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?
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?
Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.
But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.
Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.
Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.
On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.
What about the rest of the class?
Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.
After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.
How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?
One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.
Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.
But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.
Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.
Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.
Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.
One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.
In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.
Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?
Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.
The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.
Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.
Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.
For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.
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