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NFL Draft

Mocking the Mocks: Breaking Down Mel Kiper and Walter Football’s Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft

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Draft Blog - 2013 Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft 2.0 6

Kiper_Mel_croppedSpeculation and projections are abounding throughout the NFL, fan blogs and social media.  Everyone wants to know exactly who there team is going to draft.
Unfortunately, we won't get those answers until the day of the draft.

Draftniks are always saying the know what is going to happen, but the truth is that no one knows what a team's GM is truly thinking.  Two well regarded draftniks, Walter Football and Mel Kiper, have taken a recent stab at guessing who the Cowboys will be selecting in next weeks draft.

Lets take a look at what they say.

Kiper's Mock (ESPN, Insider)

1. Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
2. Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
3. Joe Kruger, DE, Utah

My Take:

Sylvester WilliamsI love Kiper's draft through the first two rounds.  I believe that he aligned need with value in a way that would leave the Cowboys fans feeling really excited.

Williams is a versatile "rushman" who has the size to play both the 1- and 3-techniques on the interior defensive line.  Williams is a hard worker who deserves everything he gets.  He would represent the future at defensive tackle on a team that is looking for a young mainstay in the trenches.

Warford is a nasty interior offensive lineman who is as strong as they come.  On tape he consistently stonewall's opposing defenders and is a sure blocker.  There is concern about his athleticism, but overall he's a just behind Cooper and Warmack and could develop into an elite guard in the NFL.

My problem comes with Kruger.  Kruger is an experienced 4-3 end who I have given a 5th or 6th round grade.  I think he does a lot of things well but he's also very raw.  Additionally, the Cowboys need to walk away with three starters in this draft.  In this scenario they walk away with two starters and four depth guys.  The Cowboys must maximize value and Kruger in the 3rd isn't the way to do that.

Walt's Draft (www.walterfootball.com)

1. Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
2. Eric Reid, S, LSU
3. Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
4. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
5. Jordan Hill, DT, Penn St.
6. Connor Vernon, WR, Duke

My Take:

147440-375-264Walt's draft just makes a lot of sense to me.  The Cowboys are able to fill pretty much all of their needs and do it in a way that they get guys who can develop into contributors at every spot.

There isn't much to say about Cooper.  He is an elite guard who has an elite combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism.  He has excellent technique and really represents everything the Cowboys want at the position. The Cowboys need to upgrade Bernadeau and Cooper can be the next great Cowboys offensive lineman. The question is, will he be there?

Reid is the prototype Tampa 2 free safety.  With excellent range and ball skills, Reid is sure to tempt the Cowboys.  Last year the Cowboys drafted Matt Johnson and after recovering from injury there is belief that the Cowboys might want to see what they have with him.  I believe that the position needs depth or an upgrade but is it worth casting off last year's fourth round pick?

Looking at the defensive tackles, Hill and Logan, the Cowboys would be seriously upgrading their interior defensive linemen. Hill is an explosive pass-rushing defensive lineman and Logan is versatile as a run-defender and a capable pass-rusher.  I would love to see both players added as a possible future duo as starters.

Last, the Cowboys picked up two skill-players in Taylor and Vernon.  Taylor is a three-down running back who does a little bit of everything.  One of my favorite prospects I believe he has starting potential in this league and could eventually develop into a replacement for DeMarco Murray.  In Vernon, the Cowboys get a height-weight-speed guy who can play outside and in the slot. Reminds me a bit of Coale, he'd be interesting when put into the mix of things.

Overall, I like the draft but believe the Cowboys could have maximized picks or value elsewhere.  However, if things ended like this I believe the Cowboys would be much improved.

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NFL Draft

The 1 Player Cowboys Should Consider Trading Up For

Kevin Brady

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The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL Draft needing help in multiple areas. Of course, they could use new blood on the interior of their defensive line, in their linebacker corps, and in their receiver room. Their most important need to fill in the first round, however, seems to be left guard.

If the Cowboys could find an immediate starter at left guard, a dominant player who can function as an effective run blocker and allow Dak Prescott to trust his left side once again, their offense would be back in business. We typically think of the Cowboys offense, and their line in particular, as a strength. But down the stretch in 2017 that simply wasn't the case.

As I've discussed before, there should be realistic options available with the 19th overall selection, particularly Georgia guard Isiah Wynn. There is one player in this NFL Draft class they should consider moving up for if the price is right, though.

That player is Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.

Make no mistake, Quenton Nelson is the best prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft class. He is a massive, yet athletic interior offensive lineman who cemented himself as the best guard in college football during his senior season with the Fighting Irish.

Nelson plays with an edge that you love from offensive linemen, especially from those you will be asking to run block often. He doesn't just open holes, he embarrasses defensive tackles. He doesn't just smartly use body positioning and footwork, he finishes his blocks and snatches souls. Plus, he shows the athleticism and agility to get to the second level to seal off linebackers.

Quenton Nelson works well in pass protection as well. Often labeled a weakness in his game coming out of high school, Nelson has shown vast improvements in his footwork, awareness, and balance in his pass set while at Notre Dame. He would be a day one starter in Dallas, and would take the Cowboys' offensive line back to their 2014-2016 form.

But how realistic is it that the Cowboys would move up for Nelson?

Well, not very realistic at all. In fact, I'd say it's more likely the Cowboys move back to take Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn than it is they give away future assets in such a Day Two-rich draft. If, for some reason, Quenton Nelson falls to around the 12th overall pick however, there could be an opening for the Cowboys to come up and snag him.

I don't condone trading up often whatsoever, but Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson leads a very short list of players I'd move up for if I were the Cowboys. Trading up for a guard seems like flawed logic, but considering the importance and impact he would have for this team, Quenton Nelson is well worth it.

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NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: Iowa LB Josey Jewell A Hard-Hitting Depth Option

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Iowa LB Josey Jewell A Hard-Hitting Option for Depth

Much of what the Dallas Cowboys do at the linebacker position this offseason will be determined by their confidence in Jaylon Smith, which has not wavered since drafting him in the second round in 2016 - making his NFL debut this season. With Anthony Hitchens set to hit free agency and Sean Lee not getting any younger though, the Cowboys could use an injection of youth at LB.

The 2017 Draft marked the first time the Cowboys did not select a linebacker since 2004 (!), making it that much more of a priority this offseason. Should they target a mid-round option with the ability to step in and contribute right away, Iowa's Josey Jewell makes a ton of sense.

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"Iowa LB Josey Jewell is an incredibly instinctive player, reacting to plays with a rare mix of balance, burst, and physicality against the run."

This film clip and quote comes from my full scouting report on Josey Jewell at Slant Sports. Playing primarily the MIKE position at Iowa, Jewell will fit best in the NFL at either WILL or SAM - with the versatility to provide depth at both.

With these two LB spots being ones of need for the Cowboys, Jewell would add a enforcing presence to the second level of this defense, the likes of which have been missing in Dallas for some time.

A square player with adequate power in his hands and above average movement ability, Jewell is a magnet for the football against the run.

"...Josey Jewell plays with the stopping power that NFL scouts absolutely love out of any front seven players. Asked to play a lot of MIKE linebacker at Iowa, Jewell will be a physical presence for any defense to add..."

Jewell1 - Streamable

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Jewell is not only comfortable around the line of scrimmage as a sure tackler, flashing the ability to shoot gaps with great burst and technique. Jewell may be far from a "pass rusher", but he does attack blockers similarly, coming downhill to disengage violently.

"Jewell plays with textbook technique in pass coverage as well, playing light on his feet with the balance to hang with shifty receivers throughout the down."

Jewell's vertical movement as a WILL linebacker also make him an ideal fit for the Cowboys, as he could develop quickly into a starter on Nickel packages - requiring him to be one of just two LBs on the field.

NFL.com scout Lance Zierlein actually compared Josey Jewell to Sean Lee in his own scouting report. Outplaying his own second round draft status, I believe Jewell has a chance to do the same as a valuable third round grade on my 2018 NFL Draft Board.

"While Josey Jewell’s Iowa tape left no questions about his ability to move backwards with ease and attack forward, his lateral movement leaves some concerns."

It was ultimately Jewell's limitations as a rangy defender that pushed him down into the third round for me, which is an ideal spot for the Dallas Cowboys to be targeting a linebacker in this 2018 Draft. Jewell's floor would make him a noticeable contributor to the Cowboys' defense in year one, a top 100 prospect that should be an NFL starter in the near future.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Iowa LB Josey Jewell A Hard-Hitting Depth Option" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Would Dallas Consider A 1st Round CB?

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Would Dallas Consider A 1st

As has been talked about before, the Dallas Cowboys spent a plethora of draft capital on their secondary a year ago. By taking cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis with two of their top three picks, and then tripling down at corner with Marquez White on day three, the Cowboys overhauled their aging cornerback group.

While some fans still want the team to add another safety, drafting a cornerback in the first round seems out of the question.

Or is it?

Historically, 19th overall is a bit of an awkward place to be. In most drafts, teams are running out of first round grades, but drafting a player you've graded as a round two talent in the top 20 can feel like a reach. When put in situations such as these, teams like to trade back, acquire future assets, and feel more comfortable about where they're taking the player they want. The problem is, of course, that you need a team to want to move up to your spot.

Obviously there's a chance the Cowboys are completely cleaned out at receiver and linebacker by the time their on the clock. Regardless of the scenario, taking Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn is my plan A, but the team may feel differently.

I currently have four cornerbacks with first round, or late first-to-early second round grades. This list includes Ohio State's Denzel Ward, Louisville's Jaire Alexander, UCF's Mike Hughes, and Iowa's Josh Jackson. All four are deserving of first round consideration, but in the right situation, I'd have to think long and hard about taking the first three 19th overall.

All three are phenomenal players who should make an impact during their rookie seasons, but the question the Cowboys would have to ask themselves is: "do we have a place for this player?" Sunday Morning Wishlist: DAL Cowboys @ NY Giants 1

Awuzie looks like the CB1 of the future, and Lewis could be effective on the outside as well. Ward, Alexander, and Hughes are all shorter cornerbacks and wouldn't be too much of a change from what the Cowboys already have on the back-end. Still, Orlando Scandrick may be done in Dallas, and Anthony Brown provided more questions than answers during his Sophomore season.

The Cowboys could be put in a situation similar to that of the 2017 NFL Draft. When they finally got on the clock, they only had one first round grade remaining. That player was reportedly running back Dalvin Cook, and considering they had selected Ezekiel Elliott the year before, Cook wasn't ever an option.

I have to wonder that because of how last offseason went, if the Cowboys would even think of taking a cornerback early on in the 2018 NFL Draft.

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