On Sunday, I wrote about the quandry at #27 for the Cowboys. Their biggest needs will not likely be there when they pick. The best tackles and safeties will fall into 2 categories:
Tackles/OL: Okung, Williams, Bulaga, Davis, Iupati, Pouncey
Safeties: Eric Berry, Earl Thomas
Not Worthy of 1st Round Money:
Tackles/OL: Campbell, Brown, Saffold, Ducasse
Safeties: Taylor Mays, Nate Allen, Morgan Burnett
It seems that this isn't stopping the mocks from assigning the Cowboys the highest available at those 2 spots (and the pipe dreams of Bulaga or Earl Thomas still be there):
The DMN did a nice mock compilation to show what many of the national scribes are saying about #27 :
Chad Reuter (CBS Sports) -- OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland -- The Cowboys find a tackle of the future in Combine freak Campbell, who could play either side of the line.
Rob Rang (CBS Sports) -- OT Rodger Saffold, Indiana -- The Cowboys haven't spent a first-round pick on the offensive line since 1989. This might be the time -- valued backups Montrae Holland and Cory Procter potentially enter free agency after this season and Flozell Adams has been a bit of a turnstile at left tackle. Saffold can start inside as a rookie and eventually replace Adams.
Don Banks (Sports Illustrated) -- OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers -- Davis has slipped due to character issues that have surfaced in the scouting season, but since when has Dallas been wary of taking a chance on a player with a red flag or two? The Cowboys need to find a replacement for the aging Flozell Adams at some point early in this draft.
Mel Kiper (ESPN) -- S Earl Thomas, Texas -- At the combine, Thomas answered questions I had raised about his size. Although the Boys could use a tackle, if a top one isn't available here, the Texas product is a great fit for the Cowboys as a playmaker with cover skills at the safety position.
Todd McShay (Scouts Inc./ESPN) -- OT Charles Brown, USC -- Brown is a bit of a reach here, but his size and athletic ability give him the potential to develop into starting left tackle. With Flozell Adams on the downside of his career, Brown gives the Cowboys an insurance policy at the position.
KFFL.com: OT Charles Brown, USC -- Need a replacement for Flozell Adams; could groom Brown for a year.
Doug Farrar (Yahoo! Sports) -- OT Rodger Saffold, Indiana -- An underrated player who could help Dallas' obvious need for edge protection, Saffold stood out at the East-West Shrine Game, but didn't make the Senior Bowl list. No matter - at the combine, he put up the best times at his position in the vertical jump, the broad jump, three-cone drill and short shuttle. Saffold is another player whose stock could rise over the next month.
Bucky Brooks (NFL.com) -- OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa -- Flozell Adams' declining skills make it necessary for Jerry Jones to find a replacement at left tackle.
National Football Post (via FoxSports) -- S Taylor Mays, USC -- It doesn't matter what Mays has done up to this point; the size/speed ratio he displayed at the combine will get him drafted in round one.
The Football Expert -- OT Charles Brown, USC -- Left tackle Flozell Adams is near a great career at 34 years old, while Marc Colombo isn't much younger at 31 years old. With a run at tackle, the Cowboys take Brown, hoping to groom him into their left tackle of the future. Wide receiver Golden Tate is tempting, but I still think Jerry Jones has some faith in Roy Williams; just some faith.
So, today, I wanted to give you some names that play neither OL or S and might be the choice at #27. These guys are on the "visited the ranch" list and are generating a bit of buzz below the surface. Keep in mind, the Cowboys also have picks #59 and #90 in the first 100 picks, so you don't have to get everything at #27.
Also, I am leaving guys like WR Dez Bryant, DE Jared Odrick, and CB Kyle Wilson off this list. If they are there, the Cowboys want them. I just don't see them being there.
I know we say it every year, but follow your board. You have no idea what is around the next corner, so get good football players and don't reach higher than you should. These picks are gold. You control their rights for many years. You can always fill a gap with the Keith Brooking-types, but for long term anchors, you have to get them on draft day.
So, Picks at #27 that should not shock you:
Devin McCourty - CB - Rutgers
Tyson Alualu - DE - California
Arrelious Benn - WR - Illinois
Navarro Bowman - LB - Penn State
One other player to visit about is Nate Allen, South Florida. He is a safety that seems to have his act together and plenty of ability. He has a 2nd round grade, but if you want him - the Cowboys must grab him at #27. I have been told that is "too high", but if you want your safety, there he is. I have no idea why youtube has nothing since 2007.
Here is the full list (thanks to my main man, Todd Archer) of visitors to Valley Ranch this spring:
LSU safety Chad Jones
South Florida safety Nate Allen
Florida center Maurkice Pouncey
Ole Miss offensive lineman John Jerry
Missouri State tight end Clay Harbor.
Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn
UMass offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse
Indiana (Pa.) Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
Cal DE Tyson Alualu
Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant,
Penn State linebacker Sean Lee
Penn State linebacker Navarro Bowman
LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell
Kentucky fullback John Conner
Idaho guard Mike Iupati
Penn State defensive end Jared Odrick
Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee
Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett
Ohio wide receiver Taylor Price
USC safety Taylor Mays
Maryland OT Bruce Campbell
Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty
Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel
Dallas Day guys I know about
SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders, SMU RB Shawnbrey McNeal, SMU LB Chase Kennemer, SMU DB Bryan McCann, Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe (Cedar Hill), UCLA linebackers Kyle and Korey Bosworth (Plano West), Texas A&M safety Jordan Pugh (Plano West), Baylor center J.D. Walton (Allen), Oklahoma cornerback Brian Jackson (DeSoto), Oklahoma defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger (Kimball), Oklahoma Adron Tennell (Irving), Arizona safety Corey Hall (DeSoto), Iowa State center/guard Reggie Stephens (Rowlett), TCU OT Nic Richmond, TCU CB Rafael Priest, TCU LS Clint Gresham, TCU DE Jerry Hughes visited but didn’t work out, Miami Ohio QB Daniel Raudabaugh (Coppell), Texas OT Adam Ulatoski (Southlake Caroll)