The Dallas Cowboys Should Not Draft David DeCastro

I am quite surprised how many experts believe the Dallas Cowboys want David DeCastro with the 14th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. I do not think the Cowboys want DeCastro at 14, nor do I think that they should pick DeCastro.

The following is a list of reasons why they shouldn’t, and therefore probably won’t, pick DeCastro:

Sept. 17, 2011; Tucson, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal guard David DeCastro (52) signals to teammates during the first half against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

1. There is not enough value in a Guard to justify using a top 15 pick. Compared to just about every other position on a team, an excellent Guard is easy to find.

2. There is a reason that in the 13 drafts since 2000(and probably more, I just stopped at 2000 because more than 10 drafts seemed like a reasonable sample size), no one (not even the Raiders) have used a top 15 pick on a Guard. The closest was last year when a Center, Mike Pouncey, was chosen with the 15th pick. That being said, Centers rarely get drafted in the first 15 picks, and they have more relative value than Guards.

Here is a list of when the first interior Linemen have been drafted since 2000. If a Center was drafted before a Guard, I included both.

2010 17th pick Mike Iupati (Guard)
2009 21st pick Alex Mack (Center)
2009 51st pick Andy Levitre (Guard)
2008 39th pick Chilo Rachal (Guard)
2007 29th pick Ben Grubbs (Guard)
2006 23rd pick David Joseph (Guard)
2005 26th pick Chris Spencer (Center)
2005 32nd pick Logan Mankins (Guard)
2004 45th pick Jake Grove (Center)
2004 46th pick Justin Smiley (Guard)
2003 21st pick Jeff Faine (Center)
2003 33rd pick Eric Steinbach (Guard)
2002 30th pick Kendall Simmons (Guard)
2001 17th pick Steve Hutchinson (Guard)
2000 37th pick Travis Claridge (Guard)

3. Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989; he has been at the helm for over 20 drafts. In more than two decades, Jones has used his first pick on an O-Lineman once (last year with Tyron Smith). The chances of him using his first round pick on a Lineman two years in a row is infinitesimal.

4. The Cowboys have more pressing needs than Guard. Moreover, the other needs they have are much more difficult to fill than at Guard. It is much much harder to find a starting quality CB, pass-rusher, or DT, than it is to find a Guard.

5. The Cowboys have Phil Costa, Kevin Kowlaski, Bill Nagy, David Arkin, and Kyle Kosier under contract for next year. They only have 3 starting positions to fill.

6. The Cowboys will likely sign a veteran Guard in free agency who will compete to start.

7. The O-Line was not horrendous last year. The looked much better when DeMarco Murray was healthy and the offense actually had a reasonable balance of run and pass.They scored 369 points last year, which is just over 23 points a game. Only 4 teams scored more than 406 points; only 4 teams averaged over 26 points.

8. The coaching staff  believes that all of the young O-Lineman (the 4 ‘near-rookies’) should improve considerably with a full off-season of working out with Strength and Conditioning guru Mike Woicik.

So, if there is not enough value in a Guard, especially when measured against the value of other positions that are as big or bigger needs on this team, who should they take with the 14th pick?

You start by identifying the biggest needs, and then consider 2 things: first, the potential utility a player at any position would add to the team; second, their relative value based on the scarcity of excellent players available at those positions in this year’s Draft class.

If you assume that the Cowboys will roll with a free agent pick-up plus some of the 5 players mentioned above at Guard and Center, then it is not a pressing need. The three most pressing needs then are: CB, pass-rusher (OLB or DE), and a DT who can man the NT position in a base 3-4.

Of the three, I think that the DT position is the one that needs to be filled in the 1st round because:

1. It is possible to snag a decent pass-rusher in the 2nd and/or 3rd round.

2. This Draft is fairly deep at CB, and therefore you should be able to get a decent one in the 2nd round.

3. Rob Ryan needs a prototypical 3-4 NT to run this defense properly.

4. A true NT will allow Jay Ratliff to be played at DT and DE.

5. True 3-4 NT’s are extremely rare and difficult to find.

6. A mammoth NT will instantly improve the run defense, and it will improve the pass-rush by freeing up Ratliff, which in turn will improve the secondary.

7.  As Greyson Jones pointed out, selecting a CB in the 1st Round is risky.  Click here to read his analysis and persuasive conclusions about drafting a CB in the 1st round.

It is possible that the best NT in the draft will still be available at 14. If not, you would have to decide whether any of the remaining NT’s were good enough to justify taking at that spot. If there was not a NT talented enough to have good value with the 14th pick, then I would take the best CB or pass-rusher (OLB or DE).

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section, or by email:[email protected]

WRITER’S UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, SI.com has released its list of the top 3 needs for every NFL team in the Draft.  You can view the entire article here.  The good news is that none of the 13 teams picking before the Cowboys are projected to have a need at DT or interior lineman.  The strange part is that they do not list DT as a need for the Cowboys; they list CB, DE, and LB.

Topics: 2012 NFL Draft, Dallas Cowboys, David DeCastro, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones

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  • http://shadysrecon.blogspot.com/ Shady

    I do not know that much about the young man to make a call one way or the other. I do not put that much stock in most of the mock drafts, as it is a crap shoot. A trade here and there makes all the difference in the world. Last year Mel Kiper had Tyron Smith going to another team other than Dallas, and Kiper had Patrick Peterson going to Dallas. So I guess I could make my mock draft (GUESSING)
    and predict Dallas trading up or down to pick a certain player. It is just an all out guessing game when it comes to who is going where. You might get your overall #1, 2 and 3 correct but you never know. It is like the Texas lottery…hey, thats just my opinion..

    • cjwright

       @Shady Agreed.  It is much easier to say what we think they should do, than what we think they will do.

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  • Californy

    I am very familiar with this player. The only way we shouldn’t pick him, if he is already off the board.  I have never been a fan of drafting OL in the first rd.  But your most prize player is the QB, and he should be protected at all cost.  A good OG would also help out with protecting your starting RB especially in the red Zone, where the Cowboys were one of the worst for scoring TD in the NFL last year.  Not only will you save your QB but you will take pressure off of the defense by scoring 7 than scoring 3 points.  It also rest your defense in the longer drives.

    • cjwright

       @Californy I agree that DeCastro will help the team and make them better – I don’t think anyone would deny that.  I just don’t think his overall impact would compare to a playmaker at CB, DE, NT, or OLB.
      I think I have asked you before: why are you not writing for one of the Cowboy blogs?

  • Californy

    Did you notice all the G prospect you mention in Dallas have been drafted in the fourth Round or later.  In fact some where not even drafted at all.  You could add Beuardeux and Living to that list being drafted low.  Where you draft a player is not relevant to the skill level, I give you that. Larry Allen and Flozell Adams G were selected in the second rd.  If you look at Decastro ability, he is now being consider as a possible Center candidate, so his value only goes up.  Decastro is consider a mauler eventhough he doesnt have the size of s type of G.  Decastro has the technique and that what makes him good at what he does.  Stepnoski was undersize playing at 265 lbs, and he played at this all pro level for many years.  A good Guard prospect like Decastro would only make our Young Offensive tackle that much better.  I just dont believe player like Living and Beurdeux can live up to their contract.  This is a gamble JJ is taking with this team most valuable player in Tony Romo.  Last year, JJ strategy was to go young at the offensive line position.  He found that didnt work, now he is going in a new direction.  JJ is going big in this year OL.  JJ thinks big is better this year.  If JJ is right on these players then the other 31 teams are wrong, because these two player never gain any interest by any other club.  These two player where never on someone else radar.  There ranking in term of talent was not that good.  They talk about upside with some of these two players.  What real upside could a 30 year old G really have.  I doubt that Living would even finish off his 5 year contract.  He a future Cap hit to me.  Neither club even mad an attempt at rehiring these players.  Which club do you think would have a greater knowledge of these two players ability.  It Ok we can differnt in oppinion time will show you what kind of player these two guys are and what type of GM , JJ really is.

    • cjwright

       @Californy I tend to agree with you on the two free agents, but nothing will ever convince me that a guard is a wise choice at 14 when the team has so many other needs.  The relative value of guards is just too low to justify a top 15 pick. 

      • Californy

         @cjwright I dont mind people disagree with me.  But I would like to hear your alternative pick at the 14 th spot.  I get the more you put down the greater they will come after what you said.  Im not afraid of a good debate, I just like to see what the thinking of other Cowboy fans on the site are.  Like I said a G is a fulltime position, they get twice the snaps a DE or DT would in a defense.  Why pay a DE or DT the same amount of money of someone going twice the work.  I be honest I never was a fan of drafting OL in the first rd, it never been a position of glamor.  I just want our QB protected, Better Red zone conversion and more team win.  I believe a good G can do this at the same time make his team mates better around him.  I dont think. DeCastro would even be there.  I just didnt want to back away from your position of not taking a G in the top 15 position.

        • cjwright

           @Californy Dude, I am wrong lots of the time, and most of the times I realize that I am wrong, it is through exchanging ideas with other fans on this website.
          My opposition to taking a G with the 14th pick is based on a G’s relative value when compared with other positions of need.  Put simply, it is easier and cheaper to find an elite (or Pro Bowl) guard than any of the other positions of need.  There are far more elite guards available via trades and free agency than true 3-4 NT’s.  Similarly, signing an elite CB, DE, or OLB will cost much more than signing an elite guard.  Hence, it makes sense to target one of the other positions with the 14th pick.

        • http://shadysrecon.blogspot.com/ Shady

          @cjwright @Californy Cha Ching- you nailed it CJ you are right on the money!

  • Californy

    I use to play Guard and understand the need of a  good Guard.  It not a glory position I get that.  There are no measurable statsistic attach to them.  What kind of strange and I dont shair this with to many, is name a guard at any level who is fater than most RB,WR and went to the state championship in track and field as a sprinter.  I know this because this happen to me.  If I had the opportunity to be a position coah at any level it would be OL, because I understand the defensive line having dominated team from the NT position.  That why I keep telling you people, there is no value in a 3-4 defsensive line in the first round.  The best NT was a Gurad in the college in Atayba rubin.

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