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Breaking Down the Cowboys Picks in AJ Schulte’s Complete 7-Round NFL Mock Draft

As we continue to progress towards draft season, more and more mock drafts will come out and more and more names will be linked to the Dallas Cowboys. It’s certainly quite difficult to predict the first round pick, let alone all seven rounds for all 32 teams. But that’s just what Pro Football Network’s AJ Schulte recently performed in his 7-round NFL Mock Draft.

It’s an excellent read with great insight, but for our purposes, let’s take a look at what he did for the Dallas Cowboys.

10. Cowboys Trade back to 14 with the Minnesota Vikings

Trade! The Minnesota Vikings trade picks 14, 78, and 143 to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for picks 10 and 179.

It’s great that the Dallas Cowboys were able to trade back and pick up an extra top 100 pick, but I wonder if they would do so with Patrick Surtain on the board.

14. Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina.

After trade with Minnesota, the Cowboys select Jaycee Horn, Cornerback, South Carolina. While Surtain may rate higher on many people’s draft boards, Jaycee Horn shouldn’t be far behind. Especially as the Dallas Cowboys consider Dan Quinn’s cover-3 scheme, there’s potential he could be a better fit.

Here’s what AJ Schulte had to say about the pick:

“While the Dallas Cowboys twiddle their thumbs on paying their elite quarterback, they can’t afford to neglect their secondary. Trading down and still nabbing an elite corner prospect in Jaycee Horn is an excellent move for Dallas. Horn is more than a little grabby, but he is a culture-changer. He’s long, physical, and feisty — something the Cowboys have lacked in their corner room.”

I like trading back and picking up an extra pick and I think Horn should be talked about more as an option at 10 for the Dallas Cowboys.

44. Levi Onwuzurike, Defensive Tackle, Washington

At 44 the Dallas Cowboys continue to invest in their defense, this time adding Defensive Tackle Levi Onwuzurike from Washington.

“Dallas had flashes of good play from Neville Gallimore last year, but they still need to invest in the interior of their defensive line. Levi Onwuzurike is a disruptive pass rusher with explosiveness and quickness. Dallas needs that juice in the middle of their defensive line.”

Onwuzurike projects as a 3-technique defensive tackle and could make sense if the Cowboys feel uncertain about Trysten Hill or Neville Gallimore. At this point in their respective careers, I don’t think the Cowboys have enough information on them. One could argue that’s what you take a guy like Levi in the second, to ensure that you have someone capable of playing the 3-technique. However, Onwuzurike wasn’t very productive at Washington, finishing his career with just seven sacks and 16 tackles for loss over three seasons.

Though Onwuzurike might be a good fit at 44, I’d rather have Ronnie Perkins the EDGE rusher out of Oklahoma who went at number 46 to the New England Patriots, or my favorite player so far, Richie Grant, who went number 60 to the New Orleans Saints.

75. Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU

The Cowboys need help in the secondary and Shulte gives it to them with Ar’Darius Washington from TCU. One of two TCU safeties that will get selected in the top 100 this April, Washington had five interceptions in 2019 as a redshirt freshman. Though he didn’t have an interception in 2020, that kind of playmaking doesn’t just go away.

“Dallas’ secondary was brutal last year, and they only take even more hits in the offseason. While the Cowboys typically avoid the safety position like the plague, they simply have to address it this offseason. Washington can compete in the slot and in split-field coverages from Day 1.”

AJ Schulte, Pro Football Network

78. (from Minnesota) D’Ante Smith, OT/G East Carolina

With the injuries the Dallas Cowboys had at tackle last season, it’s never a bad idea to use a pick to get more offensive line help. Not only could D’Ante Smith help fill in at tackle if they suffered injuries to both players, but he could help at guard, where the Cowboys have seen Zack Martin miss time over the last couple of seasons.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty along Dallas’ offensive line, particularly among both of their starting tackles in Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. The situations there are murky right now, but it’s clear that the team needs insurance plans for both players. Enter D’Ante Smith, who is a former wrestler with some positional versatility. He possesses outstanding tools, and letting him grow alongside Tyron Smith would be incredible for his growth. He can play the left guard spot and kick outside if Tyron Smith gets hurt again.”

AJ Schulte, Pro Football Network

99. Dayo Odeyingbo, EDGE, Vanderbilt

The Cowboys have not been shy about taking players coming off of a major injury and that’s what they’d be doing here with Dayo Odeyingbo from Vanderbilt. The EDGE rusher finished his eight game season with 5.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss. Though his season ended with an ACL injury, as Schulte notes, the Cowboys have time to wait for Dayo to recover from the knee injury.

“The Cowboys aren’t hurting at pass rusher right now with DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Bradlee Anae all on the roster. That allows them the luxury of taking Odeyingbo here coming off of a January ACL tear. His explosiveness, length, and versatility would make a welcome addition to the Cowboys’ defensive line.”

AJ Schulte, Pro Football Network

115. Tyree Gillespie, Safety, Missouri

The Dallas Cowboys double-dip at safety and add a player that could fit in as a box player and special teams player.

“Even though Gillespie is a good athlete with solid fluidity and explosiveness, there is a cap to his projection because of his long speed. In the NFL, he’s not a guy you want at single-high consistently. That’s not because of his instincts. That’s just because NFL athletes will supersede him in situations where more of the field is being used. Gillespie also doesn’t quite have the sheer length to make up for it at the catch point.”

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

138. Dazz Newsome, Wide Receiver, North Carolina

The Cowboys add a receiver that may not see the field much in 2021, but could help them as a slot receiver in 2022 after Michael Gallup’s expected departure. Newsome’s best season was in 2019 when he had 72 receptions for 1,018 yards and ten touchdowns. He’s small in stature, but has proven that he can win despite his size.

“Newsome is a good route-runner with excellent separation quickness, has terrific hands, outstanding ball skills, and is a fearless competitor. He’s excellent at creating yards after the catch and is truly a threat to all levels of the field. When it comes to areas where Newsome can develop, expanding his route tree and adding more variance to his release package stand out.”

Joe Marino, The Draft Network

143. (from Min) Robert Rochell, Cornerback, Central Arkansas

The Dallas Cowboys double-dip at another position in the secondary, but that seems almost inevitable with the pending departures of Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods.

“Rochell’s physical profile alone gives him a nice floor, but I was impressed with how smart he was in coverage. Rochell appears to have an understanding of route concepts, and he doesn’t bite on a route when he sees that it might lead him away from an approaching receiver. In zone coverage, he maintains positional discipline, and that allows him to serve as a safety blanket against short run-after-catch plays that might break big.”

Furthermore, Rochell is solid in other aspects of the game as well. The Central Arkansas cornerback is a good tackler, courtesy of his closing burst and length. He has excellent ball skills down the field, possessing the capacity to rise and disrupt passes, and that capacity even extends into run defense. There, Rochell can also use his length to jar balls free. This past season, he forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown against UAB. He has the playmaking gene, no doubt.”

Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network

194. Derrick Barnes, Linebacker, Purdue

The Cowboys finally dip into the linebacker pool for this versatile player who can likely contribute on special teams right away.

“Barnes spent his career at Purdue working between a stack linebacker role and an EDGE rusher role. I like his forecast best as a rush linebacker to play in odd front looks and potentially drop his hand in the dirt on obvious passing situations. Barnes had a successful 2019 campaign as a rusher and showed some ability there that will likely give him the best chance to find a roster to stick on in the NFL. If Barnes can tap into the special teams role he played early in his career with the Boilermakers, it would certainly help the cause in his bid to make an active roster.”

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network

236. Briley Moore, Tight End, Kansas State

“Move tight end or H-back with in-line experience who offers up some potential as both a run blocker and pass catcher. He’s a little tight in the hips, which hinders some of his short-area route work and blocking leverage at the point of attack. He’s got some juice to work the seam and has desired ball skills despite his shorter arms. He’s going to struggle blocking defensive ends, but is a willing combatant and has the potential to get linebackers blocked on the edges and defensive backs blocked out in space. Moore-McKinney could offer value as a late-rounder or priority free agent.”

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

What did you think of this mock draft? What would you have done differently? 

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John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. If you have a top 10 pick you should be looking to draft a future pro bowl, all pro player regardless of position.

  2. Terrible draft.
    If Surtain is available should pick him and if not then Farley and then if not to trade down and get Horn.
    Safety has to be the next pick and hopefully Grant will be there. Then offensive line next pick.
    Do not like this mock at all.

  3. I like the idea of trading down , even if Surtain is at 10 , imo, Horn is best CB in draft , he has all the abilities of a Farley that Surtain lacks but without the injury concerns of Farley ,

    But other than the trade down , this mock sucks

  4. Honestly, if Surtain is there at #10, you don’t pass up the best corner in the draft. You complement that pick with the best Defensive tackle available, followed by the best Offensive tackle/Center available, followed by Safety, Corner, and keep your ear to the ground for any deals that can get you more picks AFTER you secure Surtain at #10.

  5. The Cowboys can go a number of different ways and players this draft. You can argue any position on Defense is a need. I just gone if were going to trade back that a QB falls and then a team like Chicago who’s in dire need of a QB gives us a much more lucrative package to move up. The only problem I have with this mock is waiting till round 3 for a safety when we could target Moehrig in the first or Grant, Holland, or Cisco in the second. We have already invested decent capital the last 2 drafts at DT with Hill and Gallimore plus the potential for a Gerald McCoy reunion

  6. Draft Mac Jones tell Dak take a hike trade him if you can then get a OT in 2nd there are alot of good corners still at 3rd round

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