Perspective is a fun thing in terms of the NFL draft.
As the old saying goes, one man's trash is another man's treasure. In the case of the NFL Draft, one team's first-round starter may be another team's third-round backup. With 32 different teams, come 32 different opinions on a prospect, which can lead to one team's big board being drastically different from another's.
We'll never know what most teams' big boards look like for any draft, but occasionally, we do get peek at at least one team's rankings of various prospects. The one team whose 2016 big board had leaked into the public eye is that of the Dallas Cowboys, which our friends at Blogging the Boys have all of the details on (and seriously, they spent an entire weekend breaking down all the details)!
All we'll tell you is it's pretty interesting to see how they ranked the prospects that the Cincinnati Bengals drafted.
Here's the leaked image in question, which is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye:
Here are our takeaways from the ranking based on where the Bengals rookies (who BTB was able to decipher) are placed.
- The one big difference between where Cincinnati drafted a player vs how Dallas ranked him was cornerback William Jackson III. He was the Bengals' first pick at 24th overall, but the Cowboys ranked him 44th overall as a third-round prospect.
- Other corners in Dallas' rankings include Eli Apple 14th, Artie Burns 21st and Kendall Fuller 23rd. It's clear they weren't very high on WJ3 compared to other corners. It is worth noting this is the same franchise that made cornerback Mo Claiborne the sixth-overall pick in 2012.
- If you read BTB's breakdown, you'll see there are several illegible players who couldn't be made out from the picture. That's the case with Christian Westerman, who wasn't identified, so we don't know how Dallas ranked him.
- Despite many draft outlets projecting Baylor nose tackle Andrew Billings as a first-round pick, he fell to the Bengals in Round 4. That's where the Cowboys had him ranked, so it looks like the feeling on Billings was mutual.
- Despite watching higher-ranked receiver prospects allude them, the Bengals did well getting Tyler Boyd in Round 2. Dallas actually had him ranked 43rd, one spot ahead of WJ3, even though it was a third-round grade.
- Speaking of, Dallas had just 16 first-round grades, 24 second-round grades and 26 third-round grades. This was viewed as a weak draft, and Dallas' rankings validate that claim.
- Nick Vigil was viewed by many as a Round 4-5 prospect who the Bengals reached to get. Dallas ranked Vigil as a fourth-round prospect, so they agreed with that notion.
- Dallas ranked Cody Core as a seventh-round prospect, and the Bengals took him in Round 6. At that point, teams are just taking deep shots on prospects
- Clayton Fejedelem was a seventh-round prospect on Dallas' board, right where the Bengals grabbed him.
For the most part, Dallas' rankings are reflective of where various Bengals were picked throughout the draft. Other than Jackson and not counting Westerman since he's unknown, every other Bengal was drafted within a round of where Dallas ranked him.
You also have to account for team needs, schemes and how differently one team values one factor vs the other. My guess is Dallas wasn't high on Jackson because he's more of an upside pick, not to mention he may not be a good fit for their scheme, and corner wasn't a big need for them compared to other areas.
For more perspective, be sure to read all of our 'Assessing the Value' pieces to see how the public eye viewed Bengals prospects vs how Dallas ranked him.
Overall, my biggest takeaway from the Cowboys' board is the Bengals didn't egregiously reach or land great value with any of their picks. What's your biggest takeaway?