Draft talk is in full swing and heating up as each day passes by. I wanted to get some opinions from a fellow Cowboys blogger about the Cowboys draft, so I set up a Q & A with Blogging The Boys very own, Dave Halprin. Dave’s work at BTB is one of the best out there, so it was great to get with him to set this up for all the Cowboys fans out there. So, here we go:
Joe: Lets get right to it, we’ve all seen the some mock drafts penciling in Prince Amukamara; I’m just not sold on us taking a DB if we stay at #9, unless its Patrick Peterson, but he looks to be going early. If we stayed at #9, who should the Cowboys pull the trigger on?
Dave: I’m with you on this. I guess I’d be OK with Amukamara but I really don’t like our position in this particular draft. Patrick Peterson and Von Miller are two guys I covet, but they’ll be gone by #9. I’m warming more to the idea of Tyron Smith, but am still unsure about him at that spot. Ideally, they trade down into the middle of the round.
Joe: What do you feel are the chances the Cowboys don’t pick at 9? As in, do you think there is a real possibility they move down to look at lineman or even up for a shot at Peterson? (user submitted)
Dave: I doubt they move up. Especially with the uncertainty of free agency, teams should stockpile picks by trading down in my opinion. You’ll likely have more holes to fill without a true free-agent crop this year. As referenced above, I’m all for moving down. There’s a group of tackles after Smith that should go somewhere in the middle of the first round. I think the Cowboys will seriously pursue this strategy, but if teams are holding on to their picks or looking to acquire more, everybody will be thinking of trading down. It might be tough to find a dance partner this year.
Joe: To me, this draft screams offensive lineman with our first pick, do you see us more likely to draft an O-lineman, and if so, who should we consider?
Dave: Tyron Smith is the guy at tackle if you’re going to go with one at #9. After that, I like Gabe Carimi and Anthony Castanzo.
Joe: Is Tyron Smith a real possibility at #9 spot? or way too high specially with the talent that could be available? (user submitted)
Dave: I think he’s a real possibility. A lot of people’s opinions that I respect think he has a chance to be a real talent in the NFL. At this point he’s the #1 tackle on the board, and getting the best tackle at #9 is really not a bad thing unless it’s a truly weak crop. And I don’t think this year’s crop is weak at all. But, I think with some other talent at the position available later in the round, the trade down strategy is solid. Still, I wouldn’t be disappointed if they grabbed Smith at #9.
Joe: We know Tyron Smith had some meniscus surgery, how much of a red flag if any should this be, would this be another Jacob Rogers situation?
Dave: I really hate speculating on this kind of subject, I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough in the medical area. On questions like this, I would say that you have to trust that the Cowboys medical people have done all the due diligence, and know what they’re getting. Sometimes it’s just impossible to know if a player is going to fall into the injury-prone category.
Joe: Sticking with offensive line, RT probably leads the way needing an upgrade, but how do you feel about the durability of Kosier at LG, who else needs to be upgraded in your estimation?
Dave: Kosier is a guy who we complain about, but when he’s not in there we sure do miss him. Maybe that speaks more to the Cowboys inability to develop any depth along the o-line, especially in the interior. I think Kosier is a serviceable player, but the Cowboys also need to be thinking of the future along the interior. Kosier’s spot is probably next inline for an upgrade after Colombo. I think Gurode and Davis will be at their spots for a while longer. Although Davis really needs a bounce-back season.
Joe: Garrett spoke of getting back to the “Cowboy Way,” do you see this also including the types of players we draft, like high character players, players with swagger and leadership, will we see these types of players being drafted with Garrett at the helm? Do any names stick out to you that could fit this mold?
Dave: To me, the Cowboy Way that Garret spoke of is basically about guys who are willing to put in whatever it takes to be champions. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high character (witness the 90s Cowboys), or leadership, in fact, it’s different for each player. But at its core it’s about knowing what you have to improve on to be the best, and having the willingness to get it done. That could be studying the playbook, or working on your conditioning, or becoming a better practice player. Whatever it is that is deficient in your game, you need to overcome it to be a champion. Garrett wants guys who are willing to do that.
Joe: How much did the suspension of free agent movement impact what Dallas will do in the draft? (user submitted)
Dave: I think it will affect us a great deal, but probably not that much out-of-line with what’s going on with a bunch of teams. Most teams enter the draft with more holes to fill because of the lack of true free agency. We could use more draft picks because no one knows when the free agents will be able to sign, or even who exactly is a free agent. With all that uncertainty, getting more draft picks would be the ideal to me.
Joe: Will we see another Dez Bryant type pick, in where we draft a player where it would seem we are stacked at? Last year we seemed good at WR with all the names on the roster, but we traded up and took Bryant (thankfully) Moving to 2011, do you see the Cowboys trading down and drafting Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama? We seem good at RB, but do you see a scenario where he’s the pick?
Dave: Something could definitely happen like the Dez Bryant pick, player’s seem to fall every year for unknown reasons. But I don’t see the scenario with Mark Ingram. Not because we seem to be okay at the position, but because RBs seem to be a commodity in today’s NFL. You can find them almost anywhere at anytime. I don’t think you make a special play for them, and if you have guys on the roster, you probably wait until much later. Of course, if a back like Ingram somehow fell to you after the first round, you’d have to consider it.
Joe: Thoughts on Von Miller? Seems like a boom or bust player, should we draft Miller to bookend Ware if he’s available at #9?
Dave: I’m a Miller fan. If we had another terror on the other side in the pass rush, this defense would be so much better. Anthony Spencer is solid in the run game, but he’s not the pass-rushing threat we envisioned. I’d be happy to add Miller at #9.
Joe: On the defensive line, what do you see going on there? Spears is all but gone, leaving us with Hatcher and Bowen? We seem paper thin on the line, who could we draft to help us out?
Dave: I’m a fan of JJ Watt, but not at #9. If we could drop back and get him I’d be happy. Bowen is serviceable, so we could go into the season with him and Olshansky, with Hatcher in reserve. But I’d definitely like to see them draft someone, my guess it will be in later rounds, unless they move from the #9 spot. At this point though, I think it’s highly likely Bowen will be the starter.
Joe: Run blocking isn’t what we’re use to seeing, a part of our success in the ’90s was the amazing job Moose Johnston did. Whats your analysis of Chris Gronkowski and do you see the Cowboys taking a flyer on a FB this year?
Dave: After watching Gronkowski at training camp and during the season, he seems like a special-teams contributor who would be a good backup kind-of-guy, but maybe not starter-level. I’m not sure the Cowboys will draft a FB, but they could go UDFA or regualr free-agent once those things are available to them again. Don’t forget about the return of John Phillips though, he was coming on as a hybrid TE/FB, and he will likely be the guy who will truly be “starting” at the position. So while it’s a need to some degree, I’m doubting the Cowboys will address it with a draft pick.
Joe: If you’re the GM, how would you script our first picks?
Dave: I’d trade down into the middle of the first round and try to grab one of the crop of tackles that should still be available to us (unless of course, someone falls like Peterson or Miller). Then I would look long and hard at a defensive back for my next pick. Our secondary has fallen apart, I’m not sure how much longer Terence Newman is going to be able to start, and Mike Jenkins has me nervous. Our safety position is just plain trouble, we have issues all over the place in the secondary. If I got a tackle and a CB/S in picks one and two, I’d be happy.
Joe: On later round guys, who are some guys we could take flyers on? Without a CBA in place its said signing undrafted players would be prohibited, how does this effect our later picks strategy, do you see us trading down alot to collect picks to add more players?
Dave: As you can see from above, I’m all about stockpiling picks in this draft because of free-agency issues and not being able to sign UDFAs right away. I think that’s the strategy, but I’m guessing a lot of teams are thinking the same way.
I want to thank Dave for doing this draft Q&A, Be sure to check out his work at BloggingTheBoys.com We hope you enjoy this piece to hell feed your Cowboys draft hungers!