Yesterday morning, we reviewed seven community mock drafts from other SB Nation NFL blogs. All seven sites had made their pick for the Cowboys within the last week. There were two things that stood out for me from the review of those mock drafts:
First, there's no consensus about who the Cowboys will pick, not even among rival fans. The seven mocks picks we looked at proposed five different names. Second, all of the picks were exceedingly well argued and well written up.
Since yesterday, another six blogs have published their picks for the Cowboys. And again, there's no consensus pick. In fact, all six blogs propose a different player. In total, that brings the total to eight different prospects from thirteen blogs. Read what the latest group have to say after the break.
Kirkpatrick has both height and speed going for him, standing at 6'2" and clocking a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. He's tenacious at the line and doesn't take crazy chances playing the ball too often (though it does happen from time to time), but rather he keeps his man in position to make the right plays. He has excelled in man coverage, locking down his side of the field and can easily play with most receivers without help over the top. He works hard and has the kind of swagger a cornerback needs to constantly line up against the best receivers the league has to offer. In fact, if I had to pick the one NFL corner who he most resembles, I'd be inclinded to lean toward none other than Ike Taylor.
Kirkpatrick has his risks, though: his run support could use some work, and sometimes he gets a little too aggressive in bump-and-run, forcing himself into playing catchup after giving up the inside. Despite his physical play, he often resorts to hitting a player rather than wrapping them up and tackling. And he has one small black eye off the field, too (which some might argue is actually prized by Jerry Jones): he was arrested for posession of marijuana, though the charges were later dropped after a friend confessed to leaving the drugs in Kirkpatrick's car without Kirkpatrick's knowledge.
As enticing as guys like DeCastro and Richardson may be, the combination of Kirkpatrick's talent and the Cowboys' need in the secondary should be enough to make even Jerry Jones see the proverbial light.
Mile High Report, where Tebow fans turn into Manning fans virtually overnight (4/8/2012): Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
GM Explanation: I just can't pass up a pure football player. I love a linebacking core of, , and Luke Kuechly. (I am unconvinced of Carter). I want to see what Rob Ryan will do with this LB corp. He has instinct and will be a 10 year starter for you. God knows Dallas can use someone that is a fundamentally sound tackler. I think he is ready to start week 1. Think , or more recently Von Miller. Luke will be Defensive Rookie of the year. From the Sporting News: Kuechly is the best coverage linebacker to come into the NFL in many years. Pass coverage is missing from the existing linebacking corp. Kuechly has good size at 6'3'' and 237 pounds.
Improve the defense with Luke, run Murray non-stop = Going deep in the playoffs.
Commissioner's Analysis: I think this is a horrendous waste of a pick. It's not that Kuechly isn't a good player, or even that he's not a great player, but Dallas already has Sean Lee, Dan Connor, DeMarcus Ware, franchise player, and last year's second round pick . I just think this is absolute overkill and a waste of valuable assets, specifically when the Cowboys have needs at cornerback, safety, possibly along the defensive line, and offensive line.
As we were getting closer to this pick, we narrowed it down to four prospects: Poe, Riley Reiff, Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick. Barron would fill a big need, but we didn't have him rated as high as the other three. Kirkpatrick's size would've been a nice tandem with the newly acquired Brandon Carr down the line, but we had questions about his character from our interviews and his reported marijuana issues.
That took us to Reiff and Poe. We would have relished having the "problem" of having three talented tackles with Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Reiff. We could've gotten creative with line packages or more likely moved up in the draft or acquired a pick or two for Free. Reiff being gone made Poe the clear-cut choice.
What our NFC East rival New York Giants have shown the past five years is how successful a dominant pass rush can be. Poe has the strength and athleticism to command two linemen, allowing our rush ends and LBs to get to the quarterback and on occasion get a sack himself. He's the best NT in this draft.
Poe reminds us of last year's first-round pick, Tyron Smith, in that he is more of a talent than a football player at this point. Once he combines his skill with football savvy, he can be unstoppable. His ceiling is as high as any in this year's draft. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan feels he can easily fix one of Poe's biggest perceived issues, that of lacking effort at times. Ryan guaranteed us he could get full effort from Poe on every play. We are excited to bring him to the 'Boys!
Jimmy K does the honors for our good friends and arch enemies from Bleeding Green Nation (4/7/2012): Fletcher Cox, DE, Mississippi State
The Cowboys don't lack for star players, but when you analyze their roster as a whole, you also realize that they don't lack for glaring holes either.[...]
Because they have so many holes, there's a pretty good chance that when they're on the clock at 14, the best available player on their board will probably match up with one of the biggest team needs. In this case, that player is Fletcher Cox, who can either play DT in a 4-3 or DE in a 3-4.
I like a couple of the Cowboys' DE's, Sean Lissemore and Jason Hatcher, especially since the Cowboys employ both players on the cheap. But those guys are role players, in my opinion. Marcus Spears is done, or at least he should be, and Kenyon Coleman is very much "just a guy." The lasting image I have of the Cowboys DL is Jason Peters bullying them up and down the field. Anyway, at some point the Cowboys have to address this spot a little more seriously, right?
In previous years, the Cowboys didn't ask their DE's to do much more than eat up blocks, partly because they didn't have the ability to do much more than that. Cox isn't that kind of player. His strength is not taking on double teams and freeing up the LB's behind him to gobble up tackles. That doesn't mean he can't do that. It's just not one of his strengths. He's most effective when he's shooting gaps and getting into the backfield, which is something the Cowboys haven't had at that position in... well... I can't really remember the last 3-4 DE they had that actually, you know, made plays.
Cox gives the Cowboys an instant upgrade along their DL, both in their base 3-4 set, and as an interior pass rusher when they go with 4 down linemen on obvious passing downs.
They're selling the world on the fact either Poe or Barron will be the pick, and I think that is smokescreen to prompt one of them getting taken too early, and Ingram falling. They'll bank on him being the next Demarcus Ware... and he could be.
[Plus, they add a second round pick free of charge] Alfonzo Dennard, CB- Nebraska
There are rumblings the Cowboys like Claiborne in the 1st, but that's not going to happen. They address the spot here and add the best CB available.
Given my extreme dislike for the Cowgirls, I hope that the draft plays out this way simply because in this exercise, they will be forced to reach for a pick here. I would consider DE/OLB, CB and OG their biggest needs, but the top choices at those spots have been taken. Upshaw might be a good pick as he has some scheme versatility, but this draft seems to be pretty deep at the DE/OLB spot. They could go for the best guard left, Cordy Glenn as he has the size that Dallas likes. The two best remaining CB's are Janoris Jenkins and his myriad off the field issues and Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina. Gilmore is good; he had to prove he had the speed and did at the combine, but the ‘Girls just signed expensive free agent Brandon Carr. That leaves their last need, and that's at safety. While he's been described as a ballhawk, he also seems to be more of an in the box safety, but Dallas takes Mark Barron, safety from Alabama.
Overall, that's thirteen community mocks by fans of other teams. Here's a summary of which players were mocked to the Cowboys by which fanbase:
Fletcher Cox, DT, Missisippi State -, ,
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama -, , Steelers
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College -
Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina -
Michael Brockers, DT, LSU -
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - Lions
Melvin Ingram, OLB- South Carolina - Panthers
Mark Barron, S, Alabama - Cardinals