It's been a hard week to focus on football. With all the news flooding our country out of Boston and West, Texas, it's been a trying time to say the least.
Yet, somehow in the midst of mayhem, sports relieves us of the everyday chaos that surrounds our lives.
That being said, the NFL Draft lingers just ahead of us. To most football fans, this is a day that allows us to enjoy the start of next year's season. For Dallas Cowboys fans, it is the day in which we find hope that our franchise can take the next step to success.
Jerry Jones has his work cut out for him. The Cowboys aren't without needs. They require upgrades at offensive guard, defensive tackle, safety and running back. Additionally, the Cowboys could use depth everywhere else.
Draftniks and pundits are out there with their mock drafts and rumors. I just want to keep it simple.
After compiling my own "big board," i've been able to produce a round-by-round analysis of Cowboys draft targets.
Let me know what you think.
WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia – Would anyone rule out a pick like this? A bonafide game-breaker.
OG Chance Warmack, Alabama – An elite road-grader with extreme potential.
OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina – Elite prospect with incredible and smooth technique. Very athletic.
OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama – A big right tackle with a nasty streak.
DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State – Pass rushing defense end with upside. Raw but J.J. Watt like ability.
DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri – Explosive 3-tech with non-stop motor.
DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina – Versatile DT who can play all positions. Great work ethic.
S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas – Great speed and technique. Could solidify position for future.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson – Outside guy that would allow Austin to move to slot
WR Terrance Williams, Baylor – Speed reliant guy, needs coaching but solid potential
OT Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff – Athletic guy who would give Cowboys a quick right tackle
OG Kyle Long, Oregon – Raw prospect with good work ethic. Needs coaching
OG Larry Warford, Kentucky – Powerhouse prospect. Limited athleticism, elite strength and anchor.
DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M – Speed-rusher who saw stock fall.
DT Kawann Short, Purdue – Explosive guy who has been very underrated. Position versatile.
DT Jesse Williams, Alabama – 1-tech anchor who can establish LOS
OLB Sio Moore, Connecticut – Great all-around player with versatile skill set.
S Eric Reid, LSU – Tampa 2 prototype?
S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International – Solid skill set, dangerous in all aspects of game.
RB Johnathan Franklin, UCLA – Excellent wheels, might be best all-around back in the draft
RB Giovani Bernard, North Carolina – Shifty all-around back with potential to be top-10 NFL back.
RB Andre Ellington, Clemson – Scat back with upside, can he be three down back?
RB Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State – Tough back, deceptively explosive.
OT Brennan Williams, North Carolina – Athletic and strong. Injury leaves questions.
OG Brian Winters, Kent State – Fast riser, good consolation prize.
OG Justin Pugh, Syracuse – second or third-round tweener, would be first-rounder in less deep class.
OC Barrett Jones, Alabama – Versatile lineman with good position flex. Very high football IQ.
S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse – Good ball skills, needs to work on instincts.
S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State – Rover type strong safety
RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina – Top-10 ability, injury clouds future. I’d bet on him.
WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M – Slot receiver with playmaking ability.
OT Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech – Turning heads with impressive offseason workouts
OT/OG David Quessenberry, San Jose State – Versatile guy, flashes solid play.
DE Devin Taylor, South Carolina – Freakish athlete. Big sleeper.
DT Jordan Hill, Penn State – 3-tech who can be disruptive as a pass-rusher.
DT Montori Hughes, Tennessee-Martin – Huge 1-tech with good pass-rushing skills.
OLB Sean Porter, Texas A&M – SAM backer with all-around skill set.
S J.J. Wilcox, Georgia Southern – Sleeper prospect, excellent ball skills.
S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma – Good ball skills, not good size.
I've combined the fifth and sixth rounds not because of rankings but because of team unpredictability during these rounds. Typically, teams aren't looking for player ranking but instead a specific skill set that would upgrade their team.
Here is the list:
RB Stepfan Taylor, Stanford – Underrated balanced running back with good vision
RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State. – See Stepfan Taylor
WR Conner Vernon, Duke – Good height, weight, speed guy.
WR Josh Boyce, TCU – Speed receiver with flashy playmaking skills. Must improve hands.
TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn – Excellent blocker with decent hands.
OG Alvin Bailey, Arkansas– Once an elite guard prospect, Bailey might be worth a look late.
OC Khaled Holmes, USC – Need something for the future at the position.
DE Joe Kruger, Utah – Balanced guy with good size and potential. Brother is in NFL.
OLB Gerald Hodges, Penn State – Penn State linebacker, need I say more?
OLB Michael Mauti, Penn State – See above
CB Micah Hyde, Iowa – Underrated corner. Good cover skills, willing tackler.
S Earl Wolff, North Carolina State. – Good ball skills, well-disciplined with good instincts.
S T.J. McDonald, USC – Bad coverage skills, dynamic in run support.