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2017 NFL Draft: 3 Round Dallas Cowboys Mock

Sean Martin

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2017 NFL Draft: 3 Round Dallas Cowboys Mock 3

Welcome to my first (shortened) mock draft of the 2017 NFL Draft season! I've been putting up scouting reports over at Slant Sports and breaking down how prospects fit with the Dallas Cowboys right here at Inside The Star ever since the end of that painful playoff loss to the Packers.

Now, it was time to head over to Fanspeak and test my early knowledge on this draft class against other draft boards - going on the clock for three rounds with the Cowboys' selections.

Here are the results.

Round 1 Pick 28: EDGE Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

The decision the Cowboys could face with their first round pick between UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley and Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson has been a popular one in discussion with Cowboys Nation.

That is the exact decision this 28th overall pick came down to in this mock, as Corey Davis, Mike Williams, and John Ross all went in the top 15 - eliminating any real chance to add a WR in the first round.

Sidney Jones and Marlon Humphrey were both selected at defensive back, which made my decision to jump straight to the EDGE class an easy one.

2017 NFL Draft: Reviewing UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley - Slant Sports

The NFL Draft is a unique thing. 32 teams sit through seven rounds in order to pick college athletes, kids relative to most, who are to come in and have an impact on their franchise. Sometimes, that impact is expected immediately. Other times, players are given the proper time to grow.

The final choice between McKinley and Lawson came down to the higher upside with a rusher like McKinley, who in my eye possesses more of an all around game with the speed, power, and bend to become a force on day one in Dallas. A raw rusher for Rod Marinelli to work with - that actually has first round talent - in Takk McKinley could be the missing piece to the Cowboys' defensive line.

2017 NFL Draft: 3 Round Dallas Cowboys Mock

Round 2, Pick 60: CB Rasul Douglas, West Virginia

The value was here in the second round to add a cornerback to the Dallas Cowboys, and West Virginia's Rasul Douglas fits this team's mold at the position perfectly. Impressing at the recent Senior Bowl with this physical play and natural athletic ability, Douglas' 3218 arms (7658 wingspan) make him an ideal corner to play the off-coverage that Dallas often finds themselves in.

Decisions will have to be made for the Cowboys on both Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr at the cornerback position, but adding young pro-ready talent to your secondary is never a bad idea in today's pass happy NFL. WIth the 60th overall pick, the Dallas Cowboys should be happy to do just that with Rasul Douglas.

2017 NFL Draft: 3 Round Dallas Cowboys Mock 2Round 3, Pick 92: WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech

Once again, I viewed this third round pick as another one of great value for the Cowboys, and after looking at the deep stack of wide receivers in the second I decided to bring in Isaiah Ford in the third.

A productive player out of Virginia Tech, Ford had his best season with the Hokies as a sophomore, but did put up 1,094 yards and 7 touchdowns on 79 receptions in his final season as a junior.

An extremely fluid athlete with terrific ball skills, Ford could step in immediately at WR2 across from Dez Bryant - assuming Terrance Williams is paid elsewhere in free agency - and produce in Scott Linehan's offense.

As the 2017 NFL Draft season continues, be sure to check out Slant Sports for all of the full scouting reports we'll be putting out - and follow @SlantSports on Twitter

To view round grades on every 2017 NFL Draft prospect I've scouted so far, check out my real-time draft board!

Tell us what you think about "2017 NFL Draft: 3 Round Dallas Cowboys Mock" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    February 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    So admittedly I had not seen Isaiah Ford play so I watched his Harris Highlight reel first and then went over to draftbreakdown.com to watch his 2016 game film and came away very impressed. I wrote down some thoughts in no particular order. Strong hands and high points the ball extremely well. Not afraid to work in a crowd and still come down with the ball. Can blow right past people often catching the ball 3-5 yards in front of defenders. Not afraid to play physical and gets YAC. Stretches the field and works both the middle of the field and the sidelines equally well. Able to bait defenders into PI calls. Negatives: Doesn’t always run through his route or sell the route when the ball isn’t coming to him. Blocking needs some work. Willing to hit somebody but sometimes misses and doesn’t re-engage. Would also like to see him put on 10-12 lbs. of muscle. At the next level it’s going to be more physical and the extra weight will help. But those can be fixed and can be said about almost any receiver. Conclusion: I’d welcome him with open arms in round 3!

    • Sean Martin

      Sean Martin

      February 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you for reading, and for the early scouting notes on Ford! Haven’t actually written up his full scouting report on Slant Sports yet, but from what I know of the player you hit on a lot of his traits. Value is there in the third for sure.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson Jr.

Since Kris Richard has taken over the back-end of the Dallas Cowboys defense, they have clearly shown a bias towards a "type" of cornerback. Richard, looking to build this Dallas unit in a similar form to his Seattle teams, has prioritized long corners both in height and arm length.

As his responsibilities within the organization increase, it's only fair to expect Kris Richard to have more say in who the Cowboys' defense acquires in terms of talent. This means we should anticipate more defensive backs who fit his type, such as Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.

The Player

So why does Lonnie Johnson fit the mold of what Kris Richard tends to look for? Well, for starters, he is 6'3" and 206 lbs with 32 1/4" arms. He's a long corner with excellent size and the trait profile which indicates he could be the perfect candidate to play cornerback in Dallas.

But while he might look great on paper, the tape is always the most important factor for evaluating and projecting talent. And, for Johnson, the tape isn't all-that great. Despite his length, Johnson struggled mightily in press-man coverage at Kentucky. Too often he is late or ineffective with his hands, leaving him susceptible to being blown by by the opposing receiver. He often loses balance due to poor footwork, and is rather average with his hips and quick change of direction.

Where Johnson was his best in college was in zone coverage, playing his deep third of Kentucky's cover-three look. Rarely did he allow receivers behind him in zone coverage, and displayed good instincts when deciding whether to jump routes or play more conservatively when playing in that deep third. He was not nearly as comfortable underneath, and Kentucky didn't ask him to play in that role too often. Because of how big he is, Johnson is able to contest at the catch point regularly, yet he only deflected 9 passes in 2 years.

What gives me the most hope for Lonnie Johnson as a prospect (besides his length) is his Senior Bowl performance. Johnson impressed daily at the Senior Bowl, looking more comfortable in man coverage and playing much better in his press technique.

Was this Johnson becoming more comfortable over time and a sign of things to come at the next level, or was it an anomaly that we shouldn't read too much into? The answer to that question is up to the individual teams, but his combine performance will play a huge role in how those teams answer.

The Fit

As I've discussed already, Lonnie Johnson Jr. fits what Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks. He is long, tall, and relatively athletic, making him a clay piece for a coach like Richard to develop.

The question is, however, how much development can really occur? The highs for Johnson are rather high when he maximizes his natural abilities on the field. But too often he is sloppy in technique, or looks lost in man coverage. Whether or not Richard can "fix" Johnson completely may never be seen, but teams (especially this one) could fall in love with him as a prospect for what he can become if it all comes together.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Oklahoma Sooners RB Rodney Anderson

NAME: Rodney Anderson

SCHOOL: Oklahoma

CONFERENCE: Big 12

POSITION: Running Back

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 24

RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star

HT: 6'1"

WT: 219

D.O.B.: 9/12/96

Highlights:

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma

Rodney Anderson || 2017-18 Highlights ᴴᴰ || Oklahoma Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Follow my Instagram: @szhighlights Songs: - "Don't Know Me" by Trae Tha Truth - "Better Days" by Trae Tha Truth I do not own any of these highlights or music clips.

Before we get into the player, we should really try to get to know Rodney Anderson the person. He attended Katy High School in Katy, Texas, one of the powerhouse HS football programs in the state. He was a four-star recruit who received offers from Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He originally committed to Texas A&M, but changed his mind and decided to go to Oklahoma instead. He had an up-and-down career on the football field at Oklahoma because of injuries, but did graduate with a degree in Arts and Sciences in May 2018 and is pursuing his Master's in Human Relations.

Pros:

Rodney Anderson has the ideal size and athleticism to become a featured back in the NFL. He shows good patience and vision on film to allow his offensive lineman to secure their blocks before sticking his foot in the ground and exploding through the hole. He runs behind his pads and shows good strength, loose hips, and balance to run through arm tackles. More than capable of picking up those "dirty yards" and is surprisingly slippery as a runner in the open field.

Anderson is capable of playing in a power scheme or a zone heavy scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has been featured in a number of rushing concepts including gap/power, read action, and power sweeps. His talent also carries over to the passing game. He possesses soft hands and looks natural catching the ball both out of the backfield and down the field as a receiver. Solid in pass protection, but this is an area of his game where he can improve.

Cons:

The biggest negative about Rodney Anderson is his injury history at Oklahoma. He is basically a one-year wonder because of three separate season-ending injuries, but bad things happen in three so maybe that's behind him. Durability will be a question mark entering the NFL though.

His vision is sometimes questionable, especially on inside and outside zone reads. Has a tendency to to try to bounce runs to the outside too often or cut back too quickly. Shows good explosiveness, but only average burst through the hole. Seems to have adequate long speed on tape, but is 40 yard dash time will be heavily scrutinized if he's able to run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In the passing game he needs to improve his route running and pass protection if he wants to be a three-down back in the NFL. The talent is there, just not the production and consistency. Will also have to prove he can be productive against stacked boxes at the next level since he rarely saw any in college due to Oklahoma's spread offense.

Cowboys Fit:

If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a running back capable of being a featured back in the NFL, while also spelling Ezekiel Elliott from time to time, then Rodney Anderson is there guy. His combination of power, balance, explosiveness, and scheme diversity could come in handy as their RB2. Not only would he provide a good insurance policy if the unthinkable were to happen to Zeke, but he could take over if they decide not to give No. 21 a contract extension.

There is a lot to like about Rodney Anderson's game and his ability to contribute in the running and passing game, but he is not by any means a clean prospect. Despite his immense talent, his injury history and lack of consistency in college is bothersome. But, as a mid-round pick the reward far outweighs the risks. Paired with Elliott, the Cowboys could have a formidable one-two punch in their backfield and could pound opposing defenses into submission.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft Target: South Carolina WR Deebo Samuel

Our search for a new pass catcher for the Cowboys in this years' draft class continues, this time with a wide receiver.

South Carolina's Deebo Samuel put himself on the map with a strong Sophomore season, but fell off a bit due to a severe leg injury early in 2017. After a strong 2018 campaign, and an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, Samuel has played himself back into early Day Two draft discussions.

The Player

I don't know that anyone "won" Senior Bowl week more than Deebo Samuel did this January. Samuel, who had to deal with some poor quarterback play throughout his college career, didn't get much of a break in that department either at the Senior Bowl. But, he did show out every day at practice, and seemed to go viral on Twitter at least once a day.

During his actual collegiate season, Samuel finished with 882 yards and 11 touchdowns on 62 catches, solid production especially coming off an injury and playing in a limited offense. Initially in the NFL, Samuel is going to make his money in the slot. He's a shifty yet explosive receiver type than can quickly beat defenders with his speed. He's not the speedster than someone like Marquise Brown is, but he is explosive enough in his own right, especially in terms of short-area quickness.

Samuel isn't someone who will go up and grab the ball consistently, or even make up for inaccurate throws as often as some others might be able to. But he does have reliable hands, and his ability to get open quickly and create separation should give someone like Dak Prescott easy windows to find him in for completions.

What makes Deebo Samuel so fun for me to watch, though, is his ability after the catch. Despite his lack of size, Samuel is tough as nails, and rarely defers out of bounds or avoids contact. He's built well enough to withstand that contact as well, and when he gets free, he's hard to catch and bring down.

The Fit

Drafting Deebo Samuel 58th overall would be a heck of a haul for the Dallas Cowboys. In need of another playmaker in the passing game, the Cowboys could make immediate use of Samuel's talents in 2019, specifically as a slot receiver.

As has been mentioned ad nauseam, it seems unlikely that Cole Beasley will be returning to the team this season, which makes the need for a slot wide-out that much greater. Samuel has big play ability from the slot already, and has traits which project him to potentially work outside as well. If he tests well enough at the combine, reps on the outside could very well be in his future.

Samuel should be on every Cowboys fans' shortlist of draft targets in the second round this year.



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