Dallas Cowboys: Breaking Down the Cowboys' Second-Round 2013 NFL Draft Prospects
The NFL draft is about more than just the first round. There is talent hidden all over in every round.
It’s up to the Cowboys to find it.
We’ve already taken a look at the first-round prospects the Cowboys will have available to them. Now, it only makes sense to take it a step further.
The Cowboys need starters in this draft. 2013 is a big offseason for the franchise and this draft is going to be huge for its future plans of contention.
So in a continuation of a series of articles, I’m breaking down the Cowboys' top second-round prospects.
It’s the second round, and the Cowboys are now on the clock.
Next Article (2/2/13): Dallas Cowboys: Breaking Down the Cowboys’ Third-Round 2013 NFL Prospects
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Weight: 310 lbs
Wagner is a big offensive tackle that is a product of a very good Wisconsin lineman factory. Wagner is a an athletic player who has a basketball background. He possesses decent footwork and good hand placement in blocks.
Wagner is a dominant run-blocker who is working hard to improve his pass-blocking efficiency. He is strong and can use his long arms to separate himself from defenders. He projects as a versatile player who can play both tackle spots with good upside.
How He Fits
The Cowboys will be looking for a replacement for Doug Free, who was the worst offensive lineman the Cowboys had this season. Wagner could easily fit into that role and eventually develop into a viable starter down the road.
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
Weight: 280 lbs
Jones is a rising prospect who stood out in the Senior Bowl practices. He is a dynamic defensive end with great versatility to play inside if he needed to.
Jones has a nice combination of size, strength and athleticism. He has an explosive first step and has excellent closing speed. Great acceleration makes him tough for offensive linemen to handle. When he does engage in blocks, he’s able to shed quickly with his combination of power and speed rush techniques.
Jones has a non-stop motor and would vastly improve an NFL defensive line.
How He Fits
The Cowboys are switching to the 4-3 defense and Jones projects as the perfect strong defensive end. He has a brilliant combination skill set that makes him an every down player. The Cowboys would get excellent value on a huge talent in the second round by selecting Jones.
Kyle Long, OT, Oregon
Weight: 305 lbs
Long is a raw prospect who is shooting up draft boards. I believe he fits best here in the second round.
He is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long and the brother of Chris Long of the St. Louis Rams. Long has exceptional size and above average athleticism. He isn’t a dominant blocker but is good in both schemes and shows the promise of growth.
Long might require coaching, but he understands football well and has been very good for a dynamic Oregon offense.
How He Fits
The justification here isn’t much different than that of Wagner. Long projects as a solid offensive tackle that can be dominant with more seasoning at a high level. He would instantly fill in a starter role on the right side of the line. Long is better than Free is right now and could end up being a smart investment.
Eric Reid, S, LSU
Weight: 212 lbs
There is a ton to love about Reid. He is a range safety who has tremendous ball skills. He reacts to the ball well and can diagnose plays as they’re happening. He is quick and experienced in big games.
Reid is also a fantastic player in the box. He has good pursuit skills and is a hard hitter. He’s the type of player that offenses have to continually account for. He will be a playmaker at the next level.
Reid is coming off of a down season mostly due to the absence of Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu. Reid is best as a deep coverage safety and being reunited with strong cornerbacks will maximize his impact.
How He Fits
Reid’s skill set is tailor-made for Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense. He is a rangy guy who can create turnovers and disguise his blitz. If selected, he could become the most dangerous safety the Cowboys have had in years.
Trade Up Target: Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama
Weight: 311 lbs
Jones is a first-round athlete that will likely drop due to depth and injury. He has played all three offensive line positions and is the most versatile lineman in this draft.
When you watch Jones, you can’t deny his talent. He maintains good balance and displays excellent technique. He’s athletic, smart and strong. Excellent technique through hand placement and footwork are what makes him elite.
Jones is a hard-working, team-first type player. He is a leader on an offensive line and the type of player that coaches can gush over. Higher rated defensive linemen beat him, but there is a belief that Jones can turn into an elite lineman.
Awesome in pass protection and athletic in run-blocking, Jones gets to the next level quickly and makes punishing blocks. Most project him as center at the next level, but I also believe he can be a very good right guard.
How He Fits
The Cowboys have a lot of needs on the offensive line and Jones can fit all of them. To me, Jones is a sure starter at either guard or center. Even if he doesn’t pan out, however, you have a reliable depth guy who can play all positions and maximizes active roster space. The benefits far outweigh the risks for the offensive lineman with an elite skill set.
Trade Up Target: Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
Weight: 333 lbs
Warford is another prospect that is shooting up draft boards after a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl.
Warford is an excellent consolation prize if you can’t land Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper. He is a mountain of a man that is practically immovable on the line. Despite his big strong frame that leaves defenders stymied, he is athletic enough to be effective when pulling.
Warford is the complete package. He can pass protect well and is just as dynamic when blocking for the run game. He isn’t a graceful player to watch—he’s very gritty and mean. One thing to love about him is the intensity and attitude he plays the game with. He is the type of player who can anchor a line.
How He Fits
Warford would instantly plug in at right guard and would become a nasty run-blocker for DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys definitely need an upgrade at the offensive guard position and they would look at Warford if they go for a defensive lineman in the first. It would be a good move to make and one that fans should be excited about.