ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys before a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Cowboy Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Rams 34 to 7. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
I've been on vacation this weekend and am a bit late getting this up, but thanks go to Mike Frazer for the solid write up here for Not Really America's Team. Next up: Philadelphia Eagles and they'll be represented by LV Steelers Fan.
By the way, if you look back at previous community mock draft picks, you'll see that some of them now have minute-long draft profiles embedded that were not there before. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and we'll be going back and embedding more as new ones come out everyday! Let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
Jerry Jones likes just about anything shiny.
No, I don't mean fishing lures, bass boats or beer cans -- all things that I can personally attest from a decade in the Lone Star State, are nearly synonymous with Texas, mind you -- but rather the kinds of players who make you remember who they are, one way or another. In the days of his glory, Jones fancied playmakers like Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman, guys who managed to provide plenty of flash with little or no actual risk. They were great at what they did, and they were humble enough that you felt alright when you watched your kid strut around wearing their jersey. For the most part, Jones' early players were consummate team guys, despite the occassional Mchael Irvin.
As time went by, Jones has tended to lean toward guys with tremendous upside, but who brought along just enough baggage -- or, in some cases, well more than their fair share -- to make even the keenest observer of talent raise an eyebrow, muttering comments ranging from "really?" to "why, God, why?!"
But one thing most of his draft picks have never lacked is talent, despite whether they were ever actually able to tap into it once they reach the pros. Quite often -- more so than the average, I'd wager -- Jones and his staff have opted for the best available player, even in years of trememndous need. And he's had a tendency to become too enamoured by a player for reasons that many of us never quite understood -- see "Felix Jones" for a recent example.
Which is really what makes this pick so intriguing. The area of greatest need for the Dallas Cowboys going into the 2012 season is in the secondary. Last year, the squad was ravaged by injuries, sometimes two and three in a single game. They gave up an average of 7.6 yards per pass in 2011, good for 23rd in the league. And it wasn't that they gave up a lot of 8-12 yard plays, either; in fact, the Dallas secondary gave up 57 plays of 20 yards or more, 8th worst in the league. Of those, 9 covered 40 yards or more (compare that to the best in the league, the Steelers, who gave up just two plays of 40 yards or more). The bottom line: this secondary was bad, and now they have lost their best player with the departure of Terence Newman.
So it seems as if it would be a slam-dunk pick, considering only one cornerback has been taken so far - LSU's Morris Claiborne. But then you look at who else is left, and it makes you start to wonder, What Would Jerry Do? The problem is that guys like David DeCastro and Trent Richardson -- an offensive lineman and a running back, respectively, both positions Jerry typically prizes -- are still hanging around. DeCastro is essentially the consensus number-one at guard, which says a lot considering how deep this draft is at both O-line positions. Richardson is the prototype for a power back, at just a bit under six feet and 224 pounds. If the situation was to play out exactly like this, it might be enough to make Jones' head explode.
But, let's assume Jones is somewhat in control of his faculties and he chooses...
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Kirkpatrick has both height and speed going for him, standing at 6'2" and clocking a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He's tenacious at the line and doesn't take crazy chances playing the ball too often (though it does happen from time to time), but rather he keeps his man in position to make the right plays. He has excelled in man coverage, locking down his side of the field and can easily play with most receivers without help over the top. He works hard and has the kind of swagger a cornerback needs to constantly line up against the best receivers the league has to offer. In fact, if I had to pick the one NFL corner who he most resembles, I'd be inclinded to lean toward none other than Ike Taylor.
Kirkpatrick has his risks, though: his run support could use some work, and sometimes he gets a little too aggressive in bump-and-run, forcing himself into playing catchup after giving up the inside. Despite his physical play, he often resorts to hitting a player rather than wrapping them up and tackling. And he has one small black eye off the field, too (which some might argue is actually prized by Jerry Jones): he was arrested for posession of marijuana, though the charges were later dropped after a friend confessed to leaving the drugs in Kirkpatrick's car without Kirkpatrick's knowledge.
As enticing as guys like DeCastro and Richardson may be, the combination of Kirkpatrick's talent and the Cowboys' need in the secondary should be enough to make even Jerry Jones see the proverbial light.
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa