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My Meaningless Thoughts On The Upcoming Draft

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Yakuza Rich, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    I used to think about the draft as either picking to ‘replace’ somebody at a position or drafting ‘the best player available.’ But over time I felt that ‘replacement’ draft picks were probably not wise. I would hear things like ‘the mistake teams make is when they draft a guy to fill a perceived need.’ But the ‘Best Player Available’ theory never jived with me either. For instance, if the Packers have Cam Newton as the best player available and he somehow falls to them, I don’t see them drafting Cam Newton.

    Thinking about it over time, my feeling now is more along the lines that a team doesn’t necessarily have to replace players at positions that were unproductive, but they need to find a way….any way…to get better production from those weak positions.

    For example, let’s say a team has a weak run defense. Instead of getting a run stuffing DT, they may be better off getting an explosive tailback of their own. Perhaps that tailback is the key to turning them into an explosive, almost unstoppable offense. And then opponents can’t afford to run the ball much to stay in the game with them and all of the sudden that perceived need of a run defense is no longer there.

    So that’s my thinking when it comes to viewing FA acquisitions and Draft Picks. What guys would be best at helping the team remedy weak spots.

    Defense was the problem last year. I don’t think it was all the players fault either. For the first 3 years it seemed to me that opposing offenses knew where blitzes were coming from and where they needed to go with the ball. It was just a case of whether or not they could execute. In those first 3 years they didn’t execute against us more than they did execute against us. Last year, they executed against us far more than they did not.

    That’s a big reason why I’m excited about Jason Garrett as a Head Coach. The first thing he focused on last year when he took over was special teams and defense. Most offensive minded coaches either leave it all up to the D-Coordinator or they just don’t really put much thought into the defensive side of the ball because they are too unfamiliar with it. And while the defense stunk, Garrett did make it noticeably better. And considering my low opinion of Paul Pasqualoni as a coach, it seems like a more impressive job than it looks.

    I look at the top positions that we need better play from on defense as:

    Safety
    Cornerback
    Nose Tackle

    The one thing that has me hopeful about Rob Ryan is that when he finally got to draft ‘his guys’ last year in Cleveland, he got Joe Haden (CB) and TJ Ward (S). Both had excellent years, particularly for rookies. And with no real pass rushing threats. We’ve had problems finding safeties over the years, so perhaps Ryan can fix that. I think we definitely need to look here because Alan Ball is not starting safety material and Sensy is a FA and needs somebody back there to direct him around. Tall task for a rookie, but I think we need to develop another Darren Woodson.

    Believe it or not, I’m not too concerned with the corners. What I don’t like about Campo is that I don’t think players respond to him. I think he coaches all the right techniques and if a player takes it in, they WILL get better. But the corners in particular don’t seem to like the guy. I think that will all change under Garrett. I don’t think we’ll see a Mike Jenkins saying that his starting position is guaranteed…or he’ll be gone or benched.

    I do think that before 2010, teams looked at the Cowboys defense as ‘if you want to pass the ball, focus on containing Ware. If you want to run the ball, focus on containing Ratliff.’ I think before 2010, they focused on Ware. I think in 2010 they finally accepted the fact that you’re not going to contain Ware, so they focused on Ratliff. And I think it worked quite well. Perhaps the elbow surgery Ratliff had in the offseason was a reason. He did start to play pretty decent in the second half. But either way, we need to get better play at Nose Tackle.

    We also need to get better play from the OLB spot opposite Ware. Honestly, I thought Spencer was awful in the Wade part of the season. But under Garrett I thought he started looking quite good. Maybe that’s all that is needed. I think Bradie can still play, although I would love to see Sean Lee start and supposedly he’s going to replace Bradie some time soon. That means we need more of a speedy, coverage ILB to replace Brooking for the future.

    Offensively, I thought we did quite well under Kitna. The team became more of a short passing team and using more screens because Kitna takes awhile to get out into the pocket. I think this was great for Felix Jones as his pass receiving got better each week. I still like Miles A LOT and Dez just wowed me more than any WR I’ve seen probably since a rookie Randy Moss.

    I think we need better play from the following positions on offense

    Right Tackle
    Right Guard
    Slot WR
    #2 Tailback
    Fullback

    I thought Leonard Davis was far worse than Marc Colombo last year. Not many times I can recall a guard getting benched mid-game for awful play on more than one occasion in a season. Usually that stuff is reserved for offensive tackles. But, I think the RT spot is more important. I think we really miss a quick, slashing WR who can’t be covered by linebackers and gives safeties fits. Let Dez, Miles and Witten do their thing and let the slashing slot WR give defensive coordinators fits. We pretty much used shotgun and/or 2 TE sets about 80% of the time last season. That tells me that we could probably use a quick slot WR (and that our blocking needs a lot of help).

    I listed the #2 tailback spot lower because we switched Felix and Barber there. I think if things go right, Felix is going to be a huge player for us in 2011. I think the focus will be on guys like Romo, Witten, Dez and even Miles on offense…meanwhile the guy who ‘makes it go’ will be Felix. Again, that’s *if* we have some things go right for us. Barber needs to be cut. I’m not a fan of Choice at this moment, but I could see giving him a shot here. But, he’s really on the ‘prove to me you’re worthy of being a Cowboy’ status with me at this point in time.

    I know people like Gronkowski and I think he’s got some things I like for a fullback to have in today’s game as well. I think people heard reports that he ‘struggles blocking’ and saw that he runs well and assumed that he was a poor run blocker. I actually didn’t see that at all. What I saw was a guy who can run block well, but his pass protection was putrid last year.

    Forget the slip up that killed Romo. He was tough to watch anytime he blitz pickup responsibilities. He would usually get too deep and close to the QB and it would completely disrupt the play. It seemed like he had no clue as to how to play the game of ‘stay in blitz pickup and then release for a pass at the right time.’ After the Romo slip up, it seemed like he was very tentative with blitz pickup and it was tough to watch.


    DRAFT STRATEGY

    I think the Cowboys may trade up to #7 if Patrick Peterson is there. That could very well happen, although I think the Niners would take him. I can understand that move because Peterson looks like too promising of a player and a guy that could really revitalize the Dallas secondary.

    However, I would probably prefer to see them trade down to something like #13 and pick up a 2nd round pick.

    2nd round picks should be coveted because the risk of the money lost if they are a bust is much less than a 1st round pick. And 2nd round picks have a history of doing extremely well, so the reward is potentially very high. Thus the risk vs. reward factors for 2nd round picks is generally excellent.

    I think with the entire lockout fiasco, we really don’t know what holds in store for the league and with that, I’d rather lean towards being conservative than being aggressive. This is probably due to when the salary cap came along and we really didn’t know of the impact it would have, the teams that were aggressive…like the Cowboys, were affected negatively and the conservative teams prospered.

    I think our first round picks are going to boil down to:

    Patrick Peterson
    Tyron Smith
    Anthony Costanzo
    Cameron Jordan

    Peterson is probably more ‘wishful thinking’ than anything. Drafting him would probably mean cutting Terence Newman and then being aggressive in free agency and re-signing Sensy and probably signing Michael Huff.

    Tyron Smith or Costanzo would play the RT spot which would mean the release of Colombo. Or perhaps releasing Alex Barron (thank god) and keeping Colombo on the bench. I actually like both guys. Jordan seems to be very well liked by scouts. I don’t think we need to get better play from the DE’s as we do from other positions. But, perhaps if Jordan is the real deal, when teams double down on Ratliff…Jordan buries them every time because he cannot be defended one-on-one.

    My guess is that they go with Tyron Smith.









    YR
  2. JIMMYBUFFETT

    JIMMYBUFFETT Skinwalker

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    Well done Yakuza. I agree with every word of it, especially your take on Choice and Gronkowski. I think your first round picks are dead on, but I would add Prince to that short list.
  3. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    Good read, YR.

    I think with all this uncertainty flying around, I'd also bet we just stay put and take Smith. Cooler heads prevail in the warroom, this time.
  4. dmq

    dmq If I'm so pretty, why am I available?

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    We were stupid to give away Crayton. He provided a valuable role for this offense. I am psyched to get John Phillips back. Add a nice slot receiver, another RB and give our QB better protection. Rob Ryan will make the defense less predictable. I see this team starting to turn this thing around pretty quickly under Garrett.
  5. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    Great read and right on the mark... especially about a slashing WR...
  6. Yakuza Rich

    Yakuza Rich Well-Known Member

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    Crayton wasn't the reason why we went 6-10 last year. And I don't think he would be that great of a help in 2011. Plus, he really didn't do much as a slot WR over the years because they usually had him out wide. I think we got Dez some valuable playing time and we got a better idea of what Roy Williams can do. Although I don't think he fits into what the Cowboys need.

    Personally, I wish we would've kept Amendola around. However, if we got a guy like Amendola as a UDFA, that holds out hope for me that we can find another guy. Plus, with Jimmy Robinson as our WR coach, I'm looking forward to that. The Packers used 4 WR's all of the time and all of them were really good at YAC, although Nelson was really more of the slashing slot WR type that gave guys fits.

    I look forward to Phillips as well. I forgot about him when it came to the fullback position. That was really his value in '09, his ability to block from the TE, H-Back and fullback position. Nobody else in the league did that as well as he did and he was a rookie.





    YR
  7. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    I guess you could say that, but statistically it would be wrong, as well as what pretty much everyone else saw. Davis was average at best. Colombo was downright awful. He was one of the worst starting OL in football (regardless of position) and is the single biggest hole on the team.

    Also in regards to Davis, I only remember him being pulled from one game, and he returned after Holland was injured and started ther remainder of the games. What others was he removed from?
  8. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    I think he was also benched in one of our games in December

    I don't think he's on the team next year. He was pure garbage last year.
  9. lostinomiya

    lostinomiya Member

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    Interesting read - lots of food for thought.
  10. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    Nice post, YR. Well organized, and not much to disagree with.

    I'm with you on Bigg Davis over Colombo. Both were downright bad at times last season, but there's no excuse for playing like that at RG. Colombo at least has some turf-toe to blame. Still, it's like arguing over who was the shortest dwarf. We need to improve both positions, if we can.
  11. VACowboy

    VACowboy Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I hope you're right. I dread a trade down past 12 or 13.

    Excellent stuff, Rich, as always.
  12. BIGDen

    BIGDen Dr. Freakasaurus Zone Supporter

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    Great, great post. Really sums it all up. I agree with everything you said. Every Cowboys fan should read this if they want to understand the state of the team and in which direction it needs to go.
  13. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    To go along with your 2nd round picks string...
    The strength/value in this draft is also suppossed to be in rounds 2-4.
    This is especially true at RB, CB, WR
  14. ABQcowboyJR

    ABQcowboyJR Well-Known Member

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    I was really sad that we didn't keep him around either. I always viewed him as a welker type prospect that could give us solid match up issues for defenses. We might have one in Ogle though, time will tell, but i like the upside with him.

    And you think Lee will replace Bradie....? I've always felt we needed to replace Bradie and Lee was Brookings replacement.
  15. cobra

    cobra Salty Bastard

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    I hear what your are saying and your way of thinking about it is interesting. I've always agreed that BPA is simply not a workable rule. But, it's a good guidepost when it is properly understood.

    Here's how I would concieve of it.

    Give every player an absolute objective score 1-100 with 100 being the perfect draft pick. (I might say AJ Green is a 95 and PP is a 92)

    Then rate all of your team needs on a -5 to +5 scale. (So, for instance, I'd rate the Cowboys TE postition as a -5; WR -2; CB +3; FS as a +5) You can play with that range as you like.

    I then blend the two figures. (Based on the above examples, Green becomes 93 [95 + -2] and PP becomes 95 [92 + 3])

    The resulting list becomes my "BPA" (properly understood) chart. Then I literally just draft the highest available person on that list no matter what.

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