With free agency is just around the corner, you would think that nobody would bother putting up a mock draft anymore, as it will likely be largely irrelevant in two or three days. Yet draftniks around the country got busy over the weekend and knocked out their final mock drafts before free agency starts on Tuesday.
Mock drafts to date have suffered from "need disease", where selections were made purely on need. Once free agency gets, and teams start filling the most obvious holes, perhaps these mocks will do a better job of selecting the best player available for each team.
For the Cowboys and Jason Garrett is filling needs in free agency is a key priority in order to enable the team to go BPA in the draft.
"In a perfect world, what you want to try to do is go into the draft without needs," Garrett said in a Year-End Special TV interview with Brad Sham. "I think you tend to draft worse when you say, "I think we need to draft this position or that position. And regardless of how objective you want to make that process, you invariably say, 'OK, we have a need here, so maybe we bump a player up ahead of this guy when they're really probably pretty similar.
"In an ideal situation you want to address your needs prior to the draft. Hard to do that, but you're trying to do that so you can draft as purely as possible. Couldn't do that last year."
Let's hope that the Cowboys can indeed fill as many needs as possible during free agency. And until we know which needs exactly they were able to fill, let's marvel at how the latest mock drafts seem to be unable to arrive at a consensus pick for the Cowboys.
Ryan Van Bibber, SBNation, 3/12/2012: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
Children in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area still cry when they think about the Cowboys' secondary. Nobody cries more than Rob Ryan, whose head coaching career hit a speed bump because of that unit. Jerry Jones cares about children and Rob Ryan; ergo, he will spend big bucks on Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan in free agency. Jones has his own reputation staked on Tony Romo. DeCastro gives Romo a little protection and some more help via the running game.
The Phinsider (SBNation), 3/12/2012: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama:
With a strong outing at the Senior Bowl, Jenkins overtakes Dennard in the draft. Jenkins could have been the #1 CB in the draft had he not had issues with the Gators. With Terrence Newman expected be out of Dallas this off-season, they will need all the help Dennard can provide.
Will Lomas, Draftseason, 3/12/2012: David DeCastro OG Stanford
I wish free agency would start, because of the teams that could make a serious play for Carl Nicks, Dallas may be one of the more serious contenders. However, until then the Cowboys take the best player on the board. For any teams that want DeCastro to fall to them (Chargers, Titans, Bengals, 49ers, etc.) this will be a hold-your-breath moment. DeCastro could be an All Pro guard in the next few years and is as NFL ready as they come. He can do everything you want from day 1 and can immediately help any team.
Dane Brugler, CBSSports, 3/12/2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
The Cowboys have several holes to fill, but the greatest of them is in the secondary, more specifically at cornerback. Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is a top-10 talent with an impressive blend of size, length and speed, but could fall a few spots on draft day because of his recent run-in with the law for possession of marijuana (even though it was dropped). His aggressive playing style coupled with Dallas' need at cornerback makes this an easy pick for Jerry Jones and company, especially if DeCastro is off the board.
Pat Kirwan, CBSSports, 3/12/2012: Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
I think the Cowboys will avoid players like CB Janoris Jenkins and their off-the-field issues. They have enough to do keeping Dez Bryant in line. If they re-sign Anthony Spencer, then the Cowboys look to the secondary. Upshaw would be perfect complement opposite DeMarcus Ware.
Drafttek, 3/10/12: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
In deference to starmesh23 & Hatchetman337, the Honourable Jerral Wayne Jones puts the Man Mountain in the Middle (backed up by Brent), Ratliff to DE (backed up by Lissemore & opposite Ware) & Hatcher at the other DE (backed up by Spears and/or Geathers). Now there's a "two-deep" to pressure QB's!
Dan Shonka, Ourlads, 3/10/2012: 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.
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com, 3/10/2012: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
DeCastro is a very strong interior offensive line prospect, one of the best to come down the pike in years. This might actually represent a value pick for Dallas if you believe some scouts and analysts who see DeCastro as a top ten talent for the 2012 Draft. Leonard Davis, who made a nice transition from offensive tackle with the Cardinals to offensive guard with the Cowboys (becoming a three-time All-Pro during his stint in Dallas), was a cap casualty in 2011.
Robert Davis, Football's Future, 3/9/2012: Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Poe is the type of nose tackle teams can build an entire defense around. He has a truly rare athleticism and size combination, and brings the versatility to play on the nose but also on the edge as a 5 tech.
Clint Clearwater, FootballExpert.com, 3/9/2012: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly had an incredible combine and proved to teams everywhere that he is a top 15 pick. If he lasts this long, I believe he will go off the board here. I don't think this is the biggest need for the Cowboys but this is a smart pick. Kuechly is a leader, intelligent and has instincts that are far better than any other LB in this class. He is simply too good to pass on here.
Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft overview (min. three rounds deep)
|Site||Date||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||4th Round||5th Round||6th Round||7th Round|
|Draft Tek||3/10||Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
||Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin
||Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia||Vontaze Burfict, LB, ASU
||Brandon Lindsey, OLB, Pittsburgh
||Omar Bolden, CB, ASU
||Dominique Hamilton, DE, Missouri
|Walter Football||3/11||David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
||Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Syracuse||Tank Carder, ILB, TCU||Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
||Janzen Jackson, S, McNeese State||- -
|Draftsite||3/11||David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
||Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida||Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina||Mike Martin, DT, Michigan||Sammy Brown, OLB, Houston||Case Keenum, QB, Houston||Jaye Howard, DT, Florida|
|The London Cowboy||3/10||Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College||Nick Perry, OLB, USC||George Iloka, FS, Bosie State||Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida||Brock Osweiler, QB, ASU||Omar Bolden, CB, ASU||(traded)|
|Rohpuri||3/10||Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis||Kendall Reyes, DE, UCONN||Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame||Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State||Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana Lafeyette||Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly||Adrian Hamilton, OLB, Prairie View|
For this week's mock draft poll, we've added two BTB members, TheLondonCowboy and Rohpuri, whose mocks received the most recommendations in our BTB mock Draft Challenge over the weekend. Poe twice, DeCastro twice and Kuechly once should make for an interesting poll.