Chat with Calvin Watkins
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Dallas Cowboys reporter Calvin Watkins stops by to chat about the Cowboys' performance in the NFL draft.
Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in September 2009.
Send your questions now and join Watkins Monday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Calvin Watkins (3:00 PM)
Welcome to our first post NFL draft chat. I think this might be the only one. With that, let's go with the questions.
How significant are the defensive acquisitions the Cowboys made during the draft as to improvement? And how will these draft picks contribute on the field?
Calvin Watkins (3:04 PM)
Morris Claiborne was the best defensive player in the draft and the Cowboys moved up to get him. The best move they've made in a draft since selecting DeMarcus Ware. The two pass rushers, Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber might have an impact this season. Matt Johnson had 17 picks in college, that tells me he can make plays on the ball in various coverages. Caleb McSurdy is an interesting pickup from Montana. He might do something down the line.
Rich (New Jersey)
How would evaluate the draft and do you any of the choices starting this season?
Calvin Watkins (3:05 PM)
I'd give the grade a C with Morris Clairbone as the only impact player. Too many question marks with this group.
kevin finley longview,texas [via mobile]
Will jay ratliff be moved off the nose?
Calvin Watkins (3:06 PM)
No, Rat is staying right where he is. I think he should move to defensive end, but the Cowboys believe they play enough four-man fronts where he won't play nose tackle too much. I thought Ratliff wore down as the season progressed and a move to end would benefit him. Cowboys don't think so.
Calvin, I have to say I'm shocked the Cowboys didn't address the center position in the draft or free agency. Are they serious about going with Costa or Kozlowski again this year?
Calvin Watkins (3:08 PM)
Yes, expect Costa or Kowalski to compete for the job. I was a little surprised they didn't draft a center in the draft.
A little disappointed by the lack of adding a good pass rusher this offseason. Will the vastly improved secondary help offset that or will it be more of the same, QBs having all day to throw.
Calvin Watkins (3:09 PM)
Stephen Jones said he was pleased with the pass rush last season. Nothing wrong with Ware or Ratliff, but you wanted more from Spencer. He had six sacks, none the last four weeks. Regardless of the sacks, he needed to make more impact plays and we didn't see enough of that from him. The feeling at Valley Ranch is if the secondary is shutting down receivers, the pass rush will be fine.
Do you think the Cowboys bold move up to get Claiborne will pay immediate dividends?
Calvin Watkins (3:10 PM)
Frank, The Cowboys move up to get Claiborne is the best move they've made in a draft in years. Years. Claiborne will start Week 1 at the New York Giants alongside Brandon Carr.
Ramin (Chantilly VA)
Did Dallas rely on their coaching staff too much to draft certain players (such Kyle Wilber or Matt Johnson)? It seems like many of these guys they drafted from small schools were unproductive and could have been UDFA if Garrett or Ryan did not intervine.
Calvin Watkins (3:13 PM)
Cowboys rely on their scouts quite a bit because those guys evaluate the players from Day 1. The coaches come in and give their assessments later. If a coach likes a certain player, there's nothing wrong with that, because that coach has to coach the player in the NFL. Scouts are listened to at Valley Ranch a lot. More than you think.
Adam Butler (Richmond, Va)
Do you think the cowboys will be a playoffs team this year???
Calvin Watkins (3:13 PM)
I got the Cowboys winning 10 games. Will that be enough to get in? I believe so.
Brent (Las Cruces)
Would you say it was more of a Jason Garrett rather than Jerry Jones draft?
Calvin Watkins (3:15 PM)
That's a tough question. People think Jerry Jones is just ignoring people and doing his own thing. He's not. He does like to trade and if Stephen Jones or the coach believes he shouldn't do it, he won't. But Jerry has the last call on things. I would say the 2012 draft was about Garrett. He got players who were overachievers from small schools or guys not looked at a bunch.
Besides Moe who did the Cowboys get that might make an impact this year? You have written that they have turned it a round so don't go in to hiding when they have another 7-9 or 8-8 year?
Calvin Watkins (3:17 PM)
Randy, that's true, I do believe they've improved the roster a ton. However, Claiborne will be the only player, in my opinion, who should have a major impact on the roster. Matt Johnson comes in second just because I like the fact he made plays on the ball in college. This young receiver from Virginia Tech Danny Coale, I have no expectations for him.
Hey Calvin, why do you think the cowboys didn't draft Cam Johnson from Wake Forest when they had a chance or the kid from Troy because i think they were better options then the ones we picked
Calvin Watkins (3:19 PM)
I was a little surprised Johnson went in the seventh round to the 49ers, but the Cowboys had already picked up two pass rushers, Crawford and Wilber, by the time the seventh round came up, so there was no need to grab him. He was very inconsistent in college but the Cowboys had higher grades on Crawford and Wilber than Johnson.
Was Ronald Leary--OG --Memphis really a 3rd round prospect if not for the knee problem?
Calvin Watkins (3:20 PM)
Maybe. He didn't get drafted and the Cowboys did give him a private workout to see if he can actually perform. He's got a chronic knee issue that will shorten his career so that also kept some teams away from him. Dallas is taking a chance and Jerry Jones said he expects Leary to be ready for the rookie minicamp this weekend.
Anthony Johnson (Virginia)
Are any team interested in acquiring Mike Jenkins or do you think he will stay put with the Cowboys?
Calvin Watkins (3:21 PM)
I believe he's staying. I thought maybe Houston might want him, but at this stage I doubt it. He's coming off shoulder surgery and he's in the last year of his contract. Not sure what you can get for him at this point.
John T. Gold (Salt Lake City)
Any chance Cowboys trade for Osi? He would be great on passing downs.
Calvin Watkins (3:22 PM)
Not happening. Osi wants to get paid and be an every down pass rusher. Not happening with the Cowboys.
Justin Hale (Fort Myers, FL )
Is there any chance that Jenkins will get some playing time at safety?
Calvin Watkins (3:23 PM)
Jenkins isn't physical enough to play strong safety and he's more of a corner. To play safety you got to read the field as a center fielder and make smart decisions at the last minute. Not to say Jenkins can't do this, but he's better suited to play corner.
I really like the type of high motor high drive guys they are getting which brings up the big horse in the room why havent they been getting these types of guys before?
Calvin Watkins (3:24 PM)
That's a question many would like answered.
Bryan S (Gallup NM)
Who has the inside track for starting next to Sean Lee, Bruce Carter or Dan Conner?
Calvin Watkins (3:25 PM)
Good question. I thought Carter would be ready to take over, but the Cowboys signed Conner and if not for the trade for Claiborne, Utah State's Bobby Wagner, an inside linebacker, would have been taken. I think the Cowboys are trying to create competition at this spot. Is it a good move?
Garrett Stager (Wellsboro, PA)
I love Danny Coale as a future Patrick Crayton, tough reliable target. Your thoughts?
Calvin Watkins (3:26 PM)
Coale is faster than Crayton, I'll give you that. But that's it.
Which pick do you feel was the biggest reach for the cowboys?
Calvin Watkins (3:27 PM)
Caleb McSurdy, inside linebacker, Montana
Do you see Felix Jones finishing the season as a Cowboy?
Calvin Watkins (3:28 PM)
Yes, I do. But after this season, he'll hit the open market.
Andrew H (Dallas, TX)
Has MacMahon got you on the Lance Dunbar train yet? You think he has a good chance to make the team as an UDFA? Also, what's your thoughts about Adrian Hamilton? He looks like a potential small-school beast.
Calvin Watkins (3:29 PM)
Don't know much about Dunbar. I do know Phillip Tanner performed well in camp last year and will get a chance to make the roster. Hamilton has a chance to make the roster, but like any undrafted free agent, it's up in the air.
Arean (Austin, TX)
Seems like beefing the interior line was a concern pre-draft,(atleast at C per Jerry), should the lack of talent be of concern?
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
No, because the Cowboys have big guys surrounding Costa and with big tackles things should be OK. I didn't think Costa was terrible, I thought he played pretty good at times. It was his first year starting, this year, however, will be an important one for him. Kowalski and Arkin should push for snaps at center in 2012.
Do you anticipate Kenyon Coleman being cut now with the addition of Tyrone Crawford at DE?
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
No, Coleman will be here unless Crawford wows the Cowboys in training camp and preseason.
What are we doing to fill the punter position?
Calvin Watkins (3:31 PM)
Nothing. Chris Jones is the punter.
Sean (Austin tx)
I disagree with everyone on this cornerback situation. i feel like right now mike jenkin is better than scandrick and carr when healthy, and he is probably a better than the rookie claiborne"right now". so why is everyone putting him as the number 4 on the depth chart?!??
Calvin Watkins (3:33 PM)
Jenkins is a good corner, he was the best one last year and we kinda forgot about that. However, he's been inconsistent at times and that bothers the Cowboys. He's also not an elite corner and while I don't believe Brandon Carr is either, he was signed to replace Terence Newman. Claiborne, was a gift, so it's pushed Jenkins behind him somewhat. Scandrick was inconsistent last year as well, so it should be a nice little battle in training camp this summer.
Why do the cowboys always take chances on these small school guys in the draft that they always end up cutting??
Calvin Watkins (3:34 PM)
Still trying to figure that out myself. I think they take chances too much because of finding guys like Romo, Austin, Bowen and Ratliff over the years. Sometimes it's OK to get a player from a Big School.
What message would have been sent IF the cowboys drafted a QB
Calvin Watkins (3:35 PM)
It depends on who it was. Say the Cowboys drafted Weeden or Foles, then you can say they're going to challenge Stephen McGee. But they didn't draft anybody and that says they're fine with Kyle Orton at No. 2 and McGee at No. 3.
A.C. Wharton (Memphis)
I am hearing a lot of good talk about Matt Johnson. Is he here to be our starter this year or in the future??
Calvin Watkins (3:36 PM)
I would say Johnson is a down the line project. He should make an impact on special teams, should make Joe DeCamillis happy, and he'll learn something from Brodney Pool and Gerald Sensabaugh at safety. Johnson's impact on defense will come in 2013.
Do you buy that the Cowboys would have actually picked the LB, Bobby Wagner, if they kept the 45th pick? Does that say something about their lack of faith in Carter?
Calvin Watkins (3:37 PM)
Yes, I do believe Wagner would have been the pick. Why, I don't know considering they have three inside linebackers already.
Do you know IF the Cowboys tried to trade back into the 2nd round, and if they did, do you know who they were targeting ?
Calvin Watkins (3:38 PM)
Stephen Jones said the price was too rich to move back into the second round. The Cowboys had a chance to get out of the fourth round and gain more picks in the fifth round, but decided against it.
Who will be the starting center come fall?
Calvin Watkins (3:38 PM)
If I put money on it, Costa. If I put your money on it, Kowalski.
Who else was on the cowboys radar if claibornes off the board?
Calvin Watkins (3:39 PM)
Michael Brockers would have been taken at No. 14 by Dallas. If he was off the board, I wonder if Dre Kirkpatrick or Quinton Coples would have been next in line.
Does coales have a good chance to jump olgetree as the number 3 receiver?
Calvin Watkins (3:42 PM)
I don't believe there is a No. 3 receiver right now. The candidates are Ogletree, Holmes, Radway, Harris and Coale.
Going Left Tackle to Right Tackle what is your prediction of the Week One starting offensive line?
Calvin Watkins (3:43 PM)
LT Smith, LG Bernadeau, C Costa, RG Livings, RT Free. Swing guard Leary, swing tackle Parnell expect Kowalski or Arkin to make roster.
Did Jenkins request a trade?
Calvin Watkins (3:44 PM)
Not really, but Cowboys shopping him. If nothing significant happens, then expect him on the team.
Jerry drafts guys in the 1st round that going to play now, so which vet is taking the backseat?
Calvin Watkins (3:46 PM)
Jenkins will backup unless Claiborne struggles. The thought is he won't. Here's a poor mans CB depth chart:LCB CarrRCB ClaiborneSlot CB ScandrickJenkins can backup right corner and get on the field in four receiver sets.
Dont you think matt johnson was a reach with better players on the board?
Calvin Watkins (3:48 PM)
I didn't know much about Matt Johnson when they drafted him, but from what I've been told and what I've read, he's a guy who makes plays on the ball. You want that in the secondary right? Is he better than Robert Blanton, the safety from Notre Dame who went to Minnesota in Round 5? Don't know. I would think Blanton played better competition. Is Johnson better than Corey White, the safety from Samford, who went to New Orleans, also in the fifth round? Who knows? We'll have to wait and see.
Calvin Watkins (3:49 PM)
Guys kids are off today and they're hungry. Got to get a late lunch. Thanks for talking with me. Take care,Calvin