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NFL Draft

Safety Leads the Way in this Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock Draft

John Williams



Cowboys Draft: Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill V

This is the week that we've all been waiting for. The NFL Draft is now just five days away. The Dallas Cowboys will finally be able to put all the hard work they've done over the last year into practice. They'll finalize their big board and will add six (or more) players to their roster between now and next weekend.

As it's the last week before the draft, I wanted to bring you one final mock draft. This one will focus on the Dallas Cowboys pre-draft visitor list. They've had contact with tons of players over the last several months, so we should have a pretty good idea where their collective minds are at. Of course, the draft brings so many variables into play that it's hard to accurately predict who will go there, but we're going to try anyway.

Using's Premium On The Clock Simulator, I declined options to trade back in the second, because they required trading back a full round. In trade back scenarios, I wouldn't want to trade back further than the fifth pick in the third round. The Cowboys would miss out on too much talent by going back a full round in the draft.

I attempted to focus this mock on players that the Cowboys have had in for visits this offseason. So let's find the Dallas Cowboys some players.

58 - Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia

Juan Thornhill has been a guy I've hyped up for much of the last two weeks. Until I watched his tape, I was all about Maryland Safety Darnell Savage. In Thornhill, I saw a similar player to Savage, but a better overall athlete that is bigger as well.

Thornhill is in that group of safeties along with Taylor Rapp, Jonathan Abram, and Savage, who could be there for the Dallas Cowboys at pick 58. While each in that group are capable of making a day one impact for the Cowboys, Thornhill is the guy that I think has the best potential.

He's smooth in coverage and willing as a tackler. He plays the ball well in the air and is excellent with the ball in his hands. He has the ability to play corner if needed. At Virginia, he lined up all over the secondary.

Here's what Dane Brugler from The Athletic had to say about Thornhill:

"A three-year starter at Virginia, Thornhill arrived in Charlottesville as a safety before moving outside to corner his sophomore and junior seasons. He moved to the “Sabre” strong safety position as a senior and led the team in tackles (98) and interceptions (6), playing everywhere from nickel to single-high to linebacker (showed he can just as easily press as he can play from deep positioning). Thornhill, who wears No. 21 for Sean Taylor, doesn’t play as fast as he timed, but he has a smooth lower body and doesn’t get off-balance in his movements. He has plus anticipation and ball skills, but will take the worst of hits when his tackling technique isn’t perfect. Overall, Thornhill is more smooth than sudden, which causes him to be a beat late at times, but his instincts, field range and roster versatility are strong selling points, projecting as a high alignment safety who can walk down and cover slot receivers."

Dane Brugler - Dane Brugler's 2019 NFL Draft Guide via The Athletic

He's Dane Brugler's 49th ranked player and fifth best safety in this year's draft. Over the course of Thornhill's career he totaled 13 interceptions and 26 pass deflections. He's a playmaker that stays around the ball and would give the Cowboys another ball hawk in the secondary.

Check out Brian Martin's Scouting Report on Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill.

90 - Jace Sternberger, Tight End, Texas A&M

I don't think that tight end is as big of a need in this year's draft because I firmly believe that Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz are solutions there long-term. However, sometimes the draft doesn't fall like you'd like and here, there weren't any defensive players available that I was as interested in as Texas A&M Tight End Jace Sternberger.

Already off the board were any of the EDGE players that the Cowboys have shown interest in as well as Defensive Lineman Trysten Hill and Khalen Saunders. There were several wide receivers available that the Cowboys have had in for visits, but I felt like there was an opportunity to get one of those later in the draft, thus the pick of Sternberger.

"A one-year starter at Texas A&M, Sternberger quickly emerged as the centerpiece of the Aggies’ passing game, lining up split out, wing or inline. Despite only one season in College Station, he is one of the most productive tight ends in school history, setting the single-season records for receiving yards and touchdown catches. With his athleticism and toughness, Sternberger offers tremendous YAC and down-the-seam value, recording at least one 20-plus yard catch in 12 of 13 games in 2018 (44 percent of his catches resulted in a 20-plus yard play). He is a work-in-progress as both a route runner and blocker and his NFL ceiling will be closely tied to his development in both areas. Overall, Sternberger is a vertical pass-catching target with the athleticism and warrior toughness to be a mismatch weapon, projecting as an NFL joker tight end."

Dane Brugler - Dane Brugler's 2019 NFL Draft Guide via The Athletic

He's a field stretching tight end, similar to Blake Jarwin, with a better  pedigree and more college production. Potentially, Sternberger could get snaps right away as a move tight end as he learns his blocking responsibilities.

128: Emanuel Hall, Wide Receiver, Missouri

There are several wide receivers that bring a speed dimension to the NFL draft this year and Emanuel Hall is one of them. He had good production at Missouri, but injuries kept him from having the type of career that potential first round pick Marquise Brown had.

Like Sternberger, Hall could make an impact week one in three and four wide receiver sets on the outside. With Amari Cooper's ability to line up in the slot, Hall on the outside would add another dynamic element to this young and improving offense.

"Prototypical size and length... excellent release package at the LOS... sets up corners well with head fakes and quick, deceptive feet... Long strider... few corners can keep pace with him vertically... good tracker of the ball... sneaky good route runner... keeps corners on their toes because of his deep speed... takes advantage with an array of double moves... great body control and adjuster to the ball in the air."

Jonah Tuls - Jonah Tuls 2019 NFL Draft Guide

See my Scouting Report on Missouri Wide Receiver Emanuel Hall.

136: Damien Harris, Running Back, Alabama

Alabama Running Back Damien Harris was a productive player in college who averaged 6.4 yards per carry for his career. Over the last three seasons in the Crimson Tide backfield, Harris totaled 1,000 yards each season. In 2018, he caught 22 passes for 204 yards for 9.3 yards per reception. Over his final two years, he totaled 20 touchdowns on the ground.

Only five times in his 54 games played in college did Harris receive more than 15 carries a game, so he's not coming into the NFL as a workhorse type back, but he has potential to work in a running back by committee. For the Dallas Cowboys, if he can take 5-10 touches a game from Ezekiel Elliott, it will help keep Elliott fresh down the stretch and hopefully keep Elliott from seeing 400 touches.

"A Swiss army knife type of running back who possesses good traits in nearly every facet of the game. Solid experience and production as a ball carrier, receiver, and pass protector for an elite program. Nice contact balance and rarely goes down on arm tackles. Underrated footwork and vision. Scheme-versatile to play in both zone and power schemes."

Jonah Tuls - Jonah Tuls 2019 NFL Draft Guide

Check out Brian Martin's Scouting Report on Damien Harris.

165: Kingsley Keke, Defensive Line, Texas A&M

The Dallas Cowboys don't really have a huge need along the defensive line in 2019, but when you look ahead to the 2020 offseason, you could be without Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, and Tyrone Crawford. The Cowboys would have big needs along the defensive line if they were to move on from Crawford to save money on the cap, they would need a 3-technique defensive tackle. Kingsley Keke could be a potential starter.

In 2018, at Texas A&M, Keke had 7.5 sacks and 51 total tackles and 11 tackles for loss. At 6-4 and 305 pounds, he's a player that could give you some snaps at 1-technique on passing downs and be your primary 3-tech in your base defense. He's a productive player with good athletic traits, so getting him in the fifth round would be huge for this defense.

"A quick interior defender with position flex as both a base end and nickel rusher in multiple fronts... played his best football at the end of his career... seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss... 35 consecutive starts... proven durability... a lightning- quick first step with an impressive array of pass rush moves... moves really well and is light on his feet... plays with impressive bend and cornering ability."

Jonah Tuls - Jonah Tuls 2019 NFL Draft Guide

"A three-year starter at Texas A&M, Keke started at nose guard as a sophomore and junior before losing 20 pounds prior to his senior season and moving outside to defensive end under new defensive coordinator Mike Elko. He was listed as an end on the depth chart, but he also played substantial snaps over the A-gap and B-gap in 2018 as the Aggies took advantage of his versatility. Keke is an active athlete and moves well on his feet to slip blocks and chase in pursuit. He flashes upper body strength, but plays too high and is too easily slowed by road blocks, lacking pass rush tempo or core strength to consistently work through contact. Overall, Keke’s inconsistent contact balance and marginal anchor strength will limit his NFL ceiling, but his foot quickness, nonstop effort and position flex are appealing traits, projecting as a base end in a 4-3 or rotational interior player."

Dane Brugler - Dane Brugler's 2019 NFL Draft Guide via The Athletic

241: Chris Westry, Cornerback, Kentucky

Kentucky Cornerback Chris Westry is a project player, but has a lot of experience, size, and athleticism that makes him an interesting player to take in the seventh round. That's what you're looking for in the seventh round of the draft. Guy who have traits that with some coaching and an NFL training and conditioning program could turn into productive role players for your team.

"A three-year starter at Kentucky, Westry was a full-time starter as a freshman and sophomore at Kentucky, but gradually dropped down the depth chart as Derrick Baity improved and Lonnie Johnson arrived from the JUCO level. He was the third cornerback on the depth chart as a senior, playing primarily in the boundary when he was on the field. Westry has exceptional straight-line speed to stay stride for stride with receivers or quickly make up ground when he gets a late start. However, he plays undisciplined with a questionable mental process, struggling to recognize routes or create production. Overall, Westry is a better athlete than football player right now with questionable football intelligence, but his size/speed numbers are rare, which will get him drafted as a high upside project."

Dane Brugler - Dane Brugler's 2019 NFL Draft Guide via The Athletic

The Dallas Cowboys may not have a ton of holes in the 2019 roster even before heading into the NFL Draft, but this draft sets up nicely for them to upgrade several positions for 2019 and beyond. If the Dallas Cowboys can pull off half of this draft, I think it should be considered a really nice weekend for the Cowboys. They add potential starters at safety, tight end, wide receiver, and 3-tech, as well as a good backup at running back, and project corner.

What do you think of this Dallas Cowboys mock draft?

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


NFL Draft

Red River Rivalry Brings WR Devin Duvernay to Dallas, Hopefully to Stay

Brian Martin



Red River Rivalry Brings WR Devin Duvernay to Dallas, Hopefully to Stay 1

If you happen to be a fan of college football and the Dallas Cowboys, then the 2019 Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns might just be a game you want to tune in for this weekend. Both teams will showcase quite a few players who could enter the 2020 NFL Draft and one of the more talented, although still underrated, players could be of interest to the Cowboys.

Enter Texas Longhorns Wide Receiver Devin Duvernay.

When it comes to positions the Dallas Cowboy would be most interested in next year's NFL Draft, wide receiver might not be at the top the list… or so it would seem from the outside looking in. But if you look a little deeper only Amari Cooper, who the Cowboys will extend eventually, and Michael Gallup are locks to stick around beyond this season. That's where Devin Duvernay comes in.

With Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin under one-year contracts, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking for their next slot receiver. Devin Duvernay may be new to the position with the Longhorns this year, but he's already proving to be a dynamic weapon out of the slot and could be exactly what the Cowboys are looking for.

The slot WR position is an important one for the Dallas Cowboys, especially for Quarterback Dak Prescott. It has become a security blanket of sorts over the years for Prescott and finding a sure-handed receiver he's comfortable with is easier said than done. Luckily though, they don't come much more reliable than Devin Duvernay.

Devin Duvernay

Texas Longhorns WR Devin Duvernay (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

According to the folks over at Pro Football Focus, Duvernay was one of the rare collegiate WRs who didn't drop a pass in 2018. That's pretty impressive considering he played the Z-receiver role with the Longhorns last year before moving into the slot in 2019. I'd say that's pretty sure-handed. Down the field targets are much more difficult to haul in than the ones thrown near or around the line of scrimmage.

Sure handedness isn't Devin Duvernay's only impressive trait though. His physicality and infectious attitude on the field is something that would pair nicely with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both of whom are a little low-key/reserved as far as their on-field persona is concerned. Duvernay is a WR who likes to punish would be tackler and he has the build to do just that.

At 5'11", 210 pounds, Duvernay's thick, well muscled frame is much more RB-esque than that of a traditional receiver. His build is comparable to Carolina's D.J. Moore and San Francisco's Deebo Samuel, both of whom were taken relatively high in their respective drafts the past couple of years. His play to both of these WRs is similar as well.

The soon to be former Longhorns WR has all the intangibles to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. His physicality alone makes him difficult for any defensive back to tackle, but he also possesses elite speed as well. He claims he can run a 4.3 40-yard dash and his film certainly suggests he's capable of doing just that.

Overall, Devin Duvernay is absolutely someone the Dallas Cowboys should keep an eye on when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns meet up this weekend in Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. I'd be more than happy if he ended up being one of their Day 2 selections, which is where I have him being drafted right now.

Do you like the idea of WR Devin Duvernay in a Dallas Cowboys uniform?

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Brian Martin



Matt Miller's 2020 Mock Draft Predicts Cowboys Strengthen Their Secondary

What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.

Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.

25. Dallas Cowboys

Bryce Hall

Virginia Cavaliers CB Bryce Hall

The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia

Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.

The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.

According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.

Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.

I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?

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NFL Draft

2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

Brian Martin



2020 RB Options for Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott

The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.

Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.

This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.

Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:

The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.

Let's take a look…

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor

Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.

Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.

D'Andre Swift, Georgia

D'Andre Swift

Georgia Bulldogs RB D'Andre Swift

D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.

Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.

J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State Buckeyes RB J.K. Dobbins

J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.

Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Travis Etienna

Clemson Tigers RB Travis Etienna

The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.

Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.

Najee Harris, Alabama

Najee Harris

Alabama Crimson Tide RB Najee Harris

Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.

Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.

Honorable Mention

The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.

  • Cam Akers, Florida State
  • Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
  • Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
  • Kylin Hill, Mississippi State

I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.

Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?

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