The final mock draft is the one that counts. It is Football Christmas Eve, as the 2017 NFL Draft begins tomorrow night from Philadelphia. The end of this process is always a bittersweet moment for the analysts and fans that have been studying these prospects endlessly, as it signals the time to put all of this hard work to test against 32 NFL team's draft boards - while also adding work in the all-important mock draft of integrity.
Here is my last attempt at mocking the first round of this 2017 NFL Draft, along with all eight of the Dallas Cowboys' selections.
R1/1 - CLE: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This is easy. You need a quarterback and a pass rush to win in the NFL. The Browns don't have either, and they don't have a QB on the board worth taking over the best player in this draft - edge rusher Myles Garrett.
R1/2 - SF: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
The 2nd overall pick has never been used on a safety, but in my evaluation there are two legitimate difference makers on the defensive side of the ball in this draft. With one of them already off the board, the 49ers land a rangy safety that can turn the ball over and get it back into the hands of Kyle Shanahan's new offense.
R1/3 - CHI: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
With no quarterbacks drafted through the first two picks for the first time since 2014 here, the Bears land the most pro-ready QB in this class surrounding reports that they're interested in the North Carolina product despite signing Mike Glennon in free agency.
R1/4 - JAC: Solomon Thomas, DT, Stanford
With a lot of money spent in the secondary this offseason, the Jaguars should be thrilled at the opportunity to draft Stanford's Solomon Thomas - arguably the second best player in this class. A ready-made pro, Thomas' elite strength translates to the edge as well as inside where he is a force for guards to deal with.
R1/5 - TEN: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Jamal Adams has one of the highest floors of any prospect on either side of the ball in this draft, making him the perfect pick to fill a clear need on a Titans team that picks again at 18th overall.
R1/6 - NYJ: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Jets roster is one of the thinnest in the entire league, with clear needs at nearly every position. Resisting the urge to add another young quarterback to struggle through a long rebuild, the Jets add this year's top CB in Marshon Lattimore - who is immensely hard to separate from with the ball skills to create turnovers.
R1/7 - LAC: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Once thought to be a pipe dream for any team picking outside of the top five, some shoulder concerns for Alabama's freak-of-nature in Jonathan Allen could see him slide to the Chargers at seven. Allen can wreck any offense's game plan with his combination of size and speed inside, with the ability to play with these traits just as well on the edge too.
R1/8 - CAR: Christian McCaffery, RB/WR, Stanford
Christian McCaffery's top-ten pick buzz has honed in on the Carolina Panthers at eighth overall. In need of another weapon for Cam Newton, the Panthers can use McCaffery out of the backfield as an elusive runner that effortlessly catches passes at both RB or WR.
R1/9 - CIN: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals could use some young talent to add to their solid defensive line, and drafting Tennessee's all-time leader in sacks is a good start. Barnett can immediately win on the edge at the next level in a variety of ways, and will only benefit from not having to be "the guy" in Cincinnati.
R1/10 - BUF: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Stop me if you've heard this before - the Buffalo Bills are going through a transition. The one player this team seems to be committed to (for now) is QB Tyrod Taylor, so adding another legitimate weapon for him to throw to is a good idea with this 10th overall pick. Williams simply does not lose at the catch point and can create separation downfield with quickness at the line of scrimmage.
R1/11 - NO: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
With two picks in the first round of this defensive-heavy draft, the Saints need to come away with immediate starters to add to a defense that was dead last in points allowed per game a season ago. Quincy Wilson fits this mold as a lengthy CB out of Florida, a fluid athlete that mirrors receivers exceptionally well with textbook technique.
R1/12 - CLE: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
With their desired QB in Trubisky off the board, and no must-have defenders sliding to the Browns second pick of the round, Cleveland gets a quarterback that can grow into any offense with Pat Mahomes - who possesses all of the intangibles to start in this league should he improve his decision making.
R1/13 - ARI: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Many have mocked Carson Palmer's replacement to the Cardinals with this pick, but I still feel that the veteran quarterback has a window to contend for a Super Bowl in Arizona - or at least that the Cardinals feel that way. If this is the case there's no way the Cardinals pass on a dynamic play maker like Corey Davis to inject some youth into an offense he'll fit perfectly with.
R1/14 - PHI: Marlon Humphrey, CB/S, Alabama
An absolute nightmare for WRs coming downhill towards the football, Marlon Humphrey can greatly upgrade the Eagles' secondary with his length and tenacity - using his strong arms better than most CBs in this entire draft. Regardless of if he plays at cornerback or safety, the Eagles will get a good player for Jim Schwartz to use in Alabama's Marlon Humphrey.
R1/15 - IND: Haason Reddick, DE/LB, Temple
The Colts have added some nice pieces to their defense in free agency, most notably DT Jonathan Hankins. Come week 1 of 2017 though, Haason Reddick could be their most visible front seven defender. An absolute blur on tape, Reddick shows range and closing speed at SAM LB with the ability to hold up at DE in the NFL.
R1/16 - BAL: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Ravens lack an identity with their running game on offense, going through a transition at the WR position as well. Fournette is a steal with the 16th overall pick, and will not only greatly help Joe Flacco but the entirety of this Baltimore team in setting the tone each game.
R1/17 - WAS: John Ross, WR, Washington
Committed to Kirk Cousins for at least another season, the Redskins can continue to have one of the strongest offenses in the NFL should they find an ideal replacement for DeSean Jackson. Washington's John Ross, who broke the Scouting Combine's record for the 40-yard dash, is exactly that as a burner with the shiftiness to win underneath.
R1/18 - TEN: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Titans offense under Marcus Mariota is truly unique, as their spread concept still plays to the strengths of two downhill running backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. O.J. Howard would be an absolute perfect fit to this passing offense with his ability to block and run routes as an inline TE as well as split out wide and be a big target that consistently wins downfield with strong, reliable hands.
R1/19 - TB: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
Tampa Bay's top priority moving forward should be giving QB Jameis Winston a clean pocket, and drafting my top OL prospect would go a long way in doing that. While Lamp played LT at Western Kentucky, his fine tuned technique and size projects him best as a dominant guard at the NFL level.
R1/20 - DEN: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Offensive tackle might arguably be the bigger need in Denver, to protect whoever is playing QB, but with no tackles jumping off the board as "must-have" players here, David Njoku becomes the better pick at a position of need. The true definition of a modern-NFL tight end, Njoku will help the Broncos speedy WRs win on the outside by wearing out the middle of the field and showing off his athleticism blocking on the edge as well.
R1/21 - DET: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
It is no secret that the Lions value above-average athleticism across their defensive line, and Charles Harris has a chance to be their most athletic rusher at RDE on day one. Teams will love the Missouri product's ability to win on the edge with his spin, inside counter, and consistent bend.
R1/22 - MIA: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Original pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
With Conley's recent sexual assault allegations, the Dolphins change their focus at CB to a player that will be at the draft - with speculation that he'll be one of the inevitable players that doesn't hear his name called in day one. Here, Awuzie gets his shot as an instinctive cornerback that fights for every ball like it's his.
R1/23 - NYG: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I'm sorry, fans of other NFC East teams. It is finally time for the Giants to replace the failed pick at LT that was Ereck Flowers. A disaster in protecting Eli Manning, the Giants have reportedly considered using this pick on Manning's predecessor at QB - instead opting for a much more reliable option at tackle in Wisconsin's Ramcyzk.
R1/24 - OAK: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Raiders' current roster makes them one of the most up-and-coming teams in the NFL, with a young star at DE in Khalil Mack. A natural SAM LB, Zach Cunningham can play behind Mack and add even more physicality to the Raiders defensive front with his tackling ability and play recognition skills.
R1/25 - HOU: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Also following the, "our QB is gone so let's get a guy to protect whoever has to throw passes for us" draft strategy, the Texans see Pat Mahomes long gone and instead opt for an athletic LT with tons of upside in Alabama's Cam Robinson.
R1/26 - SEA: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Knocked by many for his speed at both the Combine and his Pro Day, Teez Tabor still displays elite zone coverage skills and awareness with an instinct for the football that Seattle can't ignore in replenishing a secondary that can still protect a young player like Tabor. With plenty of veterans continuing to fly around and make plays for them, Tabor should fit in nicely with the Seahawks.
R1/27 - KC: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The thought of Kevin King joining Marcus Peters and Eric Berry in the same secondary is a terrifying one for any offenses facing the Chiefs this season. King may not get his hands on as many passes as the other two players listed here, but his massive frame and strong hands make him a tough CB to gain a step on.
R1/28 - DAL: Tyus Bowser, DE, Houston
Coming on late here in this draft process, Tyus Bowser is a hidden gem at this point in the first round when it comes to this year's DEs. Asked to drop into coverage far too much at Houston, Bowser can be the feared defensive end Dallas is desperately lacking once he is asked to rush every play and display his burst and elite change of direction skill.
R1/29 - GB: T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin
A Wisconsin kid and brother to Texans' star J.J. Watt, the Packers ignore their glaring need at CB - with starters available there well into this draft - and grab another flexible player with a high ceiling to their front seven. Playing just one full year defensively in college, Watt shined consistently as a pass rusher and hunting LB with a nose for the ball.
R1/30 - PIT: Takk McKinley, DE, UCLA
The Steelers have pass rushers that they feel comfortable starting the season with, which puts them in a great position to potentially deal with Takk McKinley having to miss time through training camp. When he at his best coming off the edge, McKinley is one of the most explosive players in this class with the speed to set up tackles up field combined with the bend and upper body strength to finish.
R1/31 - ATL: Malik McDowell, DE, Michigan State
With Dan Quinn modeling the Falcons defense after his Super Bowl winning defense in Seattle, Atlanta rolls the dice on getting Malik McDowell to play with a consistent motor. If he does, the reigning NFC Champions' rotation of pass rushers would become much more lethal, as McDowell has top-five talent in this draft class with the ability to also play at DT.
R1/32 - NO: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
A Combine star that has the tape to match it, Florida LB Jarrad Davis deserves to go late in the first round. Capable of playing at all three spots, Davis stops running backs in their tracks and does not stay blocked for long all across the field. Landing his Gators teammate in Quincy Wilson at 12th overall, the Saints add two ready-made SEC defenders at positions of need.
Depending on how you quantify a "starter" in the Cowboys offensive or defensive scheme, I think this full Dallas mock brings them five new starters in total.
Tyus Bowser is more than ready to develop into the feared pass rusher this team needs, while Tarell Basham is the perfect rotational piece for Rod Marinelli to use early in his career.
In the secondary, there's a clear role for Marcus Williams to make a massive day one impact at safety, and the same can be said at cornerback with either Kazee or Decoud starting alongside Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll, and Orlando Scandrick.
Both of the Cowboys' offensive picks here would be players to keep a close eye on through training camp and the preseason, as Fred Ross would be hard to take off the field should Dak Prescott find his chemistry with him once again. At running back, snaps are available for Aaron Jones - with the question being if they come ahead or behind Darren McFadden.
Getting younger at key positions is never a bad idea in the NFL, and that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys continue to do in this mock draft.
It is far from over, but I would like to thank everyone that took the time to learn about this draft through my work and that of my peers here at Inside The Star this offseason. The NFL Draft has quickly grown into one of my deepest passions, with the potential to be much more than just a hobby sometime soon.
Let's all get ready to welcome some exciting new players to Cowboys Nation!
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
Player News2 weeks ago
Leighton Vander Esch Graded Best Rookie Linebacker Since 2014
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Way-too-early 2019 Dallas Cowboys 53-man Roster Projection
Star Blog2 weeks ago
QB Dak Prescott Already Impressing New Offensive Coaches
Dallas Cowboys7 days ago
What Could June 1st Mean for 2019 Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Despite Perception, Dallas Cowboys had an Excellent Offseason
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Why Cowboys Should Make Signing RB Jay Ajayi a Top Priority
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Depth Chart, Pre-Training Camp