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Looking at the Cowboys' leaked NFL draft board, and comparing it to the Browns' draft

Our Dallas Cowboys affiliate, Blogging the Boys, completed an awesome breakdown of the Dallas' 2016 NFL Draft Board, reconstructed in nearly its entirety. The Cowboys have had a habit of intentionally or unintentionally leaking their draft board in some capacity in the past; head on over to check out the full breakdown here.

Knowing that another team's draft board is public, we can compare the Cowboys' draft board to the players who the Cleveland Browns selected. You obviously cannot make an apples-to-apples comparison since teams have vastly different needs and scouting reports. Nonetheless, it’s a fun exercise to clue us in on where the Browns' draft picks stacked up on another team's board. Also, keep in mind that the Browns and Cowboys were heavily-rumored trade partners several times in the draft.

  • When I reviewed the Browns’ 2016 NFL Draft, I noted that, via MMQB, the top players on the Cowboys’ draft board was RB Ezekiel Elliot, and that they hoped to trade down to No. 6 with the Ravens, thinking they’d want DB Jalen Ramsey (who the Jaguars at No. 5 would presumably take). The Ravens couldn’t get the right parameters hammered out for the trade, so they just took Elliot. Elliot was No. 1 on Dallas’ big board, and Ramsey was No. 2. They had to be concerned about trading down and missing out on both players; also, their No. 3 player was Laremy Tunsil, and we know how that situation flipped in round one.
  • The Cowboys gave 16 players a 1st-round grade, none of whom were receivers. Their top two players with a 2nd-round grade were receivers — Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman. If Coleman was their 17th-ranked player, it fits the Browns’ valuation of trading down to secure him at No. 15 overall.
  • The Browns owned the first pick of Day 2 of the draft. It was reported that the Cowboys were the team most interested in trading up with Cleveland, but that the Browns decided not to make the deal. Cleveland was too in love with DE/OLB Emmanuel Ogbah, and they felt the Cowboys would select Ogbah in the trade-up. So, how did Dallas’ draft board value Ogbah?
  • Ogbah was the 35th player listed on Dallas’ board. Heading into Day 2 of the draft, the following players (in preferred order) were still available on Dallas’ board: OLB Jaylon Smith, OLB Myles Jack, RB Derrick Henry, CB Kendall Fuller, DE Kevin Dodd, DT A'Shawn Robinson, DT Jarran Reed, LB Su'a Cravens, and then Ogbah. Perhaps the first two players had an asterisk next to them due to injury concerns, and Henry became unnecessary once Elliot was drafted. That left Ogbah amidst a crowd of six defensive players to consider. Blogging the Boys determined that the photo of the board was taken some time between April 14th and April 20th, so no doubt some shuffling occurred. Ogbah’s stock presumably rose in Dallas leading up to the draft. With Ogbah gone, they settled with Smith, the top player on their board (albeit with the injury concern).
  • The Cowboys gave OT Shon Coleman a 3rd-round grade, and he was their 55th-ranked player. The Browns drafted him in the 3rd round at No. 76 overall. The Cowboys' previous pick to that was DT Maliek Collins at No. 67 overall; He was the team's top player with a 3rd-round grade, their 41st-ranked player.
  • The Cowboys had a 6th-round grade on QB Cody Kessler. It was believed that the Cowboys wanted to trade up with the Browns at the start of round four on Day 3 of the draft so they could select QB Connor Cook. Instead, the Browns traded with the Raiders, and they selected Cook. The board shows the Cowboys having a 2nd-round grade on Cook as their 37th-ranked player.
  • The Cowboys gave LB Joe Schobert a 4th-round grade, and he was their 87th-ranked player. The Browns drafted him in the 4th round at No. 99 overall. Two picks later, the Cowboys selected DE Charles Tapper, who they had a higher 4th-round grade on.
  • None of the Browns’ other nine draft picks were decipherable on the Cowboys’ board. That doesn’t mean they weren’t ranked; many of the names in the later rounds were too tough to make out.

Long story short, it sounds like the narrative that was painted regarding the Browns-Cowboys on draft day has some more merit behind it. The last time the Cowboys’ draft board was leaked was back in 2013, but that was a bit disappointing because Cleveland barely made any picks that year.