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: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class
The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.
You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.
The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.
Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:
- DT, Trysten Hill
- RB, Tony Pollard
- RB, Mike Weber
- WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
- CB, Chris Westry
If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.
The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.
I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.
After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.
This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.
It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.
Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
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