T-Minus 8 days, 8 hours and counting. The NFL draft is closing in folks, and this next week will bring a flurry of posts by all The Landry Hat writers, special contributors, and video bloggers. This is the last week we can all play pretend before we hear Roger Goodell announce, “With the 14th overall pick, the Dallas Cowboys select _______.”
Now onto shop talk. Jason Garrett has been very adamant that he wants to use a Best Player Available (BPA) draft strategy, instead of drafting for a need on the team. His actions in free agency filled (almost) all of the Cowboys needs, and he has set his team up with the ability to draft BPA. The Dallas Cowboys should NOT draft BPA. This team is stacked on offense, but needs some help and depth on defense. There are two offensive players that I hope are gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock; RB Trent Richardson (Alabama) and OG David DeCastro (Stanford).
This past week, I tweeted back and forth with ESPN’s NFC East analyst, Dan Graziano. I picked his brain with an very controversial question about Trent Richardson. I asked if Richardson is still on the board when the Cowboys draft at 14, what does Garrett do? Graziano’s response, “Richardson! Trent Richardson? In what world is he on the board at 14?”
I replied, “Hopefully not in this world. I’d hate to see Garrett pull the trigger because of his BPA philosophy.”
This caused me to do some research. In the past four drafts, the average draft position for the top running back was 13 (rounded down from 13.25). Which isn’t far away from where the Cowboys will be picking. Last year, the New Orleans Saints drafted Mark Ingram, who started over Trent Richardson, and won a Heisman trophy while competing with Richardson for carries. Garrett did attend his Pro Day, and you can’t tell me that Mr. ‘Cross’s all his T’s’ wasn’t taking a good long look at Richardson, because it is very possible that he could fall to 14.
Richardson would solidify Romo’s ability to play well into his late 30’s, because with Richardson and Murray in the backfield, who needs to pass 40-50 times per game? It would also allow Garrett to be a purer play caller because of the two amazing athletes that he has at the RB position, and would also make Felix Jones expendable as possible trade bait.
Moving on: Another player that I hope is off the boards when the Cowboys draft is OG David DeCastro. He’s rated as the best guard to be drafted since 2001. His position is not a need with the signings of free agents Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, but his upside is enormous. I’ve been a staunch supporter of our defense, and I believe that Rob Ryan deserves a lot more credit that he received. In five games last year, the Cowboys had the lead AND the ball with five minutes to go, or less. (NYJ, Detroit, New England, Arizona, NYG). If the Cowboys had a DeCastro like player at guard last year, they would have pounded the ball right up the right B Gap (between Tyron Smith and [David DeCastro]) and been able to close out those games.
Defense does win championships, but with offenses having as many weapons as they do now a days, the 2 minute drill defenses just can’t keep up. Imagine, if the Cowboys close out those five games… they sit at 13-3 with a 1st round bye due to tiebreaker over San Francisco.
What do you think readers? Who is your worst BPA draft nightmare?