Dallas Cowboys' Wish List for the 2013 NFL Draft
The NFL draft is all about getting it right.
You have seven picks and if you don’t hit on some of them, then you cripple the future contention of your organization.
The Dallas Cowboys have to get this one right.
With a ton of needs and nothing in terms of cap space, the NFL draft is the only means of player acquisition for them. There are many very solid draft prospects that could send this team back into the level of contention it desires.
The question is: Will the Cowboys land them?
I’ve put together a “wish list” the Cowboys should have. The list contains the preferred prospects in each round.
Let's hope they get it right.
First-Round Wish List
Sheldon Richardson NFL Player Comparison
Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Richardson is a dynamic 3-technique that has dominated the SEC. He has exceptional burst off the line and a deep arsenal of pass-rushing moves. Richardson has the speed and power to dominate in both the run and pass. He will immediately emerge as one of the best young lineman in the league.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Cooper is an athletic offensive guard. He is exceptional when pulling and can be an impact blocker when he gets to the second level. He is solid in all blocking schemes and techniques. He is among the best guards in the league and will cement the line of the team that drafts him as one of the best in the NFL for years to come.
Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fisher may be the best tackle in this draft after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl thus far. He is a stonewall lineman who is almost impossible to beat. He uses excellent technique and possesses great size. He’s fundamentally sound in terms of hand placement and footwork and is athletic enough to keep with speed rushers. Watch for Fisher if he falls to the Cowboys. He could pair with Tyron Smith as the best young duo in the NFL.
Second-Round Wish List
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Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Wagner is an athletic tackle that is a product of a offensive line factory in Wisconsin. He is a strong, mean tackle who is aggressive in the trenches. While he isn’t as polished as some of the top guys in the draft, he has great size, strength and athleticism. Wagner could come into Dallas and immediately challenge for the starting right tackle spot.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
A physical specimen, Hunt is one of the most athletic defensive linemen in this draft. Hunt has the size and raw power to dominate as the 4-3 end. He is still raw but shows excellent talent as a pass-rusher and in pursuit. Hunt needs coaching, but his potential is limitless.
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Williams is a bit big but he could be a valuable 1-technique in the Tampa 2 defense. He is athletic and strong at the point of attack. He can command the line of scrimmage and maintain multiple blocks. He can also make stops in the gap effectively. Williams is a strong player who might fall due to depth at position. If he were to fall, Dallas would be thrilled to grab him here.
Wild Card: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
I’m aware that the Cowboys don’t need a cornerback at this point. However, there is a possibility that Orlando Scandrick could be moved for salary cap reasons. Trufant is a player who really opened my eyes these past two days. He has been physical and fiery at the Senior Bowl. He consistently stymies highly touted receivers and can be a dynamic playmaker, especially in the slot.
Third-Round Wish List
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T.J. McDonald, S, USC
McDonald is a dynamic and versatile safety who does everything well. He played for the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin at USC. McDonald is rangy enough to be a playmaker in deep coverage and physical enough to be a factor against the run. His skill set projects him as NFL ready from day one, and he could add a dimension of fear to the Cowboys’ safety group again.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
Short is a huge pillar as an interior lineman. He has a long arms and dominates offensive linemen at the point of attack. He is powerful and athletic enough to be a player if asked to rush the passer. As a 1-technique, Short can clog gaps and take on numerous blocks.
Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Warford came in a little sloppy at the Senior Bowl, but there is no mistaking the power that accompanies his size. He is a rock on the offensive line that has strong hands and a wide frame. He sees defenses well and initiates the right blocks. He maintains excellent balance and displays excellent pop in his blocks.
Fourth-Round Wish List
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Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
Probably an undervalued prospect in this draft, Bray has one of the best arms amongst all quarterback prospects. Bray’s talent is undeniable but questions surround him off the field. He is a prototype pocket passer who can make every NFL throw. He struggles with decision-making but projects as the perfect developmental quarterback.
Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina
Williams is your typical North Carolina lineman. He is big, strong and athletic. He can get to the next level with relative ease and handles speed defenders exceptionally well. Williams is a highly graded prospect that will fall because of the depth at offensive tackle. He has great size and works hard to get better.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Lattimore was the top running back prospect in this draft before a disastrous leg injury ended his season. While some remain unsure about his future, you can’t deny his talent. It’s likely that Lattimore won’t play in 2013, but with the advancement in physical therapy treatments and NFL teams’ access to them, Lattimore becomes a good risk. If he can come back from this injury, Lattimore will give a team an elite every-down back that can dominate opponents.
Fifth-Round Wish List
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Jordan Hill, DT, Penn St.
Probably wishful thinking for Hill to drop this far but it is a “wish list.” Hill is a strong player with a high motor. Great initial burst off the line and effective in the gaps. Could be an every down 1- or 3-technique in a 4-3 scheme.
David Quessenberry, OT/G, San Jose State
Quessenberry is a relative unknown as far as draft prospects go. He is an offensive tackle who projects better as a guard. Quessenberry is a fantastic run-blocker with great field recognition. He is smart when playing angles and can handle all types of pass-rushers. Additionally, Quessenberry is an above-average pass-blocker who good athleticism and footwork. He has long arms and uses his hands well. He is an underrated player to be excited about in the future.
Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
Porter is an interesting prospect whose value ranges all over draft boards. He is a tough player who excels in pursuit. He is decent in coverage but really lives by his instincts. He sheds blocks well and penetrates offensive gaps with ease. Porter has above-average speed and is one of the better all-around linebackers in the draft.
Sixth-Round Wish List
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Jones is a interior defensive lineman that was rotated in a strong Georgia defensive line. Jones will continue to be an underrated prospect because of the players that were around him in college. He has good size and excellent athleticism. He isn’t overly powerful, but he’s strong enough to command attention. He can be tough while rushing the passer and can still be a factor against the run. I’m not sure that he can be an every-down interior lineman, but he can be a darn good rotational one with upside.
Harper is an interesting prospect. He isn’t overly big, strong or fast. He doesn’t have elite attributes or skill set. Harper lives in football by sheer will and hard work. To me, he wants to succeed more than any player that lines up against him and that’s why he wins. Harper knows how to play football and can be a very fun prospect to watch develop. The Cowboys would love to welcome him to their receiving group at such a value.
Cave is a questionable prospect at center. The Cowboys have deep need at his position and will likely give him a look. Cave doesn’t do anything exceptionally well and even in drills he doesn’t look like a strong prospect. When the game rolls around however, he seems to be all-in. He makes all the calls, recognizes defensive schemes and can maintain blocks. He isn’t a dominant lineman but a serviceable one who works well amongst his team. He is worth a look as the Cowboys need help here desperately.
Note: The Cowboys have no seventh-round pick because of the acquisition of Ryan Cook from the Miami Dolphins.