 2nd in Charles and to a lesser extent Johnson who rate as early 3rd type players but would be mid 2nds in most RB classes.

And now last but not least, the Defensive Line. It's not a glaring need but is one that's been ignored for some time now.

3rd/4th rounders:
1)- Pat Sims 6'2 310 5.14- Auburn- NT
2)- Ahtyba Rubin 6'3 315 5.27- Iowa St.- NT
4th/5th rounders:
3)- Red Bryant 6'4 318 5.07- Texas A&M- NT
4)- Frank Okam 6'4 347 5.36- Texas- NT
5)- Kenny Iwebema 6'4 274 4.91- Iowa- DE
6)- Kendall Langford 6'5 287 4.99- Hampton- DE

Outside of the above mentioned six players there are 19 other DL prospects that could be had later and developed. There is no guarantee that the above players will be available at #126 but if one is it would do well to nab him; especially since the DT class this year is poor after the top 2. Even though the DE class is strong this year, with more teams going the way of the 3-4, it will be harder to find quality "5" technique players.

Alright, now that the players have been listed, it's time to do my Dallas 5 round mock draft. I can guarantee that at least 2 if not 4 of the above mentioned players will be wearing the blue star next year I'm about to go out on a limb and predict the 5 that I think will; here goes.

1st round, pick #22- CB Mike Jenkins- poor character concerns and poor agility and change of direction drill #'s at the combine scared off enough teams hungry for CB help, dropping him to here. Jerry rolls the dice on a player that at the end of last season was the top rated CB.

1st round, pick #28- (trade down with a team looking to move up and grab the #2 QB, Atlanta for example whom has 3 2nd rounders and 2 3rds) - If not then WR Malcolm Kelly who's pedestrian 40 followed up with his temper tamper blame pointing show afterwards persuade teams to look past him in the 1st; not Dallas though. Not exactly a good fit, Jones thinks he's a great talent.

2nd round, pick ?- (if the above trade happens then look for either a WR like Manningham, Caldwell, or Doucet here; all of whom are a better fit for the "Z" position vacated by Glenn, or a CB like Lee or King to help hedge the Jenkins and Pacman picks.- an interesting side note is that Atlanta can offer 2 of their 3 2nds and Dallas can wind up with both of these positions with those picks.

2nd round, pick #61- RB Jamal Charles. The perfect lightning to Barber's thunder, who would also be able to carry an expanded role for a short time should Barber get dinged.

3rd round, pick #92- CB Charles Godfrey. Barring the trade changing this picks' need, Dallas should draft another CB here to hedge their earlier pick whom has a boom or bust grade. Godfrey is raw but has speed and athleticism, as well as experience at Safety, which could come in handy should Dallas hit on the other CB.

4th round, pick #126- NT Frank Okam. All the other mid round grade NT's are off the board except for Okam who falls to the end of the 4th due to his questioned work ethic coming out of the UT country club. But alas, money and a dickhead coach can light a fire under most fat asses. He has the potential to be a monster on the nose.

5th round, pick #163- DE Kendall Langford. Playing at tiny Hampton plus his lack of development at this point push Langford into the 5th. Dallas is intrigued by his natural size and strength that is needed to battle OT's in a 3-4 defense. 2 or maybe 3 years from now this guy will show up outta nowhere and start for the next 6 years for cheap on the end.

Well, hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading this far. One side note here too; if you're reading this Micky Spagnola, go fuck yourself!



gerry dorsey said...

longest. post. ever.

Anonymous said...

I bet John Holmes would say otherwise.