Mock Draft Roundup 2.18.13

Mock drafts are being updated and reworked frequently, from a number of experts and wannabe’s. Avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, and look here to see what people are predicting the Cowboys to do.

Note: This is simply what writers are saying Dallas will do, I’m leaving my prediction and opinions of what they should do for a later date.¬†

Mel Kiper’s 2.0 mock draft¬†has Dallas taking Chance Warmack, Guard from Alabama. Kiper says,

Make no mistake, he’s a stud, a dominant guard who makes your offensive line better the second he signs his contract…Dallas could certainly use an upgrade at guard, and I don’t think the Cowboys can pass up Warmack at this spot on the board if he’s available.

For the record, Warmack gets a Scouts Inc. grade of 95 (possibly a few percentage points better than Mackenzie Bernadeau), with his best overall trait being his lack of injury–hasn’t missed a start in 2 full seasons. He grades out as “exceptional” in run blocking, awareness, and toughness.

Regarding his run blocking, Scouts Inc says

Consistently does a good job with his first step to get quality initial positioning. Has a strong lower body and a powerful upper body. Can jar defender initially but also has the leg drive and tenacity to sustain and generate a surge. Tough, thick and smart run blocker. Impressive initial quickness and mobility when getting out on pulls. Takes solid angles. Good balance in space. Consistently shows ability to hit moving target on second level.

Think DeMarco Murray could make use of that?

His weakness? Pass Protection. Only graded as “above average”. For comparison, ESPN was unable to publish the adjectives used by Scouts to describe the Cowboys’ guards last season (ESPN is owned by Disney, after all), so he would still be an instant and major upgrade.

Todd McShay, Kiper’s nemesis has a different prediction. Instead of upgrading the interior of the offensive line, McShay thinks that Dallas will use their Thursday night pick to upgrade the inside of the defensive line. Specifically, grabbing Sheldon Richardson who played DT at Missouri.

McShay explains

Richardson fills a top need and is a perfect fit as 3-technique in the 4-3 scheme of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. He lacks ideal size and strength, but Richardson has elite first-step quickness, change-of-direction skills and range to penetrate and disrupt plays.

I’m not sure how I would handle “elite” being used in the same sentence as a Dallas defensive lineman, but I could probably get used to it.

On paper, Richardson is not as amazing of a talent as Warmack. Lots of average and below average being thrown around in his evaluation by Scouts Inc. (so this sounds like a prototypical Jerry Jones draft pick). The high point is his quickness:

Quick first step, and then second and third steps are even quicker. Consistently penetrates when working as a one-gap defender. Has very good range when slanting and twisting. Consistently wins the get-off battle. Shows ability to change directions quickly. Still learning how to use hands but shows above average hand quickness.

You can’t go wrong with quickness on the defensive line, but I’m not sure if he would be a major upgrade for teams that have existing talent at that position.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network’s scout (that I can stand) has yet another prediction. Jeremiah believes that the Cowboys will take Ezekiel Ansah, DE from BYU. Specifically saying

Ansah had a poor week of practice at the Senior Bowl, but he made up for it with a dominant performance in the game. He is still incredibly raw, but he has the tools to develop into a double-digit sack artist at the next level.

NFL Network compares Ansah to Justin Tuck, but I think we can all agree that Dallas doesn’t need any more projects at a position lacking in depth.

I haven’t seen any historical correct Mock Draft prediction percentages, they’re obviously only guesses. But from these mocks, I think we should all hope that Kiper or McShay have the best guesses.

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Washington Nightmares

Calvin Watkins over at ESPN Dallas has a post up asking if the Cowboys are losing the NFC East arms race. While I don’t really agree with bringing in 1970s political strategies to the NFL, his point is accurate. The Redskins had been the bottom of the division for a while. Now they are stocked with talent at many key positions, while the Cowboys have not improved (and might have even gotten worse).

After watching the Week 17 matchup, I had a lot of difficulty sleeping for a few nights. Every time I closed my eyes I saw DeMarcus Ware whiffing on a less-than-100% RG3. RG3 completing a beautiful deep ball against our high paid secondary. I sometimes have trouble turning my mind off after losses, but this wasn’t just negativity from one loss. I felt that I was seeing what the next five years of Redskins games would be like, and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve since encountered one of the best sleeping aides on the market, perspective. It may seem like it now, but all is not lost.

Griffin took the league by storm this year from his Week 1 thumping of the Saints through the Week 17 demolition of the Cowboys. Everyone was impressed: media, fans, and players alike. Many saw his style and talent as an inevitable changing of the guard. One that Dallas would need a quantum leap of talent in order to keep up over the better part of the next decade.

Ron Jaworski, one of ESPN’s quarterback gurus writes:

“He has shown exceptional intelligence early in his career. He quickly deciphers the code that is the opposing defense and rarely seems confused by the different coverages he sees on the field. [Mobility] Is one of the reasons why [he is the starter]…it was believed that he could make plays with his legs. He’s done that and more as he holds steady in the pocket and does a fine job of sliding to avoid pressure. He is very calm, and has taken a relaxed approach to leading this team. He realizes that he’s a young guy put in a position of extreme importance and he’s embraced it without chafing the veteran leadership on the team…It’s evident that he can make every throw. He hasn’t underthrown the deep routes yet, and consistently puts the ball in position for his receiver to rack up yards after the catch…It is vitally important that a quarterback sees the field quickly and decisively. by the time the back foot hits the ground on the last step [of his drop], a quarterback has to be ready to fire the ball and [he] consistently is ready.”

ESPN’s own Stats and Information department chimes in with:

“Only eight NFL quarterbacks have completion percentages of at least 50 percent on passes that travel farther than 20 yards in the air…Worried about how [he] performs against the blitz because he’s a rookie? Only six NFL quarterbacks have attempted 25 or more passes when a defensive back is blitzing…[He] owns both the highest completion rate (68%) [in that situation] and the highest NFL passer rating (137.5) as well. When [they] are going to run the ball inside their opponent’s 10 yard line, they turn to [him more than anyone else].”

How does that make you feel, that football people that are impartial and analyze players for a living have identified this type of legendary talent residing in our division for the foreseeable future? At first glance, it doesn’t look good. But here’s what I left out.

The ESPN Stats & Info quote is about Cam Newton from 2011. Newton took the league by storm when he put the Panthers on his back, throwing and running like he had never left Auburn University. No longer do you want to have the Panthers on your schedule, you thought. They’re no one’s Homecoming opponent any more, people said. After seeing more tape on Newton, are you that terrified by him? Is anyone still guaranteeing multiple Super Bowls for the former number one overall pick? My sense is that everyone is realizing that his pendulum has swung back to center, and while he will most likely end up a good player I’m not sure he’s the legendary player many wrote about.

“Yeah,” you say “people might have whiffed on Cam. But more often than not, talent like that rises to the top. Like cream during¬†homogenization. Eventually guys that talented win rings. It’s only a matter of time.” Maybe so. However, clicking on the link to Jaws’s assessment, you’ll find that he was not extolling the praises of Griffin III.

No, the talented quarterback he’s referring to is none other than Tony Romo.

Let that sink in.

Tony Freaking Romo.

Jaworski’s quote is from an analysis he did of Romo during the 2006 season. Recall, Romo coming in for Bledsoe versus the Giants and then excelling in his next few starts. Although they didn’t draft him, Dallas had finally found the quarterback of the future, the one that would finally put them back where they belonged. Well, we were half right.

My point is, the story hasn’t been completely written on RG3 (knee injury and rehab aside). He sat the league down, and explained that he’s better than anything they could throw at him. He’s the Flash and Johnny Unitas all in one package. But he’s not the first quarterback to take over our imagination (or nightmares) this way, and he won’t be the last. He could easily destroy the new 4-3 Dallas defense until 2025, and win multiple Lombardi trophies in the midst of it. Or he could be Cam Newton, trying to figure out exactly how to make the same plays against defenses that are more prepared for him. And that’s not taking into account the franchise’s lack of draft picks over the next few years. Even better for us, he could become Tony Romo, a quarterback that most of the team’s fans want to run out of town and blame the last four season’s failures on.

Either way, one season isn’t worth losing sleep over.