"It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."
The 2015 NFL Draft is just a few days away, so it's time for version 3.0 of my mock draft. And this time around, I'm mocking rounds one and two.
It's increasingly more likely that #27 for the Cowboys will be a BPA pick (Best Player Available) that may not address one of the more pressing concerns on the team right now, so we're reaching down into the second round to see what options might be available for Dallas at #60.
[dropcap type="3"]1 [/dropcap]Tamp Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, FSU
Winston is the best QB prospect in this draft and the Bucs need a franchise QB, so this isn’t a hard one to match up.
[dropcap type="3"]2 [/dropcap]*TRADE* Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The trade everyone is anticipating come draft day. Here is how I believe this scenario could play out:
- Tennessee gets picks #12, #19 and Cleveland's 2016 2nd
- Cleveland gets picks #20, #52, Philadelphia's 2016 1st, and Sam Bradford
- Philadelphia gets #2.
The Eagles give up a lot but Chip Kelly gets the perfect QB for his offense. Cleveland moves from #19 to #20 then essentially trades down from #12 to #52 and give up next year's #2 for the Eagles #1 next year and Sam Bradford, a player they are obviously very interested in if the report they offered a 1st round pick for him are true. Tennessee gets two 1st round picks and a #2 next year. To me TEN and CLE would have to take an offer like this, the question is if the Eagles are willing to give that much for Mariota.
[dropcap type="3"]3 [/dropcap]Jacksonville Jaguars: Leonard Williams, DL, USC
The Jags get to take the best defensive player in the draft at #3 with the QBs going 1-2. Williams is a versatile difference maker that would bring big help to that Jags front.
[dropcap type="3"]4 [/dropcap]Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
I had Kevin White in this spot in my 1st mock, but it recently came out that Cooper actually ran the same 40-time as White at the combine.
A major reason I initially pegged White ahead of Cooper is because he ran faster, while also being bigger than Cooper. If both are just as fast, it’s really a toss-up as both have great tape. Cooper is a better route runner and White has the size advantage, so it’s really going to be up to the team’s preference.
The Raiders definitely could use a top WR for their young QB Derek Carr, and Cooper has true #1 potential.
[dropcap type="3"]5 [/dropcap]Washington Redskins: Dante Fowler Jr, EDGE, Florida
Pretty sure this would be an easy decision for Washington, Fowler is a stud that would have no business escaping the top 5.
[dropcap type="3"]6 [/dropcap]New York Jets: Vic Beasley, EDGE, Clemson
Beasley was certainly this combine’s workout warrior.
He showed incredible strength with 35 reps @ 225 and amazing speed running a 4.53 40 at 6’3 246lbs, BOTH tops among all DL/LBs!
Good tape is always great to have but a lot of the time it’s combine studs that tend to get taken high. The Jets are stacking up on defense and adding a stud pass rusher would make them scary.
[dropcap type="3"]7 [/dropcap]Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, WVU
After White ran a 4.35 40 at 6’3 215lbs at the combine he quickly shot up draft boards. Playing across from the 6’3 216lb Alshon Jeffery would give Chicago a ridiculous duo that would be difficult to cover.
[dropcap type="3"]8 [/dropcap]Atlanta Falcons: Shane Ray, EDGE, Missouri
The Falcons signed a couple of pass rushers in free agency but they need all the help they can get after last season. Here they’re in position to take 2 of the top 4 in Ray or Randy Gregory. With Gregory failing a drug test at the combine, he’s falling down some draft boards. Ray gives new head coach, Dan Quinn, a new, explosive edge rusher.
[dropcap type="3"]9 [/dropcap]New York Giants: Randy Gregory, EDGE, Nebraska
Although they have bigger needs, the Giants love pass rushers and taking top talents. Gregory has top 5 ability and is one of the best pure pass rushers in the draft. He could get looks from SAM LB and if he puts on some weight, could be JPP's successor at RDE.
[dropcap type="3"]10 [/dropcap]St. Louis Rams: Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
The Rams need a lot of help on their offensive line. They released LT Jake Long and C Scott Wells this offseason so they basically just have T Greg Robinson (last year’s #2 overall pick) and T/G Rodger Saffold.
They just signed last year’s back up C Tim Barnes to a one year deal so I’m guessing he’s the favorite for that position, and I’m sure they’re hoping to re-sign RT Joe Barksdale, but that would still leave a big hole at G. In this situation, with the top ranked OL Scherff available, I can’t see them going another way.
[dropcap type="3"]11 [/dropcap]Minnesota Vikings: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Now that Gurley's knee has checked out he should go fast. Many believe he's the best RB prospect to come out since Adrian Peterson. Speaking of whom, has made it abundantly clear he wants out of Minnesota. This pick would give the Vikings freedom to try to move Peterson during the draft.
[dropcap type="3"]12 [/dropcap]*TRADE* Tennessee Titans: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
So instead of taking a new QB, here the Titans get their current one a shiny new weapon. Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas are #2 and #3 guys, and Justin Hunter hasn't panned out. Parker could finally give Tennessee a true #1 receiver.
[dropcap type="3"]13 [/dropcap]New Orleans Saints: La’el Collins, OL, LSU
The Saints signed both Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller to 4 year deals this offseason and look interested in making an effort to run the ball more. Collins is a college tackle that has been consistently making his way up draft boards and has a lot of NFL people talking. Many think he has Pro Bowl potential inside.
After trading away Ben Grubbs this offseason, it’s a hole that needs filling and Collins would be a great fit.
[dropcap type="3"]14 [/dropcap]Miami Dolphins: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan St.
The Dolphins need a better starter across from Brent Grimes. Waynes is the top rated corner is this draft and backed it up with a stellar combine performance. High ceiling prospect that could give much-needed help to Miami's secondary.
[dropcap type="3"]15 [/dropcap]San Francisco 49ers: Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
The 9ers lost two corners in FA, they still have two solid starters in Tramaine Brock and slot corner Jimmie Ward, but that leaves a hole on the outside.
Jones was seen as a 2nd round prospect until he blew up the combine and his pro day. Measured in at 6'1 199lbs, recorded a 44.5" vertical, and completely insane 12ft 3in broad jump at the combine. Reportedly ran in the 4.36-4.39 range in his 40 during his pro day (did not run at combine due to a shoulder injury). Obviously a rare athlete that should go quick.
[dropcap type="3"]16 [/dropcap]Houston Texans: Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon
The Texans need a franchise QB and a replacement for Andre Johnson, but by this time the top two QBs are long gone and so are the top 3 WRs. They could also really use a new ILB, but there aren’t any in this draft with a mid first round grade, in my opinion.
At 6’7 292lbs, Armstead is a long, athletic DT with a lot of upside. If he can tap into his potential playing beside Vince Wilfork and J.J. Watt, it would give Houston a scary front.
[dropcap type="3"]17 [/dropcap]San Diego Chargers: Bud Dupree, EDGE, Kentucky
San Diego needs a lot of help on defense. Melvin Ingram is in the final year of his rookie contract but he's been injury prone his whole career, plus SD isn't bringing Dwight Freeney back. Dupree is a physical freak that blew up the combine. Still raw, but with some coaching, he could become a force.
[dropcap type="3"]18 [/dropcap]Kansas City Chiefs: Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
The Chiefs took Eric Fisher with the #1 pick in 2013, but he hasn’t nearly played up to expectations. At the same time, KC needs to upgrade the RT position. Peat could provide competition for Fisher and also fill the hole on the right side.
[dropcap type="3"]19 [/dropcap]*TRADE* Tennessee Titans: (from BUF): Ereck Flowers, OL, Miami
Some more help for the Titans offense after trading down. OT Michael Roos retired this offseason and Michael Oher was waived. Last year's 1st round selection Taylor Lewan can easily man the left side but that leaves a hole at RT. Flowers is a perfect RT prospect that could provide a big boost to Tennessee's run game.
[dropcap type="3"]20 [/dropcap]*TRADE* Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DL, Washington
A lot of people see Shelton going much higher than this, but in every draft nose tackles seem to drop.
The Browns have a horrible defensive line. Shelton would be a great value in this position and give them a stud NT to help their terrible run D.
[dropcap type="3"]21 [/dropcap]Cincinnati Bengals: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
The Bengals lack a speed option across from AJ Green, Perriman ran a sub 4.3 40 yard dash at his pro day and, like Jones, has a lot of experts bumping him from a 2nd round prospect, to a 1st. At 6'2 212lbs Perriman certainly has an elite height, weight, speed triangle. He could help Cincinnati spread the field to help the run, as well as take some attention away from Green.
[dropcap type="3"]22 [/dropcap]Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
This is a pretty easy one to pencil in; if available, Collins would make an ideal successor to recently retired Troy Polamalu.
[dropcap type="3"]23 [/dropcap]Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown, DL, Texas
The Lions lost both their starting DTs this offseason, luckily they traded for Haloti Ngata, and in this scenario can land another big body for the middle of their defense. Even at 319lbs Brown is very athletic and versatile, him and Ngata (340lbs) could give Detroit a massive front.
[dropcap type="3"]24 [/dropcap]Arizona Cardinals: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
With the departure of CB Antonio Cromartie, the Cardinals need a replacement. Collins is a raw prospect that needs development, but Arizona would be the perfect place for him to go with two fellow LSU alumni CBs in Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
Collins possesses all the desirable measurables teams look for; big, long, athletic corner that has the potential to become a star.
[dropcap type="3"]25 [/dropcap]Carolina Panthers: D. J. Humphries, OL, Florida
This pick has to be for the offensive line for the Panthers; they have one of the worst units in the NFL. Luckily, this is a very deep draft for top caliber tackles.
Humphries is a LT prospect whose biggest concern has been his lean frame, playing at only 285lbs last season. However, Humphries showed up to the combine (amazingly) at 307lbs, so that should definitely entice a lot of OL needy teams like the Panthers.
[dropcap type="3"]26 [/dropcap]Baltimore Ravens: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
It seems every year the Ravens stand pat and take the best player available. Justin Forsett had a great year last season, however, he'll be 30 soon and there's really no one behind him. Gordon would provide Baltimore a young workhorse and nice 1-2 punch running game.
[dropcap type="3"]27 [/dropcap]Dallas Cowboys: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
If the top 2 RBs are off the board and there's a top 5 corner available, I believe that would be the selection for Dallas.
Johnson is one of the more polished corners in this draft that could contribute day 1, also would give the Cowboys some options with their current salary stand-off with Brandon Carr.
More on Johnson here: Draft: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest on BlueStarTimes.com
[dropcap type="3"]28 [/dropcap]Denver Broncos: T.J. Clemmings, OL, Pittsburgh
As Peyton Manning enters his final years, the Broncos need to get him the best protection they can. Clemmings is a very athletic tackle that has a lot of scouts talking. Raw, but could start his career at G as he develops.
[dropcap type="3"]29 [/dropcap]Indianapolis Colts: Cameron Erving, OL, FSU
Here the Colts land the best center prospect in the draft and get Andrew Luck the protection he needs inside. This draft’s class of offensive linemen is much like last year’s class of cornerbacks: there’s a bunch of guys at the top and it’s going to be tough to peg which order they go.
[dropcap type="3"]30 [/dropcap]Green Bay Packers: Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami
The Packers released A.J. Hawk this offseason and will need a replacement. I’m sure they’d also like to kick Clay Matthews back outside where he belongs. Perryman, although not a flashy athlete, is a stout, physical defender. Could provide a big help to that run defense.
[dropcap type="3"]31 [/dropcap]New Orleans Saints (from SEA): Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Green-Beckham is a top talent who could fall in the draft due to character concerns. He was dismissed from the Missouri football program after being suspended twice, so the concerns aren't without merit, but he’s huge at 6’5 237lbs and yet still runs fast posting a 4.49 40 at the combine. He has Kelvin Benjamin size with Jordan Matthews speed. The Saints just traded away Jimmy Graham so here they could land another big target to try to replace his production.
[dropcap type="3"]32 [/dropcap]New England Patriots: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
The Patriots lost their top two corners this offseason, easily becomes their biggest need. Peters, like Green-Beckham, is a prospect with a lot of talent, but big character concerns. Many see him as one of the best cover corners in this draft, so would be a great value in this spot. If anyone can handle character concerns it's the Patriots, going to a top organization like New England would be a great place for Peters to get his head on straight.
[dropcap type="3"]33 [/dropcap]Tennessee Titans: Eddie Goldman, DL, Florida St.
After addressing their offense in round 1, the Titans pick up a huge NT for their atrocious run defense.
[dropcap type="3"]34 [/dropcap]Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jake Fisher, OL, Oregon
The Bucs currently have nobodies penciled in at RG and RT, Fisher would be a great selection as he can play multiple positions on the OL.
[dropcap type="3"]35 [/dropcap]Oakland Raiders: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, EDGE, UCLA
The Raiders currently have one serviceable starter at DE, 32-year-old Justin Tuck. Here they could land the big, strong, athletic, edge setter that could fall into the 2nd due to some injury concerns.
[dropcap type="3"]36 [/dropcap]Jacksonville Jaguars: Eli Harold, EDGE, Virginia
I had the Jags passing on Dante Fowler at #3, but here they can still land their 'LEO' LB for coach Gus Bradley's defense with the explosive pass rusher, Harold.
[dropcap type="3"]37 [/dropcap]New York Jets: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
The Jets traded for Brandon Marshall this offseason finally giving them a true #1 WR. Eric Decker is a great #2, but the Jets could use an explosive slot guy. Agholor would fit that role perfectly and give whoever starts at QB for NYJ a great weapon.
[dropcap type="3"]38 [/dropcap]Washington Redskins: Cedric Ogbuehi, OL, Texas A&M
Ogbuehi will drop due to a torn ACL in his bowl game so he could very possibly not play his 1st year, unless his team makes the playoffs, but in the 2nd round he's a great value and could finally give Washington an answer at RT.
[dropcap type="3"]39 [/dropcap]Chicago Bears: Preston Smith, DL, Mississippi St.
Chicago will be moving to a 3-4 defense but currently lacks a lot of personnel. They just signed the 49ers cast-off Ray McDonald who should be a big help if he can stop getting in trouble, but could still use another 3-4 end and NT. Smith would be a great fit playing the Justin Smith role in Chicago's new defense.
[dropcap type="3"]40 [/dropcap]New York Giants: Eric Rowe, CB/S, Utah
The Giants only have 2 back up safeties on their current roster, obviously making it their biggest need. Rowe is a very good corner prospect, however many believe S would be a better fit for him in the NFL. Could immediately step in as the Giants center fielder.
[dropcap type="3"]41 [/dropcap]St. Louis Rams: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona St.
A lot of people have Strong as a 1st round lock, but just like last year, this draft has a ton of WRs at the top, which should lead to some good ones to fall. Here the Rams can land a big, athletic target for new QB Nick Foles.
[dropcap type="3"]42 [/dropcap]Atlanta Falcons: Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
The Falcons lacked an intermediate target last season with the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. Williams would provide them with a true pass catching TE and give them another dimension in the passing game.
[dropcap type="3"]43 [/dropcap]Cleveland Browns: Mike Bennett, DL, Ohio St.
As I stated earlier, the Browns have a horrible DL. I could certainly see them double up on NT and DE. Bennett's best fit would probably be as a 3 technique in a 4-3, but he could give the Browns the pass rush from inside they need.
[dropcap type="3"]44 [/dropcap]New Orleans Saints: Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
All three of the Saints projected starting LBs are average players, they could use an infusion of talent in the middle of that defense. Kendricks played ILB in college, however many think he projects better to WLB in the NFL. The Saints could try him in multiple spots and see where he fits.
[dropcap type="3"]45 [/dropcap]Minnesota Vikings: Shaq Thompson, LB/S, Washington
Chad Greenway was terrible last season and is entering the last year of his deal. Thompson is a versatile player who is being looked at as a LB, S, and even RB. I think he'd be best as a WILL LB in a 4-3, if available, he would be a great fit in Minnesota.
[dropcap type="3"]46 [/dropcap]San Francisco 49ers: Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson
With the retirements of star Patrick Willis and last year's stand out rookie Chris Borland, the 9ers strength has become a weakness. Anthony is an athletic, physical defender that would fit nicely next to NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco's middle.
[dropcap type="3"]47 [/dropcap]Miami Dolphins: A.J. Cann, OL, South Carolina
The Dolphins have dramatically improved their OL the past couple of years, they still have a hole at LG however. Cann was a 4 year starter at the position and could give Miami one of the best units in the NFL.
[dropcap type="3"]48 [/dropcap]San Diego Chargers: Jordan Phillips, DL, Oklahoma
The Chargers have a very poor defensive line and lack a true NT. Phillips is a monster at 6'5 329lbs, yet still athletic for his size. Has the ability to eat up blocks with ease, however has an inconsistent motor, which could cause him to drop.
[dropcap type="3"]49 [/dropcap]Kansas City Chiefs: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
Signing Jeremy Maclin this offseason should help the Chiefs passing game woes, but they could still use an explosive slot guy like Dorsett. QB Alex Smith is Mr. dink and dunk, Dorsett is a playmaker that can take a cross to the house.
[dropcap type="3"]50 [/dropcap]Buffalo Bills: Laken Tomlinson, OL, Duke
If the Bills plan to be a ground and pound team under new coach Rex Ryan they need two upgrades at G. They recently signed Richie Incognito, but a RG is still needed. Tomlinson was a 4 year starter at the position and would give Buffalo the mauler they need.
[dropcap type="3"]51 [/dropcap]Houston Texans: Devin Smith, WR, Ohio St.
DeAndre Hopkins is becoming a stud in the league, but the Texans could use a speedster to stretch the field. I don't think anyone could fill that role better than Smith. Averaged a ridiculous 28.2 yards per catch in 2014, he's the ultimate home run hitter.
[dropcap type="3"]52 [/dropcap]*TRADE* Cleveland Browns: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
At 6'4 232lbs a lot of people think Funchess could be a TE in the NFL. With the loss of Jordan Cameron the Browns could use Funchess in a Jimmy Graham type role to exploit mismatches. Also, with Josh Gordan's future a question mark, and both Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline only signed for 2 seasons, Funchess could be Cleveland's future #1 WR.
[dropcap type="3"]53 [/dropcap]Cincinnati Bengals: Grady Jarrett, DL, Clemson
The Bengals 3 technique, Geno Atkins, wasn't the same player last year after tearing his ACL in 2013 and 1 technique, Domato Peko, is just plain bad. Jarrett can play both positions and is great at getting penetration inside. Considering Cincinnati had the least sacks in the NFL last year, they could use the help.
[dropcap type="3"]54[/dropcap] Detroit Lions: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
The Lions currently have Joique Bell and Theo Riddick as their top two backs. Bell is a nice runner but there's nothing special about him, while Riddick is just a 3rd down pass catching back. Coleman would give Detroit a young, explosive, home run hitter at the position.
[dropcap type="3"]55 [/dropcap]Arizona Cardinals: Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise St.
Andre Ellington is an explosive RB, but he’s just not a back that can carry the ball 20+ times a game like the Cardinals want. Ajayi is a big, versatile back that can play all 3 downs.
On Monday CBS Sports' Dane Brugler tweeted:
FYI - #BoiseState RB Jay Ajayi was dinged for his knee from re-check on visits, not Combine re-check. Point stands, "strong" concerns there
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) April 20, 2015
Everyone has an opinion, mine is either teams are spreading rumors to try to get him to fall, or the concerns are by a few teams and it's being blown out of proportion. Ajayi wasn't even at the Scouting Combine medical re-check and his injury was 4 years ago. He's racked up 3,796 yards and 50 TDs on 678 carries since. If the concern is longevity, you could say that about any RB. I think he's be a great fit in Dallas if available at #60.
[dropcap type="3"]56[/dropcap] Pittsburgh Steelers: Hau'Oli Kikaha, EDGE, Washington
Very productive pass rusher that will fall due to lack of athleticism. Ran a 4.90 40 at the combine, but had 32 sacks past two seasons and even lead the nation in sacks in 2014. With the surprising retirement of Jason Worilds, and the lack of production from 2013 1st round pick Jarvis Jones, the Steelers had to re-sign 37 year old James Harrison, they need big help at the position.
[dropcap type="3"]57 [/dropcap]Carolina Panthers: Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
The Panthers need a #2 receiver to play on the other side of Kelvin Benjamin as their current depth at the position is awful. Coates would make a nice counterpart to Benjamin as he's a vertical threat that can spread the field.
[dropcap type="3"]58 [/dropcap]Baltimore Ravens: Ronald Darby, CB, Florida St.
Corner is a big need for Baltimore as they only have one solid starter in Jimmy Smith. Darby is an extremely athletic cover corner that has starter potential.
[dropcap type="3"]59 [/dropcap]Denver Broncos: Carl Davis, DL, Iowa
The Broncos will move to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillip, with the departure of Terrance Knighton they currently have Sylvester Williams penciled in as NT, Williams has never played the position though and would be better suited playing end.
Davis is a 6'5 320lb powerful clogger who, although doesn't offer much as a pass rusher, can take on double teams and give teammates 1 on 1s.
[dropcap type="3"]60 [/dropcap]Dallas Cowboys: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
I'm sure many don't think Abdullah will make it to 60, he very well might not, but I believe there won't be a run on RBs until the 3rd round. Dallas should be in position to take a top 5 RB in this spot if they don't get one at #27.
Most have Abdullah as a top 3/4 RB, but the reason I think he could fall here is, he's a smaller back, at 5'9 205lbs, and did have fumbling problems in college, coughing it up 13 times in 4 years. His small frame could also lead to pass protection problems.
Abdullah is a big time playmaker with explosive acceleration that can cut on a dime. Natural pass catcher, dangerous after the catch. Great patience and can use his short stature to hide behind blockers, then hits the crease and can get to top speed in an instant. Even if Abdullah is a two down back, behind Dallas' tremendous offensive line, he could be a stellar player.
[dropcap type="3"]61 [/dropcap]Indianapolis Colts: Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi St.
The Colts need better play at ILB, their current starters are a liability in coverage. McKinney is a complete player and would provide Indy an immediate upgrade.
[dropcap type="3"]62 [/dropcap]Green Bay Packers: P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
The Packers lost CBs Tramon Williams and Davon House this offseason, Williams is a good cover corner that would be a nice value in this spot as he should fall some after getting a DUI this month.
[dropcap type="3"]63 [/dropcap]Seattle Seahawks: Donovan Smith, OL, Penn State
With the trade of C Max Unger to New Orleans, the Seahawks only solid starter is LT Russell Okung. Smith played LT in college, but he seems better suited to play G in the NFL. Could come in and compete for the LG vacancy left behind by James Carpenter.
[dropcap type="3"]64 [/dropcap]New England Patriots: Tre Jackson, OL, Florida St.
After trading G Logan Mankins last year the Patriots really didn't have an answer at LG, Jackson is a 6'4 330lb beast that could help fill that void.
Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts, a Pass Catching Theme Persists
The Dallas Cowboys haven't played the 2018 NFL season yet, but that shouldn't stop us from looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft and seeing what players the team will have their eye on this fall.
With the NFL season fast approaching, that means the college football season is as well, and as we look through these mocks, perhaps you get an idea of whom to watch with a Cowboys perspective this fall.
I scoured the internet looking for the best and brightest minds and their "way too early 2019 mocks." As I perused the mocks, one thing was clear. Many of the national writers see the Dallas Cowboys going with an offensive pass catcher in the 2019 NFL Draft. Namely a TE.
TE Noah Fant, Iowa
Noah Fant, from the University of Iowa, will be a junior in his 2019 season and as a sophomore caught 30 passes for 494 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 11 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage may not look all that impressive, but if we think about Iowa's offense in the Big 10, we can understand that he's not going to get many opportunities to catch the ball when the team is running it as often as they do.
In fact, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 10 more times per game than they threw it and their quarterback only completed - on average - 15 passes a game.
Fant accounted for 21% of the receiving yards on the season and 42% of the passing touchdowns. He was only 36 yards away from leading the team in receiving despite catching 21 fewer passes than leader Nick Easley. No other pass catcher for Iowa had more than four receiving touchdowns.
If there's something not to like at the moment about Fant, it's his size.
At the moment, College Football Reference has him listed at 232 pounds. There are running backs that weigh more than Fant does and he'll probably need to add about 10-20 pounds in the NFL to be an effective in-line blocker.
Mocked to the Dallas Cowboys by Dane Brugler of The Draft Show on DallasCowboys.com. In a mock draft he did for Sports Day DFW and the Dallas Morning News, he had this to say.
Dane Brugler - Sports Day DFW, Dallas Morning News
Eric Galko of The Sporting News selected the Iowa tight end to the Cowboys as well, seeing him as a special prospect that has the chance to fill the shoes of Jason Witten.
Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington also had Noah Fant to the Cowboys, thinking they are in need of a Jason Witten replacement.
DE Austin Bryant, Clemson
Depending on what Dallas can get out of Right Defensive Ends Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Charles Tapper, it could have the Cowboys taking a defensive end in the first round for the second time in three years.
Will Brinson's mock doesn't offer much analysis on Bryant, mostly saying that Clemson is going to be good. But here's what Draftek.com's Brett Clancy, who covers the 49ers, had to say about Bryant:
"Clemson's Austin Bryant is the 4th EDGE off the board in this mock and 2nd from his school, but he's still well worth a mid-round pick. Bryant broke out with 8.5 sacks as a junior last year and many thought he'd go pro. I like Bryant's move to stay in school and refine his game, specifically growing a repertoire of pass rush moves to complement his strong edge-setting ability."
Brett Clancy - Draftek.com
Bryant was amazingly disruptive for the Clemson Tigers as a junior, racking up 50 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. At 6-5 265, he could come in and play right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys on day one.
DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama
We know that the Dallas Cowboys have an affinity for Power 5 prospects and Jason Garrett goes back with Nick Saban.
Despite that relationship, it hasn't led to many Alabama players being selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, that should tell us something.
One other factor that could be in play with Davis is dependent upon who the defensive coordinator is in 2019. We all know that Rod Marinelli doesn't place premium draft value on defensive tackles, but prefers to find diamonds in the rough to develop.
If Kris Richard takes over as the defensive coordinator in 2019, the story could be a bit different. Seattle, with Richard at the defensive helm, selected defensive tackles in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.
If the Dallas Cowboys are going to spend a first on a defensive tackle, this is the guy to do it on.
He was highly productive as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide, racking up 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had one interception that was returned for 19 yards. At 6-7 306 pounds, he has the size and frame to be an immediate impact player on the Dallas Cowboys interior.
If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to resign David Irving in the 2018 offseason and Maliek Collins doesn't take a step forward, then Davis becomes a real possibility.
Here's what Draftek's Cowboys analyst had to say about Raekwon Davis.
"Alabama's Raekwon Davis has played both DT and DE in the Crimson Tide's 3-man line. He can maintain his gaps against the run when needed, but his primary skill set is using his long arms and strong lower body to use a variety of pass rush moves to win with power and speed.
"One red flag on Davis happened 8/27/17: he was struck in the leg by a stray bullet during the wee hours of Sunday morning at a Tuscaloosa bar (Bar 17) where several shootings have occurred over the past few years. Despite HC Jason Garrett's affinity for Nick Saban coached players, this incident might remove him from the Dallas board."
Long Ball - Dratek.com
Interestingly, Draftek did a second round in this mock and they sent Boston College Safety Lukas Denis to the Dallas Cowboys.
S Jaquan Johnson, Miami
Speaking of safeties, Dan Kadar over at SBNation sent one to the Dallas Cowboys in the form of Jaquan Johnson.
Johnson, from the University of Miami, was very productive in his junior season for the Hurricanes, racking up 96 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and four interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.
Here are Kadar's thoughts on the second team All-ACC player:
"There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."
Dan Kadar - SB Nation
Obviously, this pick will depend on what happens with Earl Thomas over the next nine months and the development of Xavier Woods, but Johnson will be a name to watch for teams that need a safety.
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami
Another Hurricane to have on your NFL Draft radars is Wide Receiver Ahmmon Richard, who is going into his junior season at Miami.
The Dallas Cowboys have begun the process of overhauling their wide receiver corp with the departures of Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the 2018 offseason. In 2019, it's likely that Terrance Williams (contract) and Cole Beasley (age) could be next to go.
That would leave them with Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson as their WR depth chart. It's certainly a solid group, but adding a talent like Richards could help.
The Draft Wire's Luke Easterling believes, "Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."
In two seasons at Miami, Richards has averaged 18.8 yards per reception, and 68.65 yards per game. He's got deep-threat ability which would combine well with Gallup and Hurns.
WR Collin Johnson, Texas
If Richards doesn't do it for you, then lets head a couple of hours south of Dallas to the University of Texas and Wide Receiver Collin Johnson.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Dallas Cowboys going with the junior wide receiver and had this to say:
"The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft—trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early—and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.
"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."
Matt Miller - Bleacher Report
I'll agree with Miller that Johnson will need to increase upon his production. Some believe that the quarterback limitations in Austin have been a factor, but at the moment, I'm leery of taking a wide receiver from the Big 12 that doesn't have excellent production in the first round of the draft.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
It's obvious from these mock drafts that analysts see the Dallas Cowboys continuing to invest in pass catchers for their offense and that is a reasonable thought.
Obviously, a lot will change between now and next April when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock, but this gives us a bit of insight on who to watch in this upcoming college football season.
What names will you be watching in college football this season?
Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?
Last night, it was reported that Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident comes from a traffic confrontation that took place back in October, where White -- according to his camp -- was justified in drawing his weapon for self-defense.
A promising young player that stuck on the Cowboys practice squad in his rookie season, the sixth round pick doesn't need this case hanging over his head as training camp approaches. When considering the timing up against this week's supplemental draft, and the rare crop of defensive back talent available in it, White could soon be fighting for relevance on the Cowboys roster.
Becoming complacent in building one of the best young secondaries in the league won't be an issue for the Cowboys under new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. The Cowboys were relying on White to be a depth option behind projected starters Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis.
White's spot on the depth chart may very well hold up, but by the end of the week he could also have added competition in Adonis Alexander or Sam Beal.
Respectively, the former Virginia Tech and Western Michigan cornerbacks are two of the most talented supplemental prospects to enter the draft in years -- both likely to be the first players drafted since 2015.
Alexander and Beal are also joined by Mississippi State Safety Brandon Bryant as another backup option for Dallas.
A lengthy cornerback with the toughness to play on the boundary, Alexander is a similar player to White, and one that Richard should love for his physical traits. Whether or not this natural skill outweighs some maturity issues that saw Alexander fall from freshman starter to suspended at VT will determine if the Cowboys feel comfortable sending away a 2019 draft pick for his services.
Where Alexander's career leaves his arrow trending downward on the eve of the supplemental draft, Beal is a rising prospect that some are calling the best to ever enter this draft.
An all-conference cornerback as a Junior out of Western Michigan, Beal improved with each passing college season, determined to finish out his degree along the way. However, once Beal's eligibility for his Senior season was called into question, the feisty 6'1" CB decided to turn towards the NFL.
Beal's professional football faith is now in the hands of any team that's done their homework on him. Projected to be taken as early as the third round, teams impressed by Beal's tape could be giving away a premium pick in next year's draft to add him just before training camp.
Should this team be the Cowboys, Beal's presence would put more than just White on notice. The Cowboys are also expecting corners like Duke Thomas and Kam Kelly to fight for roster spots. In a perfect world, say the one the Cowboys were living in yesterday before this White news broke, Thomas or Kelly could replace White on the practice squad as the Florida State product took another jump in Oxnard.
As I've written before though, teams must be relentless in their search for talent. The Cowboys have drafted well, but passed on big name free agents in recent years. The result is a young roster full of potential and ready to compete.
If either Adonis Alexander, Sam Beal, or even Brandon Bryant help them do so this year, we could be right here talking about a new Cowboys rookie in the middle of July. Marquez White would be happy to see this talk overshadow his legal situation for the moment.
This won't be the case when he's competing against another player that will likely cost the Cowboys more than the sixth round pick they invested in him two years ago.
Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?
You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.
I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.
Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.
Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:
2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano
You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.
The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.
DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.
The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.
I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?
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