What a 4-3 Conversion Off-Season Should Look Like

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Shinywalrus, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Shinywalrus

    Shinywalrus Active Member

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    Here's my shot at how I would approach FA and the draft, assuming that we do convert to an attacking 43 defense that utilizes some Tampa concepts. I am of the opinion that our OL is likely to change somewhat less than many anticipate - I think that Jerry's mind is on the defense, and I think that the late season evidence of improvement on the OL will make Jason promote the idea of maintaining as much continuity as possible to continue that improvement. (I suspect this will annoy many fans)

    We have moderate ability to restructure contracts and sign FAs, but I'm guessing this is the year that we use FA to shore up the safety spot that has been too weak for too long now. I am skeptical that we will put FA dollars into offensive linemen as many have guessed, and I think our signings are likely to include one very good addition and several journeyman-quality players at positions in need of depth.

    For the draftable players, I've based positioning on NFLDraftScout's rankings, although I'm fairly skeptical of some of their rankings and have shamelessly exploited that here.

    Defensive Backfield (6)
    QB: Tony Romo, Kyle Orton
    HB: Demarco Murray, Rex Burkhead (R), Lance Dunbar
    FB: Lawrence Vickers

    Receivers/Tight Ends (9)
    WR: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Chris Harper, Cole Beasley, Danny Coale
    TE: Jason Witten, James Hanna, Ben Hartsock (FA)

    Offensive Line (10)
    LT: Tyron Smith
    LG: Nate Livings
    C: Phil Costa
    RG: Travis Frederick (R)
    RT: Doug Free (Yes, really)
    Reserves: Mackenzie Bernadeau, John Wetzel, Ryan Cook, Jermey Parnell, David Arkin

    Defensive Line (9)
    LDE: Sam Montgomery (R), Tyrone Crawford
    LDT: Jason Hatcher, Marcus Spears
    RDT: Jay Ratliff, Sean Lissemore
    RDE: Demarcus Ware, Kyle Wilber, Alex Albright

    Linebackers (7)
    WLB: Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims (FA)
    MLB: Sean Lee, Dan Connor, Orie Lemon
    SLB: Chase Thomas (R), Geno Hayes (FA)

    Defensive Backs (9)
    CB: Brandon Carr, Mo Claiborne, DJ Moore (FA), Orlando Scandrick, Melvin White (R)
    FS: Jairus Byrd (FA), Charlie Peprah
    SS: Barry Church, Matt Johnson

    ST (3)
    LS: LP
    K: Dan Bailey
    P: Chris Jones

    Free Agent Acquisitions
    1. Jairus Byrd - FS
    2. DJ Moore - CB
    3. Ernie Sims - WLB
    4. Geno Hayes - SLB
    5. Ben Hartsock - TE

    Round 1: Sam Montgomery - DE - LSU
    I don't see us spending a #1 on offensive line. I just don't - the changes to the coaching staff will be mirrored in the draft, and we'll see a replacement for Anthony Spencer in Round 1. Montgomery, by far the most productive defensive player for a terrific defense, has the potential to play as a prototype strong-side end in a 43 defense. Has a lot of Spencer's skill set, but has the potential to be a larger, even more physical force in the run game. Doesn't have the pass rush move set to be as effective in the pass rushing game, but I hear we have someone on the roster who might be able to teach him something.

    Round 2: Travis Frederick - C/G - Wisconsin
    There's a lot of talk about Barrett Jones, and for good reason, since he has a huge body of work. It's Travis Frederick who I think ends up being the best interior lineman of this class, however, although I'll admit to being partial to both Wisconsin and Wisconsin linemen. More athletic than he looks, this is a giant but versatile swingman who could immediately step in at either Center or Right Guard. I would pencil him in as our starting right guard with Costa/Bernadeau competing for the starting Center position. Travis Frederick is a bad, bad man.

    Round 3: Chase Thomas - LB - Stanford
    I may be stretching a bit here, but I think there's a possibility that Thomas is still available to us here. As for the 43 conversion, I would slot him in as a potential starter at the SAM position, although he may need to develop some strength. I like watching him, like his leadership and like his potential to settle in at NFL-starter quality play. Not a super-star in the making, perhaps, but a good round 3 pickup.

    Round 4: Chris Harper - WR - Kansas State
    There seems to be a general feeling that we'd be drafting for a slot guy, but I'm of the opinion that we're drafting to find Miles Austin's replacement. Chris Harper is a big, more-athletic-than-you'd think receiver (he'll run under 4.5) who has a little bit of Dez in him when he's in the air. Might not be the "next Cowboys receiver", but feels very underrated to me based on what I saw in the Big 12 this season.

    Round 5: Melvin White - CB - Louisiana-Lafayette
    This is a bit cheeky, since NFLDraftScout's ranking is simply uninformed, and I'm unabashedly taking advantage of it here. In reality, this is a guy who gets taken far earlier. He's got Brandon Browner size potential, and is legitimately fast for that level of speed. Raw in technique, but has the potential to be an effective player in a 43 scheme that requires corners to be more aggressive against the run. Freeport, Texas native - near my hometown - so I'm a bit partial, but it's clear he evolved into a leader over his time at La-La. (It's also one of the few reasons I've seen him play. I don't exactly watch a lot of the Rajin Cajuns...)

    Round 6: Rex Burkhead - RB - Nebraska
    This local boy is sure to be brought in for the local workouts, and the Academic All-American and decent kid will impress the heck out of Jason and whomever the new RB czar ends up being. He works hard (2x lifter of the year) and runs hard, only falling off the radar because of his knee injury earlier in the senior season. This is a guy I see Jason falling in love with, and will be vastly underrated coming into the draft.

    Round 7: John Wetzel - RT - Boston College
    Bit of Sam Young in this guy, but I don't feel like he's quite as much of a waist-bender. A bit more natural and flexible out of the right tackle position. Quality run blocker already who has the potential to bulk up, develop technique and compete for a roster spot.
  2. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    I like a handful of the draft picks, but otherwise I feel kind of Meh about this. I don't like Burkhead or Free, and I don't think Byrd is getting out of Buffalo.
  3. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    I'm not thrilled by your defensive line. Sam Montgomery playing opposite Ware sounds good, but only in theory. In practice, 4-3 teams seldom have two pass rushing ends on the small side like that.

    Crawford is probably the better end in that defense, and even he may be a little small. I think I still go with Ratliff at that DE spot and draft a DT to start next to Hatcher.

    I do like Chase Thomas at Sam.

    We both know there is not a shot in hades that a 6th round rookie RB would be the primary backup to Murray. The team won't trust him, they never trust rookies that aren't 1st rounders.

    I do like Frederick, he'd be a very good pickup - especially in the 2nd.
  4. Shinywalrus

    Shinywalrus Active Member

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    Sam's going to be a left defensive end wherever he plays by his second season. Big-framed guy.
  5. tm1119

    tm1119 Well-Known Member

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    I need some more wholesale changing personally. This just sounds like another 8-8 season honestly. Just a few small tweaks to the same team that has failed over and over
  6. robert70x7

    robert70x7 Well-Known Member

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    Why on earth would you not re-sign Spencer?
  7. patrickstillhere

    patrickstillhere Member

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    Buffalo will franchise him.
  8. robert70x7

    robert70x7 Well-Known Member

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    Then give us Andy Levitre.
  9. cowboysooner

    cowboysooner Well-Known Member

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    I love Frederick and Thomas. Those would be home run picks to me. I don't think there are 60 picks worth of difference in Chase Thomas and Ryan Kerrigan. Montgomery is a good player too.

    I assume that you are lowering Free's base salary down to $2.5 or $3mm where it makes it more difficult to cut him, but he can't make a $7mm base next year.

    I'd much rather keep Scandrick/Spencer over FreeByrd.
  10. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    I skimmed through and saw this. Didn't bother reading anymore.
  11. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    He'll need to add bulk to play RDE in a 4-3. I'm not saying he can't do it, it's just very rare a 4-3 team has 2 DE's that are 6'4" 260. I don't think it bodes well for the run D at all.
  12. Risen Star

    Risen Star Likes Collector Zone Supporter

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    Be careful paying age. Especially coming off of a career year. It's not like he's got several years of that level to establish his true worth.
  13. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Franchise him.
  14. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    What's the rule if you franchise a guy two years in a row now? 10% raise or average of the Top 5? That'd be roughly 17 or 18 mil for two years of service.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see any way Thomas makes it to the third round. I hope he is still available in the 2nd round.

    Good effort on your post. May not agree with all of it but I see the logic and I appreciate the work.
  16. robert70x7

    robert70x7 Well-Known Member

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    He earned his contract. I don't care what anyone else says. He didn't get the respect he deserved last year from CZ, and he probably won't this year.
  17. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    20% raise.
  18. TheCount

    TheCount Pixel Pusher

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    Did Ratliff earn his then for playing on the cheap for years prior? And Doug Free for holding down the left side pretty well before he got paid? What about Marion Barber for being a beast for a couple of years?

    It's not just about whether the money was earned or not. We've got some real cap issues we need to figure out, and you can't just sign everyone that plays well and ignore everything else. You'll go broke.
  19. robert70x7

    robert70x7 Well-Known Member

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    Cap isn't going to be an issue.....

    Anthony Spencer has played well for multiple years. He's been a constant on our defense.
  20. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    sorry robert
    dont agree
    spencer has been a constant but average constant that is getting up there in age

    no long-term contract for spencer, IMO

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