We are 16 days from the start of NFL free agency and 59 days away from the first round of the NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys will hope to continue their recent track record of success. They’ve been able to find players on each day of the draft over the last few years. No longer armed with a first round pick after sending it to Oakland for Amari Cooper, the Cowboys will have to continue to that kind of success throughout the draft.
Mocking players is a difficult exercise, even when attempting to place a player with a team that has a first round pick. Trying to project players in the second round and later is dang near impossible. These mock drafts do serve a purpose, even this early, in that they give us an indication of the players that could be available to the Dallas Cowboys around the time they’ll be drafting.
There’s a nice variety of players and positions being mocked to the Dallas Cowboys in the last week, so let’s take a look.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Last week Ric Serritella of Football Maven released a two round mock draft and sent the Dallas Cowboys Florida Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and had this to say, “The safety spot may be the position in biggest need of an upgrade on the Cowboys roster.”
That’s certainly debatable as the Dallas Cowboys could also use a pass rushing 3-technique defensive tackle, a tight end, and a slot receiver, but safety is a position the Dallas Cowboys will be actively pursuing, but more than likely in free agency.
Gardner-Johnson recorded nine interceptions, four sacks, and 15.5 tackles for loss in 33 games for the Gators. He’d certainly fill a need and this a deep draft at safety, so it’s not unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys could use the 58th pick in the draft to go this direction.
Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
Last time we did this piece, Ben Standig from NBC Sports sent the Dallas Cowboys Old Dominion Defensive End Oshane Ximenes and he keeps the EDGE theme going this week with the Cowboys selecting Clemson Defensive End Austin Bryant in his latest two-round mock draft.
The rationale didn’t change much as he cites the impending free agency of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, but it’s an absolute certainty that Lawrence comes back. It’s not improbable that the Dallas Cowboys take an EDGE rusher at 58, but at the moment it seems unlikely with the return of Lawrence and the on and off-field development of Randy Gregory.
Bryant would be a good get though as he recorded 8.5 sacks for the Clemson Tigers on a defense with several standout players. 2018 was the second season in a row that Bryant recorded 8.5 sacks, so he has the production and pedigree to potentially be a productive player in the NFL.
Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
Mike Tagliere from FantasyPros.com keeps the defensive line theme top of mind as he sends the Dallas Cowboys Defensive Lineman Dre’Mont Jones from Ohio State University. It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys need to add defensive line help along the interior, but there’s not telling where they’ll get those reinforcements from. In the Rod Marinelli era at defensive coordinator, the Dallas Cowboys have opted not to spend a draft pick on a defensive tackle in the first two round and generally hunt the bargain bin. Could this be the year that the Cowboys allocate a premium pick for defensive tackle. Tagliere, thinks so. Here’s what he had to say on Jones.
“After overlooking the tackle position last year, the Cowboys must find one in this year’s draft now that David Irving is headed to free agency. Jones is thin for a defensive tackle, but he has a good motor because of it. He’s a much better pass-rusher than run-stuffer, as his swim move to get inside the offensive linemen is rather impressive. He will need to add weight for the next level.”
Mike Tagliere – FantasyPros.com
2018 was by far his most productive season for the Buckeyes when he recorded 8.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 43 tackles. Sounds like the type of player that Marinelli likes on the inside; long and lean. At 6-3 286, he could be the penetrating 3T that the Cowboys have been looking for.
Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
Luke Easterling, over at The Draft Wire, put together a four round mock draft with trades that you’ll want to check out. Just like last time we did this piece, Easterling continues to give the Dallas Cowboys Stanford Tight End Kaden Smith.
It’s certainly a selection that meets a need with the Cowboys heading into free agency with only Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz at the position, but does it make the most sense to select a tight end at 58. The Cowboys have liked Jarwin for the last couple of years and he started to show out toward the end of the season and with as deep as group as 2019 provides at the tight end position, solidifying tight end could be something the Dallas Cowboys could wait to do.
Easterling’s not the only one to like Smith to the Cowboys at 58, as Eddie Brown of The San Diego Tribune also sent Smith to Dallas at 58.
Isaiah Buggs, DL, Alabama
A new name to pop up this time around is Alabama Defensive Tackle Isaiah Buggs, who is being mocked to the Dallas Cowboys in Fansided.com Draft Anaylyst Randy Gurzi’s latest mock draft.
“Alabama players are found all over the league and another gets selected here as the Dallas Cowboys take Isaiah Buggs. A potential three-technique, Dallas needs someone who can replace David Irving, who simply can’t get on the field. He doesn’t get the hype that some of his teammates do, but Buggs had 9.5 sacks this past year and should continue to provide interior pressure at the next level.”
While Jason Garrett seems to have an affinity for Nick Saban, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t drafted an Alabama player during Garrett’s nine drafts with the Dallas Cowboys. Buggs fits a need for reinforcements on the Cowboys interior, but as we discussed earlier, will the Cowboys use a premium pick on a defensive tackle? It would certainly be a departure from the norm.
Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
InsideTheStar.com’s very own Brian Martin released a 7-round mock draft using Fan Speak’s On the Clock Simulator and selected Jace Sternberger with the Cowboys first selection at number 58.
Here’s what Martin had to say:
“At 6’4″, 250 pounds, Sternberger has the size the Cowboys look for in their starting tight ends. His biggest asset right now is his natural receiving ability and how dangerous he is after the catch. He runs and moves like a big receiver. He’s decent as an in-line blocker as well, but it’s an area of his game that is still improving.”
Brian Martin, InsideTheStar.com
Sternberger averaged 17.3 yards per reception for the Aggies while hauling in 48 passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those are explosive numbers for a Tight End in college football. In Mark Andrews final season at the University of Oklahoma, he caught 62 passes for 952 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 15.3 yards per reception. In a better offense with a better quarterback, it’s certainly possible Sternberger puts up Andrews like production last season.
Make sure you check out the rest of his mock to see who the Dallas Cowboys could take with their other five picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
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It will be interesting to see if these mock projections hold up over the next couple of months with pro days and the NFL Scouting Combine coming soon. How the Dallas Cowboys allocate pick number 58 is anyone’s guess at this point and will remain so until we get into the 50’s of the NFL Draft. Get to know these players, because they’ll likely be in the range of where the Cowboys will be picking come draft day.