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Cavanaugh’s NFL Draft Big Board: Version 1.0

Jadeveon Clowney (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Jadeveon Clowney (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

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105.3 THE FAN – I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go hang out with former NFL scout Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) out at the ranch to watch a bunch of film to get ready for the NFL Draft. I’ve got notes coming out of my buttocks on all these different position groups, and didn’t have that much of a problem putting each position group in order from top to bottom.

Then Shan Shariff (@NewSchoolSS) asked me on the air to start at the top and just rip off a big board and I realized…..oh crap, that’s harder.

The groups I have in a nice and tidy order, trying to mash them together and fit everything a way that I feel good about isn’t easy. But just to make Shan happy, I’ll do a first rough draft of it.

Big Board – First Rough Draft

1 – Jadeveon Clowney – DE – South Carolina – He’s the most talented player in the draft.
2 – Greg Robinson – OT – Auburn – Can do it all, good anchor in pass pro, moves people in run game.
3 – Sammy Watkins – WR – Clemson – Attacks the ball, smooth in routes, speed, sure hands.
4 – CJ Mosley – LB – Bama – Smart, quick reactions, plugs holes, plays run, shows awareness and ability in dropping in coverage.
5 – Timmy Jernigan – DT – FSU – Played a reactionary role at FSU and was still very disruptive. Controls gaps in run game, hard to move even with a double or triple team. Really powerful player. Is a 1 technique DT though, so Jerry/Stephen may not like him, claim to not value that position as 1st round spot.
6 – Taylor Lewan – OT – Michigan
7 – Zack Martin – OG/OT – ND – Like the versatility of OG for one year, then take Free’s job at RT next year.
8 – Jake Matthews – OT – A&M
9 – Aaron Donald – DT – Pitt – Ideal 3 technique. Disruptive upfield guy, lives in the backfield. Despite huge bench press # at combine, you don’t want him at the 1 tech fighting double teams. Can get pushed around in that spot.
10 – Odell Beckham Jr. – WR – LSU – Great route runner, feel for holes in defense. Big play threat can play inside or out, needs to drop the ball less.
11 – Anthony Barr – OLB – ULCA – Debate will be whether he’s a Sam backer of a weakside DE if Cowboys take him. Great athlete, can certainly rush the passer. Lots of plays in the backfield.
12 – Calvin Pryor – FS – Louisville – Aggressive hitter, like his burst once he recognizes where he’s got to be, see him play 1 deep, 2 deep, man at corner, man in the slot. Fluid hips, can cover.
13 – Mike Evans – WR – A&M – Maybe he’s Vincent Jackson. This might even be low for him, but troubles me some that you never see him anywhere but on the right side outside. Nowhere else. Still a big strong guy that’s hard to tackle and will high point the ball.
14 – Derek Carr – QB – Fresno State – Most NFL ready QB in the draft. In control at the LOS, goes through the reads, solid mechanically, plenty of arm.
15 – Johnny Manziel – QB – A&M – Highest ceiling of the QB’s. Tempted to put him above Carr but the potential for injury is my one hesitation. If you can convince him to get out of bounds, get down, and not try and make the super risky play, he could be special.
16 – Haha Clinton-Dix – S – Bama – Covers a lot of ground in the 1 deep, sure tackler, willing hitter, only issue is you don’t get to see him play man coverage much on tape.
17 – Justin Gilbert – CB – OSU – Good size, hips, ability to jam at LOS. Plays a ball in the air very well. Only problem is if he lines up in off coverage he gets lost. Gotta play him in press man.
18 – Jason Verrett – CB – TCU – 5’9 is the bad news. The good news is everything else. Hard to seperate from, great speed, quickness, feel for the ball. Despite size competes for the ball at the high point.
19 – Darqueze Dennard – CB – MSU – He’s a mauler. Plays super aggressive at the LOS and down the field. Surprised he wasn’t flagged more for it, but if flags stay in pockets, he’s a shut down CB.
20 – Teddy Bridgewater – QB – Louisville – Love everything about him until you start going downfield. Short accuracy was fantastic. Slants/outs/drags pinpoint accuracy. Concerns with deep ball armstrength and accuracy.
21 – Marqise Lee – WR – USC
22 – Jimmie Ward – S – N. Illinois
23 – Xavier Su’a-Filo – OG – UCLA

End of first round grades.

I’m aware of some names that are missing. Blake Bortles isn’t on here. Neither is Khalil Mack or Louis Nix III. Nix isn’t here because of scheme fit. This is a Cowboyscentric board. Bortles and Mack aren’t on here because I didn’t like the players nearly as much as a lot of other people, and I’d let someone else make the pick on them. I know they’re first rounders, but I’m just not comfortable with those two, so I’m letting someone else draft them. Kony Ealy too. I’d take him in the 2nd round.

There are certainly places on here that I disagree with a lot of the experts. And to that I say: I don’t care. Not even a little bit. I’ve watched enough of these guys to feel pretty good about where I have them. I think Timmy Jernigan is an outstanding football player. I think Odell Beckham is going to be a very good pro WR. I don’t like any of the QB’s in the top 10.

There will no doubt be lots of tweaking done to this as we keep going through and looking back at guys over and over again. I love CJ Mosley, but I know some teams are a little concerned about a lot of little dings he’s had over the years. Dominique Easley (DT, Florida) will have his knees rechecked in late April — and if the docs say he’s 100% with absolutely no problems or limitations, he’ll go directly into my 12-15.

There are lots and lots of guys I like that aren’t listed here because I drew my random line in the sand at the end of my first round grades. Names I like in rounds 2-3-4 for the Cowboys are Will Clarke (DE-WVU), Demarcus Lawrence (DE-Boise), Kareem Martin (DE-UNC), and Will Sutton (DT-ASU). Charles Sims is my highest rated RB, and I wouldn’t take any of the guys before the third round as Cowboys picker.

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