Just one day away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, it is officially time for anyone who's done any type of draft work to release their final mock draft.
Though I have close to no idea what is going to happen Thursday night after the first selection of Myles Garrett, I gave it my best shot to project the first 32 picks. To keep things simple, I stayed away from making trades, though it is unlikely each team will stay put on draft night.
While my first mock draft on Slant Sports was a bit more of a "what would I do" exercise, this is meant more to be a projection of what could happen in the first round.
So, without further adieu, let's get into the picks.
R1/1 - CLE: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Myles Garrett is the best EDGE prospect since Jadeveon Clowney to most people, and deserves to go first overall. The Browns will have a chance to move up into the top 10 again to grab their quarterback, but they should still take Garrett first overall.
R1/2 - SF: Jamal Adams, S, LSU
This is where the draft really starts, right? The 49ers can go a lot of directions here, but I think they fall in love with strong safety Jamal Adams. I don't love drafting a strong safety this high at all, but the 49ers will add a tone-setter to their defense.
R1/3 - CHI: Solomon Thomas, EDGE, Stanford
Salivating because the 49ers passed on Thomas, the Bears jump in and grab him third overall. I'm not "as" high on Thomas as others, but still believe he could be worth the early first round pick. If the pick isn't Thomas, I'd expect either a quarterback or Ohio State corner Marshon Lattimore to go to Chicago.
R1/4 - JAC: Deshuan Watson, QB, Clemson
This is where things get a little weird. The Jags need to move on from Blake Bortles sooner rather than later, and I just have a feeling Tom Coughlin really likes Watson's intangibles. Just a hunch. Plus, I think if any of these quarterbacks are worth a high pick, it'd be Watson.
R1/5 - TEN: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
With the Jaguars passing on some impressive defensive talent to take a quarterback, the Titans get the pick of the litter here fifth overall. Lattimore is a top five player in this class to me, and the Titans pick up a number one corner.
R1/6 - NYJ: Mitchell Trubisky , QB, North Carolina
And with the sixth overall pick, the second quarterback domino falls. Mitchell Trubisky isn't my favorite QB in this class, but he fits what the Jets front office tends to look for in the draft. While they have other holes, and there are better players on the board, if you don't have a quarterback what chance do you really have in this league?
R1/7 - LAC: Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
The best safety in this class to me is clearly Malik Hooker. Drafting him the Chargers get SAF1 and DB2 to me in this class, and find a single-high center-fielder for years to come.
R1/8 - CAR: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Falling to the 8th overall pick, Leonard Fournette finds a home beside Cam Newton in the NFL. The Panthers offense needs to start providing Cam some more help, and Fournette is the power running back to do just that.
R1/9 - CIN: Derek Barnett, EDGE, Tennessee
The two most pressing needs for the Bengals are probably running back and defensive end. Barnett isn't my favorite EDGE remaining, but he's the most likely of the bunch to go in the top ten.
R1/10 - BUF: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
The Bills made the smart decision to maintain Tyrod Taylor this offseason, and it's time to draft him some weaponry to work with. The Bills love ACC players, and Mike Williams is a legit WR1-type.
R1/11 - NO: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The Saints desperately need secondary help, and Marlon Humphrey might be the next-best corner in this draft class behind Marshon Lattimore. With another pick at the end of the first round, they should be able to address their other defensive needs as well.
R1/12 - CLE: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
The Browns miss out on the two consensus favorites at quarterback, but add two incredible defensive line prospects. Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen? Sign me up.
R1/13 - ARI: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
The Cardinals have some more needy holes to fill, but I'd love to see Mahomes with Bruce Arians. Give Patrick Mahomes a year to develop and learn, and you could have your next starting quarterback in 2018.
R1/14 - PHI: Charles Harris, EDGE, Missouri
A running back like Christian McCaffery or Dalvin Cook would make sense here, but the Eagles can add an explosive young defensive end to their rotation in Charles Harris.
R1/15 - IND: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Possibly the best wide-out in this class falls to the Colts here, and Indianapolis gives Andrew Luck the best target he's ever had.
R1/16 - BAL: John Ross, WR, Washington
Completing a mini-run on first round receivers, the Ravens add speedster John Ross and immediately improve their weak passing game.
R1/17 - WAS: Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State
In my opinion, Malik McDowell would be worthy of the second overall pick in this draft if not for "non-football" reasons. Washington needs some serious defensive line help, and McDowell brings that for sure.
R1/18 - TEN: OJ Howard, TE, Alabama
Though they missed out on the top receivers, the Titans give Marcus Mariota a legit offensive weapon in OJ Howard. Howard is deserving of a top ten pick, and the Titans would rejoice if he falls to 18th overall.
R1/19 - TB: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
With both Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffery falling, the Bucs have an incredible opportunity to draft one of the top backs in this class. They decide on Dalvin Cook, and add to an already impressive offensive unit.
R1/20 - DEN: Christian McCaffery, RB, Stanford
The Broncos do need to add some offensive line help, and could take the first tackle off the board. But if McCaffery falls to them, they should draft him. With the way things are going, however, I doubt McCaffery falls this far in real life.
R1/21 - DET: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
The fall of Reuben Foster continues, as the Lions decide to go with Reddick instead of the Alabama stud. Reddick brings versatility and athleticism to a defense which could use both.
R1/22 - MIA: Forrest Lamp, OL, Western Kentucky
And finally, the first offensive line domino falls. Forrest Lamp is my favorite offensive lineman in this class, and will be a much needed addition to the Dolphins offense who so badly needs guard help.
R1/23 - NYG: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Cam Robinson is the best tackle in this draft class, and the Giants biggest need is at tackle. This makes too much sense. The only other legit option I see for them here would be Miami tight end David Njoku.
R1/24 - OAK: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
The Raiders have a dire need at inside linebacker, and Reuben Foster is the best of this bunch. If not for a diluted drug sample, he'd certainly be a top 15 selection.
R1/25 - HOU: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
The Texans need a quarterback badly, but there isn't one remaining that makes sense for them in year one. Instead, they work on protecting whoever their QB will be, bringing in arguably the most NFL-ready tackle in the draft.
R1/26 - SEA: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah
I don't know if any team needs offensive line help like the Seahawks do. Garrett Bolles has some position versatility, though he should be a day one tackle for Seattle with a high upside and low floor.
R1/27 - KC: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
The Chiefs already have a solid defensive unit, but could really use some linebacker help. Zach Cunningham would be a good pick as well, but I see Davis as the better prospect.
R1/28 - DAL: Tyus Bowser, EDGE, Houston
Tyus Bowser has been a riser over the last few months, and could be just the pass rusher the Cowboys need to take their defense to the next level. They could go with Takkarist McKinley here, but his shoulder issues may push him down their board. TJ Watt is also a fan-favorite, but I am partial towards Bowser personally. I also considered going with Washington corner Kevin King here, but I think the depth of this corner class forces Dallas to go EDGE in the first round.
R1/29 - GB: Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
Missing out on Tyus Bowser, the Packers will certainly be tempted to make TJ Watt the pick here. They could also look towards Kansas State's Jordan Willis or maybe even Youngstown State's Derrick Rivers. However, they might think that round two is a better spot for those players, and instead take a first round corner off the board in Tre'Davious White.
R1/30 - PIT: Takkarist McKinley, EDGE, UCLA
With the Cowboys passing on Takk, the Steelers add the 3-4 OLB they need to replace James Harrison down the line. McKinley might be the second EDGE player off the board if it weren't for his shoulder issues.
R1/31 - ATL: Budda Baker, S, Washington
After drafting Keanu Neal, the Falcons now must add a free safety who can takeover Ricardo Allen's role. Budda Baker is exactly that player, and can be Dan Quinn's new Earl Thomas prototype.
R1/32 - NO: TJ Watt, EDGE, Wisconsin
With their second first-round pick, the Saints address the other part of the defense. They got secondary help in Humphrey early, and get a solid pass rusher/linebacker late in TJ Watt.
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class
The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.
You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.
The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.
Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:
- DT, Trysten Hill
- RB, Tony Pollard
- RB, Mike Weber
- WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
- CB, Chris Westry
If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.
The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.
I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.
After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.
This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.
It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.
Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
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