Thursday, February 28, 2013

And the Oscar goes to . . . The Sports Narrative!

Join the crew as they recap the week of sports, from the NFL Combine with special guest SMU RB Zach Line to Daytona, Spring Training, NBA talk and of course a special look at the Oscars with The Mick!

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/b2y5tc/2-27-13.mp3

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wall-to-Wall Combine Coverage #5

Join Jeff and Darren as they wrap up the events from the NFL Scouting Combine and are joined by special guest and draft prospect Tulane QB Ryan Griffin for an inside look at the draft process

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/jvwqb2/Combine5.mp3

Monday, February 25, 2013

Wall-to-Wall Combine Coverage #4

Join Jeff and Darren as they continue to give you all the latest from the NFL Combine from Indianapolis.

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/k7v9xs/Combine4.mp3

Wall-to-Wall Combine Coverage #3

Join Jeff and Darren as they get you caught up on all the latest from the weekend at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/7tjp57/Combineshow3.mp3

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wall-to-Wall Combine Coverage #2

Join Jeff and Darren for Day 2 of the NFL Combine. All the latest info, inside the needs of teams in the NFC and positional strengths gives you an inside look into the NFL Draft process!

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/ux9kmj/2-22-13.mp3

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wall-to-Wall NFL Combine Coverage #1

Join Jeff and Darren for their daily 1 hour update on all things NFL Combine. Up-to-date measurables and analysis as well as a look at position strengths and team needs.

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/u3gjxr/CombineShow1.mp3

Boogity! Boogity! Let's go Sports Talkin'

Join the SNP crew as they go all around the world of sports in a power packed 90 minutes! Spring training baseball, NBA trade deadline, football notes, NASCAR talk and much, much more!

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/tup5ei/2-20-13.mp3

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Draft Nuggets on theticket.com


Draft Nuggets 2013: Entry #8

By Jeff Bowers of www.thesportsnarrative.com

Twitter: @sportsnarrative

 

Addressing the Cowboys Needs:

To quote Norm: “What play do you call when you can’t block for the run and you can’t block for the pass?” All the talk about who will call the offensive plays next year may be irrelevant if the questions at offensive line aren’t addressed this offseason. As we have already examined the need at the guard position (see the post on 2/6), it is time to look at the right tackle spot and the fate of Doug Free on this roster.

 

The Need at Right Tackle:

Just 2 short seasons ago, the Cowboys gave Doug Free a 4 yr $32 million to be the starting left tackle for the Dallas Cowboys. A hand full of starts and an impressive hustle play in week 17 two years prior (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKIoj5qazDM) earned him his first full season as a starter and the former 4th round pick took advantage. With more hustle than skill, it looked as if Jerry might have finally hit on a middle-round lineman. But after just 16 games at LT in 2011, Doug Free had allowed 10 sacks, 33 QB pressures and committed 10 penalties. So Doug Free was sent back to the right tackle spot and second year tackle Tyron Smith was flipped to left tackle last offseason. But Free fared no better back on the right side. Last season, Free was the most penalized lineman in all of football with a whopping 14 penalties and led all linemen in false starts with 8. Add to that 6 sacks and 42 QB pressures allowed and it’s a wonder Romo managed to stay upright for all 16 games. And now Free carries a 10 million dollar cap number this year and would cost only 3 million against the cap this year and next if Dallas waits until June 1st to release. If Doug Free’s days as a Cowboy are numbered, he must be replaced. Late last season, Free fell into a rotation with 2nd year player Jeremy Parnell at right tackle, and the swing tackle held his own. With nice athleticism, Parnell’s upside makes him a possible contender to start for next season. But his role as versatile backup would then need to be addressed. Regardless, the Cowboys must upgrade the talent at the tackle spot this offseason, either in free agency or the draft.

 

Free Agency:

The offensive tackle crop in free agency as it currently stands looks quite promising. A number of quality starters under the age of 30 are available. But as the actual date of free agency approaches on March 12th, many of these players may be retained by their current squad and thus driving up the price for the ones left standing. Here’s a look at the top talent on the board right now:

 

1.       Jake Long, Miami Dolphins, Age 28 – Long has regressed the past 2 seasons due to the many injuries he has battled through. Once a premier left tackle, now the Dolphins may just let him walk but he will certainly find work and a hefty paycheck.

2.       Sebastian Vollmer, New England Patriots, Age 29 – One of the best right tackles in football, I would be shocked if the Patriots let him go. But if the stingy and prudent Bellichick continues his recent ways, the line forms to the left for Vollmer.

3.       Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals, Age 26 – Once thought to be a bust, this former #6 pick overall has developed into one of the best right tackles in football and is almost certainly going to get slapped with the franchise tag from Cincinnati.

4.       Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos, Age 26 – Clady did a phenomenal job protecting Peyton Manning’s blind side, surrendering only 1 sack all season. Not much of a run blocker, Clady is still likely to be resigned by the Broncos.

5.       Will Beatty, New York Giants, Age 28 – Beatty did well at left tackle for the G-Men last year except for one area: penalties. Lord knows Dallas doesn’t need any more help in that area!

6.       Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings, Age 27 – Loadholt was a road grader for Adrian Peterson this year, but his propensity for penalties is also troubling.

7.       Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons, Age 28 – Baker looked like a bust after back issues derailed his 2011 campaign, but Baker rebounded pretty well last season. The back is always and tricky thing and could resurface anytime. Pass.

8.       Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs, Age 28 – Albert has been very solid at both right and left tackle for the Chiefs in his career, when available. Back issues have plagued his time in the NFL and it’s hard to imagine counting of him for a full 16 games. Pass.

Analysis:

With most of the top talent likely to re-sign with their current teams, the competition for the remaining players might get a little too steep for the Cowboys and their limited salary cap space. Free agency might not be the way to answer the question at right tackle this offseason, unless you just get flat lucky.

 

The Draft:

The offensive tackle class in this year’s draft features some pretty wide plateaus of talent. As a result, look for a number of players to get drafted above their talent level based on team’s reaching for need. The first round could feature as many as 4 tackles taken, with most of the top talent gone by round 3. Here’s a look at a few of the top prospects:

1.       Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, 6’6” 310lbs – It is easily conceivable the Joeckel becomes the very first name called in the 2013 draft. Joeckel has all the elements of a franchise left tackle for the next 10 years. There is no way he gets out of the top 5.

2.       Eric Fisher, Central Michigan, 6’7” 305lbs – Perhaps no one player has benefitted more from the post season draft process as Fisher. With two of the other top prospects returning to school and a dominating performance at the Senior Bowl, Fisher has vaulted from a late 1st round pick into the top 10 of this draft.

3.       Lane Johnson, Oklahoma, 6’6” 302lbs – The second best blocker at the Senior Bowl, Johnson turned a lot of heads with his agility and skill in pass protection. In a pass happy league, Johnson should be highly sought after in the mid 1st round.

4.       DJ Fluker, Alabama, 6’4” 355lbs – The Alabama right tackle was a force for that Tide running attack, but deficiencies in his pass blocking have him a somewhat boom or bust pick. Fluker could go in the late 1st round or may fall to the late second depending on his workouts at the Combine this week.

5.       Kyle Long, Oregon, 6’6” 311lbs – Another from the lineage of HOF Howie Long, Kyle joins his brother Chris in the NFL after being denied another year of eligibility in college. A former defensive tackle, Long only played on offense 1 year at Oregon and is a bit raw. But his athleticism and blood lines should entice some team in the 2nd round.

6.       Menelik Watson, Florida St, 6’6” 320lbs – Watson is another exceptional athlete in need of a bit more coaching. Born in Manchester England, Watson is a former basketball player at FSU and anchored the Seminole running attack at RT last year. With quick feet and good strength, Watson looks like a solid swing tackle prospect that eventually could eventually start at LT.

7.       Brennan Williams, UNC, 6’7” 315lbs – Williams was having an impressive senior season blocking for Giovanni Bernard until a torn labrum ended his college career early. Looks like a great starter at RT in the pros, but medical issues will probably drive him into the late 2nd to early 3rd round range.

8.       Chris Faulk, LSU, 6’6” 325lbs – After suffering a season ending ACL tear in practice 1 game into this year, Faulk was one of the more surprising juniors to declare himself eligible for the draft. Faulk acquitted himself well at LT for the Tigers prior to the injury, but the medical issues could push Faulk’s stock into the 3rd round of the draft.

Analysis:

Joeckel and Fisher are certainly out of the range of the Cowboys at 18, and it is possible Johnson is already off the board as well. Fluker is intriguing, but too many question marks make him a reach at 18. The 2nd round is full of athletic prospects in need of either coaching or medical clearance. Given the Cowboys success with drafting injured players in the 2nd round (Sean Lee and Bruce Carter) Dallas could attempt to duplicate that with either Williams or Faulk, especially if they slip to them in the 3rd round. After this plateau of talent, the pickings at tackle get pretty slim and it seems unlikely to find immediate help beyond that point.

 

Norm’s Take:

Dallas may be reluctant to admit that the Free contract looks like a bust. But this team cannot afford the kind of shoddy work he’s turned in the last two seasons. They might, however, talk themselves into believing they can resurrect him and use their money on their many other holes. This is a huge decision and if they are wrong Romo pays for it again.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Draft Nuggets #7


Draft Nuggets 2013: Entry #7

By Jeff Bowers of www.thesportsnarrative.com

Twitter: @sportsnarrative

 

 

Addressing the Cowboys Needs:

For the first 41 years of its existence, the Dallas Cowboys ran a 4-3 defensive scheme. From the time Tom Landry installed his Flex defense, through the “Doomsday Defense” of the 70’s led by Randy White, Harvey Martin and many others, and into the 80’s with players like Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Bill Bates, the Cowboys had many years of success in the 4-3. Then when Jimmy and Jerry took over, they built a 4-3 scheme based on speed and depth that was the envy of the National Football League. But as Jimmy left and the team began to slowly sink into mediocrity, Jerry sought another way. In 2003 Jerry hired Bill Parcells to resurrect the franchise, and he changed Dallas into a 3-4 team on defense. Through Parcells, Wade Phillips and then Rob Ryan, the Cowboys had some success, but never became a dominate force. And so, with the hiring of Monte Kiffin this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys will return back to a 4-3 defense. But that transition is not instant and calls for a different personnel set than the 3-4 requires. And that transition starts up front with the defensive line.

 

The Need at Defensive Tackle:

In the previous 3-4 system, defensive linemen were mostly there for run-stuffing and taking on blockers. However, in the Tampa 2 scheme ran by Monte Kiffin, a pass rush created from the 4 down linemen is vital (see the post from 1/23 for more). Therefore the talent level at defensive tackle needs to be addressed. Here’s a brief look at the top candidates currently to fill the 2 tackle spots for next season:

Name
Size
Age
Comments
Jay Ratliff
6’4” 303lbs
31
Injuries, age, a big salary cap number and a DWI arrest put big questions marks next to Ratliff’s future with the Cowboys
Josh Brent
6’2” 320lbs
25
Facing possible jail time and league suspension, Brent will almost certainly not be available in 2013
Jason Hatcher
6’6” 305lbs
30
Hatcher really emerged last season as a 3-4 DE, but his transition to a 3 technique in the 4-3 is a question and maybe he plays DE opposite Ware
Marcus Spears
6’4” 315lbs
29
Spears has never been more than a solid run stopper, but has only played in a 3-4 in the NFL. A rotational 1 technique at best
Sean Lissimore
6’3” 303lbs
25
Lissimore was great as a jack-of-all-trades back-up last season, but seems a strange fit in the new scheme
Tyrone Crawford
6’4” 285lbs
23
Last year’s 3rd round pick saw some time last year but had a few flashes. Seems very undersized to play inside and might be better suited at DE
Brian Price
6’1 303lbs
23
At just 23, Price has already worn out his welcome with his two previous teams due to a high knucklehead factor. Signed off the street. Nice fit if he’s interested in playing. IF!

 

With more question than answers in that group, look for the Cowboys to seek a Warren Sapp-type player with size and speed to help facilitate the move to the 4-3 for next year.

 

Free Agency:

The problem with shopping in the free agent market for defensive tackles is the price of poker is pretty high. And with the needs the Cowboys have for a true impact player at the position, it might even be out of their budget under the salary cap limitations they will face next year. But here are a few of the top prospects currently available when free agency starts on March 12th:

 

1.       Henry Melton, Chicago Bears, Age 27 – Melton is one of the better pass-rushing tackles in the NFL and has familiarity with new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli who coached him last year. Of all the free agents available, Melton seems to be a perfect fit, but will also demand a big contract.

2.       Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins, Age 29 – Starks has been an impressive combination of size and speed for that Dolphins defense for several years. Seemed to struggle a bit at the end of last season with some personal issues, but should get a nice sum of money for next year.

3.       Desmond Bryant, Oakland Raiders, Age 27 – Bryant had a nice breakout year last season and was one of the few bright spots on a pretty dismal Raiders defense. Showed some nice pass rush moves and could be a nice bargain.

4.       Jason Jones, Seattle Seahawks, Age 27 – Until a knee injury ended his season late in year, Jones was a dude in that Seahawks tough defense. A very nice fit but will be a high priority for his current team.

5.       Sammie Lee Hill, Detroit Lions, Age 26 – An interesting kid who is trapped behind Suh, Fairley and Corey Williams but has showed flashes of skill in pressuring the QB. Could be a steal in free agency

6.       Roy Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Age 26 – Very stout against the run, but has shown almost no pass rush. More of a guy, but then Dallas could use that too.

7.       Chris Canty, New York Giants, Age 30 – Former Cowboys draft pick that never really lived up to the contract NY gave him. Could return but isn’t a long term solution.

8.       Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs, Age 28 – Has been a huge bust in the KC 3-4 defense since being the #5 overall pick, but maybe that potential could be recaptured in a 4-3 defense. But that’s a big maybe.

 

Analysis:

The free agent market has quite a few options currently, but just how many of these guys actually reach the open market is a big question. Between that and the Cowboys need for some serious salary cap juggling with Romo, Spencer and others being priorities could limit the aggressiveness at which Dallas attacks the DT market. But when it comes to free agents versus the draft, I do trust the GM a little bit more in the open market.

 

The Draft:

If not for other needs (namely the O-Line), the Cowboys would be in great shape with their biggest need being a defensive tackle, because this year’s draft class is loaded with talent at the top at DT. As many as 8 defensive tackles could be picked in the first and early second rounds this April. Here’s a look at a few of the top prospects at defensive tackle:

 

1.       Star Lotulelei, Utah, 6’4” 325lbs – A rare combination of size, speed and skill, Lotulelei has the potential to be the #1 overall pick in the draft and will definitely not get out of the top 3.

2.       Sheldon Richardson, Mizzou, 6’3” 295lbs – Richardson has in incredibly relentless motor and the pass rushing skills that has the Cowboys, and many other teams, very high on him. May need to add a little weight to take the double teams he will undoubtedly face in the NFL.

3.       Shariff Floyd, Florida, 6’3” 303lbs – Playing at both tackle and end for the Gators, Floyd has been a beast since he walked on campus. A disruptive force that is a bit underrated in the draft process so far, but could rise into the top of round one.

4.       Johnathan Hankins, Ohio St, 6’4” 325lbs – Anchoring the undefeated Buckeyes defense on and off the field, Hankins seems like a natural nose tackle in the pros. Cowboys could use that size up front.

5.       Jonathan Jenkins, Georgia, 6’3” 359lbs – Jenkins is a mountain of a man, and seems destined to be a NT in a 3-4 scheme. Not much of pass rusher, but a force against the run.

6.       Jesse Williams, Alabama, 6’3” 320lbs – Another run stuffer with little pass rushing skills, Williams is another nose tackle prospect.

7.       Kawann Short, Purdue, 6’3” 308lbs – Short has been the biggest riser among the DT prospects this offseason after a very accomplished college career. Could easily be a first round pick and is a good fit for the Cowboys need, but mid-first round seems a bit high for him.

8.       Sylvester Williams, UNC, 6’3” 320lbs – Williams possesses a ton of natural talent, but his effort does not always match his skill. That lack of motivation could cause him to slip a little in the draft.

 

Analysis:

With the 18th pick, the Cowboys could have a number of options to address the defensive tackle position if they so choose. A number of mock drafts have Dallas selecting Richardson in the 1st round and that would be solid value. Floyd and Short are also solid choices to fill that 3 technique tackle that rushes the passer, while Hankins, Jenkins and Jesse Williams would be more of the run-stuffing 1 technique type.

 

Norm’s Take:

If Dallas re-signs Spencer at defensive end, that forces Hatcher and Crawford to be inside players. With Brent likely gone and Ratliff remaining a player that could be cut, Dallas has a real need in here for a top player. Lots of “serviceable” guys but Dallas needs a force inside. Richardson or Floyd might be hard to pass up at #18, but then so would a very good O-Line type.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don’t Cook Bacon in the Nude and Other Helpful Sports Notes!

Join the crew for a solid 60 minutes of sports, including discussions on the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL, the Texas Rangers and Spring Training and the Dallas Mavericks and the trade deadline.

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/j4nins/2-13-13.mp3

Thursday, February 7, 2013

This Week's Episode of The Sports Narrative Podcast

Episode Title: Football Season is Over #Sad Panda

Join the crew as we recap the Super Bowl and all that implies, look ahead to trade deadlines and pitchers and catchers reporting, are visited by The Great NostradaMick, and have an exciting show announcement!

http://thesportsnarrative.podbean.com/mf/web/9spdpq/2-6-13.mp3

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Draft Nuggets #6


Draft Nuggets 2013: Entry #6

By Jeff Bowers of www.thesportsnarrative.com

Twitter: @sportsnarrative

 

 

Addressing the Cowboys Needs:

With the season over and a champion crowned, the business of the NFL offseason has officially begun. With just short of 3 weeks to the NFL Combine and 5 weeks until the start of free agency, the Cowboys have a number of needs to address before the start of next season. These needs surely include:

1.       Guard

2.       Defensive Tackle

3.       Defensive End

4.       Safety

5.       Offensive Tackle

Going in order, we will examine all of the options available for Dallas and try to find the best course of action going forward.

 

The Need at Guard:

Instead of drafting the #1 guard (David DeCastro) and the #1 center (Peter Konz) in the 2012 NFL draft, Jerry opted to trade his first 2 picks to get CB Morris Claiborne of LSU. To address the need at guard, Dallas signed 30 year old Nate Livings from the Bengals to a 5yr $19 million dollar deal and 26 year old Mackenzy Bernadeau from the Panthers to a 4yr $11 million dollar deal. While Livings proved to be a serviceable player at left guard, Bernadeau could only be classified as a major disappointment. Credited for allowing 24 QB pressures and 6 sacks, the right guard and emergency center kept Romo consistently running for his life and failed to open holes in the running game. Between him and the under-performing and often penalized right tackle Doug Free, the Cowboys right side of the offensive line was one of worst in the entire NFL. In addition to all the pass protection issues, the Cowboys’ offensive line rated dead last in yards per rushing attempt to the right side, greatly contributing to the statistically worst season for running the football in Cowboys history. So an upgrade at right guard is an imperative this offseason.

 

Free Agency:

The Cowboys will almost assuredly be limited under the salary cap in this free agency period. Between the $5 million dollar penalty imposed for the Miles Austin contract and the decisions on big pieces like Tony Romo and Anthony Spencer, Dallas needs to carry a laser-like focus where they spend their money on free agents. Guard could very well be a great area to address in this way, as there are several quality free agent guards under the age of 30 available. The only uncertainty in dabbling in this market is the increasing cost of interior linemen (see Carl Nicks and Ben Grubbs last year) and whether or not any of these players even reach the open market. Here is what may be available on March 12th

 

1.       Andy Levitre, Buffalo Bills, Age 27 – Levitre has been the model of consistency since being drafted in 2009. (Note: Buffalo traded up with your Dallas Cowboys to take Levitre in the 2nd round. Ouch!) Andy has played and started in all 64 games of his four year career and even filled in at tackle in 2011. The only question around Levitre is how much will it cost and will Buffalo let him get away.

2.       Louis Vasquez, San Diego Chargers, Age 26 – This former Texas Tech Red Raider and Corsicana native was one of the few bright spots on a pedestrian O-line out in San Diego. Vasquez is going to be due a nice contract this off-season. Can the pull of coming back to Texas draw him to Dallas? Jerry can only hope so.

3.       Kevin Boothe, New York Giants, Age 30 – Boothe’s best strengths are his run-blocking and versatility to play both guard and center. His only determent is being on the wrong side of 30. Could be a nice Plan C if Dallas gets outbid for the previous two names.

4.       Brandon Moore, New York Jets, Age 33 – Moore has been a warrior on the Jets line for many years, but his age is a real downer.

5.       Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers, Age 27 – Foster does have youth and is good in pass protection, but isn’t exactly a road grader in the run game.

6.       Donald Thomas, New England Patriots, Age 27 – Thomas has been a reserve behind Mankins and Connolly, but has played well in his limited chances. Has a chance to be a starter on a number of teams.

7.       Tyronne Green, San Diego Chargers, Age 27 – If Vasquez is retained by SD, Green might be a casualty as a result. Green was dreadful in 2011, but played better last year. Marginal starter

8.       Matt Slauson, New York Jets, Age 27 – Slauson is solid in pass-protection but was a rotational player on running downs. Probably not an option at right guard.

9.       Chad Rinehart, Buffalo Bills, Age 28 – Rinehart was a solid guard in 2011, but missed most of 2012 with an ankle problem. Could be a cheaper option to compete against Bernadeau.

10.   Kory Lichtenstriger, Washington Redskins, Age 28 – While great in run-blocking this season, his 10 penalties in 2012 is not something Dallas needs to add to the #1 most penalized O-Line.

 

Analysis:

If the Cowboys only major free agent addition this year was Levitre or Vasquez that would be alright by me. Getting one of those two guys would free up Dallas to focus on the conversion to the 4-3 with their draft and sure up the offensive line for years to come. While a few of the other options could also be appealing and cheaper, none really possess that ability to ensure a fix up front. After just going through a season with a marginal free agent ineffectively filling the right guard spot, going through that again would be insanity. But if money is needed elsewhere, perhaps the draft can provide the answer.

 

The Draft:

This year’s draft class contains quite a few options at guard. But just as we asked last year, would Jerry draft the “steak” over the “sizzle” with an early Day 1 or Day 2 pick? With so many other needs involved in switching defenses, the focus on fixing the offensive line will be an interesting topic of conversation throughout the off-season. Here’s an early assessment of the available guard class in this year’s draft:

 

1.       Chance Warmack, Alabama, 6’3´320lbs– An impressive combination of size and speed, Warmack has a chance to be one of the highest drafted guards in a number of years. In fact, there is some question of whether he even makes it to the Cowboys at pick #18. Regardless, Warmack will be a fixture in someone’s O-Line for many, many years. Projected Top 20

2.       Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina, 6’3” 295lbs – Cooper’s stock has been on a steady rise though out the year and has this athletic guard projected as a mid to late 1st rounder. The only question will be if he has the size to play in the NFL, weighing only 295 lbs at UNC. That size could be very effective in a zone-blocking scheme or could see Cooper switching to Center in his pro career. Projected 1st Round

3.       Dallas Thomas, Tennessee, 6’5” 310lbs – The Vols tackle was moved to left guard his senior year and thrived in that role. Could probably use a little more bulk at the next level, but looks like a plug-in starter from Day 1. Projected Late 1st- Early 2nd

4.       Barrett Jones, Alabama, 6’5” 311lbs – Jones started at guard, tackle and center in his outstanding career at Alabama. While projected as a center, he could easily be put a guard as a rookie and start immediately in the NFL, much like Atlanta did with Peter Konz last year. Projected Early 2nd round

5.       Larry Warford, Kentucky, 6’3” 340lbs – Warford is a big ol dude and moves other men against their will in the run game. Has some weaknesses in pass protection, but should be a solid contributor early in his career. Projected Late 2nd-Early 3rd

6.       Justin Pugh, Syracuse, 6’5” 301lbs – Pugh showed at the Senior Bowl that he is not a tackle prospect in the NFL. But with a little more bulk, he has the makings of a solid guard in the NFL. A shoulder injury in 2012 and short arms could push his draft stock down. Projected 3rd – 4th Round

7.       Brian Winters, Kent State, 6’4” 310lbs – Winters biggest asset is his durability and toughness, playing in all 49 games of his collegiate career. Fighting through a dislocated shoulder that has to be checked out by teams, Winters proved his is a warrior and should be a serviceable pro. Projected 4th rounder

8.       Alvin Bailey, Arkansas, 6’5” 319lbs – Bailey was the anchor of the Razorback line this season, often switching from right and left guard to always be at the point of attack. Though he struggles in space, Bailey shows nice quickness inside and a solid anchor in both pass and run blocking. Could use a little more seasoning, but projects to a starter. Projected 4th round

 

Analysis:

Dallas could easily spend two of their first four draft choices on the offensive line and be well served. But given Jerry’s history of drafting, the chances of that happening seem slim. Warmack and Cooper are definite options in the 1st round and Jones and Warford are options in the 2nd round. But, as some of the other needs may take precedent, the Cowboys may not address their offensive line in the draft until the 3rd or 4th round, if they do at all.

 

Norm’s Analysis:

Should Dallas decide to go after Levitre they may not draft a guard at all, preferring to spend draft picks on the defensive line, safety and other spots on the offensive line like center and/or tackle. But somehow or some way this massive hole must be plugged NOW! And it must be plugged by a quality player rather than some cheap spare part.