Posted by CBS11
[FONT=Times New Roman] Okay, I’m going to take a stab at a Cowboys mock draft. I’ve posted one that shows what I think the Cowboys should do. Now, here goes one on what they will do.
[/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman]After all the departures this offseason, and with only four free agent signings, the Cowboys still have about ten holes to fill on the 2009 roster. A checklist of the comings and goings:
Comings Position Goings
Jon Kitna QB Brad Johnson
Igor Olshansky DE Chris Canty
Keith Brooking ILB Zach Thomas
Gerald Sensabaugh S Roy Williams
?????? WR Terrell Owens
?????? QB Brooks Bollinger
?????? TE Tony Curtis
?????? OL Joe Berger
?????? ILB Kevin Burnett
?????? CB Anthony Henry
?????? CB Pacman Jones
?????? S Keith Davis
?????? NT Tank Johnson
So, that’s nine vacancies on the roster, and I think you can add at least one more position of need at OLB when you consider the age and expiring contract status of Greg Ellis. Another starter entering the final year of his contract is DE Marcus Spears, as is his backup Jason Hatcher. So, add OLB and DE to that wish list.
Even with these needs, the Cowboys have put themselves in position to truly take the best player available with their top pick (2nd round-#51). It appears they could be choosing from a group that includes several players with whom they’ve had recent visits, including OLB Lawrence Sidbury of Richmond, WR Mohamed Massaquoi of Georgia, LB Marcus Freeman of Ohio State, and TE/FB James Casey of Rice. If so, I think it will be a tough decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked Sidbury and hoped Massaquoi would still be there at 69.
DE/OLB Lawrence Sidbury—6-3, 266—Richmond
A 266-pounder with 4.53 speed will be pretty difficult to pass on. As a comparison, Demarcus Ware, at 251 pounds, posted a 4.57 40 time in 2005. Ware had 27 bench press reps of 225 pounds while Sidbury had 28. Ware’s vertical was 37; Sidbury’s was 35. On the field, their stats were very comparable in their senior seasons. Ware had 10.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss his final year at Troy. Sidbury, in leading Richmond to an FCS national championship, had 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss.
Having said all this, Sidbury is not to be confused with Ware. He appears to be even more of a late bloomer than Ware was at Troy. Sidbury only had two seasons of tangible production. He doesn’t possess near the quickness or lateral agility that Ware has. But who does? He projects as a strongside OLB, perhaps supplanting Greg Ellis on the roster next season and challenging Anthony Spencer for playing time. Compare Sidbury’s combine numbers with Spencer’s 4.70 40, 30 bench reps, and 32.5 vertical.
At Thursday’s pre-draft press conference in Arlington, Jerry Jones talked about players who have a “motor”. It sounds like it is top of mind for this team in this draft to focus more than ever on driven, tough, hard-nosed football players who have non-stop motors on the field. The scouting report from nfldraftscout.com says, “(Sidbury) has a nonstop motor, he is very tough and competitive in the trenches. He is a self-starter who plays with tremendous urgency. He loves to practice and you can usually find him at the Richmond facility, whether working out in the training room or watching film of his upcoming opponent.”
Sounds more and more like DeMarcus Ware, whom Cowboys strength coach Joe Juraszek told me is, along with Jason Witten, the hardest worker on this Cowboys team.
This is where it gets very interesting in regards to how serious the Cowboys are to draft a young quarterback to groom for the future. I don’t know for sure, but I just have a hunch that the Cowboys absolutely love Stephen McGee, the under-utilized Texas A&M quarterback who didn’t play much his senior season due to a shoulder injury.
McGee impressed everybody with his workouts this spring—to the extent that he is now considered to be a possible 3rd round draft pick. In fact, I don’t think McGee makes it to the 4th round, where the Cowboys have the first pick (#101 overall). So, if the Cowboys want to draft McGee, they either must take him here at #69 or trade up from #101.
On Thursday, Jerry Jones went on and on singing the praises of veteran Jon Kitna’s off-season workouts. When I point blank asked him if he expects the Cowboys to draft a quarterback this weekend, Jones paused for what seemed like 15 seconds before saying quarterback is near the bottom of their priority list. This tells me that quarterback is near the top of their priority list. (How can you tell an NFL general manager is lying two days before the draft? His lips are moving!)
So, with the 69th pick of the 2009 National Football League Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
QB Stephen McGee—6-3, 225—Texas A&M
The nfldraftscout.com scouting report on McGee: “Legitimate NFL frame. Good toughness. Legitimate arm strength. Good zip on his passes, especially short and intermediate routes. Flashes the arm strength and trajectory for deep passes with touch over the top. Good agility and strength for the position as a runner. Natural leader who was voted permanent team captain in 2006 as a sophomore.” McGee ran a 4.61 40 at the combine, a 1.53 10-yard split which is faster than most WRs in this class, including Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, Joaquin Iglesias, and Mohamed Massaquoi.
Speaking of Massaquoi, the Cowboys would love to draft him at #69 or might even do so at #51. However, it sounds like Chicago might take him at #49 so the Cowboys will have to wait until the fourth round to pick up a wideout.
Another player of interest in the 2nd or 3rd round is South Carolina OT Jamon Meredith, who can play tackle or guard but he’s expected to be gone by #51.
As much as I’d love to see the Cowboys draft DeSoto’s Mike Thomas, the slot receiver from Arizona, it doesn’t appear the team is interested in him so...better get your safety here—or you can draft a cornerback who could convert to safety.
FS Darcel McBath—6-0, 198—Texas Tech
I believe the Cowboys may have a choice here of a couple of safeties they brought in for visits, McBath or Clemson’s Michael Hamlin, perhaps Iowa CB Bradley Fletcher.
Among all the safeties in this draft, I prefer Oregon’s Patrick Chung, but you’ll have to take him with either your 2nd or 3rd round pick. McBath had very good stats at Tech. The Gainesville native is a former cornerback. He doesn’t have the size of Michael Hamlin, who is 6-2, 214, but he has better quickness. Both McBath and Hamlin ran in the high 4.5s at the combine, but McNabb’s short shuttle (4.16) and 3-cone (6.80) were much better than Hamlin’s (4.42/7.14).
By the way, if the Cowboys wait until #117 to take a safety, they’re probably choosing among Marshall’s C. J. Spillman (4.45 40/41.5 vertical) and Notre Dame’s David Bruton (4.40 40/41.5 vertical/6.60 3-cone), both of whom had better combine numbers but weren’t as productive on the field.
Okay, now the team is left with a dilemma which underscores why drafting a backup QB before the 5th round is dicey in this draft. Here they are, deep into the 4th round and they still haven’t addressed the loss of Kevin Burnett in free agency. Not only are Burnett’s nickel LB skills going to be missed, but also his special teams play. So, the Cowboys really need to find Burnett’s replacement. However, you assume they’d also like to add a WR. And, this is about where USC’s 6-5 Patrick Turner is projected to go. So, what do you do?
LB Jason Phillips—6-1, 239—TCU
I love this player, and more importantly, I think Cowboys scouting director Tom Ciskowski, Head Coach Wade Phillips, and LB coaches Reggie Herring and Dat Nguyen do too. And, by the way, I have a plan on how to address WR too.
Fact of the matter is Jason Phillips may be gone by this point of the draft, but perhaps the torn meniscus he suffered at the combine will be enough to keep him available to this point.
Timed at 4.60 in the 40 yard dash at the combine, Phillips' speed is the same as Burnett’s (4.61), and their bench numbers are identical (20 reps) and verticals similar (Burnett 36/Phillips 34). And with that, how about a Wade-ism. Jason Phillips appears to be a perfect fit for the Phillips 34 (groan).
By the way, 5th round ILB options would be Pitt’s Scott McKillop, a tackling machine for Dave Wannstedt, or California’s Zack Follett, a 235 pound OLB who would need to be converted inside after playing outside in Cal’s 3-4 defense. Follett would be a terrific mid-round choice as a speed rushing LB to back up Ware and, perhaps, play some inside if the Cowboys opt not to draft Sidbury earlier in the draft.
Okay, here’s my WR/KR alternative option and it’s not without a certain amount of controversy I suppose.
WR Brandon Tate—6-0, 183—North Carolina
Like an idiot, he reportedly flunked a test for marijuana at the combine. He shouldn’t be available in the 5th round. But in case he is, it’s worth taking a flyer.
Not only due to the failed test, but also because he tore his ACL and MCL in October, Tate finds himself a mid-round choice even though he has first-round talent. Butch Davis didn’t realize what he had on his hands when he took over at North Carolina, but what he discovered was a dynamic, explosive big play returner and receiver who returned 3 punts and 3 kickoffs for TDs in his collegiate career. He also averaged over 20 yards a catch when the Tar Heels finally started using him at WR alongside Hakeem Nicks the past season and a half, before his injury..
At this point, the team is past due rounding up some cornerbacks to take Anthony Henry and Pacman Jones’ roster spots. As detailed in my previous mock draft, the cornerback I really like is Central Florida’s Joe Burnett, but I don’t think the Cowboys share my enthusiasm for the 5-10 All-America punt returner/cornerback. And, they may not like Utah’s Brice McCain either due to his 5-9 height. So I’m going to present a different option here.
Oops, I can’t find any worthy candidates who are much taller than 5-10.
CB Joe Burnett—5-10, 192—Central Florida
Sorry, I just can’t resist. I am amazed that nfldraftscout.com has this guy listed as a 7th round talent. What is up? I don’t get it. Sure, he’s a shade under 5-10. And, sure, his 40 time was inconsistent, as low as 4.47 but also as high as 4.64. But this guy plays with an air of confidence and has both defensive (16 career picks) and return game (5 TDs) numbers that are as good as if not better than projected 1st round corners Darius Butler and Alphonso Smith.
Smokin’ Joe is also stronger (22 bench reps) than almost every cornerback on the board. And, his 3-cone drill time (6.68) is better by only two cornerbacks in this draft--#1 rated Malcolm Jenkins (6.59) and projected 2nd rounder Sherrod Martin (6.60).
Okay, needs not addressed so far include another cornerback, nose tackle, a 3rd tight end, an offensive lineman, and maybe a defensive end or a rush LB. Five needs left and five picks left.
OG Roger Allen—6-3, 326—Missouri Western
Here’s another player I’m surprised would still be available late in the 5th round, but nfldraftscout.com has Allen listed as a late 5th or 6th round pick.
Dave ‘Te Thomas, nfldraftscout.com’s analyst, has Allen rated 2nd only to Oklahoma’s Duke Robinson, yet the website has him listed as the 10th best guard in this class due to the fact he played at such a small school and because he is coming off shoulder and hernia injuries.
Here’s what Thomas says about Allen: “You can see a little of Larry Allen in his play as he shows the same tenacity, brute strength and uncanny instincts...” Good enough for me.
CB Brice McCain—5-9, 185—Utah
A native of nearby Terrell, McCain was a 1st team All-MWC cornerback even though he only had one interception his senior season and played in the same secondary with 6-4 possible 1st round pick Sean Smith.
For some unknown reason, McCain wasn’t among the 300+ players invited to the combine. However, he opened eyes at Utah’s Pro Day when he clocked a 4.33 40 yard dash, a 36.5 vertical, 10-3 broad jump, 3.99 short shuttle, and 6.74 cone drill.
According to nfldraftscout.com, my preferred players—TE Dan Gronkowski, TE John Phillips, and NT Terrance Knighton—are now off the board, so I must go to Plan B.
LB Nick Reed—6-2, 245—Oregon
You want a motor. You want production. You want smarts. You got Nick Reed. Only one problem. He doesn’t have a position. Coach Wade, find him one.
I was watching some tape of Oregon DBs Patrick Chung and Jairus Byrd in Oregon’s in over Oklahoma State in the Holiday Bowl, when I saw #49 Nick Reed applying absolutely relentless pressure on OSU QB Zac Robinson all night long. And, then I noticed that most all of his production was the result of him simply running circles around an abusing OSU’s left tackle Russell Okung, who just happens to be projected as a potential 1st round draft pick next year.
And then I checked out Nick Reed’s bio: He had 12 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss as a junior and 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss as a senior. At 6-2, 245 pounds, Reed ran a 4.71 40 (DeMarcus Ware-like 1.59 10 yard split) with a 6.96 cone drill. Oh, and Nick Reed is also a 2-time Academic All-American to go along with his 1st team All-America honors on the field.
I thought I preferred Gronkowski or Phillips as a third tight end, but now I think this guy might be just as good a fit, if not better.
TE Bear Pascoe—6-5, 251—Fresno State
Fresno State coach Pat Hill says Pascoe is the best blocking tight end he’s ever had, and that is exactly what the Cowboys could use as a third tight end. He’s also one of the best special teams players you’ll find, blocking six kicks in college.
He had 45 receptions as a junior and 40 more as a senior, when he battled an ankle injury. Said to be as tough as they come, Pascoe will find himself right at home in the off-season at the Mesquite Rodeo. He is an award winning calf roper. Great team player, non stop motor, and work ethic, he is a throwback type player.
DE Everette Pedescleaux—6-6, 305—Northern Iowa
How about the second coming of Leon Lett? Pedescleaux was a finalist for Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball in high school. He’s also played on the Northern Iowa hoops team but was a football 3rd team All-American.
With prototypical size for a 3-4 defensive end, he’s a project. A 6-6, 305 pounder who can hoop and run the 40 in less than 5 seconds is worth a shot.
So, there it is. You’re 2009 Dallas Cowboys Draft.
Comings Position Goings
Jon Kitna QB Brad Johnson
Igor Olshansky DE Chris Canty
Keith Brooking ILB Zach Thomas
Gerald Sensabaugh S Roy Williams
Brandon Tate WR Terrell Owens
Stephen McGee QB Brooks Bollinger
Bear Pascoe TE Tony Curtis
Roger Allen OG Joe Berger
Jason Phillips ILB Kevin Burnett
Brice McCain CB Anthony Henry
Joe Burnett CB Pacman Jones
Darcel McBath S Keith Davis
Everette Pedescleaux DL Tank Johnson
Lawrence Sidbury OLB/DE (Greg Ellis)
Nick Reed LB (Bobby Carpenter)
And now you know who the Cowboys won’t be picking this weekend!