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NFL Draft

2016 Mock Draft 3.0: Haynie Picks 1-34

We’re just a few days away from the big night. The topsy-turvy activity with the first two picks has given us more clarity for how the early part of the draft could unfoled. Los Angeles and Philadelphia are sure to take quarterbacks, which is a far more certain projection than what the Titans and Browns were offering. And now, my standard disclaimers: Please comment with your thoughts on my picks.

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines - Full List Of NFL Draft Attendees


We're just a few days away from the big night. The topsy-turvy activity with the first two picks has given us more clarity for how the early part of the draft could unfoled. Los Angeles and Philadelphia are sure to take quarterbacks, which is a far more certain projection than what the Titans and Browns were offering.

And now, my standard disclaimers:

  • Please comment with your thoughts on my picks. If you're a fan of another team I really value your insider perspective and will use it to make my next mocks better.
  • These are predictions of what teams WILL do and not necessarily what they SHOULD.
  • I don't get into predicting trades. It's too much of a crapshoot to spend mental energy on.

1. Rams

Jared Goff, QB, California

(Previous: Carson Wentz, QB)
I think Wentz has the most upside of any of this year's quarterbacks. However, the rumor mill is putting Los Angeles and Goff together and I have no reason to go against it. Goff is considered to be the most ready to play now, and the Rams may be thinking along those lines with their strong defense and Todd Gurley running the ball.

2. Eagles

Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.

(Previous: Ezekiel Elliott to Browns)
Given what I just said about Wentz I hate to see him end up with Philly. Nevertheless, he or Goff will become an Eagle on Thursday night. Hopefully all those picks that Philly gave up to acquire their future quarterback will come back to haunt them.
The san diego chargers helmet logo

3. Chargers

Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida St.

(Previous: Laremy Tunsil, OT)
I hate making this pick so badly, but the more I think about it the more I can't help it. The Chargers need secondary help and Ramsey is special. There's seems to be a guy like Tunsil almost every year. They go with the rarer talent at a position of equal need.

4. Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio St.

(Previous: Jalen Ramsey, DB)
I think Dallas could trade down here if they get a great offer, and they may with Tunsil still on the board and other teams coveting Elliott or perhaps even Paxton Lynch. However, barring a trade that really blows them away, the Cowboys will take Elliott and try to rush their way to a championship.

5. Jaguars

Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio St.

(Previous: Same)
The Jags take Bosa as insurance against Dante Fowler's return from injury and to, hopefully, give them a pair of dynamic pass rushers for the next several years.

6. Ravens

Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

(Previous: DeForest Buckner, DL)
This is a huge win for the Ravens, who need offensive line help and never would've thought Tunsil would fall to them until recent events.

7. 49ers

DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon

(Previous: Jared Goff, QB)
I am really torn between Buckner and Paxton Lynch here. I think it would be Lynch if Chip Kelly was still calling shots like he did in Philadelphia, but the Niners didn't give him that same power. Buckner could be a monster in their 3-4 scheme.

8. Browns

Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

(Previous: Myles Jack to Eagles)
The Browns traded down to acquire more talent, and nobody left on the board has talent like Jack. The knee issue is scary but it's a worthy gamble. Jack's coverage ability is truly special and an ideal skill for a 3-4 inside linebacker.

9. Bucs

Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

(Previous: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE)
I've compared Hargreaves to Ronde Barber in some of my other articles, so who better to draft him than the Bucs? He's a better talent than any of the available pass rushers, and I think both are equally needed in Tampa.

10. Giants

Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

(Previous: Same)
New York has an older quarterback to protect and an average group of running backs to work with. They follow the Cowboys' example and take their third offensive lineman in four years.

11. Bears

Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

(Previous: Vernon Hargreaves, CB)
Some think Lawson is better than Bosa. That's either great news for the Chicago or a bad sign for Jacksonville.

12. Saints

Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis

(Previous: Laquon Treadwell, WR)
Drew Brees is 37-years-old and his contract expires this year. Lynch may not be on the Goff-Wentz talent tier but he's closer to them than the next crop of talent.

13. Dolphins

Eli Apple, CB, Ohio St.

(Previous: Shaq Lawson, DE)
Miami likes bigger, press-man corners and Apple is prototypical for that role.

14. Raiders

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

(Previous: Eli Apple, CB)
Combining Rankins' interior disruption with Khalil Mack's outside threat would make Oakland's front seven very dangerous.

15. Titans

Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan St.

(Previous: Same)
Getting all those picks from Los Angeles and still landing a top offensive tackle makes this a fantastic draft for Tennessee.

16. Lions

A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

(Previous: Same)
Having lost their top two defensive tackles to free agency over the last few years, Detroit gets some big help with Robinson.

17. Falcons

Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama

(Previous: Same)
Needing help all over their defense, Atlanta takes one of the best talents available.

18. Colts

Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, Georgia

(Previous: Michael Thomas, WR)
Indy is getting linked to Noah Spence a lot but Floyd could be equally talented and with way less personal baggage.

19. Bills

Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss

(Previous: Same)
The Ryan boys are desperate and don't mind taking chances on suspect characters. Nkemdiche (along with Spence) is this year's Randy Gregory but doesn't have to wait as long to hear his name.

20. Jets

Noah Spence, DE/OLB, Eastern KY

(Previous: Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB)
Ironically, the draft's two problem children go in back-to-back picks. They would love to add an outside rusher who can match what Muhammad Wilkerson does inside.

21. Washington

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio St.

(Previous: Sheldon Rankins, DL)
This is a nice landing spot for Thomas, who has great raw material but may need a few years before he can be relied on as a number-one target. Washington can keep using their veteran receivers for now and work Thomas in slowly.

22. Texans

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

(Previous: Same)
We have a run on receivers, folks! Fuller's speed and deep threat potential make him an excellent counterpart for DeAndre Hopkins.

23. Vikings

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss

(Previous: Josh Doctson, WR)
It's quite a fall for Treadwell from where he was projected before the Combine and Pro Days. Still, he gives Minnesota a go-to receiver and perhaps the missing piece to allow Teddy Bridgewater to realize his full potential.

24. Bengals

Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson

(Previous: Same)
The knock on Dodd is that he benefited from playing opposite Shaq Lawson in college. Teaming him up with Carlos Dunlap should alleviate that concern.

25. Steelers

Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

(Previous: Williams Jackson, CB)
Fuller's knee got a good report at the recent Combine recheck.  Some think he'd be a Top-10 talent if not for the health issue, which makes this a great upside pick for Pittsburgh.

26. Seahawks

Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

(Previous: Same)
Jason Spriggs may have more upside but Seattle needs someone ready to help right away. Decker is a strong run blocker and that's the key to Seattle's offense.

27. Packers

Darron Lee, LB, Ohio St.

(Previous: Same)
Lee's athleticism and talent are too much for the Packers to pass on. He could be a major play-maker in the middle of their 3-4 scheme.

28. Chiefs

 William Jackson, CB, Houston

(Previous: Kendall Fuller, CB)
Fuller's move up the board drops Jackson back a notch, letting him fall to Kansas City.

29. Cardinals

Keanu Neal, S, Florida

(Previous: Same)
There's a steep drop off from Neal to the next best safety, so Arizona covers a big need here.

30. Panthers

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana

(Previous: Same)
Good upside for the 30th pick. Michael Oher was their worst offensive lineman last year and an upgrade is needed.

31. Broncos

Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

(Previous: Paxton Lynch, QB)
Reed falling here is a great value pick for Denver, and timely as they need to replace Malik Jackson.

32. Browns

Josh Doctson, WR, TCU

(Previous: Corey Coleman, WR)
With Josh Gordon not being of use anytime soon, the Browns have to add some talent. Doctson is a first-rounder in most mocks so this is a nice steal.

33. Titans

Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson

(Previous: Noah Spence, DE)
Another guy who's going earlier in a lot of projections, Alexander is a good get at the beginning of the second round.

34. Cowboys

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St.

(Previous: Yannick Ngakoue, DE)
Ogbah had one of the best Combines of any pass rusher and was near the top of the nation in sacks last year. There are concerns about his technique and work ethic but the raw material is way ahead of any other available prospect. He's also physically ready for the NFL, which the Cowboys need since their top two defensive ends will start the year on suspension.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

NFL Draft

Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?

Brian Martin



Can Powers of Persuasion Make Will Hernandez a Dallas Cowboy?

There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.

Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.

The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!

To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.

In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

Huge blessing being surrounded by players like this 👊🏽👊🏽

All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.

The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.

The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.

It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.

Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?

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NFL Draft

Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley

Mauricio Rodriguez



Butch Dill / Getty Images

With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.

That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.

His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.

Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.

Jane Slater on Twitter

ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys

Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.

Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.

This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.

Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.

Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.

Dallas Cowboys Reportedly Set to Meet with Alabama WR Calvin Ridley 1

Alabama Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.

This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.

It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.

Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.

We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?

Tell me what you think about "Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: What Cowboys Look For In LBs

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Draft Target: BYU LB Fred Warner

As we continue to move through the Cowboys' positions of need and construct their overall draft board, we now take a look at what Dallas tends to look for in linebackers.

The Cowboys have some real questions to answer within their linebacker corps this offseason. Sean Lee is an obvious stud, but his injury history makes him a bit unreliable. Jaylon Smith began to come along later in the season, but how much better will he be in 2018? And then, of course, there is the impending free agency of Anthony Hitchens the team must deal with.

The Cowboys will certainly be looking at this somewhat-deep linebacker class in the upcoming draft, and after reviewing what their "type" has been in the past, a few prospects stood above the rest.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

And here it is for LB. Better set of training data so should be more predictive of future picks. LVE is a freak athletically.

For starters, Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds must have been built in a lab. At 6'4" 253 pounds he is much bigger and stronger than the typical Cowboys linebacker, but his athletic testing all exceed the normal thresholds as well. He is significantly faster and more athletic than the typical Dallas draft pick, and would be an excellent candidate with the 19th overall pick. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate him being their for the taking.

Iowa's Josey Jewell is an interesting prospect to evaluate. A rather reliable player on film, Jewell also passes each of the athletic thresholds set by Dallas in previous years. Well, besides his 40 time, which is nearly a full second slower than their average selection. Still, considering his tape, short shuttle, 3 cone, and broad jump, I expect him to be a potential target for the Cowboys on day two.

The 2 linebackers which fit the Cowboys' plan best, however, are BYU's Fred Warner and Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch.

As seen on the spreadsheet, Vander Esch is a certified freak by Cowboys' standards. He greatly exceeds each of Dallas' athletic markers, and does it all at 6'4" and over 250 pounds. Like I said, he's an athletic freak in the eyes of the Cowboys.

Warner is just below the average weight in previous years (by only 2 pounds), but he is much more athletic than players we've seen the Cowboys draft since 2011. He is converting from more of an EDGE-type role in college to being a full time off-ball linebacker, and so far he has looked comfortable doing so at the Senior Bowl and Combine.

Considering the struggles the Cowboys have had on defense as of late, finding these younger and faster players should be a priority. And, as indicated by the testing of their previous draft classes, the Cowboys should be able to upgrade on that athleticism during the 2018 NFL Draft.

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