It is no coincidence that on Super Bowl Sunday, I have decided to discuss the defensive lineman prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft. There are several differences in the Cowboys roster and that of the Giants team that beat them to claim a spot in the playoffs. However, no group is more glaringly different than that of the defensive line.
For the average fan, it is quite easy to name the pass rushing stars of the Giants. They are seen in our Subway commercials, ESPN sack highlights and collective nightmares blocking field goals, flexing biceps and talking shit. It is not quite so easy to name the pass rushing players on the Cowboys, save DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff. Names like Jason Hatcher, Marcus Spears and Josh Brent do no exactly roll off the tongue nor conjure great memories of game-changing plays. Not to mention one of the “stars” we do have (Jay Ratliff) is a fan-favorite to change positions. Eek.
Many Cowboys fans and analysts (ESPNDallas’ Tim MacMahon is a convenient example) have opined the Cowboys would be better off shoring up their defensive line first before continuing to add to the offensive line or secondary. I have made my opinion on this is quite clear but seeing as though Dallas’ roster is not stacked at any position, I would be more than happy if the best player available at #14 is a pass-rushing defensive lineman. Let us jump in, shall we?
Continuing my theme of draft analysis diversity, this list was compiled by Walter Football. As always, the music is not my doing. In fact, I suggest exercising your index finger and slapping the mute button.
Devon Still, DE/DT, Penn State
Many draft analysts have Still as a versatile player that can play the 4-3 three technique, nose tackle and the 3-4 DE. Obviously, the Cowboys would be looking to move Still to DE. He is much faster than he looks and has a ton of strength to boot. I would be surprised if he lasted to #14 in the draft but it would not be earth shattering news. I get the feeling he and DeMarcus would have a “cute” nickname by Week 10.
Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State
Just like Still, Winn would move to the defensive end position in the 3-4 defense. I was impressed by his bull-ish strength. I think he is a projected 2nd-3rd round draft pick because it seems as though the bull rush is his only move. He hits like a beast, though so I would not be disappointed at all to see him put on a Cowboys uniform. Most of the “negatives” in the video below weren’t exactly negative.
Derek Wolfe, DE/DT, Cincinnati
On tape, it is obvious he has a nose for the football. There were several times in the below video and others on YouTube/Cincinnati Bearkat website where there was no way he could have seen the ball/quarterback because of his body positioning. Yet, somehow, he ended up with the sack, tackle or pressure. He is a projected 2nd-3rd round pick so if the Cowboys go OL, CB or a combination involving one of those two in the first and second rounds, Wolfe could be a SOLID 3rd round pick. All reports have him as a hard-nosed, hard-working kid.
Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska
So, I’m pretty sure this guy is going to be a Dallas Cowboy. Let’s see he’s available in the 2nd-4th round, he is a solid, smart, hard-working player, he plays in the Big 12 and his draft stock just plummeted due to injury. This guy is Sean Lee 2.0 and we all know Jerry Jones loves “projects.” Yeah…. Just buy your jersey now.
Kendall Reyes, DE/DT, Connecticut
This guy is a mid-to-late-round project. The Cowboys need an immediate impact player. He is extremely fast for his position, not very strong and needs time to develop in the 3-4.
Any one of these men would be a fine fit on the team but only the top four could make an impact this upcoming season. I look forward to next week when we will discuss our first offensive position. Next week: Offensive lineman!
Now, excuse me while I go get drunk and try to forget that Miles Austin could have prevented all of this.
Sigh……………………. In case you missed it, I picked NYG 27 NE 23. Leave your prediction below, enjoy the game and sob like babies after the game because it’s the OFF-SEASON AGAIN!
Topics: 2012 NFL Draft, Billy Winn, Boise State, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Cowboys, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware, Derek Wolfe, Devon Still, Giants, Jared Crick, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, Kendall Reyes, Miles Austin, Nebraska, New England Patriots, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft, Penn State