We still have more than eight hours until the NFL Draft, and it can’t come fast enough. Seriously. All this buildup, say the names already. Can’t believe we have to wait until 8 p.m. Eastern to get this rolling.
But still, while we’re just hanging out, might as well be productive. So, I’m based here in Dallas for NFL Network, and I’ve been at Valley Ranch with the Cowboys all week. And when we last heard from them, owner Jerry Jones sounded pretty open about whether he’d move up or down in the draft.
He thought with the new rookie wage scale, there would be more movement than ever.
“If we had a chance to gain on it and add value, we wouldn’t hesitate at all to trade down,” Jones said yesterday. “And, again, I don’t want to be just totally generic here, but certainly if it’s there and we have an opportunity, we would give some picks and go up.”
Still, my best guess is that the Cowboys stay put at 14 and simply select the best player they can find. With that in mind, here is a breakdown of four players I hear they are considering:
Alabama S Mark Barron — This is the obvious one. And yes, this is the Cowboys first choice. A big, tall, physical safety who can play close to the line and also cover, Barron is an old-school safety who can also cover tight ends. In this division, in every division, that’s big. He’s not the most athletic player ever, but one scout told me, “His intangibles are insane.” In other words, he moves before the snap and thinks for his teammates. He’ll make this improving secondary better.
The Cowboys have made no secret of their love for Barron, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett just went to one Pro Day — Alabama’s. If Barron is there, they’re grabbing him. Sure, rumors are flying that he could be gone to No. 10 at the Bills. Potentially. They are nervous he could be gone. But it’s tough to put a lot of stock in pre-draft rumors. Wait and see on this one.
LSU DE Michael Brockers — The Cowboys love the 6-foot-5, 320-something pounder from LSU, even though he’s young and relatively unproven. And yes, even though he barely rushed the passer at LSU, playing mostly on first- and second-downs. They believe he can rush the passer, even if he didn’t show it much. With the Tigahs, they rotate so many linemen, everyone just has a role. Brockers is a Cowboys fan (and that’s kinda cool), and he doesn’t have many questions marks. That’s why they spent tons of time with Barron, but just decided at the last minute to bring in Brockers. And they barely showed interest in him on the road. Make no mistake, interest is there.
He’s a perfect five-technique for this scheme, and he’d take pressure off pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, tying up blockers and setting the edge. I’m not saying he’s Richard Seymour, but the comparisons are fairly obvious. If Barron is gone, this could be the direction the Cowboys head. And it would help immediately.
Stanford G David DeCastro — There is nothing exciting or sexy about this dude. It’s not even like he’s a left tackle. Just a guard, ho hum. Well, not exactly. Scouts think DeCastro is a complete player, an NFL-ready guy who would immediately protect the left side of that offensive think. Think about him alongside budding star (and this year’s left tackle) Tyron Smith, last year’s No. 9 pick. That’s a pretty stout left side that will make Tony Romo better.
Romo joked this week that “As long as people don’t touch you I don’t think it matters at all” who is on the line. True. If it’s DeCastro next to Smith, that may be the case. The only thing here is, the Cowboys just signed two guards in free agency, and center is still a bit of an iffy spot. So, DeCastro could play center for a year, then move to guard. Scouts think he’s smart enough to do it.
Georgia G/T Cordy Glenn — This is the wildcard, a name that didn’t come out until very recently. Glenn has rarely, if ever, been linked to the Cowboys, but make no mistake. The interest is real. At 6-foot-5, 345-pounds, he was Georgia’s starting left tackle last year and one of the best in college football. But my information is that the Cowboys see him as a guard immediately. He is a fantastic puller who is incredibly light on his feet for a big monster. A dancing bear, you might call him.
It sounds like a curious pick considering they have two tackles from last year who are good, and two new guards from free agency. But perhaps this is why Jones said, “We wouldn’t hesitate at all if we got the opportunity to draft to what would look like a long position on this team whether it would be a running back or what, we wouldn’t hesitate in a minute if we had a good opportunity to get a top player.”
Should be fun…