We are officially in the offseason, which means it is draft and free agency season. Over the next few weeks, there will be a lot of talk and preparation for the start of the NFL's free agency period starting March 13th. Probably the thing that gets people more excited is the NFL draft.
Google mock drafts, and you will find countless reports and attempts at analyzing what could happen when the 32 teams go on the clock come April.
With the Dallas Cowboys not owning a first round pick in this year's draft, the projections get even more complicated as they'll have to see 57 players go off the board before making their choice at number 58. So much can change between now and then that attempting to figure out who the Cowboys will take is a really difficult exercise.
What I want to do, is look at who has recently been mocked to the Dallas Cowboys.
Charles Omenihu, DT, Texas
In Easterling's most recent four round mock draft, he sent the Dallas Cowboys some interior defensive line help. As shown by the Cowboys loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs, they could use the help.
As a senior, Omenihu recorded 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss to go with his 45 total tackles. To be that productive along the interior in the pass happy, spread heavy Big 12 is a huge accomplishment. He looks to have the size that Dallas could slot in as a 3-technique defensive tackle at 6-6 275. His length would cause a lot of problems on the interior.
Gerald Willis, DT, Miami
In this seven round mock draft simulation by Draftek, they find the Dallas Cowboys an interior defensive lineman as well in the form of Gerald Willis of Miami. Here's what their Dallas Cowboys analyst "Long Ball" had to say about Willis.
"Gerald Willis displayed flashes at Miami: explosive first step, utilization of hands and power in swim move, relentless pursuit with straight-line speed to chase plays down from the back side, and physicality in his tackling technique. Areas that need improvement: staying low to play with leverage, consistency with hand placement, and mental recognition of blocking. Off-the-field issues led to a transfer from Florida and he took a year off in 2017 while at Miami. I don't know if this will "Red Flag" him on the Dallas board, but if it does, I know the Cowboys visited with DT's DeMarcus Christmas (Florida State) and Greg Gaines (Washington) during the Senior Bowl."
Long Ball - Draftek
Willis was only a one-year player at Miami, but came up with a nice senior season where he racked up four sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He's likely a raw player that needs some refining, but with Rod Marinelli around he could bring out the best in a player that has the size to be disruptive on the interior.
Renell Wren, DT, Arizona State
Dane Brugler over at The Athletic is also thinking interior defensive line for the Cowboys as he projected Renell Wren from Arizona State University to your Dallas Cowboys. Here's what he had to say:
"With David Irving an afterthought and Maliek Collins entering the final year of his deal, defensive tackle is likely to be high on Dallas’ early round wish list."
Dane Brugler - The Athletic
Like Omenihu, Wren is big at 6-6, but comes in more than 20 pounds heavier than the Texas product. His size makes him more of a run stuffing 1-technique defensive tackle spot for the Cowboys and should help their interior rush and run defense, which would make life easier on Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esh at the second level.
He wasn't nearly as productive as Omenihu, as he never had more than 1.5 sacks in a season at Arizona State.
Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Luke Easterling of The Draft Wire put together a three-round mock draft back in the middle of January and sent the Dallas Cowboys a tight end in the form of Stanford product Kaden Smith. Smith caught 47 passes for 637 yards and two touchdowns in 2018 after catching 23 passes for 414 yards and five touchdowns in 2017. He averaged 15 yards per reception in his two-year career at Stanford. Those numbers on the surface may not look very impressive, but remember that Stanford is one of the more run-heavy teams in college football, which means fewer opportunities for their pass catchers.
Like former teammate now Dallas Cowboys Tight End Dalton Schultz, Smith will come into the NFL with a more well-rounded game than many other college tight ends. He would have been asked to be a blocker pretty regularly in Stanford's offense, which gives him a leg up in adapting to the NFL game.
Tight end is going to be a popular selection for those doing mock drafts for the Dallas Cowboys as it's a position that has a some potential in Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, but is by no means solidified. It's an excellent draft to take a tight end as there are usable options as late as the fifth round in this year's group.
Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
Another mock draft and another tight end. This time it's Aggie Tight End Jace Sternberger being mocked to the Dallas Cowboys at 58 by Chad Reuter of NFL.com.
Sternberger is becoming one of my favorite tight ends in the class. Sternberger looks strong and able to run good routes, especially down field. He is a big play threat that averaged 17.3 yards per reception this season for the Aggies. He caught 48 passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Reuter references the absence of Jason Witten in the Cowboys passing game and that certainly made a difference. However, we saw how much could be improved with the addition of Amari Cooper.
Reuter's three round mock provides another pass catching option in the third round to the Cowboys, though this one is less exciting.
Oshane Ximenes, DE, Old Dominion
In his two round mock draft released earlier in the week, Ben Standig of NBC Sports had the Cowboys selecting Defensive End Oshane Ximenes from Old Dominion. Standig cites the looming free agency of DeMarcus Lawrence and likely departure of David Irving -- though we know Irving to be more of a tackle -- as his reasons for using the 58th pick in the draft on an edge rusher.
We know that DeMarcus Lawrence is going to be back. Combine that with the emergence of Randy Gregory in the 2019 season and it makes defensive end much less of a priority in the draft.
It's an interesting use of the Cowboys first selection in the 2019 NFL Draft with DeMarcus Lawrence set to return and the emergence of Randy Gregory.
Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
Over at SB Nation, they continued the trend with the Dallas Cowboys selecting defense first in the second round in the form of Mississippi State Safety Johnathan Abram. Here's what Dan Kadar had to say about the player.
"The Cowboys might not have a first-round pick this year, but Abram has the traits of one. He loves to crack receivers coming over the middle and is aggressive coming up to play the run."
Dan Kadar - SB Nation
Safety is certainly an area where the Dallas Cowboys could improve. Despite some playmaking and otherwise solid play from Jeff Heath, they need to look to upgrade that position. They'll have a chance to do so in free agency with names like Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Tre Boston, and Tyrann Mathieu available, but if they don't go that route, Abram sounds like a good fit to play with Xavier Woods who is more the free safety type.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
With this NFL Draft being so loaded with defensive lineman and tight end, it's very likely that is where the Cowboys will look to allocate one of their first couple of picks. Depending on what happens with Wide Receiver Cole Beasley in free agency, you could see wide receiver move up the position needs rankings. If they're able to get him to return, it would become unlikely that the Cowboys would use pick number 58 on a wide receiver.
We still have nearly three months till the NFL Draft and it's already shaping up to be another nice April for the Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft
What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for Bleacherreport.com and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.
One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.
25. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.
The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.
According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.
Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.
I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?
2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott
The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.
Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.
This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.
Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:
The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.
Let's take a look…
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.
Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.
D'Andre Swift, Georgia
D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.
Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.
Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.
Travis Etienne, Clemson
The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.
Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.
Najee Harris, Alabama
Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.
Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.
The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.
- Cam Akers, Florida State
- Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
- Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
- Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.
Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?
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.
Dallas Cowboys2 days ago
Potential FA WRs Cowboys Could Sign While Michael Gallup is out
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Cowboys DE Taco Charlton to be Inactive Sunday; Trade Coming?
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Cowboys Offense has Potential to Become Next “Greatest Show on Turf”
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Robert Quinn Returns; How Will Cowboys Make Room on Roster?
Game Notes2 weeks ago
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From Cowboys 2019 Season Opener
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Why Michael Gallup Could be Cowboys Most Important WR in 2019
Game Notes5 days ago
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly From Week 2 Against the Redskins
Dallas Cowboys3 days ago
Forget Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cowboys Should Trade for Jamal Adams