2014 Cowboys Weekly Draft Notebook - Episode #16 - Final Big Board - Pencils Down

OK. Here it is. The one that needs to be clipped and saved for 5 years to see how absolutely clueless I truly might be.

Michael Conroy / AP

OK.  Here it is.  The one that needs to be clipped and saved for 5 years to see how absolutely clueless I truly might be.

It is the final "big board" I have built based completely from the Dallas Cowboys perspective in this draft and based on my personal observation of these players as well as communications with those in the organization on a limited basis that might have affected my efforts to remain unaffected.  
The idea is to narrow it down to the Cowboys selections in the Top 3 rounds and therefore I have evaluated about 100 players in the only way I know how - watch them.  Watch them a lot, as much as 200-300 snaps per player and try to note what I liked and didn't like into a massive blue notebook.  Some were actual coach cut-ups, some were tv copies, and some were live watching last fall.  But, I tried to build a personal database that did NOT include reading other mocks or reports because once you do that you are tainted and are drawing from the consensus which defeats the purpose of trying to do one that is free of rumors and others' opinions.
Of course, that is going to leave me out in left field on some of these names, so please note a few things:
1) - I have no interest in giving you a full mock draft for Thursday-Saturday.  Trying to guess what Jacksonville and Atlanta are up to is a hobby for someone with no hobbies.  I wish them the best.
2) - I have no insight into medicals or personal issues/personality quirks.  I have watched these guys play football.  If something is public record, then I try to take note (Dominique Easley) but following the rumor train is absurd this time of year.  
3) - I have looked at as much as I can on each of these candidates.  I wish I could spend more than an hour per player, but the fact is I cannot.  That means I hope I picked the right 3-5 games to make sure I get an accurate image of the player.  
4) - I am trying to target players that fit the Cowboys.  This is not to be confused with trying to figure out who the Cowboys like at each of these spots.  The idea is the run an experiment to find the best DE, not the one who impressed the Cowboys the most in a visit.  In 2018, when a list like this is read, I would rather a player has 50 NFL sacks in his first contract then identify who the Cowboys are really taking on draft day 2014.  Therefore, I admit they like Zack Martin more than Xavier Su'a-Filo from what I hear, but I don't.  So, I try to build my list on their situation and my eyes.  In other words, I am simply trying to tell you what I would do if I were them - which is way different from what others are doing with their lists.  Please make note of that, as I am not trying to be them - and they surely are not trying to do this.

The reason I am doing my list this way is because I don't think in past years I did enough of this.  I liked JJ Watt in 2011, but I knew they were taking Tyron Smith all along and therefore did not consider the field.  I think this way is more useful for my process and I hope you enjoy this rationale.
I admit that the thousands of mocks and big boards don't need another entry, and I certainly don't claim to be any smarter than the next guy.  But, I do grind hard from January to May, and this is what I have to show for it.  This, and my big notebook, that is.  
So, as you look below, I have tried to rank the field based on if I am the Cowboys and am on the clock, I will just work down my board.  I think the rankings reflect who I would take with the names.  There are other names that I did not spend an hour on - maybe the most prominent is someone like Cody Latimer - but I don't think it serves anyone for me to rank players I have not done a diligent job on.

Just remember, this isn't me saying Player #22 is going to get picked higher than Player #24.  It is that I would do it that way if I were king, which if I really were, I surely would have made time to watch more than the 100 I did.  
Here is the Top 75 I came up with - With the Cowboys picking #16, #47, and #78, I am confident they can come away with 3 of these.  The idea is to cross off the names taken and grab the next available on the list.  Although, I am sure, they won't prefer David Fales over Trai Turner.  I do.

I noted where the Cowboys picks are in Rounds 1 and 2.  This DOES NOT mean that the player listed to them is my prediction.  It simply means that they will get the highest player left up from their pick and Ealy is the worst scenario for that actual spot, in my opinion.  Actually, they should get someone in the Top 13 or 14 at #16 and someone in the Top 40 at #47, and someone in the Top 65 at #78 if history is our guide.  And, of course, QBs throw everything off.

Rank Player Rank Player
#1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE, S Carolina #41 Jeremiah Attaochu, LB, Ga Tech
#2 Jake Matthews, T, Texas AM #42 Ja'wuan James, OT, Tennessee
#3 Blake Bortles, QB, Cen Florida #43 Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
#4 Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo #44 David Fales, QB, San Jose State
#5 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas AM #45 Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
#6 Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh #46 Trai Turner, G, LSU
#7 Greg Robinson, T, Auburn #47 - Dal Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
#8 Mike Evans, WR, Texas AM #48 Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
#9 Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA #49 Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
#10 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson #50 Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas
#11 Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan #51 Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
#12 Xavier Sua Filo, G, UCLA #52 Dakota Dozier, G, Furman
#13 Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville #53 Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
#14 Zach Martin, T, Notre Dame #54 Trent Murphy, DE/LB, Stanford
#15 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech #55 Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
#16 - Dal Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri #56 Cameron Fleming, T, Stanford
#17 Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State #57 Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
#18 Odell Beckham, WR, LSU #58 Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville
#19 CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama #59 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
#20 Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame #60 Cyrus Kouandijo, T, Alabama
#21 Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State #61 Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
#22 Jimmie Ward, FS, Northern Illinois #62 Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
#23 Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise St #63 Brandon Thomas, G/T, Clemson
#24 Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida St #64 Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
#25 Eric Ebron, TE, UNC #65 Marcus Robertson, CB, Florida
#26 Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State #66 Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State
#27 Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame #67 Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
#28 Morgan Moses, T, Virginia #68 Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada
#29 LaMarcus Joyner, S, Florida St #69 Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
#30 Billy Turner, T, ND State #70 DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State
#31 HaHa Clinton Dix, S, Alabama #71 Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
#32 Marqise Lee, WR, USC #72 Jack Mewhort, T, Ohio State
#33 Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State #73 Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
#34 Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State #74 Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
#35 Jason Verrett, CB, TCU #75 Antonio Richardson, T, Tennessee
#36 David Yankey, G, Stanford
#37 Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
#38 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Mich St
#39 Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi St
#40 Rashede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Clearly, there will be disagreements, as I have disagreed with myself a number of times and gone back and watched more to try to sort things out.  But, I think it is time to lock these in as best as I can and stand back to see how it looks.  
May the future have mercy on me.  

Past Draft Profiles:

Weekly Notebook - More Offensive Line - Episode 15 - Cameron Fleming, Ja'wuan James, Joel Bitonio, Trai Turner

Weekly Notebook - More Defensive Line - Episode 14 - Dominque Easley, Demarcus Lawrence, Kareem Martin, Marcus Smith

Weekly Notebook - Cornerbacks - Episode 13 - Justin Gilbert, Kyle Fuller, Jason Verrett, Darqueze Dennard, Bradley Roby, Marcus Roberson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste

Weekly Notebook - Wide Receivers - Episode 12 - Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, Kelvin Benjamin, Davante Adams

Big Board #1 - April 3, 2014

Weekly Notebook - Quarterbacks - Episode 10 - Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, David Fales, Zach Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo

Weekly Notebook - Offensive Guards - Episode 9 - David Yankey, Xavier Sua Filo, Gabe Jackson, Cyril Richardson, Brandon Thomas, Dakota Dozier

Weekly Notebook - Offensive Tackles - Episode 8 - Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson, Taylor Lewan, Zack Martin, Cyrus Kouandijo, Antonio Richardson, Jack Mewhort, Morgan Moses, Billy Turner

Weekly Notebook - Linebackers - Episode 7 - Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, Ryan Shazier, Kyle Van Noy, CJ Mosley, Telvin Smith, Jeremiah Attaochu, Carl Bradford