I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the BCS National Championship game in Miami, Florida this year. As a kid with no collegiate allegiance, I jumped on the Notre Dame bandwagon in high school and have been a fan ever since. This year I boarded the plane with the idea that at the very least I could tailgate and watch the game on TV, taking in the atmosphere. At the last minute, we got entrance into the stadium and were able to watch the entire game. Over the next three days, I’ll be sharing my observations from the game in a three part review: Part 1 – The Game, Part 2 – Draft Impact, Part 3 – Atmospheric Observations.
Part 2 – Draft IMPACT
The 2013 NFL Draft takes place 110 days after the BCS Championship game. Most years, there are many players that will be drafted that play in this game. Below are the players that should be high draft picks from Alabama and Notre Dame, how they played, and how it impacts the Cowboys.
- Dee Milliner CB (6’1” 199) should be a top 10 draft pick and the #1 cornerback. He played well against the Irish, defending a pass that led to the game’s only interception.
- Chance Warmack OG (6’3” 320) should be top 15 and the #1 offensive guard. He was a road grater against the Irish, and opened the game for over 250 yards rushing.
- Barrett Jones C/OG/OT (6’5” 302) will be drafted in the first round, he has played tackle, guard, and center at All-SEC level or better (All-American center). He should be drafted as a center and because of that, he will drop lower in the 1st round. I argue he is the better choice between he and Warmack, but drafts tend to favor the guards here.
- DJ Fluker OT (6’6” 335) could be a 1st round pick but I project that he gets picked up in the 2nd as there are still several tackles considered better prospects. He had some injury concerns that may drop him lower than necessary.
- Eddie Lacy RB (6’0” 220) should see a bump in his draft stock and be taken somewhere in the 2nd round after running for 140 yards against Irish. He seems to be in the similar mold of Trent Richardson but not as fast; he’s more of a one-cut back than Richardson.
- Jesse Williams DT (6’4” 320) helped his stock but should still remain as a late 1st round selection. He’s a big mauler up front that takes up a ton of space. Great 3-4 nose tackle or 4-3, comparable to Warren Sapp.
- Manti T’eo ILB (6’2” 255) will still be a top 10 pick even if that means he slipped a bit due to his performance in the National Championship game. He recorded 10 tackles but never made any game changing plays. 0 tackles for loss, 0 forced fumbles, 0 interceptions, 0 sacks.
- Tyler Eifert TE (6’6” 251) will be drafted in the 1st round but, because of his position, he will be a late first round pick. He’s a top tight end.
- Zeke Motta SS (6’2” 215) hurt his cause but will still get drafted in the 4th or 5th round.
Milliner and T’eo will be drafted before the Cowboys make their first selection so we will disregard them. Warmack, Jones, and Eifert should all be available when the Cowboys select, none of which play a position that is a top need. Defensive end and defensive tackle should be the higher priorities, especially with the switch to the 4-3 on defense. However, any of these three would be great selections. Jones and Warmack would be day one starters at their positions. Jones is very appealing because he is a great leader and can play multiple positions along the line. Eifert would not start, but could play considerably behind Jason Witten. I don’t expect Eifert to be the ‘Boys selection but it would be very hard to pass on that kind of talent.
Fluker will probably be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock, and I don’t expect them to address offensive tackle this early in the draft with a deep tackle class. He would be a fine selection and would be a day one starter replacing Doug Free, but again, I don’t expect this pick. Lacy will be a 2nd round pick and may be available for the Cowboys, however, they will not select a running back that high. This would also be a great pick, but there are too many other needs. Williams should be selected somewhere in the middle of the 2nd round and would fill a need in the 4-3.
Zeke Motta should be available in the 4th round, but I don’t think I would take a flier on him until the 5th where he may or may not be available. He has good size for a safety, but not the same talent as former Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, drafted in the 2nd round by the Vikings last year.
There are a handful of other players that will be available from these two teams, all whom project to be 6th or 7th round selections or go undrafted. None have any real significance to the Cowboys.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll share my observations on the atmosphere surrounding Miami during the Championship game.