If you told me the Dallas Cowboys would make it out of the first three rounds with three offensive players, two at skill positions, I would have told you that you were crazy. With the selections of Wisconsin center Travis Frederick, San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar and Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams, however, the ‘Boys did just that.
Dallas added Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox as Monte Kiffin’s first “new toy” with their final pick in the third round.
Let’s see which direction the ‘Boys might go during the draft’s final day. For the sake of variance, I’ll project different players than those I predicted in last night’s mock draft—Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson (actually off of the board), Michigan State tight end Dion Sims and South Carolina defensive end Devin Taylor.
The Cowboys still need to look at upgrading the right tackle position. Doug Free will be out of Dallas in 2013, in my estimation, and Jermey Parnell isn’t anything more than potential right now.
The Cowboys will probably add a free agent, but San Jose State tackle David Quessenberry would make for a great selection as well. From my scouting report on Quessenberry:
At 6-5, 302 pounds, Quessenberry is a long, lean offensive tackle. He reportedly came to San Jose State at only 240 pounds, so he’s been able to add plenty of bulk to his frame over the years and it appears he can get even bigger and stronger. Quessenberry’s arms are over 34 inches long—a very important trait for an offensive tackle.
I watched all of Quessenberry’s Senior Bowl snaps and many of his practice reps. He’s extremely quick, whether it’s getting into his drop or moving to the second level of the defense. That quickness was reflected in Quessenberry’s short shuttle time of 4.45—one of the best for any offensive lineman. Quessenberry really played well throughout the Senior Bowl practice week, struggling primarily with bigger players like Sylvester Williams (when lined up inside). Quessenberry also got a lot of reps at right tackle, where he looked comfortable.
I love Quessenberry’s potential on the outside, and I think he could fight for a starting job immediately. He was actually the No. 35 overall prospect on my big board, showing you how much I like him.
The Cowboys are going to draft a running back on Saturday. I guarantee it. There’s a good chance that it comes in the fourth round, especially if UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin is still on the board. If they wait until the fifth, though, Mike Gillislee is an attractive option.
Gillislee ran for 1,152 yards in 2012, totaling 4.7 yards per carry. He has decent size at 5'11", 208 pounds, and 4.48 speed to go along with it. Also look out for Vanderbilt running back Zac Stacy in this area.
NFL teams can increase their draft success rate by searching for traits that are predictive of NFL success but not emphasized by other teams. Stansly Maponga is only 6'2" with 4.84 speed, and that will cause him to drop.
In studying historic success for pass-rushers, however, I found that height and speed aren’t nearly as important as arm length. And despite his shorter height, Maponga has long 34" arms.
From my scouting report on Maponga:
Maponga is an athletic defensive end who can get to the passer. A big reason for his drop in 2012 production was that he was double-teamed quite a bit. Freshman defensive end Devonte Fields benefited from that, racking up 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
As a pass-rusher, Maponga is quick off of the snap and displays a wide repertoire of moves. He relies on his speed rush, but he throws a really good spin move off of that—one of the best I’ve seen this year. Maponga is flexible and athletic enough to easily skirt his way around single blocks.
In the running game, Maponga is stouter than his 6-2, 256-pound frame suggests. He uses really good leverage to hold his ground, although he has some trouble disengaging from blocks.
If the Cowboys land Maponga in the sixth round, they’ll be ecstatic.