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John’s 7-Round Cowboys Mock Draft

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away now, and what’s more fun than reading mock drafts at this time of the year? The Dallas Cowboys have a couple of needs to address with this year’s class and we all have players on our minds that we hope they draft. Who knows if any of those players will be any good.

Using Fanspeak’s On the Clock Simulator, I attempted to take a realistic approach to the mock draft, without making any trades. For example, in the simulator Calvin Ridley was available in the second round. That isn’t going to happen. Ridley is a top-20 player, so I didn’t select him.

What you’ll read below, is my best — and only — attempt at mocking the draft.

Feel free to mock me in the comment section.

Team Needs

I don’t believe wide receiver is as big of a need for the Cowboys as many people do. They now have seven wide receivers under contract for the 2018 season. Now, a lot of things can change, but I believe they are set at the position and just need to figure out which five or six are going to be on the roster come week one.

Also, I don’t believe there is a huge need at cornerback, given that they’re running four deep there with the move of Byron Jones to the position. Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown pencil in as your top four, and Xavier Woods can also play some slot corner if needed. Aside from depth, they’re set at corner.

Cowboys Draft Target: UTEP OL Will Hernandez
UTEP OL Will Hernandez

The Mock

19. Will Hernandez – Guard, UTEP

Will Hernandez fits an immediate need and is a favorite of Inside The Star draft analysts, Kevin Brady and Sean Martin. It came down to Hernandez and James Daniels from Iowa, and I went with the guy who has already built a rapport with the Dallas Cowboys OL.

He has a strength and nastiness that will fit right in with the rest of the DAL offensive line, and will immediately open holes for Ezekiel Elliott.

> Read Kevin Brady’s scouting report on Will Hernandez on Slant Sports.

50. Leighton Vander Esch – Linebacker, Boise State

Projecting as a late-first rounder by some and a second rounder by others, I couldn’t help but take Leighton Vander Esch as a player who could rotate in with Jaylon Smith day one, then take over for Sean Lee in 2019.

Other options I passed on were TE Dallas Goedert and WR James Washington. Taven Bryan was also available, but I felt the 3T spot was a bit crowded with David Irving and Maliek Collins to add another under tackle.

One of my favorites, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo from the University of Oklahoma, was also available, but seeing as how there is a greater need at LB than EDGE, I went that direction.

It also seems that many in the Draft Twitter community are lower on Obo than I am, which probably means I have some fan bias when it comes to the former Sooner.

Oklahoma Sooners TE Mark Andrews (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

81. Mark Andrews – Tight End, University of Oklahoma

Some will think that this is a waste of a pick, but it’s time to begin finding the successor to Jason Witten, and Mark Andrews is that.

While at the moment seen as more of a “move tight end,” Andrews can play in sub-packages while learning the finer points of blocking at the tight end position from a future Hall of Famer in Witten.

At Oklahoma, Andrews displayed really good hands and route running ability. His run after catch prowess led to many big gains for the Sooners as a favorite of Baker Mayfield. In three years at OU, he caught 22 touchdowns and averaged more than 15 yards a catch for his career.

The Dallas Cowboys like to use 12 personnel and with Andrews, they could motion him out to create mismatches and he’s an excellent fit for Dallas as they continue to adopt more and more RPO concepts.

At 6’5″, 254 lbs, he has the frame to become a good blocker and continue to be a red-zone weapon for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.

116. DeShon Elliott – Safety, University of Texas

The Cowboys have been doing a nice job of revamping their secondary and DeShon Elliott can fit right in with their safety group. He had a nice 2017 with the Longhorns, picking off six passes and converting 8.5 tackles for loss.

With Woods and Jeff Heath manning the free safety positions, Elliott can begin to rotate in with Kavon Frazier as well as manning some TE coverage roles.

137. Shaquem Griffin – Linebacker, University of Central Florida

Linebacker Shaquem Griffin is a favorite of Draft analyst Kevin Turner from 105.3 The Fan, and he’s got me convinced that Griffin is a guy I want on my team.

Like the Dallas Cowboys did a year ago at cornerback, I attacked the LB position given the health concerns of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. Griffin can be a situational MIKE and WILL while also playing some special teams for you as well.

While he does have a disability that will limit him, effort will never be the issue with Griffin.

171. Deadrin Senat – Defensive Tackle, University of South Florida

Finally getting a chance to address the gaping hole at the 1T Nose Tackle spot, South Florida’s Deadrin Senat’s presence fills that hole.

While Vita Vea is the cream of the crop, Senat is no slouch himself.

I took him a bit higher than I should, but with only one fifth round selection and three in the sixth, I felt it was a justifiable reach for a guy who can push for snaps day one on the interior of the defensive line.

His senior season was pretty awesome. He had 66-combined tackles, 10.5 for loss and six sacks. He’s rotating in on early downs right away and helps the run defense tremendously.

Nyheim Hines
N.C. State RB Nyheim Hines

192. Nyheim Hines – Running Back, North Carolina State

Nyheim Hines is the pass-catching Chris Thompson, Alvin Kamara type of running back this team has been looking for. They tried it with Lance Dunbar but were never able to complete the plan.

Hines ran for 1,113 yards and 12 touchdowns while playing in the ACC. The only thing that limits him is his size. But he can be a chunk player on 10 touches a game and has some experience lining up as a wide receiver as he did his freshmen year. Before becoming the lead back, he averaged more than 12 yards per reception his first two seasons.

He’s the guy you want giving Ezekiel Elliott a breather a couple series a game and on third downs.

193. Jeff Holland – EDGE, Auburn University

Jeff Holland fills a need for some depth at EDGE and comes out of a Power 5 Conference, like this team likes to draft. He was a productive player at Auburn who had 9.5 sacks in 2017 to go along with 12.5 tackles for loss.

He can come in and compete for snaps on the weakside of the defensive line while continuing to refine his game.

208. Joseph Noteboom – Tackle, Texas Christian University

Joseph Noteboom. I’m pretty much ready to move on from the Chaz Green experiment. Noteboom is Jonah Tuls 171st ranked player and someone who could be the swing tackle and provide some competition on the offensive line.

236. Dimitri Flowers – H-Back, University of Oklahoma

I grabbed another Sooner, Dimitri Flowers, here because he is probably one of the more underrated offensive players in the draft.

He’s a great receiver for his size and can run the ball with fluidity. He can do a little lead blocking, but needs some work on that front. Flowers scored 17 rushing and receiving touchdowns over his final three seasons at OU, and averaged more than 16 yards per reception on 54 catches.

He’s a chess piece that would allow Dallas to be really creative in their formations.

Imagine him and Ezekiel Elliott lined up in shotgun on either side of Dak Prescott and the RPO and route options you could have with those two guys.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Well, Cowboys Nation, there you have it. The Dallas Cowboys didn’t ask me, but I gave it my best shot.

What do you think?

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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