The Dallas Cowboys are in somewhat of a waiting period until this weekend plays out and know who their opponent is, so there isn't a whole lot of news surrounding the organization.
I thought it would be fun to use this downtime to complete my first 2017 mock draft for the Dallas Cowboys. I know it's way too early to predict who will be available when the Cowboys are on the clock with any accuracy, but that doesn't make it any less fun to speculate.
To help with this mock draft I used Fanspeak's draft simulator and chose the CBS big board. Below are the players I chose for the Dallas Cowboys.
Rd 1, Pick 31: Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys could be in need of depth at the cornerback position with both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in the last years of their contracts. Luckily, Anthony Brown, who was a six round draft pick last year looks to be a future starter, but that shouldn't stop the Cowboys from addressing the CB position at some point in the draft.
In this particular mock draft Sidney Jones was still available when the Cowboys were on the clock and I couldn't pass up the chance to add a player this talented.
Jones (6'0, 181) is one of the most talented CB's in this year's draft class and would instantly upgrade the backend of the Cowboys defense. In 40 games as a Husky, Jones has accumulated 145 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, one quarterback sack, eight INT's, 21 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries, and six forced fumbles.
Sidney Jones Draft Breakdown player profile
Rd 2, Pick 63: Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois
After addressing the cornerback position in the first round, I thought I would try to improve the pass rush by selecting defensive end Dawuane Smoot with the Cowboys second round draft pick.
Smoot (6'3″, 265) has been projected to be selected by the Dallas Cowboys on several occasions by some of these so-called “draft experts”, but in the first round. To have him sitting there in the second round was a no-brainer for me.
Smoot would already have a head start with Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme, since Illinois head coach, Lovie Smith uses nearly the exact 4-3 defense Marinelli does.
Smoot has played on both the right and left side as a DE at Illinois and gives opposing offensive tackles all they can handle in the passing game. He is a quick twitch athlete that can bend the corner and get the QB, but he needs to develop a more versatile pass rush move repertoire. He also tends to struggle a little bit in the running game from time to time, but should be able to improve in this area with more focus on his technique.
Dawuane Smoot Draft Breakdown player profile
Rd 3, Pick 95: Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
The wide receiver position will probably need to be addressed at some point in the draft with Terrance Williams and Brice Butler both in the last years of their contracts. So, I want to introduce you to one of my “Pet Cats” of this year's draft class, WR Carlos Henderson.
When watching Henderson play, you can't help but fall in love with the way he plays a game. He is exactly the type of WR Dallas Cowboys fans have been wanting for what seems like years now.
Henderson is a vertical type wide receiver that will open up the down the field passing game. He reminds me a lot of former Baylor WR, Corey Coleman, who is now a member of the Cleveland Browns. Henderson isn't quite as explosive as Coleman, but I think he is a better route runner at this point of their careers.
Henderson (5'11”, 191) isn't as big as the WRs the Cowboys generally target, but his ability to stretch the field was too much for me to pass up at this point in the draft.
Don't believe me, check out Carlos Henderson's highlights.
Rd 4, Pick 135: Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
The depth at the tight end position for the Dallas Cowboys next season is questionable at best. Jason Witten isn't getting any younger and both James Hanna and Geoff Swaim will be trying to come back from serious injuries in order to play in 2017. Of course, they do have Rico Gathers on the practice squad, but he is the ultimate mystery at this point.
Jeremy Sprinkle has the potential to develop into a #1 tight end in the NFL and is already experienced in both the running and passing game, having already played in a pro-style type offense at Arkansas.
Sprinkle (6'5″, 256) has the size teams in the NFL look for in their tight ends. He is a natural hands catcher in the passing game and is good at the point of attack as a blocker in the running game. However, he isn't the most athletically gifted player. He has a plotting running style and might struggle to gain separation as a receiver in the NFL.
Overall, I think he can have a long NFL career, but he may never be a dominant player in the NFL.
Jeremy Sprinkle Draft Breakdown player profile
Rd 6, Pick 215: John Johnson, S, Boston College
If you haven't noticed yet, you may see a pattern to the way I have approached this mock draft. Again, with Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox in the last year of their contracts, I decided to add depth to the safety position by selecting John Johnson with the Cowboys sixth round draft pick.
At this point in the draft I look for players with traits that can be developed and I think John Johnson absolutely has the physical makeup to develop into a solid player at the NFL level.
Johnson (6'0, 202) played mostly as a free safety at Boston College, but was asked to play down in the box as well. There are also times where he was asked to play in man coverage and didn't look completely out of place.
Johnson has the movement skills that you like to see in a free safety, but really needs to work on his technique. I think if he can clean up his technique, he can be a really good player in the NFL.
John Johnson Draft Breakdown player profile
Rd 7, Pick 231: Jon Heck, OT, North Carolina
With first of the Dallas Cowboys seventh round draft picks I decided to take a shot in the dark in the hopes of finding depth at the tackle position.
Tyron Smith is likely the only tackle that can be penciled in as a starter in 2017. Doug Free has noticeably started to decline as a player and Chaz Green can't stay healthy. The Cowboys might've found something in Emmett Cleary, but I don't know if he is an every down starter.
Jon Heck (6'7″, 300) has the size and length you for in a starting tackle in the NFL. He was strictly a right tackle at North Carolina and that would likely be the position he would play for the Cowboys.
Heck struggles with his technique and footwork, but that could be because of his size. If they can improve those two areas of his game, he could develop into a starter.
Plus, it would be just too much fun to come up with all kinds of different “Heck” jokes.
Jon Heck Draft Breakdown player profile
Rd 7, Pick 252: Noble Nwachukwu, DE, West Virginia
With the last of the Cowboys draft picks I decided to double dip and selected defensive end Noble Nwachukwu because we all know that the defense could use as much help as possible with their pass rush.
Nwachukwu (6'2″, 275) lined up mostly as a left defensive end at West Virginia. He isn't the most explosive of athletes, but is stout against the run and has the ability to play a defensive end or be kicked down inside in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme.
I don't know how much he will help with the pass rush, because he only has one career quarterback sack in 49 games he's participated in at West Virginia. He does however have 29.5 tackles for a loss, so he is capable of making plays behind the line of scrimmage.
If nothing else, Nwachukwu could be a solid rotational player along the defensive line for Rod Marinelli.
Noble Nwachukwu Draft Breakdown player profile
Would you be satisfied with these draft picks for the Dallas Cowboys?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions about this topic.