Thursday, April 03, 2014

2014 Cowboys Weekly Draft Notebook - Episode 11 - Big Board #1

This week, we shall organize the first several positions that we have examined before we do a few more spots into an overall view of rankings.  I am asked about an overall ranking quite a bit, and although I kind of believe this may offer more confusion that it will fix, I am still willing to give it a shot.

But, I must establish some criteria here and I think this will be important.  My goal is to put a board together that is ranked and written from a "hypothetical Dallas Cowboys perspective".  Therefore, players will be credited for being players of interest for the Cowboys and debited for not being fits.  However, this is based almost completely on my feelings and homework about the players - not the Cowboys scouts or personnel department.  I am not reporting sources telling me who they like.  Rather, I am placing my work against what I believe the Cowboys need.

Also, I understand that I am not going to agree with a lot of people's work.  I also am trying to avoid other people's work.  If the point of all of this was to have agreement in our evaluations, then there would be no reason to do the work yourself.  If you want to rate each player separately, then you must aim to avoid bias and influence from elsewhere.  This list is mostly my eyeballs and reading, although I will confess that I have talked about these prospects with others (mostly those who scout for a living).  It is also important to note that I am not examining players medically, nor doing extensive background checks.  This is 100% football evaluation from watching them play.  No rumors, hearsay, or various off field indiscretions based.

That established, I have looked at the 7 most likely position groups for the Top 2 picks for Dallas (In no particular order): QB, T, G, DE, DT, LB, S and have ranked the top 40 prospects accordingly below.  At some point, we will inject WR, CB, and perhaps RB and TE into this list, but I see all of those as lower priorities for this particular exercise.  I picked 40 because we are discussing the Top 2 Cowboys picks (#16 and #47) and when we add all of the positions, this will grow to way beyond a Top 50 and the draft-able net will be cast.

Because of the size of the list (this one will have 40 players on it) we are not expecting to be spot on by any stretch, but hypothetically, if we are close, you might be able to cross off the names of who goes before the Cowboys pick and then see the next 5 ranked players to see who they are picking from.  I attempted to rank them in a way where a guy at #8 is more appealing to a guy at #10 and so on, but it is difficult to define as clearly as I would like.

This is a work in progress for sure, but here is my first "big board" for the players I have really studied.

Rank # Player Notes
#1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE, S Carolina Best talent in the entire draft.
#2 Jake Matthews, T, Texas AM Best tackle in pass protection.
#3 Blake Bortles, QB, Cen Florida Safer QB pick than Manziel.
#4 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas AM
#5 Greg Robinson, T, Auburn
#6 Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
#7 Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan On Tape, fantastic.  Off Field concerns.
#8 Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh Dynamic shorter talent, Melton signing?
#9 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
#10 Xavier Sua Filo, G, UCLA
#11 CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama Medical concerns noted.
#12 Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville Best CF Prospect in Draft
#13 Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
#14 Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida St
#15 Zach Martin, T, Notre Dame
#16 Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA Downgraded, scheme fit issues.  Needs 3-4.
#17 LaMarcus Joyner, S, Florida St Spectacular, but so small.
#18 Dee Ford, DE, Auburn Downgraded, scheme fit issues.
#19 HaHa Clinton Dix, S, Alabama Only 3rd Best FS for me.
#20 Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State I like him way more than most
#21 David Fales, QB, San Jose State My 3rd/4th favorite QB
#22 Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame Not ideal scheme fit for 4-3.
#23 David Yankey, G, Stanford I like him way more than most
#24 Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State I realize I don't like him as much as most.
#25 Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU I like him way more than most
#26 Billy Turner, T, ND State I like him way more than most
#27 Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
#28 Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State The last of the 2nd tier QBs for me.
#29 Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi St
#30 Morgan Moses, T, Virginia
#31 Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Ga Tech
#32 Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
#33 Jimmie Ward, FS, Northern Illinois
#34 Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU Not ideal scheme fit, but might work.
#35 Rashede Hageman, DT, Minnesota Clearly, I don't like him as much as most.
#36 Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
#37 Dakota Dozier, G, Furman
#38 Cyrus Kouandijo, T, Alabama I really don't care for him too much.
#39 Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas Not ideal scheme fit, but at right price...
#40 Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State Too small for me.  Very fast.

Remember, this whole list is only from 7 position groups so far.  #40 on this list might really mean #75 on the final list.  That is important to keep in mind.  I don't give out "Round Grades" because that is all relative to knowing every player in the draft and spending more time on it than I can.  I am trying to rate the best 80-100 players in order, relative to each other - not construct some mock draft.

Keep in mind, we want scheme fits, but there comes a point where a player is too talented to pass on and therefore, you make it work.  For instance, say a guy is a top 5 pick, but you aren't sure he is ideal for what you run.  If he falls to #16, you might then say that we are getting a $5 player for $2, and therefore, the sale is too good to pass up when the bin only has $2 and $3 players left.  Therefore, we want the best possible player and the $5 value is our guy.  Complicated and contradictory, but that is where my belief system is on this issue.

Anyway, this is my exercise for this week, and I hope you read the old profiles below to see how I came to these feelings about each player and to see who I have profiled but did not make my list (there are plenty).

Also, please comment below or on email at or on Twitter @sportssturm to take issue with anything you don't like above.  I know for some of you that will take a while to get through your list of issues.

Below, is the list of the Cowboys picks for the 2014 NFL Draft:

Rd 1#16
Rd 2#47
Rd 3#78
Rd 4#119
Rd 5#158
Rd 7#229From Chi
Rd 7#231
Rd 7#238From KC
Rd 7#248compensatory
Rd 7#251compensatory
Rd 7#254compensatory

No comments: