As you can imagine, I was quite pleased with how the Cowboys made out in the 1st Round by selecting USC T Tyron Smith to be part of this franchise moving forward. Given his current ability and his amazing upside, I think we should all be rather pleased that the rebuilding of this offensive line is underway with 2 tackles who should possess the most important 2 spots on the line who could conceivably hold down their spots for a long, long time.
If you are not aware, I posted enough video of Smith to keep you busy for a while yesterday morning here on the blog. Click Here to check it out.
There were obviously 2 ways things would have gone better for the Cowboys.
1) - If they could have figured out a way to trade down and still get Tyron Smith.
I don't see anyway they could have pulled this off, but obviously, Washington was able to do a deal with Jacksonville and pick up another Top 50 pick. A few things to consider here, though. First, Washington needed to move down badly since they have no picks for over 100 slots before this trade after their pick in the 2nd round at #41. Now, they have 2 2nd's and Bruce Allen has be able to rally from the McNabb deal. Also, we must consider that it doesn't seem Washington was in love with a single player nearly as much as Dallas. I am sure we will all closely track Ryan Kerrigan's career now with this in mind, but from what I know, the Cowboys had almost no interest in him. They wanted Smith, and the only way to trade down was to sacrifice that. I thought maybe they might have been able to drop to #12 to swap with Minnesota, but now we learn that the Vikings were also trying to move down - not up. As is always the case, you need a partner. And if Jacksonville is the partner, then you have to be willing to live with what's left at #16. To the Cowboys credit, they did not think that was worth the effort.
2) - if they could have snuck back up and grabbed Cameron Jordan.
Around the 22nd pick, I started running numbers on the value chart to see if the Cowboys could get another of their main targets, California DE Cam Jordan. He was sliding and would fit another gaping hole on this roster.
Well, according to my sketchy math, the Cowboys could have flipped #40 and #71 for #24 (New Orleans) or #25 (Seattle). I assume the Cowboys were working the phones pretty hard because they had scheduled a press conference that continued to be delayed further and further. But, in the end, Sean Payton and the Saints wanted Jordan for themselves and the Cowboys went back to the drawing board. There was some speculation that Muhammad Wilkerson and Cameron Heyward were also targets and ideas for a jump up, but 3-4 teams snagged them both with Wilkerson joining the Jets and Heyward beefing up the Steelers line.
So, you rally and get ready for #40 and #71 today.
Key needs remain at DB (corner and safety), DL (DE or NT), and Guard. You could also make the case for RB, ILB, or 3rd WR.
The Cowboys have the 8th pick today, and with a run on QB's expected with Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick projected to go in the 30's, there is every reason to believe the Cowboys will be quite pleased with what falls to them at #40. However, if Aaron Williams from Texas (thought to be maybe the best corner/safety on the board) is a rare bird and you have him rated well above the others, you might want to pair #40 and say, #143, to trade up and get him.
I think we should keep an eye on DL or DB at #40 and assume that they would try to get a Guard, RB, or Safety at #71.
I do want to stress, though, that you start to slide into best player available. The contracts are reasonable and if Martez Wilson or Mason Foster are legit inside LB ideas, then you cover yourself for Bradie James in 2012, even though they would not start right away.
So, short list for #40 - as you can see, all defense for me here:
Aaron Williams, Texas
Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
Martez Wilson, Illinios
Mason Foster, Washington
Christian Ballard, Iowa
Rahim Moore, UCLA
Kenrick Ellis, Hampton
And then at #71 - you bring in some of those interior names, running backs, and assorted defensive talent:
Will Rackley, Lehigh
Steve Wisniewski, Penn State
John Moffitt, Wisconsin
Clint Boling, Georgia
DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
Shane Vareen, California
Javis Jenkins, Clemson
Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson
Remember, the idea here is to get starters. On Day 3, we start to look for developmental and conversion guys, as well as special teams aces. This team needs a starter at #40 and it would be nice to grab another at #71.
Anyone can draft at #9. Now, this is where the Cowboys need a very big day.