Tomorrow, instead of doing anything commonly deemed to be productive, I am going to spend the day watching the NFL Scouting Combine. In particular, I will be parked firmly on the couch watching the offensive linemen run their drills, for this is likely the pool of players that the Cowboys will draw from with their 18th pick in the 1st round (I hope). Here are some things I will be looking forward to.
Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas A
Luke Joeckel, T, Texas A&M
Most pundits have Joeckel going in the first handful of picks in the draft, and many have him going to the Chiefs first overall. He is clearly out of the Cowboys reach, but I think it will be interesting to see how the dynamic plays out between him and Eric Fisher for the first overall tackle taken.
In watching snippets of interviews, I noticed that Joeckel talked about how he thought he was too athletic for OL when he was younger. It’s interesting that he goes on and on about how he wanted to play QB and TE, but was always the biggest kid and got put on offensive line. I felt like he really wanted to say “stuck” on the offensive line, but didn’t. Then he goes on to say that tackle is the position he was born to play, and how much he know loves it.
In the end, it likely means nothing, but I just thought it was interesting that a player who has paid consultants coaching him on how to approach events such as the combine, would have such an unpolished narrative about his desire to play on the offensive line. It was probably just a young kid rambling in front of reporters, but I thought it was interesting all the same.
Eric Fisher, T, Central Michigan
If there’s any question where Joeckel’s head is at (there’s really not), there is absolutely none about Eric Fisher. In interviews, he comes off as a young man on a mission – to become the top overall tackle in the draft. After shooting up mock drafts after a strong Senior Bowl outing, it will be interesting to see how Fisher stacks up to Joeckel in the drills and as far as measurable are concerned. He seems like a really smart and grounded young man, and I’ve been very impressed with how he carries himself. I would love to see him fall to the Cowboys, but I think it’s more likely that he will impress and that the small school player with a chip on his shoulder will go to a team in the first 10 picks in the draft.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
I’m going to be honest here – I like Cooper a lot. I think he’s the top guard for my money in the draft, and at the moment, is the guy I’d be looking at drafting 18, assuming someone like Fisher doesn’t fall. Cooper reported to the combine at 311 lbs after playing in college at 290, so I am curious to see how much his athleticism and quickness is affected. If he only loses a little bit of athleticism, but gains NFL level strength, that’s a win in my book. Love his enthusiasm for pulling and getting to the second level, as displayed in his interviews at the combine. He comes off as very well spoken and intelligent. Again, I really like this guy and am very much looking forward to seeing him on Saturday.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how I felt Jonathan Cooper and Chance Warmack stack up against each other. As stated above, I like the athleticism and intelligence of Cooper a little bit over Warmack, particularly because I think that his game translates better to what the Cowboys are trying to do. While Cooper prepared for the combine by gaining weight to answer questions about his strength, I’m curious if Warmack did anything to combat concerns about his athleticism. Has he trimmed down a little bit to improve on the speed and quickness drills, or will we see more of the same cement boot wearing mauler?
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky– Bryan Broaddus brings this guy up a lot, and I honestly don’t know much about him. I am curious to see how he stacks up against Chance Warmack, in particular because they will be working out one after the other because of their last names. I think most people have Warford in rounds 2 or 3, which could be a good option for the Cowboys if they decide to go with the defensive line in the first round.
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
I watched pieces of Jones’ interview at the combine and I was really impressed with how he carried himself. Smart guy, articulates offensive line play well. The guy has a Master’s degree and a 4.0 GPA, though that doesn’t necessarily translate to pro football prowess, but it’s certainly an interesting fact to note. The guy has also played at pretty much every position on the line for a big time school, so he’s definitely versatile. What’s the downside? Well, he’s coming off of a pretty significant Lisfranc injury, so I think it’s clear that his stock will drop, but how far? If the Cowboys end up with a defensive lineman in the first round, is he a guy that will be there in rounds 2 or 3? His performance at the combine will go a long way to determine that.