Draft Breakdown: Two Elite Prospects Make Guard Class Special

Cowboysrule122

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Rowan Kavner/ DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer


(Editor's Note: As the NFL Draft approaches on April 25-27, DallasCowboys.com's Draft Series will analyze every position, the Cowboys' needs at each, which players might be targeted for their six picks and some interesting draft nuggets. Part 3 features guards.)

Position Outlook:

Unlike this year, the Cowboys made quite a splash in free agency last year, grabbing guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings in addition to prized cornerback Brandon Carr. Though not the most highly regarded offensive linemen in free agency, the additions at guard in mid-March were supposed to help solidify the line by protecting quarterback Tony Romo and making a difference in the running game.

Instead, the Cowboys went from 18th in the league in rushing in 2011 to 31st in 2012. Romo was also sacked 36 times last season and he tied his career-high in interceptions. They also finished with fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns for the second straight season.

The Cowboys haven’t rushed to free agency to get new guards or any new players on the offensive line this offseason. Livings started every game at left guard last season, while Bernadeau started 14 games at right guard and two at center. They’d be the likely starters again next season if the Cowboys don’t bring in a free agent or high draft pick at the position, unless Ron Leary or David Arkin makes tremendous strides during training camp.

Available Vets:

One name floating around in free agency is former Jets guard Brandon Moore. He’s been productive with the Jets since joining the team in 2002, but it’s possible this is the year he departs from New York. The Cowboys would have to consider how long they’d be able to stick with Moore, who at 32 years old wouldn’t be helping any youth movement on the line. Other guards out there include Jake Scott and Deuce Lutui, but Moore seems to be garnering the most interest and speculation.

Look Back:

How the Cowboys must long for the days of Larry Allen manning the middle of the offensive line. Allen, a massive second-round draft pick from Sonoma State who famously bench pressed more than 700 pounds, is set to join the Hall of Fame after a storied 14 seasons in the NFL.

The Cowboys got production from Kyle Kosier after Allen left Dallas in 2006, and Leonard Davis at least provided a massive body in the middle. But the production at the position’s declined in recent years and led to the Cowboys looking to free agency to grab two affordable pieces as full-time starters.

Draft Prospects:

Alabama’s Chance Warmack and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper are the prized possessions at guard in this draft and could unprecedentedly be taken by the time the Cowboys make their first selection. The power of Warmack and the athleticism of Cooper may have teams reaching quickly for a position that normally goes after the first round.

After those top two are off the board, it may be a while before another is selected. Bryan Broaddus has more on some guards that could provide value after the first round.
 

ravidubey

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David DeCastro was supposedly a slam-dunk elite prospect last year. Why the change in perception? Are these two guards that much better? I recall thinking DeCastro looked smallish and was not overly impressed, but then again I'm no talent evaluator.
 

Smitty

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David DeCastro was supposedly a slam-dunk elite prospect last year. Why the change in perception? Are these two guards that much better? I recall thinking DeCastro looked smallish and was not overly impressed, but then again I'm no talent evaluator.
What perception changed?

I would personally rank DeCastro definitely over Cooper. Warmack is an amazing player too though, so I don't know about that one.

Of course now that DeCastro tore up his knee, who knows?
 

Donpingon

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There's no way these guys go in the top 10. Teams will still reach (like they always do) for QBs, CBs, and pass rushers. I wouldn't be surprised if both of them are available at 18.
 

2233boys

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What perception changed?

I would personally rank DeCastro definitely over Cooper. Warmack is an amazing player too though, so I don't know about that one.

Of course now that DeCastro tore up his knee, who knows?
I've heard that said on National Radio shows and on Talking Cowboys. Thanks Hos.
 

Jiggyfly

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What perception changed?

I would personally rank DeCastro definitely over Cooper. Warmack is an amazing player too though, so I don't know about that one.

Of course now that DeCastro tore up his knee, who knows?
:lol

Nobody but you thinks Decastro was a better prospect, he was dropping at this time and Cooper is rising.
 

boozeman

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:lol

Nobody but you thinks Decastro was a better prospect, he was dropping at this time and Cooper is rising.
He was not "dropping". His stock was pretty stable from what I recall. If he was "dropping" it was the natural tendency of teams to downgrade guards in general.
 

Genghis Khan

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What perception changed?

I would personally rank DeCastro definitely over Cooper. Warmack is an amazing player too though, so I don't know about that one.

Of course now that DeCastro tore up his knee, who knows?

Cooper might be the best of the three. Personally I get the feeling that Warmack is the best, but then I thought I heard that Kiper has Cooper ranked ahead of Warmack now. It is hard to compare draft classes in this way I guess but I can't imagine that DeCastro is a better prospect than either of these guys, personally.
 

Simpleton

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DeCastro was vaguely considered a bit as a center last year just like Cooper is being considered now, I don't think in reality either of them will spend much time at the position though. If DeCastro were in this draft I think he'd be rated above Cooper, DeCastro was ranked generally in the low to mid teens by most prognosticators last year and that was in a draft with much more clearly elite, top end talent.

There are no QB's as good as Luck or Griffin, no RB's as good as Richardson, no CB's as good as Claiborne, no WR's as good as Blackmon and even no safeties as good as Barron or traditional LB's as good as Kuechly at the top.

Cooper is a great prospect though and I don't think there is much of a difference between him and DeCastro, I definitely have Warmack above them both though.
 

ravidubey

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DeCastro admitted struggling against NFL defensive linemen. He was behind the 8-ball from day one and his injury was probably related to that. Some people can't translate their games to the pros.

But back to perception, you'd think if anything people would downgrade the position further because of DeCastro and Glenn's pedestrian impact last year despite their strong rating. How much greater can Cooper and Warmack be? Why would they be so great that both would be gone roughly ten picks ahead of where DeCastro went last year?

Doesn't make sense.
 

boozeman

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Cooper might be the best of the three. Personally I get the feeling that Warmack is the best, but then I thought I heard that Kiper has Cooper ranked ahead of Warmack now. It is hard to compare draft classes in this way I guess but I can't imagine that DeCastro is a better prospect than either of these guys, personally.
That is something I find so fascinating about the draft process.

There is no one...I mean...no one who would have said Cooper was better than Warmack in early February. Warmack had just destroyed ND. Cooper was still sitting on his arse.

So the tape of Cooper looking good against poor ACC opponents made them change their minds?
 

Smitty

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That is something I find so fascinating about the draft process.

There is no one...I mean...no one who would have said Cooper was better than Warmack in early February. Warmack had just destroyed ND. Cooper was still sitting on his arse.

So the tape of Cooper looking good against poor ACC opponents made them change their minds?
Cooper is surging right now because of his athleticism and that is it.

After their respective seasons finished, there is 0% doubt that both Warmack and DeCastro were significantly higher rated than Cooper.

I like Cooper. And just like many times you see players drafted in the 20s end up better than players drafted in the 10s, he may end up the best guard out of all these guys.

But it's unarguable that DeCastro was the better prospect, IMO.
 

Simpleton

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DeCastro admitted struggling against NFL defensive linemen. He was behind the 8-ball from day one and his injury was probably related to that. Some people can't translate their games to the pros.

But back to perception, you'd think if anything people would downgrade the position further because of DeCastro and Glenn's pedestrian impact last year despite their strong rating. How much greater can Cooper and Warmack be? Why would they be so great that both would be gone roughly ten picks ahead of where DeCastro went last year?

Doesn't make sense.
Zeitler had a great rookie season last year and was taken in the same area as DeCastro, although I definitely agree that all this talk of them going top 10 is overblown, I don't necessarily expect either of them to be there at 18 but I definitely think there is a distinct possibility.

As an aside, I expected this kind of rise out of Cooper and it's solely because of his perceived athleticism and the "potential" of playing center, which I don't think is very realistic to begin with but I had a pretty good feeling that NFL teams would start looking at him in that light. It is funny how these things happen in the months leading up to the draft but it happens every year.
 

Cowboysrock55

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But it's unarguable that DeCastro was the better prospect, IMO.
I don't know if it's unarguable but you have two totally different scenarios. Cooper was a late to mid first rounder who has climbed now because a sub 5.0 forty time and perceived versatility. Warmack on the other hand is a guy who has been talked about as a top 5 talent in this draft. Is probably the best guard prospect that I can remember in a draft. He is now falling a bit because of a bad forty time and a perceived lack of versatility.

DeCastro is more like Warmack in the sense that he started out the draft process as a potential top 10 pick. He dropped a bit because he wasn't viewed as a physically dominating guard. Technically speaking I think he is a very similar player to Cooper. Not a lot of power going forward but is awesome when pulling and blocking out on the move. A very technically sound guy that will rarely miss an assignment but who could struggle with the physicality of the NFL.

I guess it all depends on when you take the players stock. At the end of the college season Cooper was a lower tier prospect in comparison to DeCastro. The day before the draft I don't know if that would really be considered the case.
 

Donpingon

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I haven't watched much tape on Cooper and Warmack, but the tape I saw on Decastro left me feeling very underwhelmed (especially with all the hype surrounding him). With that said, I definitely don't remember him falling at this point last year. The reality is that teams don't value guards in the real world as they are valued in these mocks. Every year there are those ridiculous reaches, the emphasis on QBs and pass rushers, and I doubt this year will be any different.
 

Smitty

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I don't know if it's unarguable but you have two totally different scenarios. Cooper was a late to mid first rounder who has climbed now because a sub 5.0 forty time and perceived versatility. Warmack on the other hand is a guy who has been talked about as a top 5 talent in this draft. Is probably the best guard prospect that I can remember in a draft. He is now falling a bit because of a bad forty time and a perceived lack of versatility.

DeCastro is more like Warmack in the sense that he started out the draft process as a potential top 10 pick.
So where is the argument there?

Cooper is climbing because of 40 time and athleticism from a late first rounder. Whereas many sources had DeCastro as a top 10 pick.

It's night and day.
 

Cowboysrock55

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So where is the argument there?

Cooper is climbing because of 40 time and athleticism from a late first rounder. Whereas many sources had DeCastro as a top 10 pick.

It's night and day.
It's only arguable because things like 40 times and athleticism are part of a prospects grade. So to say DeCastro was the better prospect you can't ignore where Cooper's stock is right now. I put little stock in such things personally but obviously it has helped Cooper become a darling in the eyes of many so called experts.
 
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