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NFL Draft

7-Round Cowboys Mock Draft: Pre-Combine Edition

Brian Martin

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Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft Pre-Combine Edition

I thought it would be a good time to do another mock draft for the Dallas Cowboys before the kickoff of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. Things sometimes get blown out of proportion with the way some of these prospects perform in the "underwear" Olympics. A good performance can improve a players draft stock, but a poor performance can do the complete opposite. Either way, evaluators can use this event to confirm or deny what they have seen on film.

In this 7-round mock draft for the Dallas Cowboys I decided to address some of the obvious needs, but also add some much-needed depth and speed to the roster. You may or may not agree with who I've selected for the Cowboys, but that's one of the fun things about mock drafts.

All of the selections are based on my own personal draft grades and where I believe these prospects will be selected. Of course, they are subject to change after each prospects individual performance and their medicals are revealed at the combine.

R1/19 - DAL: Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia

Isaiah Wynn will likely be the top-rated player on the board when the Dallas Cowboys select at 19th overall. He is a plug-and-play player at LG, even though he played LT at Georgia. He immediately upgrades the Cowboys OL and solidifies the unit for years to come.

R2/18 - DAL: Justin Reid, S, Stanford

Justin is the younger brother of former 49ers safety Eric Reid, a player involved in the 2013 trade that allowed the Cowboys to acquire Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams. Justin is a good all-around player who is capable of playing FS or SS. He would be a Day 1 starter and probably be the most talented safety on the Cowboys roster.

R3/17 - DAL: Keke Coutee, WR, Texas Tech

I'm personally hoping that D.J. Chark is still on the board when the Dallas Cowboys select in the third, but he likely goes much earlier because of his rare combination of size and speed. But, Coutee would be a nice consolation prize. He might just be the best deep threat this entire draft class. He's a little undersized at 5'11", 180, which could cause him to struggle against bigger/stronger CBs in the NFL. But, he provides the much-needed speed the Cowboys offense is currently missing.

R4/16 - DAL: Mark Walton, RB, Miami

If not for an unfortunate ankle injury that eventually required surgery last season, Walton would likely be drafted much higher. He's not an every down RB in the NFL due to his size, but he is one of the more explosive players in this draft class. He would make an excellent complementary back in both the passing and running game for the Cowboys. He's a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

R4/37 - DAL: Fred Warner, LB, BYU

Fred Warner is an instinctive off ball LB who could eventually become Sean Lee's replacement at WILL. For the time being though, he would be Lee's primary backup and a core special-teams player. Warner can play sideline to sideline and looks comfortable playing in space when asked to drop in coverage.

R5/34 - DAL: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame

I personally don't like the depth at the TE position for the Cowboys. Witten is declining and there's not much behind him to inspire much confidence. Hanna could be a cap casually, Swaim is in the last year of his rookie deal, and both Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers are projects.

Smythe would likely step in and be the TE2 as a rookie. He is the classic "Y" TE, who is a better blocker than receiver at this point in his career. I think he is a capable receiver though, he just wasn't asked to do it much in college at Notre Dame.

R5/36 - DAL: Holton Hill, CB, Texas

If not for suspensions and off the field concerns, Hill would be a top 50 selection and possible first-round draft pick. I'm willing to take a chance on him though in the fifth-round due to his talent because of the young and up-and-coming CBs the Cowboys currently have on the roster. Hill could be a draft day steal if he can get his act together.

R6/19 - DAL: Kentavius Street, DE/DT, NC State

Street was a DE at NC State, but his lack of desired length will likely cause him to kick inside to DT in the NFL. He is one of the more athletically gifted defensive lineman in this draft class and I expect him to put on a show at the combine. I think he could have a role similar to that of Tyrone Crawford and play both DE and kick inside to the 3-tech with the Cowboys.

R6/34 - DAL: Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State

The Cowboys need LB depth in the worst way, so I decided to double dip. Christian Sam is a talented player who could see his draft stock improve if his medicals check out at the combine. He missed all of 2016 due to an injury, but rebounded last season. He would be an excellent special-teams player as a rookie and could be the primary backup at MIKE and SAM.

R7/18 - DAL: David Bright, OT, Stanford

The Dallas Cowboys lack of offensive line depth hurt them in 2017, but Bright could help in this area. He played both guard and tackle at Stanford and also took practice snaps at center. That kind of versatility to play several different positions is invaluable on game day. As a rookie, he could be the primary swing tackle.

Would you be happy with these draft picks for the Dallas Cowboys?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chuck Wright

    February 26, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Sorry, not to be debbie downer but pretty much hate that draft. #1 team need is a 1 Tech., you want Da Boys to spend 4 #1s on OL? You can have too much of a good thing . . .The TT WR won’t be i nthe league in 3 years. As a TEXAS fan hate to say it but Holton Hill is another pot head. We need to stop drafting guys who cannot play for substance abuse violations

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 26, 2018 at 8:48 am

      Chuck, I don’t disagree that the Cowboys need a 1-tech and it could be the teams biggest need, but they just don’t value that position enough to invest a top draft pick in. Plus, I think Wynn will be the top rated player on the board when they are in the clock at 19. I would love to take Veta, but I think he’s going to be gone. I’m also not very high on Coutee, but the Cowboys have said they wanted more speed on offense. I’m willing to take a chance on Holton Hill in the fifth. It’s a big risk/reward type situation, but at that point in the draft teams are willing to take more chances on prospects with talent.

      • Chuck Wright

        February 26, 2018 at 5:30 pm

        Appreciate the response. . . .Since I don’t know what board you are looking at, hard to see who is behind your picks. As for Hill, randy G has GREAT talent, but he’s been worthless. . .who knows, maybe this year. If not DT, I’d go top flight LB earlier. But all this will change 16 times before teh real draft.

      • Brian Martin

        Brian Martin

        April 25, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:27 pm

  2. oneputter

    February 26, 2018 at 9:27 am

    we do need to go defense in round 1, so best available defensive player, DT, DE, LB unless james is there.
    2 – i would go ronnie harrison – Safety
    3 – i would go daeshaun hamilton -WR

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      February 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

      I would much rather have the 2nd best OG than the fourth or fifth best defensive player in the first round. I’m not a big fan of Ronnie Harrison and I doubt he’s available the second anyway. I’m also not as high on Hamilton as others either. I think he is best in the slot and the Cowboys don’t need another slot receiver.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      April 25, 2018 at 9:27 pm

  3. Rick Converse

    February 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I disagree heartily – the Cowboys #1 need is a LEGIT #1 receiver. We can re-write history all day and say “Dez Caught It” 3 years ago… but it doesn’t change anything. Dez is gettng paid to be #1 WR and playing like a barely #3 WR. As much as I don’t care for Terrence Williams, he’s a better WR than Dez right now, factoring ability to stay healthy and overall cost to the team. Personally I’d play Brice Butler more (after hitting his hands with a stapler every time he drops a ball in practice, he’ll knock it off quick)… but I’m not the coach. Draft a WR1/2, play Butler/Williams on the other side, and turn Beasley and Witten loose in the middle where they thrive and you’ll open up the space Zeke needs to get back to being Zeke.

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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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