Rick Gosselin, live on The Ticket, says he was the best kicker at the combine.
The Cowboys have already re-signed Martin Gramatica and they have former Dallas Desperados kicker Carlos Martinez on the roster as well.
More importantly, in a draft that was reportedly deep in wide receivers and cornerbacks — both positions where the Cowboys could have used some youth and depth — the Cowboys have picked zero of either. Yet they took a quarterback/wide receiver project on nobody’s top 100 list and the third rated kicker in the draft.
Another head scratcher. Granted, a 6th round pick is always a reach. But this is hardly a position of need nor was Folk a can’t-pass-up kicking prospect.
I’m pretty sure that a pick is a reach if the guy isn’t even included in NFL.com’s database of draft prospects. I don’t get a kicker, period, but I really don’t understand taking one not named Mason Crosby.
UPDATE AFTER GOOGLE SEARCH: Folk is 6-1, 215 pounds, so my guess is that Jerry is looking to upgrade the blocking at kicker after Martin Gramatica’s season-destroying whiff on Seattle’s Jordan Babaineaux.
He does provide this video of Folk kicking a longish game winner against BYU:
Mickey Spagnola notes on The Ticket that Folk was both a punter and kicker in school. Goose notes that he was by far the best kickoff guy at the combine. Still, the Cowboys have a Pro Bowl punter in Mat McBriar, who they’ve just re-signed to a long term deal in the offseason.
Strengths: Has a strong leg, can connect on long-range field goal attempts and gets good distance on kickoffs. Confident and shown the ability to come through in high-pressure situations. Has experience punting and is versatile.
Weaknesses: Though has improved in this area misses some field goal attempts inside 40 yards and accuracy is somewhat inconsistent. Kicks the ball too low at times and is vulnerable to getting blocked.
Overall: Folk arrived at Arizona in 2002 and was redshirted. In 2003, he played in 10 games, taking over as the fulltime place-kicker for the final four contests, made eight of eight extra point attempts, and missed all three field goal attempts. Folk won the starting job in 2004 for all 11 games, made 18 of 18 extra point attempts and eight of 13 field goal attempts (long; 53 yards). In 2005, he became an honorable mention All-Pac 10 performer after converting 31 of 33 extra point attempts and seven of 11 field goal attempts (long; 51 yards) in 11 contests. Folk made all 22 extra point attempts and 15 of 20 field goal attempts (long; 52 yards) in 2006 to earn first team All-Pac 10 accolades while playing in 12 games. For his career, Folk has also punted 96 times for 4,242 yards (44.2 average), with a long of 78 yards, and 36 punts downed inside the 20-yardline. Additionally, he kicked off 140 times with 83 touchbacks during the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons.
There is some concern about Folk’s accuracy but he missed just one field goal attempt inside 40 yards his senior year. He has excellent range and he is versatile. Folk projects as a late-round pick or rookie free agent.
Folk is on the phone with the gang on The Ticket. He says the Cowboys did express some interest in him and that he felt like he’d be drafted because he had so many good games late in his career. He was amused when confronted by the quote from an anonymous Cowboys official who had previously stated, “It’ll be a cold day in Hell before the Cowboys pick a kicker in the draft.”
He said he had several kicks blocked in college but it’s because his line really sucked. (He didn’t quite use those words and declined to throw any specific team mates under the bus. But that was the gist of it.)
1(175) Oakland Orenthal O’Neal FB ARKANSAS STATE
2(176) Denver (from Detroit) Rufus Alexander OLB OKLAHOMA
3(177) NY Jets (from Tampa Bay) Jacob Bender OT NICHOLLS STATE
4(178) Dallas (from Cleveland) Nick Folk PK ARIZONA
5(179) Washington HB Blades ILB PITTSBURGH
6(180) New England (from Arizona) Justin Rogers ILB SMU
7(181) Miami Reagan Mauia FB HAWAII
8(182) Tampa Bay (from Minnesota) Adam Hayward ILB PORTLAND STATE
9(183) Houston Kasey Studdard OG TEXAS
10(184) Buffalo John Wendling S WYOMING
11(185) Atlanta Trey Lewis DT WASHBURN
12(186) San Francisco Thomas Clayton RB KANSAS STATE
13(187) Cincinnati Matt Toeaina DT OREGON
14(188) Tennessee Joel Filani WR TEXAS TECH
15(189) NY Giants Adam Koets OT OREGON STATE
16(190) St. Louis Kendrick Shackleford OT GEORGIA
17(191) Green Bay (from Carolina through NY Jets) Korey Hall ILB BOISE STATE
18(192) Green Bay (from Pittsburgh) Desmond Bishop ILB CALIFORNIA
19(193) Green Bay Mason Crosby PK COLORADO
20(194) Atlanta (from Jacksonville) David Irons CB AUBURN
21(195) Dallas Deon Anderson FB CONNECTICUT
22(196) Kansas City Herbert Taylor OT TCU
23(197) Seattle Courtney Taylor WR AUBURN
24(198) Atlanta (from Denver through Atlanta) Doug Datish OC OHIO STATE
25(199) Miami (from New Orleans) Drew Mormino OC CENTRAL MICHIGAN
26(200) Cleveland (from New York Jets through Dallas) Melila Purcell DE HAWAII
27(201) Philadelphia Rashad Barksdale CB ALBANY
28(202) New England Mike Richardson CB NOTRE DAME
29(203) Atlanta (from Baltimore through Atlanta) Daren Stone S MAINE
30(204) Tennessee (from San Diego) Jacob Ford DE CENTRAL ARKANSAS
31(205) Washington (from Chicago) Jordan Palmer QB UTEP
32(206) Tennessee (from Indianapolis) Ryan Smith CB FLORIDA
33(207) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Prescott Burgess OLB MICHIGAN
34(208) New England (Compensatory selection) Justin Hairston RB CENTRAL CONNECTICUT
35(209) New England (Compensatory selection) Corey Hilliard OT OKLAHOMA STATE
36(210) Seattle (Compensatory selection) Jordan Kent WR OREGON
â€¢ The Mike Vanderjagt experiment in Dallas clearly didn’t work out last year, and the inconsistent Martin Gramatica isn’t getting any younger, so Dallas picked up PK Nick Folk out of Arizona. Folk has the power to connect on long-distance field goal attempts and to kick off, but there are some concerns about his accuracy. Given the recent kicking history in Dallas, it’s important he gets off to a strong start.
â€¢ Pittsburgh ILB HB Blades is a great value in the sixth round, but the Redskins selecting him comes as a surprise. Though Blades reads his keys quickly, takes the shortest path to the ball and tackles well, he is undersized and is going to get engulfed at times. More importantly, Washington has so many needs and so few picks that it can’t afford to just take the best value at this point. This team still needs a defensive end who can get after the passer like Central Arkansas’ Jacob Ford, who was drafted by Tennessee later in the round.
â€¢ Houston had filled its most pressing needs by this point, so it could afford to take the best available player. On their board, that was Texas OG Kasey Studdard, a tough drive blocker who plays with a mean streak. The only problem is Studdard doesn’t have great strength or athletic ability, so he is a reach here. Notre Dame’s Dan Santucci is a better prospect at guard and was still available.
â€¢ Buffalo took Wyoming DS John Wendling, who has the range to cover the deep half of the field and fills hard when he reads run. He could emerge as a playmaker, but he hasn’t made the most of his natural ability at this point, and the Bills should be concerned about his tackling as well as the level of competition he faced at Wyoming.
â€¢ Tennessee already has drafted two receivers at this point, but it needed plenty of help at that position coming into the draft. This is exactly where Texas Tech’s Joel Filani was projected, making this a decent pick. Filani could have problems separating from man coverage in a pro-style offense, though, because he played in a spread, pass-heavy scheme and isn’t very explosive. However, he’s big enough to shield defenders from the ball, and he catches the ball well, which means he could become a productive red zone target. Perhaps more importantly, he is expected to make an impact on special teams.
â€¢ It was the Green Bay show during picks 17 though 19 of the sixth round. With the first of their three picks in a row, the Packers took Boise State ILB Korey Hall. Hall is tough and quick, but he doesn’t have great size or speed, so it’s unlikely he ever will develop into an every-down player. Cal’s ILB Desmond Bishop went next to Green Bay. While Bishop doesn’t have great range either, he is bigger and is a stronger hitter. Finally, the Packers took Colorado PK Mason Crosby, who has rare range and can connect from long-distance, so he should be an upgrade over Dave Rayner. However, he isn’t fundamentally solid and has to get rid of the ball more quickly or he might have some field goal attempts blocked.
â€¢ Atlanta had four sixth-round picks and appears to have made the most of them. First, the Falcons drafted DT Trey Lewis out of Washburn, who has the quickness to work himself into the defensive tackle rotation. They then added Auburn DC David Irons, who doesn’t always play with sound technique but is a tough player with enough speed and athletic ability to become an excellent sub-package corner. After Irons came Ohio State OC Doug Datish. Though he doesn’t have great mobility, Datish plays with a mean streak, and head coach Bobby Petrino wants to toughen up that offensive line. Finally, Atlanta took a small-school prospect in Maine DS Daren Stone, who doesn’t have great speed but masks that weakness by staying in good position and is a sound open-field tackler.
â€¢ Seattle has good depth at receiver, even after shipping Darrell Jackson to San Francisco, but Courtney Taylor out of Auburn is still a good pickup. Taylor doesn’t have elite size or speed, but he has the body control, strong hands and footwork to develop into a productive possession receiver in time.
1(138) Oakland Jay Richardson DE OHIO STATE
2(139) St. Louis (from Detroit) Dustin Fry OC CLEMSON
3(140) Cleveland Brandon McDonald CB MEMPHIS
4(141) Tampa Bay Greg Peterson DT NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL
5(142) Arizona Steve Breaston WR MICHIGAN
6(143) Washington Dallas Sartz OLB USC
7(144) Houston Brandon Harrison S STANFORD
8(145) New Orleans (from Miami through Detroit) David Jones CB WINGATE
9(146) Minnesota Aundrae Allison WR EAST CAROLINA
10(147) San Francisco Tarell Brown CB TEXAS
11(148) Kansas City (from Buffalo through St. Louis) Kolby Smith RB LOUISVILLE
12(149) Jacksonville (from Atlanta) Uche Nwaneri OG PURDUE
13(150) Jacksonville Josh Gattis S WAKE FOREST
14(151) Cincinnati Jeff Rowe QB NEVADA
15(152) Tennessee Antonio Johnson DT MISSISSIPPI STATE
16(153) NY Giants Kevin Boss TE WESTERN OREGON
17(154) St. Louis Cliff Ryan DT MICHIGAN STATE
18(155) Carolina Dante Rosario TE OREGON
19(156) Pittsburgh Cameron Stephenson OG RUTGERS
20(157) Green Bay David Clowney WR VIRGINIA TECH
21(158) Detroit (from Denver) Johnny Baldwin ILB ALABAMA A&M
22(159) Philadelphia (from Dallas) C.J. Gaddis CB CLEMSON
23(160) Kansas City Justin Medlock PK UCLA
24(161) Seattle Will Herring OLB AUBURN
25(162) Philadelphia Brent Celek TE CINCINNATI
26(163) Houston (from New Orleans) Brandon Frye OT VIRGINIA TECH
27(164) Carolina (from NY Jets) Tim Shaw OLB PENN STATE
28(165) Oakland (from New England) Eric Frampton S WASHINGTON STATE
29(166) Jacksonville (from Baltimore) Derek Landri DT NOTRE DAME
30(167) Chicago (from San Diego) Kevin Payne S LOUISIANA MONROE
31(168) Chicago Corey Graham CB NEW HAMPSHIRE
32(169) Indianapolis Roy Hall WR OHIO STATE
33(170) Pittsburgh (Compensatory selection) William Gay CB LOUISVILLE
34(171) New England (Compensatory selection) Clint Oldenburg OT COLORADO STATE
35(172) San Diego (Compensatory selection) Legedu Naanee WR BOISE STATE
36(173) Indianapolis (Compensatory selection) Michael Coe CB ALABAMA STATE
37(174) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Troy Smith QB OHIO STATE
â€¢ With Andy McCollum turning 37 this year, St. Louis needed to pick up a center, so taking Clemson’s Dustin Fry makes some sense. And Fry is a hard worker who plays with a mean streak and can drive defenders off the ball. The problem with this pick is it’s a reach, because Fry is an overachiever who doesn’t have great athletic ability. If the Rams wanted to fill this need here, Ohio State’s Doug Datish or West Virginia’s Dan Mozes would have been better choices.
â€¢ Arizona might have filled two needs by taking Michigan’s Steve Breaston with the fifth pick of the fifth round. First, Breaston is a dangerous punt returner and an efficient kickoff return man. He should replace unrestricted free agent Troy Walters in the Cardinals’ return game. Second, Breaston has the burst and quick feet to eventually develop into Arizona’s No. 3 receiver. He admittedly underachieved on offense at the collegiate level, but the natural talent is there if he can improve his route running and consistency catching the football.
â€¢ After reaching for a corner in the third round, New Orleans redeemed itself and helped bolster the position by getting David Jones out of Wingate. Jones obviously didn’t face the nation’s top receivers on a weekly basis, so there are questions about his ability to compete at the NFL level. But there is reason to be optimistic. Jones can change directions quickly, he rarely gets caught out of position and he plays the ball well.
â€¢ San Francisco obviously needs help at corner. The Niners could very well have found it in Tarell Brown out of Texas. Brown’s draft value dropped because of a disappointing senior season, a broken bone in his foot that hindered him last year and legitimate character concerns. But make no mistake — Brown is a player. Though he gets caught out of position at times, he is big, fast and athletic enough to develop into a starting man-to-man cover corner.
â€¢ The Texans did well to get Virginia Tech OT Brandon Frye. He is a developmental prospect who has had some problems staying healthy, but there’s a lot to like about his potential. He has the athletic ability and size to become an effective starter on the left side. Houston addressed another position of need by taking DS Brandon Harrison earlier in the round. Though they might have done better by taking Wyoming’s John Wendling, Harrison is not too much of a reach and is a big hitter who plays the ball well.
â€¢ Jacksonville has done an excellent job of addressing the safety position, which was its biggest need heading into the draft. In the first round, the Jaguars selected Florida’s Reggie Nelson, who represents a considerable upgrade over Gerald Sensabaugh. In the fifth round, they picked Wake Forest’s Josh Gattis, who instantly becomes the heir apparent to 31-year-old Donovin Darius, who has played in just 12 games the past two seasons because of injuries. He is a tough run stopper who can make plays in coverage and has the athletic ability to develop his cover skills. One area the Jaguars likely will work on with him is his tackling because he doesn’t always wrap up upon contact.
â€¢ Green Bay reached for San Jose State WR James Jones in the third round, but they did well to get Virginia Tech WR David Clowney here. Clowney flew under the radar because of erratic quarterback play and the Hokies’ commitment to the ground game. However, he has a good blend of speed, burst and hands. In fact, there’s a chance he could develop into a No. 2 receiver for QB Brett Favre.
â€¢ The loss of CB Roderick Hood to free agency made corner a need for Philadelphia, and the Eagles addressed that need by taking C.J. Gaddis out of Clemson. Gaddis is a little bit of a boom-or-bust prospect, because he is raw and inconsistent, but he has the natural ability of a starting corner. He has the upper-body strength to slow receivers down at the line of scrimmage, and he is fast enough to run with them downfield.
â€¢ Carolina’s strong draft continued in this round when it picked up Oregon TE Dante Rosario and Penn State OLB Tim Shaw. Both are good values and fill needs. Rosario doesn’t drive defenders off the ball or make many big plays down the seam, but he is a relentless blocker and has the athletic ability to develop into an effective possession receiver. Though Shaw isn’t explosive and takes too long to change directions in coverage, he makes the most of his ability. He never stops working, rarely gets caught out of position and tackles well.
â€¢ Ohio State QB Troy Smith finally came of the board when Baltimore took him with the last pick of the fifth round. While Smith undoubtedly would have liked to go earlier, he couldn’t be in a better situation. With the Ravens, he should benefit from playing behind Steve McNair, and the team’s commitment to the running game means he won’t have to shoulder the bulk of the offensive load.
The Dallas Cowboys selected North Illinois offensive tackle Doug Free with their 2nd pick in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft (#122 overall). He’s the second offensive tackle taken by the team with their first four picks.
Strengths: A tall offensive tackle with adequate bulk and even more room on his frame to get bigger. He does a good job with his first step and blocking angles in the running game. He shows outstanding quickness and mobility for his size. Is an agile offensive lineman with the ability to consistently reach the second-level and hit the moving target in the running game. He gives a great effort on every play and will impress you with his motor. He shows good quickness in his set and rarely will get beat by speed off the edge. He also plays with good balance and body control, which allows him to shuffle laterally versus double moves. Displays good awareness in pass pro, as well. He has great experience and has been a durable player throughout his career. He also has dominated the mid-major DI-A level for the last two seasons.
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal bulk and will struggle to anchor versus bigger, more powerful bull rushers. Base is somewhat narrow and he must learn to play with more consistent leverage. He has adequate-to-good overall strength but lacks explosive upper body power. Has not played against top competition on a weekly basis at the collegiate level. Will have a little bit of a bigger transition to the NFL as a mid-major player than some of the other top OT prospects from powerhouse DI-A programs.
Overall: Free made 12 starts as a true freshman in 2003 at left tackle (including two at tight end). In 2004, Free played in and started all 12 games for the Huskies at tackle. Free became an All-MAC First Team performer after the 2005 season when he once again started all 12 games, giving him 36 consecutive starts over the past three seasons. In 2006 Free started all 13 games at left tackle, ending his career with 49 straight starts.
Free suffered a stress fracture in his foot in the season opener (Ohio State) that lingered throughout most of his senior year. As a result, he did not look as agile as he did on film from the previous season. Even when at full strength, Free has never been an overpowering blocker and he will need to improve his strength in order to sustain blocks longer in the NFL. With all that said, Free is still worthy of first-day consideration because of his impressive combination of size and mobility. He draws many comparisons to former Northern Illinois OT Ryan Diem, who currently starts at right tackle for the Colts, but Free is a significantly better prospect now than Diem was in 2001.
Tim MacMahon entitles his first post on this “The best things in life are Free.” He notes, “He’s 6-7, 318 pounds and agile, so he might be a better fit at left tackle than third-round pick James Marten, who played on both sides at Boston College.” He snarks, “Wonder how Pat McQuistan feels about the Cowboys’ draft so far.”
In his second post, he asks, “Will this be Flozell’s final season in Dallas?” He observes, “The Cowboys might not be running Adams out of town, but they sure are preparing in case he does leave. And they’re positioning themselves so that Adams won’t be able to hold them hostage in contract negotiations.” Quite right. And a good deal.
Free is on The Ticket, talking to Norm Hitzges, Goose Gosselin, and others. Hitzges asks Free why he thinks he fell so far, since he was considered a 2nd or 3rd round possibility. Hitzges notes that the Cowboys “took about 9 seconds” to make this pick and were high-fiving themselves that Free fell this far.
POSITIVES: Smart, alert lineman who stands out in pass protection. Displays a lot of quickness, recognizes blitzes and is an outstanding position blocker who makes effective use of angles. Stays square, keeps defenders in front of him and fights with his hands.
NEGATIVES: Not a dominant run blocker nor a true finisher. More of a finesse lineman than an outright mauler. Suffered a stress fracture in his foot early last season that hampered his play all year.
ANALYSIS: Formerly a tight end, Free has grown into a terrific offensive tackle. Offers a lot of upside for the next level yet may be incorrectly evaluated because of his injury last season. Possesses starting potential and is a bargain outside of the first round.
Cowboys fourth-round pick Doug Free is often compared to fellow former Northern Illinois tackle Ryan Diem, who starts at RT for the Colts.
Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak says Free has more potential than Diem. An excerpt of Novak’s quote from Free’s NFL.com scouting report: “Doug Free’s a lot better athlete than Ryan Diem. (Free) can run! You just don’t see many offensive linemen that can run at that size like he can. What’s impressive is he’ll sit back in pass protection and then we’ll throw the ball down the field and he’ll run down field and block a safety. I mean, get downfield! You just don’t see kids who can do that. He’s special. Our kids call him ‘Doug Freak’ because he runs so well.”
So, basically, the Cowboys taken yet another outside linebacker, a backup offensive lineman, and a fifth quarterback with their first three picks in the 2007 draft.
The strange thing is that Jerry Jones and gang keep saying that the team doesn’t have any real holes. Why, then, did they finish 9-7, collapse at the end of the season, and lose in the first round of the playoffs?
I hope we’re not back in the mid-90s business of drafting backups. That turned a perennial Super Bowl team into a mediocre one. Somehow, I don’t think it’ll turn a mediocre one into perennial Super Bowl contenders.
Strengths: Has good arm strength, puts good zip on downfield passes and can make all the throws. Possesses good size and it tall enough to see the entire field. Shows good patience when gets sound pass protection and has improved decision making. Possesses great mobility, throws fairly well on the run and is capable of making defenders miss. Has good lower body strength, shows great balance and flashes the ability to break tackles. Shows good ball skills and sells play action. Has good top-end speed, can change directions quickly and is capable of developing into a dangerous open field runner. Plays with confidence and is a leader on the field.
Weaknesses: Loses the strike zone too much, doesn’t have a great sense of timing and hasn’t shown the ability to lead receivers. Doesn’t put great touch on short-to-intermediate pass and puts too much zip on shorter passes. Throws off back foot at times, doesn’t always follow through and isn’t fundamentally sound. Lacks ideal awareness, doesn’t read defenses well and throws into coverage at times. Shows happy feet in the pocket and needs to show better poise. While has excellent athletic ability doesn’t have great pocket presence and isn’t as effective buying time in the pocket as natural ability would suggest. While has improved in this area, occasionally tries to do too much and gets into trouble when doesn’t take what defense gives him. Holds onto the ball too long and takes some big hits. Appears indecisive at times and isn’t as effective running the ball as someone with his natural ability should be. Suffered a season-ending broken foot injury vs. Oregon State (10/14) as a senior in 2006.
Overall: Stanback was redshirted in 2002. He appeared in 11 games during the 2003 season. While he primarily lined up at receiver, he connected on his only two passing attempts for 18 yards. Stanback also rushed for 27 yards on eight carries, caught ten passes for 143 yards, and returned eight kickoffs that year. He started one of the five games he played quarterback in during the 2004 season. Stanback threw for 389 yards, three interceptions, and three touchdowns while completing 33.8-percent of his passes. He also rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries. Stanback started all 11 games in 2005 throwing for 2,136 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions while completing 54.2-percent of his throws. He also rushed for 353 yards and five touchdowns on 100 carries. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 45th round of the 2006 MLB draft. In 2006, he started the first seven games before suffering a Lisfranc foot injury against Oregon State, which required surgery. In those seven games Stanback threw for 1,325 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions while completing 53.4-percent of his passes. He also rushed 85 times for 350 yards and four touchdowns.
Stanback’s marginal footwork has always led to poor accuracy as a passer. In order to compete for playing time as a quarterback his overall mechanics and decision-making skills must greatly improve. He also comes with durability baggage. However, he possesses good size, a powerful arm and outstanding mobility. If he doesn’t make it as a quarterback, Stanback is athletic enough to contribute at wide receiver, running back and/or in the return game. That potential versatility is the reason we grade him higher than many other more polished passers in this year’s class.
So, he’s a mediocre draft prospect. The Cowboys already have Tony Romo, Brad Johnson, Brock Berlin, and Matt Baker. Granted, Berlin and Baker are low-grade prospects. Then again, so is Stanback.
There wasn’t somebody available who might actually get some playing time?
UPDATE: Chuck Fairbacks, Norm Hitzges and the other guys on The Ticket say Stanback will likely be converted to wide receiver in the NFL. That makes a little more sense, although he 40 time is listed as 4.62. I don’t know when that was taken, though, so it might be slowed down by his injury.
Pro Football Weekly: Is a truly outstanding athlete. Very fast with the ball in his hands. Better than expected throwing mechanics. Studies the game. Was very inconsistent throwing the ball with many streaks of inaccuracy. Has a great deal of innate ability buy may not be a quarterback at the professional level. As a passer he is far from a lost cause but will require a great deal of individual coaching, refinement and patience.
Street and Smith’s: Instinctive. Strong arm; able to make all the throws, including the deep outs and go routes. Able to create if the play breaks down. Shows the ability to lead and manage an offense. Will need to improve footwork and mechanics. Needs to avoid locking on to a primary receiver. Is a special athlete. Improved in accuracy throughout his career.
PROBABLY GETTING DRAFTED …
Well, the template of on-again/off-again passer athletes has been the fourth round (Michael Robinson, Brad Smith). I’m gonna be bold and say he’s a fourth rounder.
GUY WHO WATCHED HIM FOR FOUR YEARS IS SAYING
I like Stanbeck’s NFL potential. He’s a productive athlete with good size and is a late bloomer as a quarterback. For whatever reason projects like Stanbeck keep making it in the NFL and I think he’ll work his way into a solid career.
The question will be whether it’s at quarterback or as a returnman/receiver/special teamer. Most teams will probably give him a shot at quarterback but if they’re impatient and/or lack many quality athletes by necessity he may end up doing other things. I’d like to think he can stick it as a quarterback after some third string, practice squad or NFL Europe work, but I’m not a coach with a job on the line so I hunch he won’t be a quarterback for long. Humbug.
UPDATE: Ill give Stanback this much: He’s got an arm on him. Take a look at this YouTube video of him chucking it 70 yards or so to Craig Chambers in 2005:
via Tim McMahon. Granted, Stanback will be used as a WR/special teams guy by the Cowboys. But there’s always the option pass…
Round 4 of the 2007 NFL Draft is underway. The Oakland Raiders started us off by taking Michael Bush, a running back who would likely have gone early in the first round were he healthy. He’ll likely sit out his first year, a la Willis McGehee a couple years back, but the Raiders are getting him for a high 4th, not a low 1st that the Buffalo Bills spent. Potentially, the steal of the draft.
1(100) Oakland Michael Bush RB LOUISVILLE
2(101) Jacksonville (from Detroit through Baltimore) Adam Podlesh PT MARYLAND
3(102) Minnesota (from Tampa Bay) Brian Robison DE TEXAS
4(103) Dallas (from Cleveland) Isaiah Stanback QB WASHINGTON
5(104) San Francisco (from Washington) Jay Moore DE NEBRASKA
6(105) Detroit (from Arizona through Oakland) AJ Davis CB NORTH CAROLINA ST
7(106) Tampa Bay (from Minnesota) Tanard Jackson CB SYRACUSE
8(107) New Orleans (from Houston) Antonio Pittman RB OHIO STATE
9(108) Miami Paul Soliai DT UTAH
10(109) Atlanta Stephen Nicholas OLB SOUTH FLORIDA
11(110) Oakland (from San Francisco through New England) John Bowie CB CINCINNATI
12(111) Buffalo Dwayne Wright RB FRESNO STATE
13(112) Pittsburgh (from Green Bay) Daniel Sepulveda PT BAYLOR
14(113) Jacksonville Brian Smith OLB MISSOURI
15(114) Cincinnati Marvin White S TCU
16(115) Tennessee Leroy Harris OC NORTH CAROLINA ST
17(116) NY Giants Zak Deossie OLB BROWN
18(117) Detroit (from St. Louis) Manuel Ramirez OG TEXAS TECH
19(118) Carolina Ryne Robinson WR MIAMI (OHIO)
20(119) Green Bay (from Pittsburgh) Allen Barbre OT MISSOURI SOUTHERN
21(120) Seattle Baraka Atkins DE MIAMI (FLA.)
22(121) Denver Marcus Thomas DT FLORIDA
23(122) Dallas Doug Free OT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
24(123) Houston (from Kansas City from New Orleans) Fred Bennett CB SOUTH CAROLINA
25(124) Seattle (from New York Jets through San Francisco) Mansfield Wrotto OG GEORGIA TECH
26(125) New Orleans (from Philadelphia) Jermon Bushrod OT TOWSON
27(126) San Francisco (from New Orleans through Indianapolis) Dashon Goldson S WASHINGTON
28(127) New England Kareem Brown DT MIAMI (FLA.)
29(128) Tennessee (from Baltimore) Chris Davis WR FLORIDA STATE
30(129) San Diego Scott Chandler TE IOWA
31(130) Chicago Josh Beekman OG BOSTON COLLEGE
32(131) Indianapolis Brannon Condren S TROY STATE
33(132) Pittsburgh (Compensatory selection) Ryan McBean DT OKLAHOMA STATE
34(133) Atlanta (Compensatory selection) Martrez Milner TE GEORGIA
35(134) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Antwan Barnes OLB FLORIDA INTL
36(135) San Francisco (Compensatory selection) Joe Cohen DE FLORIDA
37(136) Indianapolis (Compensatory selection) Clint Sessions OLB PITTSBURGH
38(137) Baltimore (Compensatory selection) Le’Ron McClain FB ALABAMA
â€¢ A leg injury caused Louisville RB Michael Bush to drop into the fourth round, but he is an excellent second-day value for Oakland. With LaMont Jordan and free-agent signee Dominic Rhodes playing in front of Bush, the Raiders can ease him into the rotation and protect him while he gets back to full strength. And if he can get healthy and stay that way, he has the size and speed to develop into a franchise back.
â€¢ The only two punters expected to get drafted came off the board during the first half of the fourth round. Jacksonville got Maryland’s Adam Podlesh with the second pick of the round, and he could be a substantial upgrade over Chris Hanson, who is coming off a disappointing season. Podlesh has excellent power, is accurate enough to place the ball inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and he can kick off. Pittsburgh took Daniel Sepulveda later in the round. He, too, has good power, and he gets good hang time on his kicks, but he tore his ACL in the spring of 2006, so there are concerns about his durability.
â€¢ Washington QB Isaiah Stanback has the arm strength and mobility to develop into an effective backup for the Cowboys. If he stays at quarterback, he is an excellent No. 3 because of his upside. However, there are concerns about his accuracy, and he has some experience lining up at receiver, so Dallas could swith his position. If the plan is to play him at receiver, this is a questionable pick, because there were better values available at receiver. Taking East Carolina’s Aundrae Allison, Auburn’s Courtney Taylor or Virginia Tech’s David Clowney would have made more sense.
â€¢ Tampa Bay might be deep at corner, but there’s no doubt it needed to infuse some youth at the position, and it addressed that need by taking Syracuse DS/CB Tanard Jackson. While Jackson isn’t fast enough to line up at corner for a team that runs a lot of man coverage, he could excel in the Buccaneers’ Cover 2 scheme. He is quick, reads quarterbacks’ eyes and fills hard when he reads run. It couldn’t be a better situation for him, either. He gets to play behind three veterans, and as a hard worker, he should only get better.
â€¢ Miami’s best pick thus far might be Utah DT Paul Soliai. With Keith Traylor turning 38 this year and the Dolphins expected to part with Dan Wilkinson, they needed to get a tackle, and Soliai is a great pickup. Projected to go in the third round, he dropped likely because of minor character concerns, and he isn’t a great pass rusher. However, he has the size and lower-body strength to develop into a dominant nose tackle who can clog up the middle and keep blockers off the linebackers.
â€¢ Playing for the Giants is now a Deossie family tradition. New York took Brown OLB Zak Deossie, whose father once played for the Giants. Zak played at a small school and needs to work on his technique, but he has great upside.
â€¢ Denver took its second Florida defensive lineman in DT Marcus Thomas, who joins Jarvis Moss. Thomas has some character concerns stemming from multiple failed drug tests, but the Broncos can protect themselves by including a clause in his contract that requires him to stay clean. Keeping that in mind, this could prove to be one of the steals of this draft. Remember, many draft analysts projected Thomas as a first-round pick heading into the 2006 season.
â€¢ Last night we questioned Dallas taking Boston College OT James Marten over Northern Illinois’ Doug Free. Maybe the Cowboys were listening, because they came back Sunday and took Free. Free is a developmental prospect because he played at a small school and needs to get bigger, but he has the quick feet to emerge as a quality starting left tackle.
â€¢ Seattle filled its most pressing need by taking OG Mansfield Wrotto, and it’s not a bad pick. Wrotto shows great quickness for his size and excellent lower-body strength. However, Seattle really needs a guard who can play this year, and Wrotto is raw so he may not be ready to push for playing time this year. Keeping that in mind, the Seahawks could have considered Boston College’s Josh Beekman, whom Chicago took later in the round, because he is more polished.
â€¢ New England almost never reaches to fill need, and it didn’t here either. Though the Patriots could use some help at linebacker and corner, they took Miami DT Kareem Brown because he was the best value at No. 127 overall. Brown is inconsistent, but he is explosive and athletic for a player with his size. If Bill Belichick can keep him motivated, he should develop into a productive contributor.
â€¢ Baltimore drafted OLB Antwan Barnes out of Florida International, and he is a good fit for that scheme. Though he doesn’t have great size and doesn’t read his keys particularly well, Barnes is a speed demon, and the Ravens can unleash him on opposing passers.
Len Pasquarelli reports that “The New England Patriots have reached a trade agreement in principle to acquire wide receiver Randy Moss from the Oakland Raiders for a fourth-round round choice in Sunday’s second day of the NFL draft.”
Again, the Pats get a steal.
Granted, the Raiders don’t have much use for a disgruntled veteran on a rebuilding team. But the Pats get an instant-impact wide receiver that will again make them the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. For only a 4th round pick, to boot.
The guys at ESPN.com analyze all the trades from Day 1 of the 2007 NFL Draft. While I tend to look at these trades in terms of the numerical value of the picks, they simply look at the players each team winds up picking with the selections.
Detroit Lions: Acquire pick No. 61 (selected S Gerald Alexander).
Baltimore Ravens: Acquire picks No. 74 (third round) and No. 101 (fourth round).
Lions trade up with Saints
Detroit Lions: Acquire pick No. 53 (selected DE Ikaika Alama-Francis).
New Orleans Saints: Acquire picks No. 66 (third round) and No. 145 (fifth round).
Browns trade up with Cowboys
Cleveland Browns: Acquire picks No. 53 (selected DB Eric Wright) and No. 195 (sixth round).
Dallas Cowboys: Acquire picks No. 67 (third round), No. 103 (fourth round) and No. 178 (sixth round).
Raiders trade for Williams, McCown
Oakland Raiders: Acquire WR Mike Williams and QB Josh McCown.
Detroit Lions: Acquire pick No. 105 (fourth round).
Jets, Packers swap second-rounders and more
New York Jets: Acquire picks No. 47 (selected LB David Harris) and No. 235 (seventh round).
Green Bay Packers: Acquire picks No. 63 (second round), No. 89 (third round) and No. 191 (sixth round).
Colts trade up with 49ers
Indianapolis Colts: Acquire pick No. 42 (selected OT Tony Ugoh).
San Francisco 49ers: Acquire pick No. 126 (fourth round) and Colts’ first-round pick in 2008.
Falcons, Vikings swap second-rounders
Atlanta Falcons: Acquire pick No. 41 (selected CB Chris Houston)
Minnesota Vikings: Acquire No. 44 (selected WR Sidney Rice) and No. 121 (fourth round).
Browns trade up for Quinn
Cleveland Browns: Acquire pick No. 22 (select QB Brady Quinn).
Dallas Cowboys: Acquire pick No. 36 and Browns’ first-round pick in 2008.
Scouts take: GM Phil Savage made an aggressive move by trading up and acquiring their franchise quarterback of the future in Brady Quinn. The Browns gave up a second-round pick this year, along with their first-round pick next year. The Browns are definitely the winners on the first day of the draft by acquiring two players that they had targeted at No. 3 in Joe Thomas and Quinn. Quinn possesses a fine blend of arm strength, size and intelligence. QB Charlie Frye will start the season as the No. 1 quarterback, but he hasn’t solidified the starting spot and Quinn will get every chance to be the starter in 2007.
The Cowboys made a great move by moving back, while acquiring a first-round pick next year that could easily be in the top 10. Then owner Jerry Jones moved back into the first round by trading with the Eagles at No. 26 and selecting OLB Anthony Spencer. The Cowboys did not address a major need with this pick (DC, WR). Although, Spencer is a perfect fit in new head coach Wade Phillips’ 3-4 system. However, the Cowboys continue to not address the offensive side ball in the first round.
Jets, Panthers swap first-rounders
New York Jets: Acquire picks No. 14 (selected CB Darrelle Revis) and No. 191 (sixth round).
Carolina Panthers: Acquire picks No. 25 (selected LB Jon Beason), No. 59 (second round) and No. 164 (fifth round).
Scouts take: The Jets made the first major trade of the NFL draft with the Carolina Panthers. GM Mike Tannenbaum was very aggressive in moving up and addressing a major need on their football team by selecting cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis is best-suited to play in a zone-heavy defensive scheme, which fit Mangini’s defensive style. The Jets are very thin at corner and the addition of Revis gives the Jets a possible future No. 1 corner. Revis has additional value as a return specialist. However, the Jets gave up a lot by moving up 11 spots in the first round.
The Panthers had targeted linebacker as a primary need and they filled it by trading back and taking OLB Jon Beason. With the health concerns of MLB Dan Morgan, the Panthers’ needed to address the linebacker position at some point in the draft. Beason lacks elite size, but he is a powerful, aggressive, fast linebacker with good instincts. Beason projects as a WLB but has the versatility to play inside as the MLB in the Panthers’ 4-3 schemes.
Broncos, Jaguars swap first-rounders
Denver Broncos: Acquire pick No. 17 (selected DE Jarvis Moss).
Jacksonville Jaguars: Acquire picks No. 21 (selected S Reggie Nelson), No. 86 (second round) and No. 198 (fifth round).
Scouts take: Simply put, head coach Mike Shanahan was not happy with his defense in 2006. With that said, the Broncos moved up to select DE Jarvis Moss. Moss is an impact pass-rusher who will improve the pass rush that this team lacked in 2006. He should contribute immediately as a nickel rusher in passing situations, which should help the back end in coverage. However, the Broncos probably could have stayed put at No. 21.
The Jaguars did a good job here of moving back four spots and acquiring two draft picks. They ended up with FS Reggie Nelson, the player they had rated as the top defensive player on their board. Nelson is a versatile player who has the best range of any safety prospect in the NFL draft. He should be an immediate impact player in the Jaguars’ secondary. Nelson has very good range, while SS Donovin Darius is best suited to play up near the line of scrimmage.
Cowboys trade up with Eagles
Dallas Cowboys: Acquire pick No. 26 (selected DE Anthony Spencer).
Philadelphia: Acquire picks No. 36, No. 87, No. 159.
Scouts take: Once SS Brandon Meriweather was selected by the Patriots at No. 24, the Eagles moved back in the draft in a trade that netted them QB Kevin Kolb. Kolb possess a combination of size, arm strength and mobility. Even though we think he is a perfect fit in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense, he is a reach in our opinion as the fifth-ranked quarterback on our board.
49ers trade up with Patriots
San Francisco 49ers: Acquire pick No. 28 (selected OT Joe Staley).
New England Patriots: Acquire pick No. 110 and a first-round pick in 2008.
Scouts take: The 49ers aggressively moved up in the backend of the first round to acquire LT Joe Staley. By selecting Staley the 49ers can move LT Jonas Jennings to the right side and drastically improve their offensive line. The 49ers have been shopping both RG Justin Smiley and the underachieving RT Kwame Harris throughout the offseason. Staley was a former TE who was converted to RT in 2004. He is a very good athlete with outstanding feet, balance and control but needs to improve his total body strength.
The Patriots got great value acquiring the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2008 and a fourth this season. The Patriots like to acquire future No. 1 picks.
Cardinals trade up for DT
Oakland Raiders: Acquire picks No. 38 (selected TE Zach Miller) and No. 105.
Arizona Cardinals: Acquire pick No. 33 (selected DT Alan Branch).
Scouts take: The Raiders moved back in the second round to select TE Zach Miller. Even though the Raiders signed two tight ends in Tony Stewart and Fred Wakefield in the free agency, the Raiders still had a need for a tight end. Miller is a solid all-around player who lacks the top-end speed to stretch the vertical seam. However, he could emerge as a reliable target in Lane Kiffin’s West Coast offense.
The Cardinals traded up at the start of the second round with the Oakland Raiders to select DT Alan Branch. Branch was highly rated as the second-best defensive tackle in the draft behind Amobi Okoye. With the selection of Branch the Cardinals are definitely moving in the direction of implementing more multiple 3-4 fronts under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Bills trade up for Posluzny
Buffalo Bills: Acquire pick No. 34 (selected LB Paul Posluszny).
Detroit Lions: Acquire picks No. 43 (selected QB Drew Stanton) and No. 74.
Scouts take: After moving back in the second round, the Lions selected their possible quarterback of the future in Drew Stanton. Stanton has all the physical tools to eventually emerge as a frontline starter in the NFL. However, he will need a lot of development and refinement under the guidance Mike Martz. Stanton will also have the ability to sit and learn under starting QB Jon Kitna.
The Bills addressed a major need by moving up in the second round and selecting OLB Paul Posluszny. Posluszny is a throwback linebacker who reminds GM Marv Levy of former Bills linebacker Shane Conlan. Posluszny is a versatile player who could play either OLB or MLB in the Bills’ 4-3 defense. He possesses some size and speed with outstanding instincts. The Bills suffered some major losses on defense in the offseason with the loss of MLB London Fletcher and WLB Takeo Spikes.
Chargers trade up with Bears
San Diego Chargers: Acquire pick No. 37 (selected S Eric Weddle).
Chicago Bears: Acquire picks No. 62, No. 93, No. 167 and a third-round pick in the 2008 draft.
Scouts take: The Chargers gave up a lot to move up in the second round and select Eric Weddle. Weddle was the most versatile player on the board left in the draft. He is the type of player that coaches love and should be core special teams player, while contributing in the Chargers’ sub defensive packages. The Chargers are thin on the backend at safety and he has the ability to develop into a frontline starter in future years.
After moving back in the second round, the Bears reached and selected DE Dan Bazuin. Bazuin is an undersized defensive end with the ability to create speed off the edge in Lovie Smith’s defensive system. He is a great fit in their scheme, but there are concerns about his ability to produce at the NFL level. However, he is raw and will need time to develop his skills as a pass rusher. The Bears have been shopping DE Alex Brown and Bazuin should work well in the rotation of the Bears’ defensive line.
Chiefs send Hall to St. Louis
Kansas City Chiefs: Acquire picks No. 82 (third round) and No. 148 (fifth round).
St. Louis Rams: Acquire WR/RS Dante Hall and pick No. 84 (third round).
Scouts take: The Rams addressed a critical need when acquiring Hall. Although his production declined last season, he still possesses the ability to make explosive plays in the return game. The trade also allows the Rams to shift their focus to the defensive side of the ball in the first round after previously expressing a strong interest in Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr.
In the swap, the Chiefs switched places with the Rams in the third round, while also acquiring a fifth-round pick. Kansas City now has seven picks in the draft and potentially can position itself to move up on the first day with another deal.
He’s been called tough, well-schooled in technique and very intelligent at his position. He’s James Marten, one of the top offensive tackles in this year’s draft, and he talked to Scout.com’s Ed Thompson in this exclusive interview about the skills he’ll be providing to an NFL team very soon.
Ed Thompson: I think one of the things that jumped out at me about you was the fact that you spent a little bit of time during your first year at right tackle, shifted to guard for two years and then finished up at left tackle your senior year. In a four year span, thatâ€™s a pretty diverse set of perspectives and skill sets on the line.
James Marten: I think Iâ€™m a natural tackle. I think I move better in space. Playing guard is like playing in a phone booth. I like playing out in space and being athletic and moving and countering spin moves and all of that type of thing. I think that type of game is my game. Guard is fine, I just think I naturally fit at tackle better. I feel more comfortable there.
ET: Do you feel you were any better or less effective at right tackle versus left tackle?
JM: No, not at all. I feel equally comfortable with it. Iâ€™ve played left tackle this year, but I played right tackle in the Senior Bowl. The footworkâ€™s different, but I felt fine. Iâ€™ve just been working on that since then, wherever the team wants me to play.
ET: Cleveland Browns assistant offensive line coach, Mike Sullivan, was quoted while talking about you and a teammate, offensive guard Josh Beekman. He said youâ€™re both well-schooled in technique–and youâ€™re tough. Is that a good description of you?
JM: Yeah, I think so. At Boston College we take a lot of pride in our offensive line and thatâ€™s one of the things that you can change yourself–your toughness and your technique. You could work on that all day. Youâ€™re only born with a certain amount of athleticism inside, so technique is something you have to take pride in, and your toughness.
ET: Letâ€™s talk about that toughness because you had 38 consecutive starts during your college career, right?
JM: Right. I was fortunate not to get injured. I take care of my body pretty religiously. Not sitting out, being tough, showing up to practice everyday, thatâ€™s what makes you a good player–consistency and being able to work on something new everyday.
ET: From a technique standpoint, what is it that you think you do particularly well in the running game?
JM: I think Iâ€™m able to lock onto guys really well and stick with them until the end of the play.
ET: How about as a pass protector?
JM: I think Iâ€™m able to get a good position on guys and I always extend on them real well.
ET: I found it interesting, especially as you were talking about feeling that tackle is a better fit for you, at least the stats I saw, both your junior year when you were at guard and your senior year when you were at left tackle, you only allowed one and a half sacks both seasons. Obviously, from technique standpoint, you can be successful at either position.
JM: I liked playing guard, I just feel like Iâ€™m a natural fit at tackle. Guardâ€™s fun because you have a big, fat D-tackle tackle in front of you. You can just load up and knock â€˜em back. Itâ€™s fun. I like to do that, I like to hit. I had a lot of fun at guard, I just feel that Iâ€™m a natural fit at tackle.
Certainly, tackle is the premier offensive line position, especially if he can play the left side in the pros. Flozell Adams has that job locked down but his production has dropped and it’s unlikely the Cowboys will pay what it’ll take to keep him if they have an alternative.
UPDATE: Gosselin is on The Ticket now and he says he likes to “give BC offensive linemen the benefit of the doubt.” He thinks there’s still value to be had in the 4th and 5th round, especially offensive guards and safeties.
ESPN’s “experts” had Marten graded as the 66th best player available, which is almost exactly where Dallas picked him. Their evaluation:
Scouts’ Grade: 79
Strengths: Plays with a mean streak, works to the whistle and flashes the ability to sustain blocks. Gets adequate hand placement, has decent upper body strength and can lock onto defender’s frame. Plays with a wide base and shows good balance as a run blocker. Takes sound angles to blocks, shows good range for size and can get into position at the second level. Has long arms, moves feet well and can ride defenders past the pocket. Possesses good lateral mobility, can change directions quickly and flashes the ability to counter double moves. Shows good awareness, keeps head on a swivel and can adjust to line stunts as well as blitzes. Possesses good size and has the frame to comfortably get bigger. Has experience lining up at guard and is somewhat versatile.
Weaknesses: Lacks ideal explosiveness and has some problems beating defenders to the point of attack. Doesn’t deliver a violent initial punch, doesn’t roll hips into blocks and isn’t going to knock many defenders back. While flashes good lower body strength doesn’t play with great leverage and isn’t a great drive-blocker at this point. Takes too long to get into pass set and is going to have problems preventing explosive edge rushers from turning the corner. Though flashes ability to anchor against bull rushers doesn’t get great knee bend in pass set and can get pushed back into the pocket.
Overall: Marten arrived at Boston College in 2002 and was redshirted. As a redshirt freshman in 2003, he appeared in all 13 games while backing up Jeremy Trueblood, and started the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl at right tackle. Marten became a fulltime starter in 2004 at left guard for all 12 games that season. In 2005, he once again started all 12 contests at left guard. Marten then moved to left tackle for the 2006 season, where he started all 13 games, earning second-team All-ACC honors.
Marten doesn’t dominate the point of attack and one-gap defenders will give him some problems. On the positive side, Marten has enough physical tools to develop into a starter, including an excellent frame and above-average athletic ability for his height. That’s why we believe Marten is underrated and warrants consideration on Day 1.
Marc Colombo secured the Cowboys’ starting right tackle spot with a hard-nosed, gritty style of play. Third-round pick James Marten shares a similar mauling method at offensive tackle. Maybe it’s their Boston College roots. “It’s just a blue-collar mentality,” said Marten, the Cowboys’ second and final pick Saturday (67th overall) following three previous trades. “We’re just going to go out there and hit you and run you over, basically.”
Marten’s size (6-7, 303) resembles that of the Cowboys’ incumbent left tackles, Flozell Adams and Pat McQuistan, who each stand taller than 6-5 and weigh more than 300 pounds. Marten played mostly left tackle but can switch to the right side and also was versatile enough to move inside at guard in college.
The Cowboys drafted Marten as a tackle, but team owner and general manager Jerry Jones said their third-round pick doesn’t merely serve as insurance with Adams entering the final year of his contract. “My speculation is that we’re going to have a really top year from Flozell and hopefully that’ll mean we can look into the future,” Jones said of his Pro Bowl tackle, who made a successful return from a season-ending knee injury in 2005. “What this does is add to at least two and possibly three young players that we’ve got backing up our first five right now.”
Marten is a prime example of Jones’ belief that the Cowboys had their “bases covered” heading into Saturday. The club believes he can provide depth at multiple positions next season. The Cowboys had little stability at offensive line when the off-season began, but they re-signed Colombo and starting center Andre Gurode and handed free-agent Leonard Davis nearly $18.75 million in guaranteed money. Veteran Marco Rivera’s off-season back surgery could ultimately jeopardize his career, but he and the Cowboys don’t appear in any rush to make a decision on his future. Davis could start at right guard next season if Rivera doesn’t return. “We have come a long way from where we were the early part of the spring to where we are today with our offensive line,” Jones said.
The draft has been ongoing over nine and a half hours and Round 3 is just now getting under way, with the Oakland Raiders taking Georgia DE Quentin Moses. Thankfully, as Norm Hitzges points out, teams only get 5 minutes a pick from here on out.
1(65) Oakland Quentin Moses DE GEORGIA
2(66) New Orleans (from Detroit) Usama Young CB KENT
3(67) Dallas (from Cleveland) James Marten OT BOSTON COLLEGE
4(68) Tampa Bay Quincy Black OLB NEW MEXICO
5(69) Arizona Buster Davis ILB FLORIDA STATE
6(70) Denver (From Washington) Ryan Harris OT NOTRE DAME
7(71) Miami Lorenzo Booker RB FLORIDA STATE
8(72) Minnesota Marcus McCauley CB FRESNO STATE
9(73) Houston Jacoby Jones WR LANE
10(74) Baltimore (from Buffalo through Detroit) Yamon Figurs RS KANSAS STATE
11(75) Atlanta Laurent Robinson WR ILLINOIS STATE
12(76) San Francisco Jason Hill WR WASHINGTON STATE
13(77) Pittsburgh Matt Spaeth TE MINNESOTA
14(78) Green Bay James Jones WR SAN JOSE STATE
15(79) Jacksonville Mike Walker WR CENTRAL FLORIDA
17(80) Tennessee Paul Williams WR FRESNO STATE
18(81) NY Giants Jay Alford DT PENN STATE
19(82) Kansas City (From St. Louis) Tank Tyler DT NORTH CAROLINA ST
20(83) Carolina Charles Johnson DE GEORGIA
21(84) St. Louis (From Kansas City) Jonathan Wade CB TENNESSEE
22(85) Seattle Brandon Mebane DT CALIFORNIA
23(86) Baltimore (from Denver through Jacksonville) Marshal Yanda OT IOWA
24(87) Philadelphia (from Dallas) Stewart Bradley OLB NEBRASKA
25(88) New Orleans Andy Alleman OG AKRON
26(89) Green Bay (from NY Jets) Aaron Rouse S VIRGINIA TECH
27(90) Philadelphia Tony Hunt RB PENN STATE
28(91) Oakland (from New England) Mario Henderson OT FLORIDA STATE
29(92) Buffalo (From Baltimore) Trent Edwards QB STANFORD
30(93) Chicago (from San Diego) Garrett Wolfe RB NORTHERN ILLINOIS
31(94) Chicago Michael Okwo OLB STANFORD
32(95) Indianapolis Daymeion Hughes CB CALIFORNIA
33(96) San Diego (Compensatory selection) Anthony Waters ILB CLEMSON
34(97) San Francisco (Compensatory selection) Ray McDonald DE FLORIDA
35(98) Indianapolis (Compensatory selection) Quinn Pitcock DT OHIO STATE
36(99) Oakland (Compensatory selection) Johnnie Lee Higgins WR UTEP
â€¢ All the red flags are there for Georgia DE Quentin Moses. He had a disappointing season, didn’t have a strong Senior Bowl week and showed up overweight at the combine. But don’t forget Moses once projected as a first-round pick and Oakland needed to get a defensive end. If Moses commits himself to improving and adds some bulk to his frame, he could prove to be one of the steals in this draft because of his natural ability.
â€¢ Infusing youth into the cornerback position had to be one of New Orleans’ top priorities. Unfortunately for Saints’ fans, the front office may have gotten caught up in the hype surrounding Usama Young who turned in an impressive 40-time. Young may be fast but he doesn’t change directions particularly well and he isn’t a great playmaker. Add in concerns about his ability to make the jump to the NFL after playing at Kent State and it becomes clear New Orleans reached here.
â€¢ Dallas took Boston College OT James Marten to fill its need at defensive tackle and he is a good value in the third round. He is a feisty drive blocker who plays with a wide base and masks his lack of ideal lateral mobility by using his long arms to ride edge rushers past the pocket. However, Doug Free out of Northern Illinois could be the better pick here because he is a much better pass blocker and they need a left tackle more than a right tackle. Free gets set quickly and he shows excellent lateral mobility for his size. One reason the Cowboys may have taken Marten is a foot injury slowed him during his senior season.
â€¢ Arizona has greater needs than inside linebacker. However, Florida State ILB Buster Davis represents an upgrade over Gerald Hayes and he should benefit from the Cardinals taking Michigan DT Alan Branch. With Branch eating up space and occupying blockers, Davis’s size won’t be as much of an issue. He has excellent instincts and takes the shortest path to the ball so he should be very effective.
â€¢ Notre Dame OT Ryan Harris should be happy he ended up in Denver because it is arguably the best fit for him. Harris’ biggest weakness is his inability to drive defenders off the ball but the Broncos won’t ask him to do that too much. Instead, the zone blocking scheme will take advantage of his above-average lateral mobility and initial quickness.
â€¢ Florida State RB Lorenzo Booker has the burst, elusiveness to emerge as an excellent third down back so Miami did well to get him. However, Booker is undersized and can’t carry a heavy workload. As result, the Dolphins need to take a big back that can step in should Ronnie Brown sustain an injury if they don’t think the league will reinstate Ricky Williams.
â€¢ Fresno State DC Marcus McCauley dropped to the third round because he makes too many mistakes and gives up too many big plays for a prospect with his talent. However, the Vikings needed help at corner and he has the tools to develop into a starter if the light comes on for him. He has excellent size, the speed to run with receivers and the quick feet to stay with receivers in man coverage.
â€¢ Two small school receivers came of the board in the third. Houston took Jacoby Jones out of Lane and Atlanta took Laurent Robinson out of Illinois State. Jones is the stronger prospect, as he’s fast and athletic to develop into a quality No. 2 if the can adjust to the speed of the NFL game. He should move into the No. 3 role and eventually replace Kevin Walter as the start opposite of Andre Johnson. Robinson is more of a reach because he doesn’t catch the ball as consistently and he needs to improve his ability to beat press coverage. However, there’s a lot to like about his big-play ability and he’s capable of turning the limited touches he’ll likely see with the Falcons during his rookie season into decent production.
â€¢ The Devin Hester effect continues to linger. After Miami reached for Ted Ginn Jr. in the first round, Baltimore took Kansas State WR/RS Yamon Figurs in the third. Figurs has everything you want in a return man. He is fearless, quick, and fast enough to go the distance when he gets a seam. The problem is he hasn’t been a productive receiver and he will have to make substantial progress to push for playing time for offense so he is one-dimensional. Chances are the Ravens could have waited and filled this need on the second day of the draft.
â€¢ San Francisco’s strong draft continued with the selection of Washington State WR Jason Hill. Hill is a raw route runner and is faster than he is quick but he has the jets to get behind defensive backs and he has the big hands to make spectacular catches. Getting him gives the 49ers a much needed playmaker at the receiver position.
â€¢ Philadelphia did well to add Penn State RB Tony Hunt. While they already have a big back in Correll Buckhalter, he has had problems staying healthy so adding another one to back up Brian Westbrook is wise.
â€¢ Cal CB Daymeion Hughes’ stock plummeted after he turned in an abysmal 40-time at the combine but he has the tools to develop into an excellent Cover 2 corner. He is physical, reads routes well and is a playmaker so Indianapolis should be happy to land him in the third.
â€¢ Stanford QB Trent Edwards finally came off the board in the fourth round. Though he slipped, it’s important to remember that he missed most of his senior season with a foot injury. If he can stay healthy, his arm strength and quick release should make him an excellent insurance policy should JP Losman sustain an injury or struggle.