Monday, April 08, 2013
The following is the 1st in a series of draft profiles for the 1st round pick for the Dallas Cowboys. These profiles are put together with the specific needs of the Cowboys in mind, and is an attempt to examine their resumes and game tape to get an idea of who might fit in best with Dallas come draft day. Surely, circumstances will dictate what actually happens on that day, but we will profile the 8-10 most likely candidates and try to kick the tires on each and every scenario an how it relates to the Cowboys in 2013 and beyond.
40 time: 5.53, Bench Press: Did Not Lift
September 14, 1991 (21)
It isn't often that the NFL drafts an interior offensive lineman in the Top 20 picks of the 1st Round. In fact, as it goes, this almost violates a certain truth about the NFL on how you just don't do that in this league. It is considered wasteful to draft premium players at "non-premium" positions in most cases.
But, if you have watched the Cowboys play over the last several years, you know that there is one thing that has just not been fixed at Valley Ranch in a long, long time. Perhaps, you could go all the way back to when Emmitt Smith ran behind a massive and dominating offensive line. They just haven't bullied their opponent at the point of attack in forever. Sure, they have had decent offensive lines - 2007 comes quickly to mind - but, never have they just absolutely crushed the will of the opponent.
And that is why Chance Warmack has been the #1 dream in all of my draft scenarios since we started looking at these players in September. Warmack played in 5 games as a freshman at Alabama and then started every game since including 13 more games as a senior. He has played against every possible opponent in every possible situation since he has taken his spot at Left Guard for the Crimson Tide. And he has dominated the man (or men) across from him ever since.
His strengths are numerous. In the running game, he is a flat-out mauler who absolutely crushes the targets across the line of scrimmage. He bulldozes, something that is rarely done at high levels, and even though the opponent knows is coming, that doesn't change the outcome. He also dispatches the defensive tackle and gets to the linebacker on inside plays with great success. Just ask Manti Te'o about that particular talent.
On pass protection, he puts on a clinic that reminds us of Carl Nicks. Nicks, the free agent from 2012 who went from New Orleans to Tampa Bay was the apple of our eye last year because in pass protection the opponent often would hardly even try because they would be so demoralized at what was between him and the QB. There are countless examples of how the Alabama offensive line drops back into a pocket, except for Warmack who still has his man locked down right where the play started at the line of scrimmage. It is a sight to behold.
He does have some weaknesses, just not many. For instance, on occasion, you can beat him to the inside gap at the snap as his initial burst might not be elite. But, I did not see this enough to be alarmed - just that it is possible to anticipate the snap count and get inside.
The other item that might cause some concern is his play out on the flanks. Many teams like running screen plays that put their guards out into space. This is where Cooper from North Carolina does have a rather decided edge on Warmack. As stated earlier, Warmack can get down field, but his best work is done inside against linebackers in tight quarters. On the flanks, with huge swaths of open space, he is not doing his best work trying to get to 180 pounders who play corner. They can squirm around the giant man with their quickness and occasionally lure him into a holding penalty or avoid him altogether.
That isn't to say he is awful at that skill, but there is a player who might be better at that "pulling to the outside" talent. At the same time, he is 21 years old and perhaps coaching can help him be more controlled in space - but he is always going to look out of place if you ask him to block cornerbacks in the open field.
He proudly displays his bare belly and his rotund mid-section with a jersey that might fit someone half his size. This obviously asks the question about his physical conditioning and whether that will age well (Nate Newton). We will have to keep an eye on that, but from a strength department, nobody has ever not needed to bench press at the combine more than Warmack. He can simply tell people to pop in his game tape to see that he is the strongest man on the field at all times, even those numerous occasions where he is playing head to head with 1st round caliber defensive tackles at LSU, Georgia, and Florida.
The other question one might ask about him is how to evaluate a player who is on an offensive line which has so much talent from tackle to tackle. But, there is plenty of tape where you can lock in on #65 and his bare belly to see what he is accomplishing and see that they almost never offer him any assistance in these scenarios.
He is a beast.
Here are some youtube cut-ups for your own personal eye-ball test. Lock in on the left guard who wears #65 and watch his work which speaks for itself:
Vs Notre Dame
The Case For Dallas Taking Chance Warmack at #18: There is a real need for dominating strength and talent on this offensive line. They were so over-matched physically in 2011 and 2012 that they pretty much stopped trying to run the ball from traditional running formations. They couldn't run the ball from under center in situations that declared to the defense that they were running and you cannot stop it. Meanwhile, Alabama has done that for years. You know what is coming - and our brutes up front will make sure you cannot stop it anyway. So reminiscent of the 1990's Cowboys running game, but foreign to the Jason Garrett attacks. Warmack would instantly change how we look at this offensive line and maybe the entire offense. He can only play guard, but the Cowboys have Phil Costa who does not list strength as a strength, and being next to Warmack would help him not to be a target for defenses.
The Case Against Dallas Taking Chance Warmack at #18: There is no case to be made against it in the event that Warmack makes it to #18. His stock (if you believe pre-draft chatter and mock drafts and the like) has been as high as the highest picks at times and now he has at least a slight chance to make it down this far. There is no reasonable case against taking him and as much as I would cringe, if they wanted to move up a few spots once he gets to #14 or #15, this might be the rare time in which it would be worth it.
If there was one player the Cowboys could pull from this draft and dance in their war-room, to me it would be Chance Warmack.
Please don't expect glowing reviews on all of these prospects like this, but I have seldom seen a glove that fits the Cowboys' hand to perfection like this would.