News broke yesterday that an image leaked showing the Cowboys' pre-draft player grades/rankings in their war room for the 2016 NFL Draft. Our colleagues at Blogging the Boys published an article regarding this breaking news, which included this disclaimer:
[Disclaimer] This is where we cover ourselves. We found this photo on the internet, tweeted out roughly two-and-a-half months after the draft was over. Also, the board is handwritten, if you notice that the board in 2013 that we leaked was decidedly not handwritten. The Cowboys were not working off this messy list as their official rankings during the draft. There must have been a much cleaner list somewhere, this looks like something that was copied over by an employee in the war room. But, when you follow the logic of the rankings, as you'll see below, it makes sense that this could be the Cowboys rankings, re-written by someone after the draft was complete.
In the end, we can not definitively say this was the Cowboys draft board rankings, but if we had to bet money, we think it is. As you read on, you'll see how these rankings actually fit almost perfectly with what the Cowboys did, and tried to do, in the draft. Of course, someone could be hoaxing us! [End Disclaimer]
You can go HERE to see the image in question. It's worth stressing that there's no way to know for certain that the leaked image is indeed from any official source, but it certainly looks close to how the strategy unfolded.
Notwithstanding the authenticity of said image, it is quite interesting to note which round certain players were graded going into the 2016 NFL Draft. With that, let's jump straight to the players selected by your Houston Texans.
You may recall that the Texans' first four selections in the 2016 NFL Draft went like this:
- Round One (Pick #21): WIll Fuller (WR--Notre Dame)
- Round Two (Pick #50): Nick Martin (C--Notre Dame)
- Round Three (Pick #85): Braxton Miller (WR--Ohio State)
- Round Four (Pick #119): Tyler Ervin (RB--San Jose State)
Now take a look at which rounds the Cowboys' (allegedly) graded those players:
For those keeping score at home, the Cowboys graded each of the Texans' first four picks as technically being prospects more suited to go one round later than the Texans actually drafted them. The reason I qualify the statement with "technically," is because the Cowboys were near the top of each round, while the Texans were drafting anywhere from 16 to 18 picks later in each round. At first glance, it might appear that Dallas had a one-round lower grade on these players than Houston did, but it really works out to a half-round grade differential.
I realize that a great many Texans fans could care less about the opinion of anyone involved with the Cowboys organization. That being said, it is still somewhat interesting to see this type of behind-the-scenes detail if the image is actually authentic.
Share your thoughts in the comments below.