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NFL Draft

Cowboys Mock Draft: Dallas Adds Starters At 3 Positions

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys Add Starters At 3 Levels

The Super Bowl is over and it's officially draft season around the NFL. What does this mean for us? It's time for mock drafts!

We've been working hard at delivering scouting reports over the last couple of months and those will continue, but today I bring you my first Cowboys specific four-round mock draft of 2018. I drafted multiple times using FanSpeak's On The Clock simulator, and tried to put this together by using the "average" of those picks.

Let's get into the mock.

R1/19 - DAL: Derwin James, Safety, Florida State

The Cowboys continue to overhaul the back-end of their defense in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by selecting Derwin James. James was a do-it-all player at Florida State, and should be able to play a similar role in the NFL. The Cowboys clearly want this type of player - a freakishly athletic box safety who can play everywhere on the field - and James fits the bill. He could potentially be Kris Richard's Kam Chancellor type player in Dallas.

If you're drafting Derwin James in the first round, you're most likely betting on his traits over his tape, but even his floor is relatively high and worthy of a 19th overall pick.

R2/50 - DAL: James Daniels, Guard, Iowa

With their second selection in the draft, the Cowboys find a new starting left guard. Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels can play both center and guard, and should be an immediate plug-and-play guy in the Cowboys' zone blocking scheme. He is excellent blocking on outside zone plays, something which have become a staple of the Cowboys running game through the years.

R3/81 - DAL: Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State

Cedrick Wilson is a 6'3" wide receiver who simply makes plays. His size and length give him a red zone presence which should take some pressure of Dez Bryant, and his ability to create separation vertically would help him win the WR2 job in Dallas from day one. Wilson is a solid route runner and consistently created yards after catch at Boise State. He would be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys wide receiver room.

R4/118 - DAL: Kemoko Turay, EDGE, Rutgers

Rutgers defensive end Kemoko Turay is my guy, so when available in the fourth round, I had to take him. Turay is an explosive edge rusher who has the ability to be the WDE the Cowboys need opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence. He's a bit of a project, but he could provide excellent value in the fourth round for a team which needs pass rushers.

R4/136 - DAL: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

Like Wallace, Kalen Ballage made a name for himself at the 2018 Senior Bowl. Ballage is a big and athletic running back, but his lack of college production worries scouts. What did he show in the Senior Bowl? Well, behind the right offensive line and with talent around him he can perform well. He'll have that just in Dallas and can be productive as RB2/3 behind Ezekiel Elliott, playing in the Lance Dunbar role.

He is a good receiver out of the backfield, something the Cowboys' offense has missed greatly since the departure of Dunbar.

R4/139 - DAL: Levi Wallace, CB, Alabama

Levi Wallace is a former walk-on at Alabama who earned a scholarship and ended up starting on one of the nation's best defenses. Wallace has a skinny frame, but at 6'0" he possesses the height of a good NFL corner. Wallace plays with refined technique in coverage and is an incredibly competitive player. He may not be a starter in Dallas, but they can afford to add more depth in the secondary, especially depending on whatever happens with Orlando Scandrick.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: Florida DT Taven Bryan A Disruptive Target for Cowboys

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Florida DT Taven Bryan A Disruptive Target for Cowboys

By now you know that the Dallas Cowboys have not prioritized the defensive tackle position at the Draft in some time, a point made prominent with the amount of talent available at DT in this 2018 class.

Despite not being as high on him as most, Florida's Taven Bryan would fit what the Cowboys are doing defensively under Rod Marinelli very well. Bryan is a disruptive player at the 3T position, where the Cowboys currently have a decision to make on RFA David Irving.

Even if Irving and Maliek Collins are back in the fold for 2018, Taven Bryan would be a great addition to this front seven - thanks to his raw athleticism and motor.

Let's take a closer look at how Bryan fits the Cowboys' defense.

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"Bryan excels at not giving his man much of a blocking surface area – playing with good pad level and impressive bend for a DT."

This film clip and quote comes from my full scouting report on Florida's Taven Bryan at Slant Sports. Far from a finished product, Bryan shoots gaps and beats guards off of the line with ease. This is a player with rare traits at the 3T position, bending well while playing with enough strength throughout his entire frame.

"Using a smooth upper body paired with quick footwork and burst, Bryan is frequently shooting gaps to finish in the backfield."

When I watched Taven Bryan, I was reminded of current Cowboys DT Maliek Collins in 2016. As a rookie, Collins played the penetrating 3T spot with similar burst and power.

With the Cowboys now preferring Collins at the 1T position, Bryan could fill in on day one as an interior force with the upside to become one of the league's best match up weapons up front.

Bryan1 - Streamable

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Unless a blocker across from Bryan works quickly into his frame, this is a player that is going to generate push and flow to the football with elite speed and balance.

"Taven Bryan allows his frame to be controlled too often, effectively getting washed out of any play where his blocker can squat against the speed rush and shoot their hands inside on Bryan."

Cowboys Defensive End DeMarcus Lawrence proved that he is the "alpha" of this defensive line in 2017. Building this unit around Lawrence will yield positive results for the Cowboys, especially if they can find a long-term 3T to play alongside him.

One with as high of a ceiling as Taven Bryan becomes an intriguing option, especially considering the Cowboys' ability to play him in a rotation early in his career.

"Unleashing Taven Bryan as a gap-shooting 3T DT is the best way to see this prospect reach his ceiling..."

The Cowboys' 19th overall pick may be a bit rich for Taven Bryan, but this is a prospect to look for in the second round, where Dallas holds the 50th overall pick. A second round DT on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, Bryan should outplay his draft status regardless of the pick if put in the right situation to use traits that would greatly help the Dallas Cowboys.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Florida DT Taven Bryan A Disruptive Target for Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: How Early Should Cowboys Consider Tight End?

Sean Martin

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Looking on the Bright Side of an Ugly Dallas Cowboys Loss
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With Tight End Jason Witten set to enter his 16th season for the Dallas Cowboys, it has become an annual offseason tradition to discuss the team's need for young talent at TE. In a down year for the entire Cowboys offense, Witten caught the fewest passes (63) he has since 2003 - his rookie year.

Since 2003, the Cowboys have drafted seven tight ends, most of which suffering the same fate in Dallas. Playing behind the future first-ballot Hall of Fame TE in Witten, the only players that have sustained any success behind him remain current tight ends James Hanna and Geoff Swaim.

Geoff Swaim

Dallas Cowboys TE Geoff Swaim

A sixth and seventh round pick respectively, Hanna and Swaim don't exactly excite anyone expecting the Cowboys to upgrade their passing game in 2018 and beyond for Quarterback Dak Prescott.

For all of the buzz about the Cowboys using their current 19th overall pick on a WR (a decision I would be against), where is the ideal spot in this draft to target a TE?

This year's draft class at TE is a top-heavy one, with some big time pass catchers available at the top of it. If the Cowboys are serious about adding a legitimate middle-of-the-field threat on offense, they could consider the likes of Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki, or Ian Thomas with the 50th overall pick in the second round.

Of course, Cowboys Nation continues to hold out hope for Rico Gathers to revolutionize the TE position in Dallas as their last pick in the 2016 draft, but the Baylor basketball convert has done little to prove he's motivated to rise up the depth chart anytime soon.

Doug Nussmeier is the Cowboys' third TE coach in as many seasons, joining the staff for 2018 with no previous experience in this coaching role specifically. Nussmeier does bring extensive experience alongside Cowboys OC Scott Linehan, as well as nine years as an OC himself with Fresno State, Washington, Alabama, Michigan, and Florida.

It is safe to say that Nussmeier understands the importance of the TE position for a QB, especially a young one like Prescott - who has inconsistently used Jason Witten as the "security blanket" he became known as under Tony Romo.

If recent draft history holds up, the Cowboys will wait until the later rounds to possibly address tight end. The impact a top player from this class could immediately have in Dallas needs to be considered though, making TE an intriguing draft need as early as the second or third rounds.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: How Early Should Cowboys Consider Tight End?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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NFL Draft

The 1 Player Cowboys Should Consider Trading Up For

Kevin Brady

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The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL Draft needing help in multiple areas. Of course, they could use new blood on the interior of their defensive line, in their linebacker corps, and in their receiver room. Their most important need to fill in the first round, however, seems to be left guard.

If the Cowboys could find an immediate starter at left guard, a dominant player who can function as an effective run blocker and allow Dak Prescott to trust his left side once again, their offense would be back in business. We typically think of the Cowboys offense, and their line in particular, as a strength. But down the stretch in 2017 that simply wasn't the case.

As I've discussed before, there should be realistic options available with the 19th overall selection, particularly Georgia guard Isiah Wynn. There is one player in this NFL Draft class they should consider moving up for if the price is right, though.

That player is Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

Make no mistake, Quenton Nelson is the best prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft class. He is a massive, yet athletic interior offensive lineman who cemented himself as the best guard in college football during his senior season with the Fighting Irish.

Nelson plays with an edge that you love from offensive linemen, especially from those you will be asking to run block often. He doesn't just open holes, he embarrasses defensive tackles. He doesn't just smartly use body positioning and footwork, he finishes his blocks and snatches souls. Plus, he shows the athleticism and agility to get to the second level to seal off linebackers.

Quenton Nelson works well in pass protection as well. Often labeled a weakness in his game coming out of high school, Nelson has shown vast improvements in his footwork, awareness, and balance in his pass set while at Notre Dame. He would be a day one starter in Dallas, and would take the Cowboys' offensive line back to their 2014-2016 form.

But how realistic is it that the Cowboys would move up for Nelson?

Well, not very realistic at all. In fact, I'd say it's more likely the Cowboys move back to take Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn than it is they give away future assets in such a Day Two-rich draft. If, for some reason, Quenton Nelson falls to around the 12th overall pick however, there could be an opening for the Cowboys to come up and snag him.

I don't condone trading up often whatsoever, but Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson leads a very short list of players I'd move up for if I were the Cowboys. Trading up for a guard seems like flawed logic, but considering the importance and impact he would have for this team, Quenton Nelson is well worth it.


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