I got together with NFL Draft Guru, Scott Wright of NFLDraftCountDown.com and conducted a brief Q&A in regards to the 2008 draft class. Its never too early to look at the upcoming prospects; furthermore, I thought it would be a great idea to get a jumpstart and take a look at areas of concern for the Cowboys. In light of the recent events surrounding Newman’s injury, its clear that the Cowboys are not running a quality core group of cornerbacks, and with Newman out this just underlines our inadequacies. I look for the Cowboys to go CB in 2008, an area where we’re paper thin with quality. Here’s my 5 question session with Mr. Wright:
1. There’s no secret the Cowboys are thin at cornerback, We have Terence Newman, and a capable Anthony Henry. After the two starters, we have nothing solid. Its even debatable whether or not Henry is the guy opposite Newman next year and beyond. When you think of a complete CB senior/junior that will be in the draft, who’s the first player that comes to mind? Tell me why we should keep an eye on this player. And who else are some top CBs you really like for 2008?
Well, there’s good news and bad news for teams in the market for a cornerback in 2008. The bad news is that the senior crop looks real weak at this point and there really isn’t a consensus first rounder at the position right now, although Antoine Cason or Terrell Thomas certainly have a legitimate shot. The good news is that help could be on the way thanks to some excellent underclassmen. Keep in mind that it’s still very early but for my money the top guy is Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio St., who has an ideal blend of size (6-1, 200) and speed (4.45). You also can’t underestimate that program pedigree because the Buckeyes have produced first round picks like Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer, Nate Clements, Chris Gamble in recent years. A couple of other guys who I like in the senior class are Zack Bowman of Nebraska, who has 1st round ability if healthy, and Tracy Porter of Indiana, who is very underrated right now. I think the Cowboys will definitely be looking for help at corner sooner rather than later though with Anthony Henry eventually moving to safety.
2. Wide Receiver is another position that could use an upgrade. How deep will the 2008 WR class be? and who’s going to be the complete top WR that the Cowboys could be scouting?
This isn’t a great crop of seniors and there may not be a sure-fire first rounder right now so the top wideout prospects may come from the junior class. Topping that list is DeSean Jackson of Cal, who is a better prospect than Ted Ginn was as both a receiver as well as a return man. Mario Manningham of Michigan could also be in the first round mix if he comes out. As for the seniors, L.S.U.’s Early Doucet will finally get a chance to break out now that Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis are in the NFL while Limas Sweed of Texas and Adarius Bowman of Oklahoma St. will need to answer questions about their speed to get into the first frame.
3. Defensive End could very well be another position that the Cowboys could be looking at upgrading if Marcus Spears and Chris Canty have another average year. Is their a definitive DE that will be the first “DE” taken, and who are some other DE to look out for in 2008?
Chris Long of Virginia plays in a 3-4 defense for the Cavs and has proven he can get the job done so he’d probably be the #1 guy. Kendall Langford of Hampton is one of the top sleepers available and he has the type of size you look for at 6-6 and 294lbs. From the underclassmen ranks look out for Tyson Jackson of L.S.U.
4. The Defensive Tackle position is another roster weakness, and one injury away from disaster. Who is the man at defensive tackle to watch for in 2008? and who else would be a good match in the 3-4 scheme?
Well, the top defensive tackle is going to be Glenn Dorsey of L.S.U. but he is more of a one-gap / 3-technique type so he wouldn’t be a good fit. The next guy for me would be Frank Okam of Texas, who has all the physical tools you look for and could go very high if he can bounce back from an injury-riddled junior campaign. After that the pickings are slim if you’re looking for a 3-4 nose tackle, although Red Bryant of Texas A&M and B.J. Raji would probably be the next two on my board at this point.
5. Depending on how the season goes, Julius Jones may not be a Cowboy in 2008, so this being said, are there any good running backs that would be a good compliment to Marion Barber in the backfield?
As the old saying goes if you have a lot you usually have none and Dallas continuing to go with the two-headed monster of Julius Jones and Marion Barber tells me that they don’t think they have a true #1 running back in either of them. The senior class is weak but if the top underclassmen come out this could be one of the strongest crops of running backs we have seen in years. Topping that list is Darren McFadden of Arkansas and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Jerry Jones go all out in an effort to land his fellow Hog. Now that won’t be easy to do because McFadden will go very early if he comes out but Dallas will have two first round picks and if the selection they receive from Cleveland ends up being pretty high then they just might have the ammo to get a deal done. I also think Steve Slaton of West Virginia would be a nice fit as a compliment to Barber and he’d give the Cowboys running game a big play dimension that they lack. Keep an eye on Jonathan Stewart of Oregon too because his stock could soar if he can stay healthy this year.
I wrote about Ohio State’s Malcom Jenkins a few posts ago, as a possible pickup by Phillips based on his previous drafts. Phillips likes the Ohio State DB program, and could go there in 2008. I’m intrigued by the Chris Long anaylsis as well. Wright makes a good point by bringing up Long’s experience in the 3-4, so he’d be more than capable of jumping right into the Phillips 3-4. Great stuff.
Special Thanks to Scott, great job, and thanks for giving us insight for the 2008 prospects. I’m sure we’ll all be keeping a close eye on these guys.