At different times last spring, the trendy mock draft picks for the Cowboys were Prince Amukamara, J.J. Watt, Cameron Jordan and Robert Quinn. By April, though, Tyron Smith was viewed as the consensus.
Likewise, Alabama safety Mark Barron has become most mock-drafters' pick for the Cowboys at No. 14 overall. Rarely, if ever, does Barron come off the board ahead of Dallas in any of the projections. This late in draft season, consensus opinion usually means something.
Maybe not, says Charlie Casserly. The former general manager of the Redskins and Texans - the man who correctly chose Mario Williams as the No. 1 overall pick rather than Reggie Bush or Vince Young - is now an analyst for NFL.com and the NFL Network, and let it be known on Wednesday that he sees Barron as a top 10 pick.
Casserly calls Barron the hottest prospect in this year's class, a guy who appears to be shooting up draft boards based on the questions he's being asked by personnel men around the league. Casserly ranks Barron the seventh-best player in this class, and says he is a better prospect than were former top-10 safeties Sean Taylor, Donte Whitner, Michael Huff and LaRon Landry plus Earl Thomas, the No. 14 overall pick in 2010.
The only recent safety who projected as a better player than Barron was Eric Berry, the Chiefs' pick at No. 5 overall in 2010.
As GM of the Redskins, Casserly says, the biggest tiebreaker questions in the war room were, first, who will make the most Pro Bowls, and second, who do you want to take to the Meadowlands to play the Giants?
For the Cowboys, who open the season at New York on Sept. 5, that's definitely an important consideration.
But if Barron's their guy, the team may have to trade up to get him.