May 122012


6. CB Morris Claiborne A-

I don’t normally like when teams with a lot of needs trade up, but the Cowboys traded up 8 spots into the top 6 in a year where the consensus was there were 6 elite prospects and they did it inexpensively, only giving up a 2nd round pick. Claiborne fills a need.

81. 3-4 DE Tyrone Crawford C+

This pick I didn’t like as much. When you need help at as many areas as the Cowboys do (G, C, WR, DE, OLB, CB, S) and you trade away your 2nd round pick, you can’t afford to miss on a pick, which is what I think Crawford is. I had a 5th round grade on him and liked him a lot more in a 4-3 as a left end than in a 3-4 because of his size at 275. That’s a little small for a 3-4.

113. RLB Kyle Wilbur A

This pick I like a lot more. They need a developmental rush linebacker behind DeMarcus Ware and Wilbur is has good pure pass rushing abilities and experience in the 3-4.

135. S Matt Johnson C-

I didn’t have Johnson in my top 250 so the late 4th round is way too early for him. He does fill a need though, but I still think the Cowboys will be in trouble when Brodney Pool suffers his annual injury.

152. WR Danny Coale A-

I had a 7th round grade on Coale as a wide receiver and a 7th round grade on him as a punter, but a 5th rounder overall. This is the 5th round. I don’t think he fills their need as a #3 receiver and they’ll be in trouble if Dez Bryant and/or Miles Austin get hurt again, but I like him as a gadget player with some value, maybe even as a punter or wildcat punter long term.

186. TE James Hanna A-

They needed another tight end with Martellus Bennett gone. Hanna had a 7th round grade in my book (great athleticism, but barely did anything as a pass catcher in an explosive offense at Oklahoma and didn’t block much). This is the 6th, but it’s not a huge deal.

222. FB Caleb McSurdy B

They needed a fullback and McSurdy, viewed by some as a middle linebacker, will convert to fullback for them. This type of thing has a decent success rate, but I typically like when teams draft pure fullbacks and there were a couple on my board who fit the range.

This was a mixed bag draft for the Cowboys. They didn’t address all of their needs and the Claiborne trade was a big part of the reason why they couldn’t do that, but I do like that they traded into the top-6 of a draft that the consensus was there was 6 blue chip prospects. Claiborne did fill a need. Tyrone Crawford and Matt Johnson address needs, but were major reaches who probably won’t emerge as starters.

Kyle Wilbur was a solid pick and they made some decent late round selections, but they probably only are getting 1 starter out of this draft, 2 if you count the fullback, but even that’s not a sure thing. However, Claiborne will pair with Brandon Carr to fix a pass defense that ranked in the bottom 3rd of the league against the pass last year. Within a year or two, they could rank in the top 3rd. They still have major issues on their defensive line, their interior offensive line, and their receiver depth. Safety is also a problem, but this was a poor safety draft anyway.

Grade: B-


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