Any mock draft published this close to the Combine is hardly worth the paper it is printed on. Good thing then that all of our mock drafts this week are published in the paper-free interwebs.
But publishing a pre-draft mock is not without its merits. After the proceedings in Indianapolis, we can always come back here and figure out which players moved up or down the rankings.
By now, I would have thought that most mocks would have converged on CB Dre Kirkpatrick and OG David DeCastro as the top prospects for the Cowboys. But that's not the case. In addition to those two players, this week the mocks also have OC Peter Konz, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Stephon Gilmore, OLB Melvin Ingram and OLB Courtney Upshaw going to the Cowboys in the first round.
And this week we also feature some of the bigger names in our mock draft round-up. Dan Shonka, Don Banks, Pat Kirwan, Pete Prisco, Chad Reuter and our good friends from Drafttek all weigh in on who the right candidate is for the Cowboys. And for good measure, we've added mocks from the likes of Sports Tears In Our Beers or Uncle Scurvy, just because their names are pretty cool.
All the mock draft goodness after the break.
Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com, 2/22/2012: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford.
DeCastro is the best guard we've evaluated since Steve Hutchinson in 2001. DeCastro is intense, explosive, patient, and has excellent recoverability in pass protection. Jerry Jones brought in Bill Callahan to coordinate the running game offense. DeCastro helps solidify the line in pass protection and in the running game.
Don Banks, SI.com, 2/20/2012: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
This may look a bit high for Gilmore at the moment, but he's a slightly off-the-radar junior who some believe is going to fly up teams' draft boards once they see him work out at the Combine. He's got good size, plenty of speed, tackles well and plays strong press coverage. He also doesn't have the character issues that plague North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins, the ex-Gator who's got a bevy of red flags attached to his resume.
Pat Kirwan, cbssports, 2/20/2012: Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina
The Cowboys need secondary help and may consider Mark Barron or Dre Kirkpatrick. But it all starts up front, and Ingram opposite DeMarcus Ware would give the Cowboys the same one-two punch the Steelers have with Harrison and Woodley.
Pete Prisco, cbssports.com, 2/20/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Did you see them play coverage last season? Now you know why this makes sense.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com, 02/22/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Terence Newman may be on his way out of Dallas as a cap casualty due to his subpar 2011 season, and Kirkpatrick's the type of tall, physical cornerbacks that teams covet.
Drafttek, 2/22/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
After taking a flyer on OC Peter Konz last week, Old Long Ball removed all "Grabs" and decided to take a more value-oriented approach . . . guess who's back? HC Jason Garrett has echoed Cuzzin Jerruh's previous comments about filling needs in free agency and drafting BPA's. Even though Dallas has some money to spend under the cap, their availability is less than 1/3 of the amount that Tampa Bay has to spend.
Kirkpatrick is the total package in pass coverage and also brings size, tackling and run support, attributes not seen at the CB position in Dallas for some time. It is unlikely the Cowboys will keep Terence Newman in 2012, at the age of 34, with an $8 million price tag. Dallas was 23rd in the league in passing yards allowed, and Pro Football Focus gave their pass coverage a negative 36.6. PFF ranked Mike Jenkins as their best CB (#40 overall), Alan Ball and Orlando Scandrick came in at #82 and #83 respectively, and Terence Newman ranked #97 . . . out of a total of 109 CB's!
Walter Football, 2/22/2012: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama.
If the Cowboys are content about Jenkins' character, they'll take him at No. 14. Their secondary is an abomination, so multiple upgrades will need to be found this offseason. Jenkins is easily one of the most talented players in this class.
*** OTHER 2012 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB - Upshaw would be my choice here if the Cowboys weren't planning on franchising Anthony Spencer. They'll probably take a rush linebacker during Day 2.
2. David DeCastro, G - I can't see DeCastro making it past Dallas. The team has a huge need on the interior of its offensive front.
Football's Future, 02/22/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys pass defense was terrible last year, so they will look to upgrade the secondary. Kirkpatrick has tremendous size which will aid him against the league's bigger wide outs, and his toughness could even allow him to make the transition to free safety.
Scout's Notebook, 2/20/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Cornerback isn’t particularly a position of strength for the Cowboys, so picking up a player at the position early in the draft and then addressing it again later wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
Sports Tears In Our Beers, 2/21/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick CB, Alabama
Anyone else get a strange enjoyment from watching Rob Ryan going insane every time his craptastic secondary got burned and gave up a Cowboy's lead last year? I did. Jerry Jones didn't, so Dre Kirkpatrick will be the pick if he is still there to try to help Ryan's head not explode.
Uncle Scurvy, 02/20/2012: Peter Konz, OC, Wisconsin
Was there anything more pitiful in 2011 than watching Tony Romo lunge after a bad snap from the shotgun position? The center/guard play was pitiful for Dallas, at least early on. They took a gamble on cheap players, and they lost. Time to get serious. Konz is the only center with a first-round grade this year, so they reach a bit to shore up the middle of their line.
Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft overview (min. three rounds deep)
|Site||Date||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||4th Round||5th Round||6th Round|
|Draft Tek||2/22||Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama||Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
||Jonathan Massaquoi, OLB, Troy||Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston College
||Jeff Allen, LT, Illinois
||Kevin Koger, TE, Michigan|
|Walter Football||2/22||Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama||Ronell Lewis OLB, Oklahoma
||Tank Carder, ILB, TCU||Tyrone Crawford, DE/DT Boise State
|Great Blue North||2/22||Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabam
||Brandon Washington, OG, Miami
||Jaye Howard, DT, Florida|
|Draftseason||2/20||Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama||Ronell Lewis OLB, Oklahoma||George Iloka, S, Boise State