They addressed a lot of needs. Pass rush, depth, center and a replacement for gates. People get caught up in protecting Rivers. Pass blocking wasn't the problem, it was run blocking due to a massive injury bug that plagued the whole season. Tuerk had an ACL tear... its very possible today to come back from such an injury. I like that we focused on depth at linebacker. Teo isn't the answer. Bosa WILL fit in our defense. we ran a nickel 70% of the time. He opens things up for the linebackers which allows the secondary to make plays. Talesco did a good job. They deserve a B at least.
I'm more optimistic but the grade is about right. If Zeke has a good year, we get through the first four games and our key players stay healthy it's a good step. I think Smith will work out. The cowboys team doctor performed the surgery, he's probably the most capable member of the cowboys. If we go into next year having won ten games, turned out with four starters from this draft with a top five potential rb, a 90 percent smith, improved byron, Lawrence, Gregory and two of our later picks pan out we should be Happy. We'll bring in more pass rushers and corners by next year. I really believe most of those things could happen and we can make a run in the second and third year of this window. Obviously a disaster has a 50 percent chance of happening with the cowboys but that would doom the season anyways. Ramsey wasn't all we needed to get to the promise land, and I don't think he was the piece that was taking us to a Superbowl. We're still close to being close. Would have preferred Payton Lynch, but not enough to be tied to him. Also, not trading with Baltimore was just stupid. We'd have another 4th round DE coming into camp.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Height: 6-3. Weight: 311. Arm: 33.58. 40 Time: 5.15. Projected Round (2013): Top-16 Pick. 4/24/13: Lotulelei looks solid in the top 10 as there are a lot of teams in the latter half that could consider drafting him.
The heart issue that caused Lotulelei to be pulled out of the Combine has been determined to be a non-issue. He has been given full medical clearance to play pro football. Lotulelei put on a show at his pro day and was very impressive with power, speed and explosion.
Lotulelei had an excellent senior season. He played well against BYU, Utah State, USC, UCLA and Washington. Lotulelei was extremely disruptive and more so than the numbers indicate. He recorded 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, five sacks, three forced fumbles and four passes broken up.
Lotulelei has a rare combination of size, power, speed and explosion. He beats blockers with strength and speed. Lotulelei is dominant when he isn't double-teamed and remains effective while taking on two blockers.
8/25/12: Lotulelei was a First-Team All-Pac-12 pick in 2011 and won the Morris Trophy as the conference's top defensive lineman as voted on by the starting offensive linemen. He recorded 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, nine tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. As a redshirt sophomore in 2010, Lotulelei was a backup for most of the season and had 21 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss. He is still developing and has tons of potential.
Lotulelei was more disruptive last year than his numbers indicate. He causes a lot of havoc at the point of attack by his ability to fire through his gap and penetrate the backfield. Lotulelei is powerful and extremely quick. He has the sheer strength to grab guards and toss them aside. He also explodes off the snap to quickly gain leverage on the guard.
The main thing that the senior has to work on is adding some more pass-rushing moves. He should add a rip move and spin move to go along with his speed and power rushes. Lotulelei is still raw. He has a huge ceiling and should only get better as he gains more experience. Lotulelei could fit in any NFL scheme, but could be a prototypical tackle for a 4-3 defense.
Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Height: 6-3. Weight: 359. Arm: 33 1/8. Hand: 9 1/2. Projected 40 Time: 5.45. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 4/24/13: Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that Jenkins could be a late first-round pick and should easily go in the second round.
Jenkins racked up 50 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack in 2012. He stood out with good games against Missouri, South Carolina, Florida and Auburn. Jenkins played well in the SEC Championship and beat Alabama guard Chance Warmack for a sack.
Jenkins is a load at the line of scrimmage who can collapse the pocket while stuffing runs. He helped his stock this season and was dominant at the Senior Bowl. Jenkins was destroying interior linemen with his bull rush and showed some serious explosiveness off the snap. It isn't out of the question for Jenkins to be a mid first-rounder.
8/25/12: The junior college product Jenkins showed off massive size with some surprising athleticism in his debut last year for the Bulldogs. The junior had 28 with six tackles for a loss and three sacks.
Jenkins is a massive load at the line of scrimmage. He is a natural fit as a zero-technique nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. It helps that Jenkins already plays that position for Georgia.
Johnathan Hankins*, DT, Ohio State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 320. Arm: 33.08 40 Time: 5.31. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 4/24/13: Hankins was solid, but unspectacular, at the Combine. He started out the year extremely strongly for Ohio State. He was a monster in the middle of the line as a run-stuffer with some pressure as a pass-rusher.
Hankins was a dominant force against California, among others. He totaled 10 tackles and a sack while making plays all over the field. Hankins made tackles outside of his gap. One was on a wide receiver screen on the perimeter. He was beating double-team blocks from a guard and center to stuff runs at the line of scrimmage.
Hankins' play cooled off some after a dominant September, but he still caused problems at the line of scrimmage and finished his collegiate career strong with a good performance against Michigan. Hankins totaled 55 tackles, four tackles for a loss and a sack in 2012.
8/25/12: Hankins is a massive tackle who takes up a lot of space and blockers at the point of attack. The sophomore had a strong 2011 season. He was a fabulous run-defender at that point of attack and totaled 67 tackles. Hankins also had 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He notched 16 tackles and a sack as a freshman.
Even though Hankins only had three sacks last year, he was a better pass-rusher than the numbers indicate. Hankins got good penetration into the pocket to hurry quarterbacks and take away space for them to step up in the pocket. He has serious quickness that he uses to fire into his gap and disrupt plays.
NFL coaches are going to love Hankins' versatility. He has played all over the defensive line. Hankins has lined up as a three-technique, on the outside shoulder of the guard; a two-gap defensive tackle technique; a defensive end; and the zero-technique - as a nose tackle above the center. Thus, he could fit as in a 4-3 as a defensive tackle, or in a 3-4 defense as a nose tackle or defensive end.
If Hankins becomes a more consistent pass-rusher and is able to produce a quality sack total, he could contend to be the top tackle selected. With Ohio State's new attacking defense, it wouldn't be surprising if the junior increases his sack production in 2012.
Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
Height: 6-3. Weight: 323. Arm: 32.08. Projected 40 Time: 5.35. Projected Round (2013): 1-3. 4/24/13: Scouts told WalterFootball.com they don't view Williams as a first-rounder because he won't be on the field in pass-rushing situations. However, some project him to go on Thursday night.
Williams had a rough start to his senior season. He was limited against Michigan in Week 1 and sat out the next game, against Western Kentucky, with a concussion. Williams played better later in the year with good performances versus Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia and Notre Dame. He had 37 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one sack in 2012.
Williams is a good run-stuffer, but doesn't offer much of anything as a pass-rusher. He looks like a two-down player at most for the NFL, and with the amount of nickel formations teams run, may only end up playing 40 percent of his defense's snaps.
Williams was unable to run in the field workouts at the Combine.
8/25/12: The "tattooed monster from down under" has some shear power and quickness. The Australian didn't start playing football until he was 15 years old. He played a couple seasons of community college before breaking into the lineup as a junior for Alabama.
Williams had 24 tackles with four tackles for a loss and half a sack in 2011. He was a starting five-technique defensive end but moved inside to tackle as part of a four-man front in pass-rushing situations. Williams should take on a prominent role in the Alabama defense since the Crimson Tide lost a number of players to the 2012 NFL Draft.
Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern
Height: 6-1. Weight: 341. Arm: 32 3/4. Hand: 9 5/8. 40 Time: 5.37. Projected Round (2012): 2-4. 4/24/13: Williams was a consistent pass-rusher over the last three seasons. He totaled 25.5 sacks over that time. Williams had 68 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles this year. He totaled eight sacks and 35 tackles in 2011. Williams recorded nine sacks and 17 tackles for a loss as a sophomore. He helped himself by performing well at the Senior Bowl.
Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin
Height: 6-4. Weight: 329. Arm: 33.68. 40 Time: 5.23. Projected Round (2012): 3-4. 4/24/13: If it weren't for off-the-field problems, Hughes could be a high second-day pick. He has talent, size and speed. Hughes picked up 42 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and a pass broken up in 2012. He had a strong Senior Bowl performance and really helped himself. Hughes also put together a solid performance at the Combine.
8/25/12: Hughes was kicked off of Tennessee's team, so he ended up transfering to Tennessee-Martin, an FCS school. The junior had a mixed season for the Volunteers in 2011 with 28 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, and one forced fumble, which he recovered. He recorded most of his stats (10 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, his sack and his fumble) against Eastern Illinois, a team that went 2-9 in 2011.
Hughes recorded 17 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble in 2010. The sophomore had some academic violations that caused him to be suspended for the season finale against Kentucky.
Hughes combines athletic ability and good size, but his off-the-field problems have killed his draft stock.
Kwame Geathers*, DT, Georgia
Height: 6-5. Weight: 342. Arm: 35.28. 40 Time: 5.44. Projected Round (2013): 3-5. 4/24/13: Geathers played well as part of a rotation on Georgia's defensive line. He had 40 tackles, five tackles for a loss, a sack and a blocked kick in 2012. Geathers would have been an every-down player on the majority of teams.
The junior struggled in the second half of the SEC Championship Game against Alabama. Barrett Jones wore him down and dominated him. Even though Geathers could have taken over as the starting nose tackle next season, he decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Geathers didn't impress at the Combine. The decision to come out early looks like a mistake as he is a mid-round pick at best.
8/25/12: Geathers is a mountain of man who is difficult to move at the line of scrimmage. He looks like a good fit for a 3-4 defense, especially at nose tackle.
Geathers should receive more playing time as a junior as he was team's defensive MVP for spring practice in 2012. He was mostly a backup in 2011 with 14 tackles. The sophomore also missed a few games. Nose tackles with Geathers' size are hard to find.
Quinton Dial, DT, Alabama
Height: 6-5. Weight: 318. Arm: 34.48. Projected 40 Time: 5.30. Projected Round (2013): 6-7. 4/24/13: As a senior in 2012, Dial was part of a rotation and totaled 21 tackles with 1.5 sacks. His first season at Alabama was as a backup in 2011 when he recorded one sack. Dial played two seasons at East Mississippi Community College before landing with the Crimson Tide. He could be a backup in the NFL.
DeWayne Cherrington, DT, Mississippi State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 335. Projected 40 Time: 5.50. Projected Round (2012): 7-FA. 4/24/13: Cherrington is a heavy defensive tackle who has some athletic ability. The senior totaled 24 tackles with a tackle for a loss. He was impressive against Alabama. Cherrington totaled 12 tackles in 2011 as a backup to Fletcher Cox.
Jose Jose, DT, Central Florida
Height: 6-2. Weight: 345. Projected 40 Time: 5.40. Projected Round (2012): 7-FA. 4/24/13: Jose recorded a total of 11 tackles over the past two seasons with zero sacks, yet he thought it was a good idea to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Jose will be lucky to get drafted. He didn't work out at the Combine.
Brandon Moore, DT, Texas
Height: 6-5. Weight: 320. Projected 40 Time: 5.37. Projected Round (2012): 7-FA. 4/24/13: Moore was only at Texas for one season, but he totaled two sacks, 14 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss. Moore had previously played in the JUCO ranks. He should not have entered the 2013 NFL Draft. Moore didn't work out at the Combine.
T.J. Barnes, DT, Georgia Tech
Height: 6-6. Weight: 369. Arm: 34.78. 40 Time: 5.30. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Barnes had 28 tackles, five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks this season.
8/25/12: Barnes had 11 tackles with a sack in 2011 and was quiet. He occupies blocks at the line of scrimmage, but does not do a good job of disengaging to get in on tackles.
Larry Black, Jr., DT, Indiana
Height: 6-2. Weight: 309. Projected 40 Time: 5.55. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Black played well for Indiana and made a number of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He had 12 tackles for a loss, four sacks and 36 tackles in 2012. Black didn't work out at the Combine.
8/25/12: Black, Jr. could fit as a nose tackle in the NFL. If he were to add 20 pounds of bulk, he could be a good fit as a 3-4 nose tackle. Black totaled 47 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks as a junior in 2011.
The sophomore started 12 games at defensive tackle in 2010. He had 7.5 tackles for a loss, 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks. If Black plays well this season, his stock could rise.