This being the third to last installment of this series, it is safe to say that any trends in Cowboys mock drafts from the world wide web should only continue leading up to April 27th’s first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Summarizing different mock drafts each week, this weekly exercise has fed Cowboys Nation a steady diet of top talent at WR with Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore, or Courtland Sutton, DT with Da’Ron Payne or Vita Vea, and LB with Rashaan Evans or Roquan Smith.
Truly at the mercy of the board at 19th overall, let’s see how hypothetical drafts fall for the Dallas Cowboys this week.
CBS Sports: D.J. Moore, WR – Maryland
Like clockwork, rumors of Dez Bryant’s pending departure from Dallas have spurred writers everywhere to mock a new pass catcher for Dak Prescott in the first round. Without Bryant, the Cowboys would certainly have the need for a player like Moore, who they absolutely could use anyway as an all-around big play threat.
The hype for Moore has been steady this draft cycle, but I like the Maryland wide receiver’s chances of being on the board when the Cowboys come on the clock. Whether or not they pull this trigger will be determined no sooner than after the 18th overall pick.
Bleacher Report: Da’Ron Payne, DT – Alabama
“…the Cowboys could be unable to resist former Alabama interior defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne, who could team up inside with David Irving right away in order to perfectly complement rushers DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Taco Charlton.
Dallas already has several promising young pieces in the secondary and on the edge, and Payne might also be the best player available here.”
Da’Ron Payne is a common name for Cowboys followers to keep in mind at the draft, filling a common mock draft theme of this team (holding ten total picks) going for depth at multiple positions with one prospect in the first round.
Even during the far-less-important beginning to this series, it was near impossible to find a Cowboys mock draft somewhere that did not have Michgan’s Maurice Hurst as the pick. With Hurst suffering through an unfortunate medical situation that has reportedly taken him off of several teams’ boards entirely, this hype has shifted to Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne.
Gagnon is spot on with his own analysis above, and we can add that the Cowboys still remain uncertain on the future for DT David Irving. Payne may be looked at as an eventual replacement at the 3T position, with the ability to contribute in 2018 as a nose tackle if called upon.
SB Nation: Roquan Smith, LB – Georgia
“In past drafts we’ve seen linebackers like Smith drop. He’s a great player, but there’s an outside possibility this could happen. If so, Dallas should be happy to snap him up with the 19th pick. Although Smith has to figure out how to get off blocks better, there is no better read and react linebacker in this draft.”
A mock draft this late into April that finds the top linebacker available for 2018 at 19th overall is certainly newsworthy. I don’t personally believe that Roquan Smith will be on the board after the first 15 picks, but the idea of him joining Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith with the Cowboys is worth considering.
In drafting Georgia’s Roquan Smith, the Cowboys would veer slightly from their history of selecting starters in the first round, outweighed by the positives of grabbing a potential star linebacker.
Smith can play all three LB positions, projecting best at WILL – where Sean Lee’s long-term status is the most uncertain at this position for Dallas. Should Lee miss any time, the Cowboys should feel great about pairing their two Smith’s together on the second level to bring a physicality that this team has lacked for too long.
A first round linebacker may very well be a stretch for this team, but so too is being in position to even draft a top-ten talent here.
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As a reminder, I will be covering the 2018 NFL Draft live from AT&T Stadium here at Inside The Star for Cowboys Nation! Between now and the Cleveland Browns going on the clock, we will look at two more week’s worth of mock drafts.
Also stay posted for further draft analysis on prospects that could fit America’s Team through all seven rounds, as the Cowboys’ opportunity to host this draft is right around the corner!