There's not much we know yet about who the Dallas Cowboys will pick in the 2013 NFL draft, although we can probably exclude a kicker and a punter from our list. Beyond that, our best hope is for the Cowboys to follow a BPA approach, and two years ago that's exactly what Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would do:
"We're going to take the best player that's available when it comes time for us to pick. I know that's the old saying that people get tired of hearing about, but that's what we need to do with this team. You never know who is going to be injured and who is not going to work out from year-to-year, so you just need to take good football players, and that's what we're going to do."
Looking over the list of recent Cowboys picks, that strategy seems to have worked well for the Cowboys.
Four years ago, when then-Colts CM Bill Polian was still considered a great talent evaluator and still had a job as a GM, he explained the Colts' draft strategy in similar words:
"We always try to draft the best player available, and the best example I can give is Reggie Wayne," he said. "We had a big need for a cornerback that year, but we could not agree on who that should be. So we turned around, traded down, and took Reggie Wayne, who was the best player available at that pick. And it turned out to be the right thing.
And it always is, you should take the best player. You might be wrong in the assessment of the player, but as long as you take the best player your odds of success are very much greater."
For now, it's too early to tell with any degree of certainty what the Cowboys will do with their 18th pick. What we do know is that there will be very talented players available when the Cowboys are on the clock. But that won't stop us from looking at who some selected mockers like for the Cowboys this week.
Do you think these are the best players available for the Cowboys?
|Walter Football||Johnathan Jenkins, NT, Georgia||January 10|
|Comment: "The Cowboys had the option of picking J.J. Watt at No. 9 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. They went with Tyron Smith, who was great in his rookie campaign, but they were hurting at the defensive end position as a consequence. In this scenario, they'd be able to move Jay Ratliff outside. It's something they were thinking about when they were seriously considering taking Dontari Poe in April. "|
Draft King (Lou Pickney)
||Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri||January 9|
|Comment: "I call this the "J.J. Watt" effect, the inevitable move by teams running 3-4 defenses in the copycat NFL to find a guy with proper 3-4 DE size (290-300 pound range) who they hope can provide results similar to what Watt has produced in 2012 for the Texans."|
D.J. Fluker, RT, Alabama
|Comment: "The right side of the Cowboys' OL is the worst in the NFL, so says Long Ball and Pro Football Focus.com: Mackenzy Bernadeau (ROG) scored -10.8 and Doug Free (ROT) scored -10.1 (consolidated scores passing & rushing). D.J. Fluker started 35 career games at ROT for the Crimson Tide (29 consecutive) and will provide a presence to Dallas' OL that has been missing since the days of Eric Williams. Free can either slide inside to ROG or find a new home."|
|CBSSports (Dane Brugler)||Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida||January 7|
|Comment: "With Warmack off the board, there is a good chance the Cowboys switch gears to their needs on the defensive line. Floyd, who has experience both inside and outside on the line, would be able to fill a big need for Dallas' three-man front."|
NEPatriotsdraft (James Christensen)
||Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma||January 7|
|Comment: "Johnson is a nasty blocker that will go a long way to over-hauling the poor-performing Cowboys offensive line."|
|SB Nation (Matthew Fairburn)||Matt Barkley, Quarterback, USC||January 7|
|Comment: "Tony Romo doesn't get the credit he deserves. He carried the Cowboys in the second half of the season but shoulder all of the blame for them coming up short. His tenure in Dallas could unfairly come to an end this offseason. If it does, Matt Barkley reeks of a Jerry Jones pick."|
|CBSSports (Rob Rang)||Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State||January 7|
|Comment: "The 6-5, 232-pound Glennon offers a high upside and has enjoyed plenty of success already in his young career, throwing for 30-plus touchdowns in each of his two seasons as NC State's starter -- a plateau previous standout Wolfpack quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers never accomplished."|
|Draft Breakdown (Jon Dove)||Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan||January 5|
|Comment: "Tony Romo needs the Cowboys to move on from the Doug Free project."|
|Draft Season (Matt Falk)||Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina||January 4|
|Comment: "The Cowboys had serious issues on the offensive line in 2012. Adding a bruiser like Cooper to the interior of their line will help prolong the Tony Romo era and help open up a running game that could never seem to get going."|
|Draft Headquarters (Shawn Zobel)||Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina||January 4|
|Comment: "With an expected upgrade coming in 2013 on the offensive line, one player who the team should have their eye on him is North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper. A dominating blocker in the run game who could single-handedly improve a team's run game at the next level, Cooper also has proven to be one of the best anchors among interior offensive linemen in the country. Cooper is a polished, refined, NFL-ready prospect who will start from day one at the next level and would be a great addition to a Cowboys' offensive line that could use him. "|
|Sporting News (Vinny Iyer)||Johnathan Hankins, DE, Ohio State||January 3
|Comment: "The Cowboys’ front seven was beaten up by the end of the season, and they need to make an upgrade at end in their 3-4 scheme. Hankins’ stock has dropped a bit, but he’s a solid fit for Dallas’ scheme."|
|Big Lead Sports (Jason McIntyre)||Matt Barkley, QB, USC||January 2
|Comment: "Jerry Jones is calling the shots. Would you really be shocked if, given Romo’s last game, Jones took Barkley? As we guessed in November, he’s going to win over everyone during interviews and convince people that he wasn’t the problem for USC’s awful season. Barkley feels like a Cowboys’ QB."|
|Foxsports (Peter Schrager)||Chance Warmack, G/C, Alabama||January 2
|Comment: "Warmack can play guard or center and he can play them in the big leagues right now. Not as sexy as some of Jerry’s usual picks, but a solid one."|
Optimum Scouting (Eric Galko)
||Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama||January 2
|Comment: "Simply put, the Cowboys have consistently neglected the offensive line in the draft. Outside of Tyron Smith, who’s been good but not great, putting Doug Free as the starting offensive tackle, again, over rated in my eyes, and using free agency to add to the guard spots, the Cowboys are desperate for more stability for Romo. Warmack is the best offensive guard prospect in recent years, and should work wonders for the Cowboys passing game."|