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?
Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?
You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.
I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.
Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.
Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:
2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano
You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.
The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.
DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.
The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.
I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?
Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.
But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.
Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.
Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.
On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.
What about the rest of the class?
Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.
After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.
How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?
One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.
Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.
But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.
Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.
Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.
Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.
One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.
In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.
Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?
Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.
The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.
Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.
Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.
For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Should Cowboys DT Jihad Ward Be Getting More Attention?
Star Blog3 days ago
ESPN Proposes Trade Offer To Bring Earl Thomas To Dallas
Star Blog6 days ago
Cowboys Trade For DT Jihad Ward Already Paying Off?
Star Blog5 days ago
Tavon Austin, the Cowboys Best Playmaker Not Named Ezekiel Elliott?
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
5 Winners from Dallas Cowboys OTAs and Minicamp
Star Blog1 week ago
Should Cowboys Add Another Safety Before Training Camp?
Player News2 weeks ago
Report: Cowboys Sign OL Zack Martin To 6 Year Deal
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
4 Reasons Terrance Williams Won’t Be a Cowboy