IRVING, Texas – Here are 10 thoughts on an exciting first round in which the Cowboys stayed put and No. 27 overall and still got one of the highest-rated players on their draft board, Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones:
1. It was a very tense War Room for the Cowboys as they waited for their selection in the draft. I have been in that room with Jerry Jones when he has a player in sight and he wants him badly. You might have noticed on War Room Cam that he was looking to get advice from his number guys that work the trade charts where he might have to move to grab that player, but as those picks started going off the board you could see that he was committed to sitting and waiting to see what would happen. I thought there were several picks ahead of them that set them up to grab Byron Jones. With Detroit trading back in the round, then Philadelphia and Baltimore taking receivers with Pittsburgh grabbing a linebacker in between, were all teams that potentially could have grabbed Jones at their spots which would have forced the Cowboys to lose their man. It's tough to sit and wait like that but Jerry Jones and the room played it well and it paid off.
2.I am interested to see where the Redskins play Brandon Scherff along their offensive line. He was a left tackle at Iowa and was a much better run blocker than he was in the pass. My initial thought was to kick him inside and let him play as a guard where I believe he could thrive with having to handle fewer opportunities in space. I don't believe that he has the footwork to be a left tackle in this league.
3.Leonard Williams was the top-rated player on my draft board so when he ended up with the Jets with the sixth selection I have to admit that I was surprised. I expect that you will see Todd Bowles use Williams like he did Darnell Dockett while he was the defensive coordinator in Arizona.
4.I believe that the Giants were going to take Scherff the entire time, and when the Redskins grabbed him four spots earlier they were forced to take another plan of attack. I am not surprised that Ereck Flowers was the selection. He might not be the prettiest when it comes to technique but he has some nastiness in the way he plays. He is a tough guy and was one of the best finishers I scouted at the position.
5.I was expecting Todd Gurley to go off the board at some point in the middle of the draft but I didn't have him going to St. Louis. I was able to watch a workout that Gurley had last week and even though he was not doing any cutting, his straight-ahead speed appeared to be back and that's a great sign for the Rams who could use his talent sooner than later.
6.Andrus Peat to the Saints was a surprise to me. They liked the player much more than I did. I thought that T.J. Clemmings, D.J Humphries and Cedric Ogbuehi were all better players. Peat was the opposite of Scherff in that he is a much better pass blocker than he is on the run. There were too many times where I saw him on the ground and off balance, especially against those athletic rush ends in the Pac-12.
7. Miami stole a player in DeVante Parker – mark my words there. He has a chance to be special in this league.
8. Thought Kansas City was going to draft Cameron Erving the center from Florida State but instead went with Marcus Peters who was off the board for several teams. Peters is one of the best press man corners in this draft and for a pressure team like the Chiefs is an outstanding fit.
9. I had Byron Jones going to the Eagles at 20, but in what I know about coaches that take over player personnel departments like Chip Kelly has, they tend to draft players that they have seen play with their own eyes and have coached against. On our Draft Show we talked about Kelly and his association with the Pac-12 and those kids. Nelson Agholor from USC makes perfect sense, plus he will fill the role Jeremy Maclin once had in the offense.
10. I have been a part of NFL drafts since 1992 and during those years, no team has more quality players fall in their laps than the Pittsburgh Steelers. One of their top needs going into this draft was an edge rusher that could play as an outside linebacker. I thought that Bud Dupree might end up inside in the top 12, and for them to grab him at 22 was an absolute gift. But that just seems to happen to the Steelers every year.