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Old 05-01-2011, 05:45 AM    (permalink
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Default 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.

Grade: A+

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: B-

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.

Grade: A-

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: B

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.

Grade: C+

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.

Grade: C+
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