Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Morning Coffee With Blogging the 'Boys

For our Morning Coffee this month, it is our pleasure to sit down with the Dallas Cowboys blog Blogging the 'Boys. These guys are the gold standard as far as pro football blogs go, and it's a real honor to have them answer a few questions from a start-up blog. These guys have been fairly cutting edge when it comes to applying advanced statistics to NFL players and teams but today we are going to confine our questions to those concerning BC players who might potentially end up in Cowboy uniforms.

Make the jump for the full interview.

1. Now that there's a lockout, how does this affect the NFL draft? If the 2011 season is missed entirely and the players from this year's draft go unsigned, will they be fed back into the 2012 draft?

For now, it appears the draft will go on as normal. It's actually the one offseason activity that seems to be unaffected by the labor mess, except for the possibility of the top draft picks boycotting the proceedings in New York. I'm not sure about the second part of the question. My guess would be all "clocks" are frozen during a lockout, so a player drafted in April would remain under the rights of the team that selected them until a year after a new CBA goes into effect. So they would not go back into the 2012 draft since teams would have the time to get them signed. Of course, they could write new rules in the new CBA that cover this in some way.

2. Anthony Castonzo has been linked to the Cowboys in several mock drafts. Do you think this would be a good draft choice at number 9? Maybe in a trade-down?
The Cowboys have been linked to Castonzo, their needs at tackle and along the o-line in general are well known. But I don't think they would take him at #9. If they take a tackle at #9, I'm thinking it will be Tyron Smith out of USC (provided he's available). If Smith is unavailable, trading down in the first round is almost certainly what they'd do if they are targeting a tackle. Then they could go after Castonzo provided they fall into that middle-cluster in the first round where a group of tackles should be available. They really want Patrick Peterson to miraculously fall in the first round, but outside of him they might not want to stay at #9.

3. How do you think that Castonzo stacks up to the other top tackles in the draft? 
Tyron Smith seems to be the top tackle in the draft, provided he looks good at his Pro Day. After him, there is a group of tackles who are competing with each other to be the second guy. That includes Castonzo, Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod. I think Castonzo will be the second guy to go, but will certainly be picked by the back-half of the first round. I like Castonzo's long frame and long arms, ideal for a tackle. He's also a good athlete. He needs to fill-out physically for the Cowboys, they like very tall and big along the line, and he might need to develop more lower-body strength to handle the power-rushers in the NFL, and get better drive in the run game.

4. I know that the 'Boys are pretty stacked at LB, but what would your interest in BC LB Mark Herzlich be? In 08-09 the kid was a beast and pretty much carried the whole team. He probably would have been a top 5 pick had he not gotten cancer.
I think that Herzlich would have to move to inside linebacker in the Cowboys 3-4 defense. They like their OLBs to be around 260 lbs. or more and they usually draft them from the defensive end position in college. I think Herzlich is an enigma for scouts and general managers, because no one is quite sure how much of his pre-cancer form he'll get back. He was a beast before the illness, but his recent season will make teams uneasy because he isn't back yet to the elevated level he used to play at. Still, I think he's worth taking a shot on if he falls to a later round. I loved the kid's game before the illness, but I would be concerned if he'll ever get back to that. I hope he does, he's truly an inspirational story.

5. How interested do you think that NFL teams are in BC's late-round linemen Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham? Any chance the Cowboys take a late-round flier on one or the other hoping to replace some of the aging guys on the line?
I'm not as familiar with those guys as you guys are, so I won't say something stupid since I really don't know their games. But in general, I expect the Cowboys to expend at least a couple of picks on offensive line talent in this draft, so they could certainly use a late-round pick on a lineman.

6. As someone who follows Texas football, what is your opinion of BC in terms of the NFL talent the school produces?
I follow Dallas Cowboys football, but not Texas football. I think BC produces a lot of good talent for the NFL, and of course they are known for producing quality linemen. If a lineman is from BC in the draft, I take an extra look, just because the school has produced so many good linemen, especially along the interior (center/guard). They've also produced a lot of QBs who have played in the league, either as starters or back-ups.

Thanks so much for sitting down with us and here's hoping that we see a rapid CBA agreement so we can all get back to talking about on-the-field play.

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