2011 Post-Draft Grades
I'll start. Here's mine.
1. Tyron Smith - Getting Smith is really a tremendous showing by Jerry that the Cowboys are adapting to change. This signifies a new shift in philosophy. With the way the league is continuing to alter it's rules to allow for more scoring and an increased "entertainment" factor, offenses are finding out that the way to win in the NFL is to pass and stop the pass. Offensive lines built for road grading with big lumbering linemen are slowly disappearing. More value is being placed in quick, athletic, balanced linemen. I have been afraid that the Cowboys would stick with drafting fat linemen in the Marcus Cannon mold, but I'm relived to see that those days are gone. I've been talking Smith up for a while now, so this grade is an automatic A+. The years of scouting OTs for the Cowboys is officially over. What a long and arduous road it's been.
2. Bruce Carter - This pick totally took me by surprise. All I saw in him was a 4-3 OLB. During the draft process, I never heard anyone on the forum consider him as a 3-4 ILB... nor did the possibility ever cross my mind... thus, I never followed him during the season or even bothered to research him. So when his name was announced that he was our pick, I was floored... confused... and even upset because I thought there were players that we definitely could've used more immediately to fill big needs. So I'm going to be more critical on this pick and critical on Carter to fulfill expectations. When I think of the ILB position in the NFL, I think of legendary players who have lead their team from that position. It's not just another position on defense, it's THE position. It's where the heart of the defense is and it's his job to pump blood to the rest of the body and lead from the front. I think of Mike Singletary, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis... So those are the expectations I have of Carter. I've come to understand the pick... him being a converted Safety and having the speed and range to cover (another sign that the the Cowboys are showing me that they understand that stopping the pass is how you need to build a defense in today's NFL). His special teams ability is not a fluke... 7 blocked kicks are enough evidence to me of that. As a team captain, that shows me that he has leadership capability, so that's a hint to look at. The glowing reports from draft analysts and Butch Davis lead me to want to get excited about him, but until he gets over his ACL and starts to have an impact on the team that is greatly positive, then I will have to grade this pick harshly.
3. Demarco Murray - It wasn't until this pick was made that I realized that the Cowboys draft strategy was "BPA, irregardless of need". It was clear they were going to ignore our big needs in the secondary and DL if the guy at the top of their board was there. ...and honestly, I can't really fault that. If they are going to go that route however, then we can both hope for and expect the picks to NOT BUST. If you reach for a position of need, then you pass up on guys at the top of your board, but if you don't, then you should feel more confident that your picks will pan out. I really like, not love, Murray as a draft prospect. He has a rare combination of breakaway ability and size at the position. The production is unquestioned. He proved it against top competition over time. You gotta love that. You gotta love that especially when you consider how heavy of a passing system he played in. To his benefit, his skills as a pass blocker are refined. I think the bust factor on him is really small. He has what it takes to succeed on this level. I see a lot of similarity between him and Darren McFadden. Get him a crack and he's gone. Based on the player, the grade is high. Based on need, it's low. Based off the talent we passed up for him, I gotta knock the grade too.
4. David Arkin - While not one of the more talked about prospects, Arkin had fans in high places. Rich Gosselin included him in his Top 100 and ProFootballWeekly had him as a 3rd to 4th rounder. Our very own Scott Wright also had Arkin pegged to go in the 4th. So the value was good to fair. A small school guy, so he wasn't very easy to track during the season, so my grade can only go off of what I find out from others. He was a four-time All-Missouri Valley selection out of Missouri State and started all 44 games in his career. That means the Cowboys have tons of tape on him and know what they're getting. The versatility factor is there since he played Guard and Tackle... and he dominated at both on the small school level and at the East-West Shrine Game. Like Tyron Smith and Doug Free, Arkin is an "athletic" lineman with long arms. He's also said to be intelligent and hard working. The Cowboys fully "get it" now, imo, when it comes to selecting the right type of OL for today's NFL. No more fattys who move slow and have difficulty changing direction and slow to get out of their stance. I like Arkin as a guy who can play back up and spot duty at any of the OG/OT positions as he starts his career, with the potential to start at either Guard spot down the line. As a 4th round pick, that's the best you can hope for. Plus this fills a HUGE need as our depth at Guard is pathetic. It was disappointing to see the likes of Hogan, Boling, Ballard, go right before us in the round... but what can you do. I didn't think trading up was wise. The only other guy I was really onto in that round was Davon House, but I can see how he wasn't reaaally a Rob Ryan type of corner...lacking physicality and the sure tackling ability. Addressed a big need, got a guy with potential starting ability and the will and work ethic to get it. Gotta like the pick, and more importantly the confidence that the Cowboys have changed their philosophy on how to build the OL.
5. Josh Thomas - OK... waiting this long to address the secondary wasn't any of our ideas of a good thing. I don't think any of had our hopes going into the draft that our first pick to address the secondary would come in Round 5, but that's the way the cookie crisp crumbled. Like I said earlier, when we took Murray in Round 3, I knew our draft strategy was all about BPA, irregardless of need. So that's the interpretation that I have for waiting this long... but hey... Thomas has the build of a tank man! Traps, guns, thick thighs.. you can tell off the bat that he's worked hard to build up an NFL caliber physique. Scott had him ranked as his 9th rated CB and projected him as a 2nd or 3rd round guy! Landing him in the 5th is a coup if you value Scott's opinion. BUT.... did we get help? That's the main question, right? What we got is a developmental guy. A guy with raw talent that needs to be coached up, but also a high character, humble guy (has 8 siblings), who has the work ethic and will to try his best. I'm good with that in the 5th. Just disappointment that we waited so long. BUT... I must remind myself that FA still gives us an opportunity to improve the position. That said... Thomas has a good chance to get early playing time. History has shown that the Cowboys do not hold back in letting young corners get playing time... no matter where they were drafted and even if they were drafted. From Newman, Reeves, Jenkins, Scandrick, Ball to McCann... the Cowboys test their guys at corner. Bottomline, we need young bodies to compete. Newman is old and our depth with Scandrick and McCann aren't the types that you can allow to get comfortable in their positions. They need to be pushed and mistakes can't be forgiveable and forgettable. Thomas is promising, so I'm relieved that we finally took a guy for our miserable secondary, but anything from him positive from him within the next 2 years is going to be unexpected. Good luck Josh. I'm pulling for ya.
6. Dwayne Harris - Harris is a cool lookin' dude man. I love players with dreads. :) We've been talking about adding a slick shifty slot, and well... here we are. He's not ultra-slippery or ultra-fast or ultra-anything, but that's why he's here in the 6th. Here's hoping for things pan out. I don't know much about him, but I've read some nice things. Does this mean we can squeeze Roy out now? Dez won't realize his potential until he's starting. Austin needs to get back to how he played in 2009. 2010 wasn't a great year for him. There's too many targets, not enough balls to go around. If Harris can play unselfishly and make an impact when the ball is thrown his way, and happiness and balance can be restored, then I will be happy. We definitely need the cap savings from Roy to make a move on defense in FA. So I hope this draft pick pushes Roy out of the picture. That could be a plus. ...but but CLEARLY at this point, we know Garrett is all out guns blazin' in trying to improve his offense. There's no going back now. It's so weird having an offensive minded HC after all these years of heavy emphasis on the defensive side. So I'm excited to see how this turns out for the Cowboys. Will our luck change? Expectations will be sky high for lighting up the scoreboard... and we will NEED to do it in order to counter the amount of points our defense is going to give up. Garrett has given Rob Ryan bones to chew on, coming out of this draft. The pressure is heavy on Ginger now baby.
7. Shaun Chapas - We've been trying to find a permanent guy here for years now and haven't found any consistency... Lousaka Polite, Deon Anderson, Gronkowski... when will we find our next Daryl Johnston??!! C'mon man! LOL. Is Chapas that guy? Hell if I know. But Gronk didn't show me enough last year to convince me that he's all that.
8. Bill Nagy - Doubt he's the future replacement for Andre Gurode, but he's got a fighting's chance to make the team since our backup options at C are piss poor.
Tough to top what D was saying but here are my initial thoughts a day after the draft.
1. Tyron Smith-Not a sexy pick but obviously a great pick. The fact that he is 20 means we have our own Okoye (Remember how everyone was so excited about him having so much time to develop). Potentially an all-pro kind of guy.
2. Bruce Carter--Have liked him for a while, but pretty much have the same feeling as everyone else, I was almost positive he was going to go to a 4-3 team. The thing that I like best about him, he flys around and wants to hit people, he isn't a finesse type of guy (or atleast not that I have seen). I think he teams up with Lee and gives us a Linebacker corp with Ware and Spencer that is feared for years.
3. DeMarco Murray--Left me scratching my head, but shows that we are going to move on, Barber is past his prime as much as I hate to say it, he is no longer the Barbarian of old. Choice is someone we all love here but he apparently doesn't get along well with others. I would say look for Choice to get Barber's Carries anyways and let Murray and Jones be the explosive guys. Best thing I like about this pick is how fast and athletic he is, if he gets in the open field he is gonna be tough to catch.
Grade: C/B (This one depends on what we do from here. Right now seeing as he would be the 4th back it gets a C from me, but if we move Choice and or Barber the pick becomes an instant need filler with playmaking ability.)
4. David Arkin--Don't know a whole lot about the guy, just what I have heard from you all and elsewhere. Here is what I like, never missed a start and was an all conference player multiple times, that has to mean something. What I don't like, we have struggled with guys with lower competition levels recently so that turns me off, everyone talks about how athletic he is, extremely slow 40, didn't look all that great at the combine, but then again games aren't played on paper. I think he will get a shot to start with Brewster at some point, but I think only one of them ever becomes an everyday starter for us.
5. Josh Thomas--Love this pick, I wanted him a round earlier, honestly I think in a few years we will be talking about this guy as one of the biggest steals in the draft. My favorite thing about him, he is physical and likes to hit people, I can't stand corners that don't want to tackle or hit because it is part of the game too. What I don't like, another smaller school guy but everything I have heard tells me he was a man amongst boys in the MAC so fine by me.
6. Dwayne Harris---My Favorite pick of the draft, I see him as a poor man's Dez Bryant in a few years, and before you jump on me for that think about this for a second. ECU plays teams from the ACC every year so while he plays smaller talent it isn't like he hasn't seen the guys everyone else has. Harris was a playmaker on that team for a few years, I took a liking to him in his sophomore year and have kept an eye on him sense. I doubt we do it this year but I think we dump Roy next year and Dwayne takes up the Slot Role and becomes a star.
7. Shaun Chappas--Eh, not sexy, don't know a whole lot about the guy. But instantly can think of a great nickname for any time he messes up or does well.... (Chappy)
7. Bill Nagy--Did I read right that he didn't start at Wisconsin? I like the way Wisconsin blocks and how it relates to us but doubt he makes much of an impact, at the very least it gives us competition at backup Center because God knows we need it.
Overall my feelings about this draft were mixed. The fact that we drafted Tyron first and not someone like Cameron Jordan or Prince was a great start, then there were selections in the mid rounds that I wasn't too excited about but are growing on me.
1. Tyron Smith:
I think D started the bandwagon, I wasn't far behind and firm on being a big fan through the most of the off-season. I know some people have their questions, but he was the #1 OT in the draft for a reason, so instead of drafting a safe, high floor guy to be solid on the right like Castanzo or Camiri we get a guy with all the tools to be one of the better tackles in the league.
I don't care where he plays. I would prefer to put him at Right, some say he is a natural LT. Screw that. Tons of top 10 LT's start on the right hand side to begin their career whether they are better suited to be a pass rusher or a mauler, some end up staying there, some switch back over. Oher was a LT to everyone, got drafted and played his entire rookie season as a RT and was great, struggled on the left. Jason Smith is the most athletic Tackle probably in years and he started on the right too.
Free doesn't need to bounce around back and forth. He played great on the left side, he's the veteran now, experienced, he needs to be playing the most important position. Sorry but I'm not ready to just thrust Tyron into that role as a rookie, and if he pans out on the right who cares? Pass rushers come from all over, I'll take two great pass blocking Tackles on bookends for the future though.
That said, did I want to trade up for Peterson? Ummm hell yea. Maybe in hindsight sitting on Tyron was the best option, but I wanted to give AZ a call at #5 and I don't think it would have costed more then our 3rd and something next season. But Tackle was a huge need, we pass the ball a ton, and Columbo is such garbage.
2. Bruce Carter:
I still don't know how to feel about this pick at all. On one hand I'm looking at all the guys available I wanted:
and I see this, and I immediately don't like it. Seriously, Brandon Harris in the 2nd round? Instant orgasm. Then I hear some analyst talking about the pick saying he would have been a top 15 pick if not for injury, so if he's Bradie's future replacement there is no big rush.
I too like D had no clue what position he was playing. Initially I thought it was gonna be OLB and wanted to throw up, when I found out it was ILB I felt a ton better, but there were guys available who would have been much better value to us short term and long term. Can't we draft Bradie's replament when he's actually gone?
I just feel like he could be a really good pick for us, so I can't be too upset, but between who was there, what positions we could have addressed, I still do not find myself too happy.
3. Demarco Murray
Instantly when I saw the pick I was ecstatic. Maybe it's because I was always a fan of Murray even early in the process, maybe it's because I knew Barber was gone, or maybe it was due to the fact that I know Murray can make plays and put points on the board. Judging by our CB's and Safeties we are gonna have to outscores teams, and Murray helps do that. I also think he's much better then a 3rd round player, and it has nothing to do with what draftniks say, Murray has exceptional vision and cutting ability and will be scoring TD's from all over the field for us, can't be upset with that for a 3rd rd value.
Then the more and more I think about it I think about how we drafted a guy who is basically a Felix Jones lite. Then I think about how Murray is as likely to get injured as the sun is to come up every day, kinda like Felix Jones. So it was surprising to say the least.
Murray as a freshman at OU was alot better then he was coming out, which you don't really like to hear, but it's true. Not always a fault to him, but the injuries made him a 3rd rounder when he was a top 20 type of player. I guess he's insurance for Felix, because I don't see many times Choice and Felix will be off the field if there is no Barber.
Murray is a much better banger and inside runner then Felix, and in my humble opinion would be better suited to "carry the load" if asked to then Felix would. He was a bellcow for OU, and even at Arkansas Felix was a change of pace. The NFL is about scoring points, lining up with play-makers all over make things confusing for the defense.
There was also the case of who was available, that makes this pick sting even shorterm:
Curtis Brown(who is an instant starter and 10x the prospect Josh Smith was)
Nate Irving(who went a few picks b4, but would have been better in the 3rd then Bruce Carter in the 2nd)
While I see the positives of Murray and the pick, I'd easily take any of these guys over him and just plugging in a late round or UDFA RB. Allen Bailey could have been deadly in our defense, Brown is at worst a solid #2 CB for his career, Ellis was one of the big men I wanted and Moffitt is a day 1 starter inside. As a matter of fact the more I talk about it the more I don't see why we didn't take 1 of those guys.
I trust Garrett because I know he was behind this selection, and if he can come in and make big plays for the offense it keeps the chains moving. I am not hating the idea of Romo with a better protected line, another play-maker at RB vs the solid 2 yards of Barber, and Dez going into year 2.
4. David Arkin:
Knew very little about him when he was picked, but the way Todd McShay or Trent Dilfer(I can't recall atm but whoever was watching ESPN would know) was showering him with praise it made me feel alot better about the pick. I'm not gonna act like I know more then the Scouting dept does, but seeing Marcus Cannon available and taking him made me upset to say the least. 4th round was already great value, and IMO Cannon was ready to start from day 1, Arkin is a project.
That's my 1 knock on him. It'd be a real leap of faith to expect him to be ready to start at Guard by week 1, I wanted a week 1 new starter at Guard pretty badly out of this draft. That said, maybe we liked the guy and not having a FA hindered us.
For instance, if we signed Justin Blalock then drafted Arkin, I'd feel alot better about the pick so I'll try and not be too hard. I still feel like we need to push hard to land a starting quality Guard in FA.
5. Josh Thomas:
OK, little long to wait on taking a CB and that didn't sit well with me. I mean, I like Josh Thomas and was looking at him but I just don't feel comfortable about our first CB going in the 5th, were not always gonna get lucky with an Orlando Scandrick type and to be honest Scandrick showed alot of people why he was a late rounder by leveling off after his rookie season.
CB is a position I feel like you should address early if you want a starter, late for depth. I do know Chykie Brown was sitting here and to me offers elite starting CB potential longterm and has all the tools of a #1 CB. I would have much rather gambled on him without a doubt, call me a homer but I'm positive we'll look back and say how we could have taken him.
He'll definately be a guy I'm rooting for to win me over, but not expecting. That said, if we hadn't taken a CB in this round I was gonna be losing it, by waiting this long we had no choice but to take our bpa CB in this round IMO.
6. Dwayne Harris:
Way to rebound off of a few lackluster picks. Harris was a blessing of a pick, I have been wanting a guy EXACTLY like him for 2-3 years now. He'll instantly be able to do all of the things Patrick Crayton did for us except better, and add another play-maker for Garrett to play with.
Alot of credit goes to the 1 Titan fan who was repping Harris in his sig for years now, maybe it was TitanHope, but it got me to looking into him and I had wanted him for a long time. Roy is gonna get fazed out of the picture in no time, don't let the round he was picked in fool you guys because I believe he has a big time role on our team.
He'll ideally play in the slot between Austin and Dez, and his skillset works perfectly there as far as opening things up for the entire offense. He typically works the middle of the field like no other, and is gonna create matchup problems all over the place. He'll compete to return punts and possibly kick offs. We have been lacking this type of guy on our team for a very long time and we found him.
All of that being said, the value was excellent, as I expected him to be gone by now, and to be quite honest I don't see a huge difference between him and a ton of the WR's drafted in rounds 2-4. I mean, I like Greg Little, Randall Cobb, and Austin Pettis but for the value Harris is gonna end up producing more and IMO those guys don't offer alot more.
Look at Jerel Jernigan, he was taken in the 3rd round to do almost exactly the same thing were gonna do with Dwayne Harris. Did anyone honestly believe there is a 3 round discrepancy between the two players, and what they would provide for an offense before the draft?
7. Bill Nagy:
Loved that he played for a big time school, I like that for late round picks. Love that he played in an offense that ran the ball a ton, and love that he has some G/C versatility. It's a depth pick, can't expect more. We needed depth there, maybe we get lucky.
The one thing that really stings about this draft, is that Jerrell Powe lasted until late in the 6th round and he could have been a big time player. Maybe we really like Josh-Brent and I think Powe is only a NT not a DE, but I think he was better then that round indicated.
I also saw alot of players available with the Murray pick that I think will hurt. I'm not real confident with us drafting 2nd rounders but overall this draft I feel was pretty solid with a chance to be elite or terrible. We made the right call in the top 10 though and that's what it was about.
This would have been my ideal "hindsight" best case scenario mock:
1. Tyron Smith
2. Brandon Harris
3. Allen Bailey
4. Marcus Cannon
5. Mark LeGree
6. Dwayne Harris
Legree was a big sleeper I talked about awhile ago, really good range and speed and makes plays on the ball. Why didn't we take a shot on a Safety at all? I guess we plan on signing Huff for sure then but we still need 1 more. Wanted a high upside DE like Bailey late we could bring along slow. Wanted a higher rated CB, Harris should have been a 1st rounder. Cannon was well worth the risk as soon as the 3rd round started and he is alot better suited to play in year 1 then Arkin.
That would have left out ILB and RB, the two positions we really took but were probably bpa anyway. We can find an UDFA RB pretty easily and if we had waited to take an ILB he would just have to be a higher pick next year. Burfict is gonna be there if you wanted to make a move up.
Maybe we didn't know how the board would fall, but something similiar to this would have made me alot happier.
I agree with a lot of your points. However, as for Cannon...while his cancer is treatable, that doesnt mean his first year of football will even be this year...if he plays at all. The guy just started cancer treatment...it's not going to be an easy road back. I would love for him to be ready, but I really doubt we'll see him as early as this year.
And I dont think we view Murray as "insurance" for Felix...I think the writing is on the wall for not only Barber, but Choice as well. A lot of people seem to think he may take Barber's carries as early as this year. Choice seems to have burned some bridges in Dallas, maybe he's just not in the cards anymore.
I like the first round pick. Not sure how Bruce C. translates to a 34 defense. I always thought of him as a 43 LB. I am not sure how he will do as a 34 OLB.
And I think Murray is a decent pick. A good 3rd down player, but again not sure. There was better players on the board in my opinion. A lot of OL prospects that could have helped and gave you good depth.
Carter was drafted to play 34 WILB. He's exactly the type of LB they've been seeking at the position. They tried to find this player two years ago in Jason Williams, but he just didnt grasp the pro game like they had hoped.
Gonna just try to add some info that I have on these guys.
1. Tyron Smith - best OT...better simple.
2. Bruce Carter - I can't explain how happy I was about this pick. I didn't see the fit because I thought of Sean Lee as a WILB also...that said Lee played a lot of SILB at the end of the year also....so I think we look at him more for that position. Carter's physicals were reported as being ahead of schedule he might actually be cleared to play earlier than expected. That said he's nothing besides a special teamer and maybe nickle player year one.
3. Demarco Murray - Like everyone else I can't say I really saw this coming...but this pick just goes to show where we are going. I wouldn't say this is BPA regardless of need like D-Unit said....I think RB was a need position. Barber never earned his contract good bye. Felix does have an injury history...and who knows what Choice did to get on Garretts bad side...but it looks like that fumble could have cut his time in dallas short. Needless to say Murray gives us versatility and flexibility. This pick makes a lot of sense when you hear the FO talk about it.
4. David Arkin - Interior Ol with versatility and starting potential...seems too good to be true.
5. Josh Thomas - "** The Cowboys had some inside info on fifth-round cornerback Josh Thomas. He played for secondary coach Brett Maxie at the East-West Shrine Game. Thomas said the two hit it off immediately. You can’t discount the info coaches can get from working hands on with prospects on the practice field and in the meeting room. Reading scouting reports and listening to him talk, Thomas reminds me of Orlando Scandrick. " -Todd Archer
6. Dwayne Harris - bye bye oggletree. You also found yourself in garretts dog house last year...well they just drafted your replacement. Harris is a terror to bring down in the open field....seems like another patrick crayton to me. Since he can play inside and play special teams...something that oggletree doesn't do well.
7. Shaun Chapas - I thought Garrett liked Gronkowski more than he should...maybe he's proving me wrong. Interesting to see who wins this TC battle.
8. Bill Nagy - Good story....be interesting to see if he can make the team.
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