A wonderful piece was recently posted by rabblerousr for Blogging the Boys which extensively detailed the Cowboys draft board. It’s a great piece and surely took some work to capture and detail the Cowboys entire board akin to the leak which occurred in 2010. I highly suggest you check it out here and all credit goes to him.
Of course when I read it I quickly scrolled through to see exactly where the recent Colts draft picks were ranked according to the Jones boys and company. Here’s a quick rundown of which Colts were on their board and possible explanations as to why some were excluded.
Bjoern Werner: Interestingly enough, Werner was the last pass rusher to receive a first round grade from Dallas evaluators. After pass rushers Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, and Ziggy Ansah (all taken in the top 6), Werner was the Cowboys last and only defensive end or linebacker to receive a first round grade on their board. Werner was in fact one of only 18 players which were designated as having a first round grade according to the Cowboys scouting staff which ranked him ahead of their top pick Travis Frederick. This makes the Cowboys consider Werner at worst the 18th best player in the draft. Two players I thought the Colts would also consider once their pick rolled around including Datone Jones and Marcus Trufant received much lower, third round grades.
Hugh Thornton: Thornton was entirely excluded from the Cowboys big board. There is no reasoning from Cowboys specifically behind his exclusion but as the author points out, the Cowboys eschewed from drafting any players with previous character concerns.
Khaled Holmes: Holmes was clearly valued by Cowboys staff as a fallback option if their top pick, Travis Frederick was unavailable when they came around to pick. Other than Frederick, Holmes was the only center to receive a fourth round grade or higher from the Cowboys and certainly Dallas would have had to consider moving him up their board in the absence of Frederick's availability.
Montori Hughes: Hughes was another player that was entirely left off the Cowboys board as well. Rabblerousr identifies Holmes, Johnathan Hankins, John Jenkins, and Jesse Williams specifically as players who would have been excluded on the basis of Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's personnel preferences. Kiffin’s system places greater priority on acquiring defensive tackles adept at creating disruption at the point of attack and in the backfield which accordingly places a greater emphasis on lineman that are smaller, quicker, and more athletic than the aforementioned tackles. This is in line with Kiffin’s previous set up with the Bucs in their heyday when the talented but undersized Warren Sapp was creating havoc in opposing backfields.
As for the rest of the Colts picks there were no other players listed on Cowboys draft board. The board as a whole was rather small and only encompassed a limited number players as the Cowboys had a refined draft board with very few 6th or 7th round graded players. Nonetheless it is always fascinating to see how valued your team’s drafts picks are around the league.