Ok, ladies and germs, let's talk NFL Draft. The Cowboys are out of it [and the Texans should be soon, as well] and I've probably watched more CFB this year than ever before. The Cowboys draft at #14, so I'd like to look at some players who I think fit for them and are likely to be available there. That means, no, we can't talk about LSU's latest CB wunderkid Morris Claiburne because he's a Top 5 pick, but we can talk about...
1. Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB USCar (6'2", 272) - He's maybe a bit heavy for an OLB, but I thought he was even heavier than that and thus not a fit for the Cowboys [too heavy for OLB/too light for DE]. Still, I loved watching this guy play last year...10 sacks, 2 Int, All American DE, general badass and could take over OLB for Anthony Spencer. He's got a solid motor and excellent athletic ability and comes from a team that had plenty of SWAGGER this year.
2. David Decastro, OG Stanford (6'5", 310) - I prefer my guards and center to be shorter to allow for better vision from the QB and because it helps them get better leverage, but taller guards do offer the advantage of having longer arms that can help keep their opposing DL away from their bodies for better blocking. Decastro was also an All American in 2011 and is a good all around guard [pass blocking, run blocking] that would fill an obvious weakness. My hesitance is that this is quite high to take an interior OL, and while that is something that has changed somewhat in recent years, it still makes me a bit uncomfortable taking an OG this early. The counter to that is that when interior OL get rated this highly, they almost always turn into All Star caliber players. Still, it'd be nice to get somebody that can be a bit more of a game-changer, like...
3. Vontaaaaaaaze Burfict, ILB Arizona State (6'3", 252) - Perfect size, perfect skill set, and perfect demeanor for what I'd like the Cowboys to pursue. Burflict was rated very highly coming into the year and seems to have fallen a bit from his original perch due to concerns about playing too aggressively or letting his emotions get the best of him. While that could be a significant problem, he is a bruising inside linebacker who is capable of taking a beating from OL moving to the second level and still get up talking trash for the next play. Also, he offers (much) more than Bradie James in the range department. This is significant because the Cowboys fairly consistently get attacked by check downs and passes to the TE [at least they did before everybody figured out that Newman got old and slow so suddenly]. That Burflict also has a bit of a mean streak is perfect for the type of persona I'd like the Cowboys defense to take on. I mean, how can you not love this?
There are plenty who say that Boston College's Luke Kuechly is the best (inside) LB in the draft, but Kuechly profiles so similarly to Sean Lee [not the greatest athleticism, but a smart player who always ends up in the right spot] that I'd rather take somebody who's more complimentary.
4. Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama (6'2", 270) Upshaw is probably the guy who could help the Cowboys defense the most next year. He's got experience playing the position the Cowboys would use him at, has good size for the position, and is noted for his work ethic under a great defensive coach. My concern with all of the Alabama defenders this year is that they may be getting overrated because there were so many good (but potentially not great) talents playing together under a great defensive developer in Nick Saban. My concern specifically with Upshaw is that he may not have the long-term upside that somebody like Ingram could offer. Since the Cowboys have Spencer (for now) and don't look to be truly competing for a Superbowl next year, I'd like to see them take a chance on the long term talent.
It is nice that there appear to be so many good LB available (for now) around where the Cowboys pick. Throw in some interesting DL and secondary names that could be good targets (especially in the event of a trade down) along with Decastro and I'm feeling pretty good about the Cowboys chances of coming away with a good player next year.
So what say you?