Cowboys Mock Draft
Round 1: Eric Reid, S
Round 2: Larry Warford, G
Round 3: Tyrann Mathieu, CB
Round 4: Marcus Lattimore, RB
Round 4 (trade up): Michael Buchanan, DE)
Explaining the Mock
Eric Reid: I am very high on Eric Reid. Honestly, I think he is the best safety in this years draft class, better than Matt Elam and Kenny Vaccaro. No knock on those two however, as they are both studs in their own right. I just think Eric Reid is the more complete safety and is a great playmaking fit that Monte Kiffin needs. Earlier, I was thinking about making this pick an offensive guard to help out the offense, but I think Dallas is better off being a more defense based team. I like the identity of an offense that puts up enough points, and a defense that allows the opposition a few less points. Eric Reid not only fills a need with much talent, he also brings passion and bite to this defense, and they definitely need lots of that.
Larry Warford: As I mentioned above, I would like to see the Cowboys be a defense first team, but that doesn’t mean the offense is good as it is. They need help along the line, and the defense won’t bail them out every time. Larry Warford will immediately be a starter and make an impact, allowing Murray and Lattimore holes to run between and giving Romo a bit of time in the pocket without interior pressure to make his throws and find his man Dez Bryant. In the second round, this is a great pick. The Cowboys would knock out two of their four biggest needs (OL, S, DL, RB) in the first two rounds and both would be impactful contributors.
Why the Cowboys Should Draft Tyrann Mathieu: I know I’m gonna get a lot of heat going for Mathieu after the antics he has shown. And the way Jason Garrett is molding his team. And after the Cowboys almost lost Dez. And how much time and commitment it took to get Dez where he is. But this is a risk worth taking. Some would disagree, because the Cowboys really need to fix up their roster badly, and taking risks is not a good idea. They need a sure thing. But if I was the GM, I would not be able to resist Tyrann Mathieu. He was most likely going to be a first round pick before he was booted from LSU last year. His draft stock falls a whole lot, but he still has that talent. Mathieu brings to the table what few players can bring: the spark. He is the Johnny Manziel or the Colin Kaepernick of the defense. He doesn’t cover very well, but he is a playmaker. He can change the game at any given moment. He can rush the passer, rip the ball (we’ve seen him do that plenty) defend the pass, and like his buddy Eric Reid, the short dude can lay some serious hits. He brings the aggression, the character, the swagger, the attitude, the grit, the nastiness, and the salt to the defense that no one else on Dallas brings. Dallas has a load of good defensive players, but someone needs to be the bully. Eric Reid and Mathieu can do that. Not to mention Mathieu’s talent in the return game. Dallas already had a dynamic punt returner in Dwayne Harris who seems to have a big return in every game, but what about kicks? Every time the Cowboys returned a kick, they would start with poor field position. And as a punt returner, Harris could go down immediately, which happens to return men very frequently. Mathieu boats too much defensive playmaking ability to not take the risk on. The Cowboys took their chances with Dez, and he has turned into the greatest weapon on their roster. It took time and commitment, but it was well worth it. Mathieu represents the same case. If he doesn’t work out, it was a third round pick that we lost, not a first or second rounder. And Mathieu likely won’t start, but will be a nickelback/dime. GM’s have to take risks, and when they do work out, a dynasty is born. Someone this year will spend a first round pick on Jarvis Jones. He is also a wildcard. His spinal stenosis could abruptly end his career. The other positive I like about adding Mathieu and Reid is that three superstars from the top rated LSU defense one year ago will be reunited. Claiborne, Reid and Mathieu were the elites of the secondary that year, and with the three of them on one field together again could do a whole lot for this team. It makes up the whole package: the solid veteran in Brandon Carr, the developing stud in Morris Claiborne, the hard hitting bruiser in Eric Reid, and the salty attitude playmaker in Tyrann Mathieu. Again, huge risk in picking Mathieu, but the possibilities if the move works out are too good, and IMO, outweigh the risks involved. Please take the flier on Mathieu.
Marcus Lattimore: This is another risk the Cowboys will be taking. Talentwise, Lattimore is the best running back in this draft class. He will most likely redshirt his rookie year in the pros. But if Jason Garrett is truly “building for the future”, Lattimore is a great pickup. It’s again a pick where the Boys will need to be patient and allow Lattimore to heal before he steps on the field. But if he is anything like the player he was before his knee was annihilated, he will be a great pick. In the fourth round, he will be a steal. This is first round talent being passed up because of injuries. The Cowboys have been hitting home runs on guys with the same story as of late. Sean Lee was a first round prospect who dropped to the second round because of injury. The story was the exact same for Bruce Carter, who fell to the Cowboys laps. They have both become stars on this defense. There is no reason why Lattimore can’t do the same. He can split with Murray. Not only as a change of pace back, I mean the two could literally split the carries between them. What better for your offense than a constantly changing rotation of running backs who always have fresh legs? Lattimore is the gut Dallas needs in the backfield. He can take it in at any time and will take the heat off Romo and Murray. A punch unit of Romo, Dez, Witten, Murray and Lattimore could be very tough to deal with. And this team probably won’t even be that offensive based. Lattimore is a good choice here because if he also doesn’t recover, the Cowboys didn’t lose very much. But this is a franchise that needs to inhale lots of talent now, and taking risks is the fastest way to get there.
The Trade for Michael Buchanan: Michael Buchanan is a phenomenal pass rusher. Back when Mercilus was with him, that duo made the game a living hell for quarterbacks. Often, Buchanan was the better player of the two and was supposed to be a first round pick. Then, a devastating accident put him on a diet that hurt his football stock. He lost twenty pounds right before the season started, and he looked to be slower and weaker. If the Cowboys trade back into the fourth round to draft Buchanan, and can build him up to where he was before, he could turn into that defensive end of the future Dallas has been searching for. Ware needs some help now that he’s 31. Buchanan has the skills to rush the passer and make him uncomfortable. He is the third first round talent that can fall to the Cowboys. I know it’s a lot to ask for, but these are all talents that can work out. Buchanan just needs a bit of development and time to get back into shape, along with Lattimore. This is a draft the Cowboys can hit huge on.
If the Boys make all these moves and take care to pay attention to all of the players they need to handle appropriately, this draft could turn the franchise around. It is a treasure chest of young talent, and Dallas needs to be the franchise brave enough to open it. Many teams won’t go there because it could bring the franchise down. Dallas hasn’t had any success in 17 years. They have missed playoffs three years in a row. They are backed in a corner and the way out is to hit home runs in the draft. The Redskins did it but hitting well late in the draft with Morris. Dallas needs to take the shots that aggressive GM’s take and value talent over risk. This may irate Jason Garrett’s view of the RKG, but if Mathieu can be surrounded by those RKG’s his own behavior can change. Lattimore needs some time to recover, but with proper rehab, he can be back to his old defense-killer self. Buchanan needs to grow back into his body, but with the right weight room training, he can put that muscle back on and be ready to deliver. Reid is a proven player with talent that can be a star on this roster alongside his buddy from old, Morris Claiborne. Warford is starting material in the second round that will make a huge difference along the line. I believe that if Dallas makes these picks in the draft, they will be a competitor again in the near future. And finally, Dallas fans will get what they deserve.