The Dallas Cowboys currently hold the 19th overall draft pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. They do however have enough draft equity to move up if someone begins to slide who they truly want, or they could move down if they so choose. But for now, we will pretend they stand pat.
With that in mind, I decided to share with you some of the prospects I believe could still be on the board when the Cowboys are finally on the clock. I thought I would break it down by position to identify each prospect who could be of interest to the Cowboys and how they might fit.
Please try to keep in mind though that it still really early in the process and we really don't what will happen between now and draft day. Each one of these prospects could increase or decrease their draft stock between now and then, but I believe all of them are possible targets for the Dallas Cowboys at 19.
QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
The Dallas Cowboys obviously aren't going to be in the market for a first-round quarterback, but if Josh Allen is available at 19 it could still work in their favor. The Cowboys could use Allen's availability as trade bait in order to move down a few spots and pick up an extra draft pick. Of course, this all depends on finding a trade partner.
RB Derrius Guice, LSU
Again, like Josh Allen and the QB position, the Dallas Cowboys won't be looking for another running back in the first round. There is a lot to like about Derrius Guice's game and that could entice another team selecting after the Cowboys to move up and draft him. But again, the Cowboys would have to find a willing trading partner.
WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
I'm personally a big fan of Courtland Sutton. I think he's going to be a really good wide receiver in the NFL for years to come. Unfortunately, I think the Dallas Cowboys have more pressing needs then selecting a WR in the first round. This is a pretty good WR class, which means they will more than likely wait a little longer to draft one.
TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
I don't think there is a tight end worthy of being drafted in the first round, but it wouldn't be that much of a reach to take Dallas Goedert in the later part of the round. I don't think the Dallas Cowboys will be in the market for a TE this early, if at all, but Goedert is an intriguing prospect for them if they trade down. He could become Jason Witten's eventual replacement.
OT Connor Williams, Texas
With the long-term health concerns with Tyron Smith, the Cowboys could be in the market for another starting caliber left tackle. Connor Williams was viewed as one of the best heading into the 2017 collegiate season, but he had a down year, mostly due to injuries. Williams would give the Cowboys options with their OL and much-needed depth.
OG Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Isaiah Wynn has already become a popular player mocked to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and there's good reason why. Wynn is one of the most versatile and technically sound offensive lineman in the entire 2018 draft class. He mostly played LT at Georgia, but will kick inside to guard in the NFL. I believe he has the versatility to play every position on the OL.
C Billy Price, Ohio State
Billy Pryce played mostly center during his time at Ohio State, but could also be a plug-and-play offensive guard in the NFL as well. The Dallas Cowboys could use his versatility because they currently need a starting LG, but could use a backup center in case something were to happen to Travis Frederick.
DT Vita Vea, Washington (6'4", 344)
The Cowboys haven't valued the defensive tackle position enough to invest a first-round draft pick in years past, but that could change this year. Vita Vea is a monster on the inside at the 1-tech, who could immediately upgrade the DL. His ability to command double teams would free up everyone around him and help keep the linebackers clean to make plays.
DE Harold Landry, Boston College (6'3", 250)
The Dallas Cowboys could use someone to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence on the right side and Harold Landry could be the perfect fit. He is one of the more athletically gifted defensive ends in this year's draft class, but is coming off a down year, mostly due to injuries. He has outstanding speed to dip and bend around the edge.
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech (6'4", 254)
Tremaine Edmunds is a freaky size/strength/speed linebacker who has ability to play all three LB positions in the 4-3 defensive scheme. The Cowboys currently could use more LB depth and Edmund's versatility to play any position would be valuable. He still has holes in his games, but he's not far off from reaching his true potential.
CB Isaiah Oliver, Colorado (6'1", 190)
The Dallas Cowboys did an excellent job overhauling their secondary a season ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean they couldn't use another cornerback. They may choose to address the position later in the draft, but they struck gold drafting a CB from Colorado last year, so why not double up? Oliver is a classic press-man CB, who shows smooth transition to stay on top of routes and uses his length to his advantage.
S Darwin James, Florida State (6'2", 211)
It's no secret the Cowboys could use an upgrade at the safety position, and Darwin James could be the solution. James is a better athlete than football player right now, but he has the athletic ability to turn into one of the best players to come out of this draft class. He is better around the line of scrimmage at this point in his career, but with a little bit more development, could turn into a complete safety.
Which of these first-round prospects makes the most sense for the Cowboys?
Upgrading LG Position Should be Cowboys Top Draft Priority
The Dallas Cowboys are quite proud about the offensive line they have put together over the years. Their OL is headlined by three former first-round draft picks who have turned into All-Pro players, and one player who should've been a first-round pick if not for an unfortunate situation that had nothing to do with him that took place during the draft.
This offensive unit is the backbone of the entire Dallas Cowboys team, but some changes need to be made. No, not the personnel per se. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and La'el Collins will all return to their starting roles, but that only makes up 80% of the unit. Who makes up the other 20% is probably the biggest question that needs to be answered before the 2018 season kicks off.
Yes, I'm talking about the vacancy at the left guard position.
Last season the Dallas Cowboys tried to plug the hole with Chaz Green and Jonathan Cooper. The Green experiment failed miserably and Cooper was serviceable at best. I don't know about you, but I think it's time to find a long-term solution and solidify the best offensive line for years to come.
The best and cheapest way to address the LG position is with one of the Cowboys draft picks.
Sure, the Dallas Cowboys could re-sign Jonathan Cooper to another affordable contract, but I have zero faith he can remain healthy. That's been the knock against him his entire professional career. I was actually surprised he lasted as long as he did in 2017.
With the 19th pick overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys are in a good position to have their choice of the best offensive guards in this draft class. Isaiah Wynn of Georgia, Will Hernandez of UTEP, James Daniels of Iowa, and Billy Price of Ohio State are all players under consideration here.
All four of these players are excellent Cowboys draft targets, and they can't really go wrong with any of them. They all bring a little something different to the table, but each would be an upgrade who would help get this team back on track.
You see, I think finding a new LG is the top Cowboys draft priority. I don't know if there is another position that can be filled by a rookie and contribute more to the team success in 2018.
This is especially true considering what the Cowboys like to do offensively. They want to establish the running game and control the clock. They weren't really able to do that in 2017 due to Tyron Smith's injuries in the revolving door at left guard.
We all saw what happened when they were forced to get away from their bread and butter. This is not an offense that is currently equipped to rely on the passing game to put points on the board. It's just not who they are.
That is why finding a new LG is so important. Not only would it help upgrade the running game, but it would also help keep things going if Tyron Smith continues to struggle with injuries.
It's much easier to plug and play a backup left tackle who can block in the running game than it is to find one who can pass protect as well as Smith.
I know opinions will vary, but I truly believe that it's in everyone's best interest to draft a starting caliber left guard. And if you want to know my opinion, I would do it with their first-round draft pick by taking Will Hernandez.
Do you think LG is the Dallas Cowboys top draft priority?
Cowboys Draft Target: BYU LB Fred Warner
The 2018 NFL Draft class isn't exactly full of difference-making linebackers. At the top of the class sits Roquan Smith, the Georgia LB who many feel is a franchise changer. Then there is Virginia Tech's Tremaine Edmunds, the athletic freak who has risen up draft boards. After the top two, however, there is some confusion about the rest of the class.
My third linebacker would be Alabama's Rashaan Evans, but after watching more tape over the last couple of months, BYU's Fred Warner is LB4 on my board. I recently wrote up a full scouting report on Warner for Slant Sports, in which I detailed what exactly I like about Warner's game.
During his time at BYU Warner doubled as an EDGE defender and off ball linebacker. He often found himself in-line and defending the line of scrimmage, and did a good job when asked to do so. In my opinion, he projects to be a WILL in the NFL, an off-ball linebacker the Cowboys could certainly use.
At 6'3" 235 pounds Warner is a big and fluid athlete who looks extremely comfortable in space. Fred Warner possesses impressive processing ability and the closing speed to come down hill and make plays after reading and recognizing what the offense is doing.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
"On this play we see an example of Fred Warner’s ability to read, react, and close on the ball carrier. Warner stays disciplined in his run fits at first, reading the hats of the linemen as the hole forms. As the runner bounces, Warner begins to break down hill to make the play."
Fred Warner is also rather solid in coverage. Considering his length and quickness, Warner can cover a lot of ground in zone coverage. Every now and then he made some splashy type plays in coverage as well, such as this one against UCLA.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
"Warner gets into his drop smoothly here, reading his keys and processing the play in front of him. Then, as soon as the quarterback lets go of the ball, Warner jumps on the route and makes a great play on the ball. Considering his size, this is an outstanding rep from Fred Warner."
So where would the Cowboys have to take Warner? By my estimation, 81st overall is the sweet spot for Fred Warner. There are a lot of decent linebacker prospects bunched together late day two and early day three, but I think Warner has separated himself from the pack.
I believe Warner is a better prospect than a Josey Jewell or Leighton Vander Esch, despite the love they have been getting during this draft season. I understand those who would say someone like Jewell better fits what the Cowboys need in a MIKE linebacker, but Fred Warner's hybrid versatility and skills at WILL make him very valuable as well.
The Cowboys could use some depth at linebacker, and Fred Warner would immediately provide that for Dallas. And, depending on the health of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, Warner may be asked to play a lot during his rookie season.
Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts
The next time we take a look at these mock drafts to see who various members of the media have landing with the Cowboys, it will be on the week of the NFL Scouting Combine. This 2018 Draft process is charging towards Dallas, and with it we have some new prospects to add to the radar this week.
After introducing you to two secondary players last week, along with a consensus top-10 player in Georgia's Roquan Smith, here is the latest crop of college talent to be mocked to America's Team.
CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama
This mock draft comes to us from Chris Trapasso, with the most complete receiver in the draft falling to the Cowboys.
"The Cowboys are thrilled with Ridley still being available. While he's not the biggest wideout and has a skinny frame, he's a dynamic route runner and has the deep speed Dallas has to inject into its offense."
Calvin Ridley may be the one WR in this draft too good for me to pass up on in the first round. As I've studied deeper into this class, the amount of talent available in the later rounds looks much more attractive for a Cowboys team that remains set on at least two starting receivers.
Should this WR depth deter the first 18 teams in the draft order from taking Alabama's Calvin Ridley though, this is a trigger that has to be pulled in Dallas.
Rotoworld: Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan
Josh Norris' mock draft produces a familiar outcome for the Cowboys, but the talent he passes up on to mock Hurst to this team is certainly interesting.
"I know Vita Vea is on the board, but in Hurst the team is getting more of an upfield, disruptive lineman. He has special moments off the snap, creating instant penetration and totally destroying the offense’s plan."
Yawn. It feels inevitable that at least one mock draft each week will have the Cowboys doubling up on Michigan defensive linemen in the first round - upgrading the 3T position with Hurst. While I'm not dismissing Hurst's talent in any way, I don't see a consistent enough player (nor enough of a difference maker) to warrant the 19th overall pick.
Should the Cowboys lose RFA David Irving, there is no doubt they'll be in need of a disruptive defensive tackle. As the roster stands now though, the Cowboys' bigger need is at the 1T position - which Norris ignores despite the best player at that position (Vea) being available.
Bleacher Report: Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech
Like Chris Trapasso's mock, Mike Tanier's latest draft projection has another top player sliding the Cowboys' way.
"Tremaine Edmunds has been a tricky player to slot in this mock draft. He has limitless upside, but at a position (off-the-ball linebacker) that few teams prioritize in the first round anymore. He should be a Bobby Wagner/Luke Keuchly-caliber contributor by 2019, but whoever drafts him will experience some growing pains as the not-yet-20-year-old Edmunds learns not to get sucked into play action or get caught flat-footed in coverage."
An argument could be made for Tremaine Edmunds as the best LB in this draft. At the very least, he is in elite company atop the board with Roquan Smith. Both prospects play the WILL position, which Tanier correctly points out as one that is devalued currently.
This shouldn't stop Smith from having his name called early in the 2018 Draft, and I have my doubts about it doing the same for Edmunds. A freak athlete out of Virginia Tech, Edmunds will be just 19 years old at the time of April's draft.
This bodes exceptionally well for the Cowboys, who are of course preparing to start Sean Lee at WILL once again. Drafting Edmunds may go against this team's philosophy of drafting immediate starters, along with first round linebackers.
With all that said, Tremaine Edmunds is not a player I could pass up on with the 19th overall pick.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The NFL Scouting Combine will give teams and draft analysts a much better evaluation of where all of these prospects truly belong. Through three weeks of doing this series, I can't say that any player mocked to the Cowboys has been a reach.
Instead, the likes of Smith, Edmunds, and Ridley could soon disappear entirely from the majority of Cowboys mock drafts moving forward. The bigger picture of who actually will be available to Dallas, and who they're targeting in the first round, is slowly coming into focus.
Want to help make Inside The Star better?
We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.
Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).
Star Blog3 days ago
Should Cowboys Sign This RFA to a Contract Sheet?
NFL Draft2 weeks ago
Star Defensive Talent Falls to Cowboys in Latest Round of Mock Drafts
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018
Star Blog6 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
NFL Draft1 week ago
The 1 Player Cowboys Should Consider Trading Up For
Star Blog6 days ago
Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Continue Search for Coaching on Defense
Star Blog1 week ago
Will Kavon Frazier be Cowboys Version of Kam Chancellor?