By Zach Walker
Dallas Cowboys Full Mock Draft
This draft is going to be very exciting for the Dallas Cowboys, especially if one can consider how the Seahawks put together their Super Bowl winning team. They did it on days 2 and 3, rounds 2 through 7 and in rookie free agency. The Cowboys are currently getting big offensive play from four former rookie free agents, Tony Romo, wide out Cole Beasley, left guard Ron Leary, and the kicker Dan “Money” Bailey. The Cowboys need to get better production from their day 3 picks. Devonte Holloman filled in very strong in the final few games and we need more from him. The boys need to avoid getting burned by big missed pick opportunities like fourth round safety Matt Johnson.
A season ago, the Cowboys drafted very well, even though it appeared early, that they didn’t. Frederick is an instant classic, Escobar is in training but he’s still my desktop background for his flippy touchdown versus the Eagles. Terrence Williams emergence made the staff feel comfortable enough to let loose of Miles Austin, and JJ Wilcox was thrown into the rotation when healthy, and should make a strong drive for the starting job in August. On day three for the Cowboys, they plucked BW Webb to play in some dime packages and some emergency nickle work, but struggled in almost every aspect. He is still savagable with the start of a new season and a year underneath him. It’s very difficult for Joseph Randle to get more touches when Demarco Murray doesn’t even get those carries, because the Cowboys are a 65% passing team at minimum. Holloman, and Kyle Wilber, were filling in for injured Cowboys and both should get opportunities to get big minutes for the next season.
This season so far, has been very different, but different does not mean bad. The Cowboys didn’t pursue a big fish in the free agent pond, even after freeing up big money with letting go of DeMarcus Ware and making Miles Austin a June 1st release. Ware wasn’t the same player, and hadn’t been 100% for the past two seasons. With the scheme change it really wouldn’t be realistic to expect Ware to just fit right in, so cutting ties was an easy football decision and a smart money decision. For the fans though and their jerseys, posters, and their memories of Ware’s dominance, that’ll take time to get over. But the draft is the place to build up, and get better and really push for a NFC East title. So here is the breakdown of how the Cowboys draft looks.
Round 1 – Pick 16 (16th Overall) Aaron Donald DT, Pittsburgh: Tenacious fury, is how Donald plays his game. He has everything that one would want from a defensive tackle, quick first step, a boxer’s punch, and a motor that should be studied for alternative fuels. If he was 6’4″, he’s a top 10 pick. He has a deep bag of tricks, and is a technical master.
Round 2 – Pick 15 (47th) Jason Verrett CB, TCU: If Donald was a corner, he’d be Jason Verrett. If Verrett was two inches taller, he’s at least the second corner taken, and a top 15 pick, but he is just under 5’10” with a slender frame. But like Donald, Verrett is an operator, and might be the most technically sound corner in this draft. He really is a soldier and really has all of the tools to play as a successful outside corner.
Round 3 – Pick 14 (78th) DaQuan Jones DT, Penn State: Took over being the captain on the defense, after Jordan Hill left, and landed on the All-Big Ten first team, and led the conference in tackles for his position. Heard that he has a weight-room issue, that he just won’t leave. Apparently dropped a chunk of weight before this past season, to improve his burst off the line, and it appeared to have worked, notching 11.5 tackles for a loss. He appears to be in the same mold of the departed Jason Hatcher, and with Melton and Donald, one more man in the middle with legitimate skills might get intoxicating.
Round 4 – Pick 19 (119th) Billy Turner OL, North Dakota State: Being the starting left tackle for the three straight championship winning Bison, he has some serious game. Turner did what a player must do in the FCS, and that’s dominate the competition. He’s a highly athletic player with great movement skills, but needs to have his sights adjusted, because he can get lost in space. He could be a developing starting right tackle, but could be a serious smash hit as a guard.
Round 5 – Pick 18 (158th) Andrew Jackson LB, Western Kentucky: In the middle rounds, most can find a very serviceable depth linebacker, and with Jackson, the Cowboys are likely to find another late round starter. Jackson seemingly loves to make tackles, and has great size to take on fullbacks, guards, and running backs. He’s only 6 foot tall, and get often get as low as the running back he’s taking on, with his issues are with his coverage skills, it’s not that he can’t cover, it’s just not his strength, but put him in the same room as Sean Lee, and see if some knowledge sinks in.
Round 7 – “The Six Pack”
Pick 14 (229th) Aaron Lynch DE, South Florida: Lynch is an example of a player who tried to play on talent alone, and pretty much telegraphed his time at South Florida. But if the Cowboys’ staff can get a message through to him, that if he works for it, he could be a pro-bowler and a star. It’s all about the effort with Lynch, he’ll get back, what he puts in.
Pick 16 (231st) Ethan Westbrooks DE, West Texas A&M: Westbrooks did what a player must do in division 2 to get put on the draft radar, dominate. The numbers say that Westbrooks was too hot to handle in D-2, but in the NFL, it’s too hard to tell if Westbrooks can be truly effective. But he played well at the East-West Shrine game, so it’s a start.
Pick 23 (238th) Storm Johnson RB, Central Florida: Blake Bortles had to hand the ball to an effective back, and it was often a “Storm” rolling through the opponents linebacking corps. Johnson had over 1100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground, and isn’t a small scat back, he’s 6 foot, 215 pounds. Johnson had four 100 yard rushing games, and his best statistical game, was UCF’s upset victory over Louisville, with 18 carries, 109 yards, and a touchdown on the ground, but through the air, he added 4 catches, 79 yards, and a touchdown. Johnson isn’t a game breaking back, but he can be a wrecking ball to wear down a defense, and close out games.
Pick 33 (248th) Jeff Janis WR, Saginaw Valley State: Jeff Janis is a long-limbed receiver, who has a hell of a separating gear after the catch. Like Westbrooks, Janis smashed the D-2 competition, with a career yards per catch at 17.5, and had 46 touchdowns. Janis really shouldn’t be expected to be a serious, every play threat, but as a player who can make a safety back off the line and play deep.
Pick 36 (251st) Hakeem Smith S, Louisville: The Cowboys need more depth at safety, Hakeem Smith was a four year starter at Louisville, who has solid range, solid ball skills, and a love of making tackles. He isn’t a big guy, only 188 pounds, doesn’t shy away from contact, but doesn’t have the bulk to re-route tight ends.
Pick 39 (254th) Garrett Gilbert QB, SMU: I’m going to start writing this piece here, and I’m going to get personal with this one. I do not understand the under rating of Garrett Gilbert. He has above average movement skills, a sneaky, smart, and dangerous arm, and great size and vision. I’ll be completely transparent, I didn’t much care for Gilbert before this last season, then I got to cover the Mustangs, and got to watch him in person, and listen to him in post game interviews, I learned that Gilbert is all football. He has a toughness about him, and if he didn’t get injured, the Mustangs would have been in a great bowl game, and would have won. I don’t know who Gilbert is going to play for in the NFL, and he has got a ways to go, but he’s going to impress all of his future coaches.
First Round NFL Mini Mock
#1 – Houston – QB Blake Bortles – The quarterback that will bring the Texans back to the Playoffs.
#2 – St Louis – OT Greg Robinson – A road-grading tank to keep Sam Bradford upright and the chains moving.
#3 – Jacksonville – QB Johnny Manziel – Makes all the sense, the Complete package for the Jags.
#4 – Cleveland – DE Jadeveon Clowney – Why? Because why not! You can never have enough pass rush.
#5 – Oakland – DE Khalil Mack – A great young stud for the Raiders to build off of.
#6 – Atlanta – OT Jake Matthews – Matt Ryan might actually have the time to find someone to throw to.
#7 – Tampa Bay – CB Justin Gilbert – Lose Revis, replace him with a game breaker.
#8 – Minnesota – LB CJ Mosley – Zimmer + Mosley = a juggernaut playing linebacker
#9 – Buffalo – WR Sammy Watkins – Manuel to Automatic, with the addition of Watkins.
#10 – Detroit – CB Darqueze Dennard – A serious leader on a team needing defensive direction.
#11 – Tennessee – LB Anthony Barr – A major player alongside Zack Brown, makings of a dynamic duo.
#12 – New York Giants – OL Zack Martin – Eli can operate within a pocket, unlike what happened last season.
#13 – St Louis – WR Marqise Lee – Bradford needs a career year, with Lee and Austin, he could have the Rams in the playoffs.
#14 – Chicago – DT Louis Nix – A massive force in the center of a building defense.
#15 – Pittsburgh – CB Bradley Roby – An instinctive corner, with great movement skills.
#16 – Dallas – DT Aaron Donald – A typhoon, and a perfect building block for the D-Line.
#17 – Baltimore – S Haha Clinton-Dix – Get back to the Ed Reed center field play that gives the ball back to Flacco.
#18 – New York Jets – WR Mike Evans – Geno needs a weapon to help push the Jets towards the playoffs.
#19 – Miami – OT Taylor Lewan – Any addition to the Fins’ O-Line, will be a welcomed sight for Tannehill (sacked 58 times)
#20 – Arizona – OT Morgan Moses – Technically adding two O-Linemen, with Cooper coming back, should help get early push.
#21 – Green Bay – TE Eric Ebron – Replacing Finley, with an upgrade.
#22 – Philadelphia – S Calvin Pryor – A serious tone-setter playing safety, might get fined early in his career.
#23 – Kansas City – WR Odell Beckham Jr – Someone to rely on for Alex Smith to trust.
#24 – Cincinnati – CB Kyle Fuller – Aged, oft-injured corners are their corps, add young and tough.
#25 – San Diego – DE/OLB Kony Ealy – Needing of pass rush, grab a major stud to turn up the heat in the AFC West.
#26 – Cleveland – QB Derek Carr – Clowney 1st, their quarterback with the 2nd pick. The Browns? Success? Let’s hope so.
#27 – New Orleans – OLB Dee Ford – Lightning speed, wildfire quickness, perfect for Rob Ryan’s 3-4.
#28 – Carolina – WR Kelvin Benjamin – Someone for Cam Newton to throw towards, because they have zero experience on roster.
#29 – New England – TE Jace Amaro – A tight end to play all 16 games, No-struggles for Brady with Amaro, deadly on 3rd downs.
#30 – San Francisco – WR Brandin Cooks – A slasher to cut through defenses, adds an intermediate range for Kaepernick.
#31 – Denver – LB Christian Jones – A talent filled plug in the middle, for the Broncos, in Boom-or-fail mode.
#32 – Seattle – TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Wilson really needs a man to work the middle of the middle, local product.