After all of the waiting and speculation, the 2018 NFL Draft is finally here. Tonight the Dallas Cowboys will be on the clock with a chance to improve their roster for the first time in 2018.
In preparation for the total NFL Draft, I've put together a 7 round Cowboys-focused mock draft. This draft was completed using FanSpeak's On The Clock simulator, and done using Arif Hasan's consensus draft board.
The Cowboys enter the draft with 10 selections total, and rather than predicting trades, I stayed put and picked each time. So, let's get into the mock.
R1/19 - DAL: James Daniels, OL, Iowa
The Cowboys solidify their offensive line here with Iowa's James Daniels. Daniels primarily played at center in college, but will have no issues sliding to left guard in Dallas. He is an excellent reach blocker, a smooth pass protector, and one of the best interior offensive linemen in this class.
R2/18 - DAL: Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
After releasing veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant just a few weeks ago, the Cowboys bring in their newest "X" wide out in Courtland Sutton. Sutton slid a bit in this mock draft and the Cowboys benefit from his slide. I do like a few receivers more than Sutton, but he does provide value 50th overall.
R3/17 - DAL: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
The Cowboys continue to add players from the Hawkeyes here, drafting linebacker Josey Jewell in round three. Jewell can provide solid depth at linebacker in year one, and if reports about Jaylon Smith's progress are true, that might be all the team needs from Jewell in 2018. Going forward, allow Jewell to learn from Sean Lee and improve on his game.
R4/16 - DAL: Deadrin Senat, DT, USF
Dallas finally gets their defensive tackle in round four, and Deadrin Senat is well worth the wait. Senat is a strong interior defensive lineman who fits perfectly as a 1-technique in the Cowboys defensive scheme. Senat plays with leverage and excellent hand usage that should translate to the NFL.
R4/37 - DAL: Tarvarius Moore, Safety, Southern Mississippi
The Cowboys look to bolster the back end of their defense with safety Tarvarius Moore here. Falling a bit further than expected, the Cowboys get a safety with elite athletic abilities. Moore can play in coverage and in the box against the run, and can be a good addition to the Cowboys secondary.
R5/34 - DAL: Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Jack Cichy is the second linebacker the Cowboys take in the 2018 draft, but he is the better of the two when healthy. Cichy would most likely be a top 100 pick if not for his injury concerns, but he's worth a chance on Day three regardless.
R6/18 - DAL: Christian Campbell, CB, Penn State
Cornerback isn't a need for the Cowboys at all, but Christian Campbell is a good late round option for them here. He is a long, strong, and physical cornerback, something I'm sure Kris Richard will love. Why not take Campbell here and see what he can bring during the preseason?
R6/19 - DAL: Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
Due to the skills of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys won't consider a running back early in the draft. But drafting Ito Smith later in the draft could give them the change-of-pace back they've been missing the last couple of seasons. Smith averaged over 10 yards per catch in college, and Dallas could use that pass game production from a running back.
R6/34 - DAL: Javon Wims, WR , Georgia
Okay, I'll admit this is a bit of a personal pick. At 6'3" 215 pounds Javon Wims certainly "looks" the part of an NFL wide receiver. And while at Georgia, he was an effective playmaker who led the team with 45 catches for 720 yards and 7 touchdowns. Wims is a big receiving threat that's worth giving a shot to make this team.
R7/18 - DAL: Riley Ferguson, QB, Memphis
Having already addressed their pressing needs, the Cowboys use their 7th round pick to add another quarterback to the depth chart. Right now it's only Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush occupying that lonely QB room, and Ferguson's production in college make him an interesting camp arm and potential developmental QB going forward.
Cowboys Draft Target: Central Florida DT Trysten Hill
NAME: Trysten Hill
POSITION: Defensive Tackle
SCHOOL: Central Florida
JERSEY: No. 9
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
|Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles|
Uploaded by Micah Wade on 2019-02-22.
The first thing that jumps off the tape when studying Trysten Hill is his first step quickness at the snap of the ball and his burst to get upfield. He is scheme diverse, but projects better as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Can play the one-technique or the three-technique in a 4-3 defense, but is at his best as a one-gapper.
Hill plays with a nonstop motor and high energy down after down. Doesn't take any plays off. Shows the ability to fight off blocks. Always working his hands and feet to free himself. Is equally disruptive harassing the quarterback as a gap penetrator and in the running game playing sideline to sideline.
Shows good agility and flexibility to bend and finish tackles behind line of scrimmage and in the open field. Can anchor down against double teams, but needs to improve his overall play strength. Uses a twitchy arm over and spin counter move to penetrate the gap as both a pass rusher and run defender.
There are questions about Trysten Hill's maturity, work ethic, and coach ability. He found himself in the doghouse last year at Central Florida and only started one game. Was he demoted because of the new coaching staff or are the character concerns about him factual? This is something teams will have to dive deeper into.
Needs to do a better job of playing under control. Will run himself out of gaps at times, which causes him to lose his gap responsibility. Can get washed out of the play by down blocks. Needs to develop a better feel and response to keep that from happening.
Can anchor down against double teams, but needs to add functional strength in order to become more consistent. Drops his head at times on his initial punch. Needs to develop a more diverse pass rushing repertoire. Relies too much on arm over and spin move.
Trysten Hill is a versatile defensive tackle capable playing the one-technique or the three-technique in the Dallas Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme. Due to his first step quickness and high motor, he is likely better suited to play the three-technique. He has starting potential, but would likely be a rotational piece on the DL as a rookie behind Maliek Collins. His ability to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage and sidelined the sideline would be a welcomed addition along the Cowboys defensive front. He projects as a late Day 2 or early Day 3 draft pick, and that's exactly where the Dallas Cowboys would likely have to target him to acquire his services.
Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
NAME: Stanley Morgan Jr.
POSITION: Wide Receiver
CONFERENCE: Big Ten
JERSEY: No. 8
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
"Where I come from ... I had to block for Leonard Fournette, I played on the same team as Tyrann Mathieu," Morgan said. "It's just guys like that around me that made me want to work harder, just to keep going and give it my all. It's something that I was born with."
Stanley Morgan Jr. was a consistent and productive wide receiver during his time at Nebraska. He projects as a "Z" receiver in the NFL, but is probably better suited to play in the slot because of his skill set. Might be the best route runner in the entire 2019 WR draft class.
There's no questioning his toughness and competitiveness. His passion for the game shows up on tape. Unafraid to carry his routes across the middle of field. Possess good separation ability due to his precise route running and his ability to change directions on a dime. Has an understanding of how to temper his routes as well and has a way of lulling defensive backs to sleep and catching them off guard.
Has soft natural hands and shows good technique at the catch point. Shows the ability to make contested catches. Large catch radius. Excellent catch focus and body control. Shows the ability to climb the ladder and high point passes. Unfazed with DBs draped on him and shows good spatial awareness along the sideline. Has a little wiggle to be a threat after the catch, but doesn't have homerun ability.
Stanley Morgan Jr. could be labeled as "just a guy" as a wide receiver prospect. There is nothing really special about his game and he has just average speed and athleticism. Despite his productivity and consistency at Nebraska, he may have already reached his peak.
Morgan may be nothing more than a slot receiver in the NFL. He doesn't possess the necessary speed to be a threat down the field and doesn't show a lot of burst out of his breaks. Average speed will limit his big-play ability as well. Struggles to beat press coverage, which could cause cornerbacks to sit on underneath routes.
Doesn't offer anything on special teams. Had a handful of opportunities at Nebraska as a kick and punt returner with very little success. Doesn't show a lot of functional strength on film. Lack of strength and power limits his blocking ability in the passing game. Arrested for marijuana possession in May 2017.
Although Stanley Morgan Jr. has the ability to play the "Z" position with the Dallas Cowboys, they would likely move him into the slot full-time as Cole Beasley's replacement now that he's officially moved on to the Buffalo Bills. He may not have the same kind of change of direction skills as Beasley, but Morgan's precise route running ability immediately makes him a threat in the Cowboys aerial attack as a rookie.
Morgan unfortunately doesn't offer much, if anything, on special teams. He returned a few kickoffs and punts during his time at Nebraska, but had marginal success. He will probably never be more than a WR3 and might have already reached his peak as a prospect, but he is the type of WR who can have a long career in the NFL. As a potential mid-round draft pick he is an intriguing slot option for the Cowboys, but probably won't help fans forget about No. 11 anytime soon.
Cowboys Draft Dilemma: Deebo Samuel (Rd. 2) vs. Stanley Morgan Jr. (Rd. 4)
There are a lot of fans around Cowboys Nation who are hoping former South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel is still on the board when the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock in the second-round with the 58th overall selection. Samuel is the dream replacement for Cole Beasley for a lot of us, but would likely be a luxury this early in the draft instead of a need.
I don't want to rain on the parade for all you Deebo Samuel fans, myself included, but I don't know if the Cowboys would pull the trigger on a WR that early. This is especially true considering there is someone who I believe compares favorably to Samuel and could be available at least two rounds later. In case you haven't figured out yet, I'm talking about former Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
Deebo Samuel of course is the more hyped WR and is in the running as one of the top five receivers in the 2019 draft class, but Stanley Morgan Jr. shouldn't be considered a consolation prize. These two WRs could be a carbon copy of one another on paper and tested surprisingly similar at the NFL Combine as well.
Don't take my word for it of course. Take a look for yourself…
Stanley Morgan Jr.
|Arm length||31 3/8"||32 3/8"|
|Hand size||10"||9 7/8"|
|20 yard shuffle||4.14||4.13|
|3 cone drill||7.03||6.78|
As you can see from the measurements and the testing, Deebo Samuel and Stanley Morgan Jr. are amazingly similar on paper. The similarities don't end there though. Both players are devastating with the ball in their hands and easily create separation through their route stems.
The only real difference I have seen between the two is Samuel is a little more thickly built and has been more productive as an outside receiver so far in his career. He is also the more powerful of the two, which serves him well in contested catch situations. That's not saying Morgan can't be just as effective as an outside WR. He just wasn't utilized in that manner during his time at Nebraska.
As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, both Samuel and Morgan would be ideal inside/outside WR candidates capable of replacing Cole Beasley in the slot. The only question now is which receiver would the Cowboys prefer?
It's really a tossup if you don't really know these receivers and have never watched them play, but not if you take into consideration what we know about the Dallas Cowboys. They like bargains, which is why I have a hard time believing they wouldn't be bargain shoppers in the 2019 NFL Draft like they have been so far in free agency.
As much as we all love Deebo Samuel and the skill set he would bring to the Cowboys, investing a second-round pick might be too high for Dallas considering they can get a similar player at least two rounds later. Stanley Morgan Jr. is a bargain I just don't think they could pass up.
This is all speculation of course, but it's definitely something to take into consideration when the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway.
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