Yes, it's already that time of year. Now that the off-season has officially started for the majority of teams around the NFL, it's time to start getting into draft talk. That is why today I will share with you a pre-playoff 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft.
If I'm being truthful, I started looking at potential draft prospects for the Dallas Cowboys when the Ezekiel Elliott suspension started. I knew it would be hard for the Cowboys to make the playoffs without their best player, but I still held out hope anyway.
It did, however, allow me to get a jump-start with my scouting.
Now, it's still way too early in the process to know exactly what the Cowboys' draft needs are since free agency hasn't started yet, but we can still guesstimate based on the holes that need to be filled. It's also a little bit difficult to know where some of these players will fall in the draft because their stock will rise and fall these next several months.
For this Cowboys mock draft I used the Fanspeak simulator and Matt Miller's big board. So, if you don't agree with where some of these players were selected, you can take it up with him.
Let's get started, shall we?
Round 1 (19th overall)
WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Selecting 19th overall kind of lands the Dallas Cowboys in no man's land in this mock draft. There isn't really an immediate starter on the board when they are on the clock, so I addressed the need of upgrading the wide receiver position.
It's been five years since they added a starting caliber WR, and it's way past time for an upgrade.
Courtland Sutton (6'4", 220) is a big physical WR with #1 potential. He likely would've been a first-round draft pick in 2017 if he would have left SMU early, but he decided to return to school instead.
He is similar to Dez Bryant in a lot of ways, which is fitting because he would be his eventual replacement.
Sutton isn't a burner and isn't going to create a lot of separation, but he is excellent at using his size and physicality in the passing game. He has strong dependable hands, is a solid route runner, and is good at picking up yards after the catch.
Round 2 (51st overall)
LB Josey Jewell, Iowa
Whether or not Dallas re-signs Anthony Hitchens could determine how highly the Cowboys draft a linebacker. But, even if Hitchens is re-signed, the Cowboys need depth at the position and also need to find Sean Lee's successor. That is why I took Josey Jewell with the Cowboys second round draft pick.
The one thing that jumps off the tape when watching Josey Jewell are his instincts. He has a lot of the same mannerisms/instincts Sean Lee does and just has a knack of fighting his way through traffic to get to the ball carrier. He also isn't a liability in pass coverage either.
But, what I really like about Jewell is he has the size (6'1", 240) and ability to play any three LB positions in the Cowboys 4-3 defensive scheme.
Round 3 (83rd overall)
OG Will Hernandez, UTEP
The left guard position for the Dallas Cowboys is really the only uncertainty along the offensive line heading into the 2018 season. There are concerns about Tyron Smith's long-term health because of his bothersome back, but I'm hoping for the best.
To solidify the OL, I decided to take Will Hernandez in the third round of this Cowboys mock draft.
Will Hernandez (6'3", 330) is a plug-and-play player. His size indicates he would probably be better off playing in a power scheme, but he is light on his feet and has no problem making any block on the field. He's a road grader when blocking in the run game, and his bulk/athletic ability make him a good pass protector as well.
He would immediately upgrade the LG position and make the Cowboys OL the best in the NFL.
Round 4 (121, 136, 139 overall)
DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA
I personally think Marcus Davenport will end up getting drafted a lot higher, but if the Cowboys can get him in the fourth round, it would be an absolute steal.
Despite drafting Taco Charlton in 2017, there's still a need to upgrade the defensive end position, and I think Davenport will do just that.
At 6'6", 260, Davenport has the size the Cowboys look for in their 4-3 DEs. I even think he could challenge for a starting spot as a rookie. The Dallas Cowboys absolutely have to find somebody else to play opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, whom I expect them to retain for 2018, at least. Davenport could be that guy.
CB Holton Hill, Texas
I struggled with the selection of Holton Hill in this Cowboys mock draft. Dallas did an excellent job of pretty much completely making over their secondary in 2017, so there really isn't a need for another cornerback. But, Hill's talent and potential were just too good for me to pass up.
Holton Hill has first-round talent, but has some off the field problems. He has supposedly failed three drug tests at UT, which is why his stock has fallen so far.
But, I would still be willing to take the risk on him in the fourth round because of his size (6'2", 200) and ball-hawking ability.
It is definitely a risk/reward kind of selection, but I think it's worth taking considering how well the Cowboys' young secondary performed in 2017.
TE Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
The tight end position for the Dallas Cowboys could be one to watch this off-season. Jason Witten has already announced he will return for 2018, but the depth chart behind him could see a big shakeup.
James Hanna could end up being a salary-cap casualty, which leaves Geoff Swaim as the only other backup TE to see playing time this season. And, who knows what is going to happen with Rico Gathers. He seems to be in the Cowboys doghouse for some reason.
For all those reasons, I decided to take Troy Fumagalli with the last of the fourth-round draft picks in this Cowboys mock draft. If you don't know Fumagalli's story, I suggest you look it up. He will be heavily scrutinized because he only has nine fingers, but it doesn't show in his play.
He is arguably the most technically sound TE in the draft class and probably understands the mental aspect of the game more than any of the other TEs as well. He has experience as a halfback, is an adequate in-line blocker, has soft hands, and is a good route runner.
He's more of a possession type TE than a stretch-the-field type, but that's probably what Dak Prescott needs most.
Round 5 (174, 176 overall)
S Damon Webb, Ohio State
The safety position for the Dallas Cowboys is a bit of a head-scratcher heading into the off-season.
They didn't perform terribly bad in 2017, but if there is a chance to upgrade the position, the Cowboys should jump on it. That is why I selected Damon Webb with the first of two fifth round draft picks.
Damon Webb has the potential to be a rookie starter for the Cowboys at either safety position. He was surrounded by talent at Ohio State, but that doesn't take away from his skill set.
He's a solid tackler around the line of scrimmage, yet has the range and cover skills to be a deep safety. The Cowboys could use that versatility, especially if they decide to move Byron Jones back to CB.
DL Kentavius Street, NC State
I would love for the Dallas Cowboys to draft a defensive tackle earlier for a change, but they just don't put much value in the position. That was evident enough in 2017 when we saw a carousel of players rotate on and off the roster.
One of the things they do love in their DL is versatility, which is why I selected Kentavius Street.
While at NC State, Street played up and down the defensive line. He could just be one of the strongest and most athletic defensive lineman in the entire draft class. He has a quick first step and shows some natural bend when rushing around the edge as a DE, but is strong at the point of attack when playing as a DT.
Round 6 (197th overall)
LB Skai Moore, South Carolina
Like I mentioned earlier, Dallas needs depth at the LB position, which is why I wouldn't be surprised if they double-dip.
To find Skai Moore still sitting there in the sixth round is little bit surprising, but not totally out of the realm of possibility. He is talented, but there are concerns that need to be addressed.
First off, he is a little undersized at 6'1" and around 220 pounds or so, but you wouldn't know it by his physical play when watching tape.
Secondly, he had to take a redshirt season due to a herniated disc in his neck that required fusion surgery.
Other than that he would be the perfect weak side LB in the Cowboys 4-3 scheme.
He has excellent sideline to sideline speed and knows how to fend off blocks with his hands. I think he has the talent to eventually take over for Sean Lee down the road.
Round 7 (238 overall)
RB Myles Gaskin, Washington
With the final pick in this Dallas Cowboys mock draft I decided to add some depth to the running back position since Alfred Morris likely won't be brought back. We all know Ezekiel Elliott is going to handle the majority of the workload, and Rod Smith has likely earned more playing time, but Dallas could still use another shifty type RB.
Myles Gaskin could be the change of pace RB the Cowboys attempted to acquire last year.
You may have forgotten, but Dallas was targeting Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but Philadelphia beat them to the punch. Instead they drafted Ryan Switzer. Gaskin, however, is a lot like Pumphrey.
Gaskin is listed at just 5'9", 195, but he runs heavier than that. He has excellent start/stop quickness, great vision, speed, and is a good receiver out of the backfield. All he needs is a little crease and he is gone.
What do you think of this pre-playoffs Cowboys mock draft?
Cowboys Draft Dilemma: Deebo Samuel (Rd. 2) vs. Stanley Morgan Jr. (Rd. 4)
There are a lot of fans around Cowboys Nation who are hoping former South Carolina Wide Receiver Deebo Samuel is still on the board when the Dallas Cowboys are on the clock in the second-round with the 58th overall selection. Samuel is the dream replacement for Cole Beasley for a lot of us, but would likely be a luxury this early in the draft instead of a need.
I don't want to rain on the parade for all you Deebo Samuel fans, myself included, but I don't know if the Cowboys would pull the trigger on a WR that early. This is especially true considering there is someone who I believe compares favorably to Samuel and could be available at least two rounds later. In case you haven't figured out yet, I'm talking about former Nebraska WR Stanley Morgan Jr.
Deebo Samuel of course is the more hyped WR and is in the running as one of the top five receivers in the 2019 draft class, but Stanley Morgan Jr. shouldn't be considered a consolation prize. These two WRs could be a carbon copy of one another on paper and tested surprisingly similar at the NFL Combine as well.
Don't take my word for it of course. Take a look for yourself…
Stanley Morgan Jr.
|Arm length||31 3/8"||32 3/8"|
|Hand size||10"||9 7/8"|
|20 yard shuffle||4.14||4.13|
|3 cone drill||7.03||6.78|
As you can see from the measurements and the testing, Deebo Samuel and Stanley Morgan Jr. are amazingly similar on paper. The similarities don't end there though. Both players are devastating with the ball in their hands and easily create separation through their route stems.
The only real difference I have seen between the two is Samuel is a little more thickly built and has been more productive as an outside receiver so far in his career. He is also the more powerful of the two, which serves him well in contested catch situations. That's not saying Morgan can't be just as effective as an outside WR. He just wasn't utilized in that manner during his time at Nebraska.
As far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned though, both Samuel and Morgan would be ideal inside/outside WR candidates capable of replacing Cole Beasley in the slot. The only question now is which receiver would the Cowboys prefer?
It's really a tossup if you don't really know these receivers and have never watched them play, but not if you take into consideration what we know about the Dallas Cowboys. They like bargains, which is why I have a hard time believing they wouldn't be bargain shoppers in the 2019 NFL Draft like they have been so far in free agency.
As much as we all love Deebo Samuel and the skill set he would bring to the Cowboys, investing a second-round pick might be too high for Dallas considering they can get a similar player at least two rounds later. Stanley Morgan Jr. is a bargain I just don't think they could pass up.
This is all speculation of course, but it's definitely something to take into consideration when the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway.
Deebo Samuel or Stanley Morgan Jr.? Which receiver would you draft?
Cowboys Draft Target: Mississippi State S Johnathan Abram
NAME: Johnathan Abram
SCHOOL: Mississippi State
JERSEY: No. 38
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
HT: 5' 11 3/8"
|Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Tackles||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Def Int||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles||Fumbles|
Johnathan Abram, playing for the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University, is considered the hardest hitting safety in college football. He's top NFL prospect, who is projected to be selected in the late 1st to early 2nd round(s) of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Johnathan Abram's biggest strength as a safety prospect is his ability to play around the line of scrimmage as a box safety, which is why he's projected to be a strong safety in the NFL. Possesses the prototypical size for the position. He also has the ability and skill set to play a hybrid safety/linebacker role as well.
Abram is at his best when he's playing downhill and sideline to sideline against the run. His size, strength, and physicality allow him to stack and shed blocks like a linebacker. Aggressive tackler who is always looking to deliver a big hit. Also shows good technique to get his head across the ball carrier's chest while wrapping up to make the tackle.
Shows adequate range and speed in coverage. Is able to flip his hips and redirect to change direction quickly, but there is some stiffness there as well. Has the size and athletic ability to match up with tight ends. Shows an understanding of route recognition. His physicality in the run game carries over into the passing game.
The biggest concern about Johnathan Abram's game is his ability, or lack thereof, in coverage. Whether it's an man or zone coverage, he struggles with his responsibilities and can be eaten alive by receivers who know what they're doing. This doesn't bode well for his transition to the NFL, which has become a heavy passing league.
His aggressive nature will get him into trouble in the passing game. Can be clunky in his transitions against good route runners. Will panic and grab when he's caught out of position, which has generated, or should have, flags being thrown. Lack of desired range will keep him from becoming a deep safety, making him a strong safety only.
Questionable ball skills. Only has two interceptions and 10 pass deflections in his career. Struggles locating the ball and doesn't show instincts or anticipation to jump routes. Can be too aggressive against the run, causing him to over pursue and create cutback lanes.
If the Dallas Cowboys are looking for a hard-hitting strong safety who excels around the line of scrimmage, then Johnathan Abram is their guy. He is a heatseeking missile when playing downhill or sideline to sideline, and would play that Kam Chancellor type role on the backend of Kris Richard's defense. He has outstanding size and speed for the position, and is a more fluid athlete then he's given credit for. More of a "traditional" throwback safety.
Abram unfortunately struggles in coverage, despite showing good range and long speed. He may be nothing more than a box safety or nickel/dime linebacker in the NFL. This could hurt his chances of landing with the Cowboys, especially if they are looking for an interchangeable safety to pair with Xavier Woods. But, if there are looking for that "enforcer" type of player, they'd probably have to take him at 58 in the second-round because it's unlikely he will still be there when they're on the clock in the third-round.
Dallas Cowboys Make Trades in this 7-round Mock Draft
Though we're still in the midst of the free agency frenzy that took hold this week, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing the grind toward the end of April as they look forward to the most important aspect of roster building for their franchise, the NFL Draft.
As we know by now, the Dallas Cowboys prefer to build their team through draft, supplement their roster with lower cost free agent signings, and retain their own players through contract extensions and resignings. As they get ready for the draft, they'll be exploring all opportunities to improve a roster that made it to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs in 2018 with the hopes of advancing even further in 2019.
This is the first installment of mock drafts that you'll see from me here at Inside The Star, and like last year, I wanted to explore what some trade options might look like for the Dallas Cowboys. For this installment, I used Draftek's big board over with Fanspeak's On The Clock Premium Simulator. It allows for trades and allows you to select whether the simulation will use the same big board or multiple big boards to create more variables. I selected multiple, because that's closer to the reality of the NFL Draft. Every team has a unique big board that they're operating from.
All trades went through Draftek's Trade Value Chart, which is what the teams use when assigning value to draft picks.
58 - TRADE
58 to San Francisco for 67 and 86
Because the Cowboys don’t have a first round pick or a sixth round pick and this draft class is deep at several positions where the Cowboys could use some reisnforcements, they’re going into the draft looking to trade back with their first pick.
The San Francisco 49ers come calling and offer picks 67 (3.3) and 104 (4.2) for the 58th overall pick.
Per the trade value chart produced by Draftek, the Cowboys gain 21 points in value from the trade. It’s not a far trade back, as it’s only nine spots. Their ability to pick up an extra fourth is huge.
67 - Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama
With their first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, The Dallas Cowboys select Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama.
Somewhat of a forgotten man on the Alabama defense, Miller exploded for eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his senior season with the Crimson Tide.
Check out The Draft Network's Scouting Report on Christian Miller.
90 - Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas
Admittedly, I’m not as high on Charles Omenihu as some others might be as a second round selection, but as a third rounder, I can see the value in drafting Omenihu to help fortify your defensive line.
The Texas Longhorn product has experience playing on the EDGE, 3-Tech, and 1-tech alignments, and would probably be best suited playing 3-Tech in the NFL.
He reminds me a bit of Tyrone Crawford in that he doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he finds ways to make plays.
He was a productive player at Texas finishing with 9.5 sacks in the season.
Back in February I wrote a film review on Omenihu.
104 - TRADE
104 to the Buffalo Bills for 112 and 131
In another trade back, the Cowboys sent pick 104 in the fourth round to the Buffalo Bills for their two fourth round picks, 112 and 131. Per the trade value chart, the Cowboys picked up 25 points in pick value by trading back eight spots.
112 - Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St.
The Dallas Cowboys could use a safety that can play in the box and Johnathan Abram from Mississippi St. could very well be the guy to line up next to Xavier Woods in the secondary.
In 2018, Abram recorded 99 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, five passes defenses, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and two interceptions.
In 2017, he recorded 71 total tackles, diver tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and five passes defensed.
Abram, who will be one of the Dallas Cowboys 30 visitors in preparation for the draft, was a splash player in the SEC.
128 - Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
Were it not for the ACL injury suffered by Oklahoma Running Back Rodney Anderson, it’s possible we’re talking about a top 60 selection in this year’s draft. Anderson’s injury history, however, has him consistently available for the Cowboys in the fourth round.
As they look for a backup to Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys would be hard-pressed to find a runner as productive and as talented as Anderson is without paying a premium price.
Like Elliott, Anderson’s a smooth runner, who is able to play through contact as well as make people miss in the open field.
For his career, Anderson averaged 6.4 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns. His only full season with the Sooners, he rushed for 1161 yards on 188 attempts (6.2 yards per carry), 13 touchdowns, and caught 17 passes for 281 yards, and five more touchdowns. That’s a touchdown every 11.4 touches.
Prior to being lost for the season in week two against UCLA, Anderson was averaging 10.8 yards per carry.
Read Brian Martin's Draft Preview on Rodney Anderson.
131 - Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
Parris Campbell has the speed, quickness, and athleticism to be a threat both in the slot and on the outside for the Dallas Cowboys.
Admittedly, it’s not likely that a player with his athletic traits and production would be available in the fourth round, but in the NFL Draft, there are few guarantees.
Campbell recorded 90 receptions for 1,063 yards, and 23 touchdowns in his senior season with the Buckeyes. He'd be an excellent asset in the slot and on the outside as a speed threat for the Dallas Cowboys.
136 - Ben Banogu, EDGE/LB, TCU
You can never have too many pass rushers, and that’s what the Cowboys believe as they double-up on weakside EDGE players by selecting Ben Banogu from TCU in the fourth round.
Banogu was a very productive player for the Hirned Frogs. For his junior and senior seasons, Banogu averaged 8.5 sacks and 17.25 tackles for loss.
At 6-4, 249, he brings good length to the position and has the frame to add a bit more bulk to help him set the edge in the NFL.
165 - Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
Count me as one who’s excited about the possibility of Blake Jarwin developing into a starting tight end for the Cowboys. He certainly showed over the last half of the season that he’s capable, just needs more experience and playing time. That said, despite the addition of Jason Witten, the Cowboys should still look to add a tight end in the draft, and here’s a good one in UCLA product, Caleb Wilson.
In 11 games for the Bruins in 2918, Wilson caught 60 passes for 965 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 16.1 yards per reception in the PAC 12.
If there’s a knock on Wilson, it’s that he has had some injury struggles in his collegiate career. He has potential to be a move tight end in the NFL with his receiving ability.
241 - Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor
There are few prospects that can be had around the fifth round or later that are as intriguing as Baylor Wide Receiver Jalen Hurd.
The first three years of his collegiate career, Hurd played running back for the University of Tennessee and averaged about 4.6 yards per carry. In his freshman season, he ran for 899 yards and five touchdowns, while adding 221 yards receiving on 35 catches and two more touchdowns.
When he transferred to Baylor for his senior season, the Bears coaching staff converted him to wide receiver and he flourished. In 12 games, Hurd caught 69 passes for 946 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears also used him as a runner and he gained 209 yards on 48 carries for three more touchdowns.
In his four year career, he averaged 1,070 yards from scrimmage on 193 touches for 8.25 touchdowns. That’s at two different positions and two different schools.
at 6-4, 217 pounds, Hurd has the size to play receiver in the NFL. He has the ability to play both inside and outside and can give you some snaps out of the backfield as well.
Check out Brian Martin's film review on Jalen Hurd.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
This is just one of many scenarios that could take place when the NFL Draft rolls around at the end of April. The possibilities are endless. The Cowboys have several needs on the offensive and defensive side of the football and this draft has players that can fill those areas of need throughout. Obviously, they'll look to draft the best player available when they come on the clock, and these could very well be players that end up with a star on their helmet in 2019.
How would you feel about the Cowboys drafting any of these guys?
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