While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and tipped their hands so to speak. Not only have they (not once, but twice) given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions. In our must-read post from earlier in the off-season,"6 Draft Tendencies and Tells” we listed the following:
This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Morris Claiborne wasn’t invited to the Ranch, and Dallas spend two picks to acquire him. Maybe the lack of development their helped guide their hand recently, as eight of their picks over the last two years were in for official visits. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.
Name: Damarious Randall Position: Defensive Back School: Arizona State University Height: 5’11” Weight: 196 LBs Intangibles/Honors: Honorable Mention All-American (SI) – 2014 First Team All-Pac 12 (Phil Steele, SI) – 2014 NJCAA First Team All-American, Arizona Comm. College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Conference at Cornerback and Kick Returner - 2012 Played Cornerback, Wide Receiver, and returned punts at Mesa Community College – 2012 pSparq Score: 121.8 Z-Score: 0.5 NFL Percentile: 67.8 pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are “3 Sigma Athletes” in the NFL, JJ Watt, Calvin Johnson, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson, along with one from the 2015 draft class, Byron Jones. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com
Measurables vs others at his position:
Games Studied: Oregon St, Utah, Notre Dame, Stanford, USC Coverage: Damarious Randall played the “boundary safety” position in the Arizona State defense (one of college football’s more unique schemes. This position, although classified as a safety, rarely plays a traditional safety position. In this role, Randall spent most of his time lined up over a slot receiver, often times in man coverage. He is really at his best when he’s playing man to man and is in phase with his man. He is a very instinctual player, who trusts his eyes, especially from off-man or zone coverage, and when he sees what the offense is doing, he reacts quickly and decisively. He is hyper-aggressive, and loves to undercut routes, resulting in huge plays, not only for his defense, but for the opponent’s offense as well. He’s especially susceptible to double moves, and pump fakes as he tries to jump routes. He plays the screen game well, attacking downill and taking decent angles although he’s not a consistently physical finisher. Run Support: The place where I have the most concern in regards to Randall’s game is in run support from the safety position. Although he finished the 2014 season with 106 tackles, he takes questionable angles from the middle of the field in run support, and is more of a catch tackler than a physical finisher, both of which are dangerous for a true free safety that is the last line of defense.
Conclusion/Cowboys Projection: Damarious Randall is a guy who I feel is likely a year or two away from being a functional pure Free Safety at the NFL level, the way he plays the run is terrifying to me at that spot, but the way he makes plays on the ball, makes him a very interesting player. It seems like just about every single game he makes a bigtime game changing type play, and has a has very good feel, and a very good skillset to be a productive slot blitzer, and my best comparison for his impact on a game is the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu. If I were the Cowboys, I would be hoping Randall, like Mathieu, might fall to the 3rd round, where I would gladly take him, and play him as a nickel defensive back who could cover inside WRs and the athletic TEs that have given the Cowboys so much trouble the last few years. After the year of physical development, as well as experience in the NFL game, I would plan to move him to free safety in 2016.
Name: Jalen Collins Position: Cornerback School: Louisiana State University Height: 6’1” Weight: 203 LBs Intangibles/Honors: Freshman All-SEC (Coaches) – 2012 Played in 39 games, starting only 10 in his three years at LSU Reportedly failed multiple drug tests in college pSparq Score: 118.8 Z-Score: 0.1 NFL Percentile: 56.1 pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. By standardizing a single metric composed of multiple athletic test results, it becomes possible to compare players to the athletic testing scores of players in past draft classes, and to provide context as to how a player will compare athletically to his peers at the NFL level. The Z-Score represents the number of standard deviations (sigma) above or below the mean at a particular position that player falls, 84% of players will have a Z-score of less than 1, 98% will have a Z-score of less than 2, and 99.87% will fall below a Z-Score of 3. There are currently a total of four players who are “3 Sigma Athletes” in the NFL, JJ Watt, Calvin Johnson, Evan Mathis, and Lane Johnson, along with one from the 2015 draft class, Byron Jones. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com
Measurables vs others at his position:
Games Studied: Alabama, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Ole Miss Coverage: When you see Jalen Collins on tape, he passes the cornerback eye test immediately, he is as long as can be, and moves extremely well at his size. However, from a technical standpoint he has a long way to go. He plays at the line of scrimmage tight on WRs often in LSU’s scheme, but rarely actually gets his hands on his guy, which marginalizes all that length, and keeps him from gaining an early advantage at the snap. He has the lateral ability to shadow WRs on their release, and keep him in phase, but he’s not a disruptive player. When he’s off or in zone, he has struggles transitioning out of his pedal, and gets stuck on his heels at times. He did have 17 pass breakups in 2014, which would normally be a very good number, but in the 5 games I studied, he probably dropped 5 interceptions, which could have been big plays for the Tigers, that he failed to finish. He Run Support: Collins can be a physical player in run support, and shows solid effort in this area. He is a good tackler and has the length to keep blockers off of him to stay free to make the play. He’s not afraid to mix it up downhill, and will chase plays from the backside, or down field (ran down Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon on a 65 yard run).
Conclusion/Cowboys Projection: Jalen Collins has the height, weight, speed and length profile to be the prototype NFL CB in the modern game. However, his lack of development as a technical player, and questionable ball skills will cause some teams to push him down the board some. His ability to step in and start day one should be a concern for a team that wants to take him in the first round due to those physical traits, but late in the round, or in the second round, I think he is a good option with a VERY high upside. He is likely to be a fallback option at the 27th pick for Dallas if the board is relatively wiped out, and would probably be the third corner for Rod Marinelli’s defense, with the projection to a starter in 2016.
The gang will assemble at 6:30 Thursday at The Maverick Bar (1616 Hebron) for our CHQ Draft Watch Party sponsored by Jim Ross & Associates, Attorneys at Law... ... Jordan Ross and Mark Lane will be your hosts ... Special guests include Tyrone Crawford ... goodies include autographed goodies from guys like Tony Romo ... and Fish and Jeff Cavanaugh will swing in late, too. Come join us!
Those pre-draft visitors and private workouts? That Cowboys list is here ... Fish reports on 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys' position on Adrian Peterson is unchanged from months ago. No movement -- not even phone calls between the parties. Jerry's lieutenants continue to rule here ... Our Cowboys Crunchtime Podcast series is here, featuring Fish, KD Drummond, Bob Sturm and more ... Catch Fish and Dez playing Twitter footsie with the "official'' news of the non-existence of the Unicorn Video ... We have the inside story on Hardy vs. Coleman during conditioning drills. ... Want more Cowboys Draft Profiles? Click here!