Many other SB Nation NFL blogs are running their own community mock drafts, just like we are still doing here on BTB where our own community mock has reached the mid-20s. So today we take a slow, relaxed and leisurely stroll through our friendly SB Nation neighborhood and see what the other sites are doing with their mock drafts. Specifically, we'll look at who they have the Dallas Cowboys taking with the #18 pick.
We've heard a lot about what the national draft analysts have to say about almost every possible candidate for the Cowboys' top pick, and perhaps it can be a little refreshing to see the Cowboys through the eyes of fans of other teams. The one thing all these fan mocks share with all the other mock drafts we've reviewed so far this year, is that there's no consensus on who might be the Cowboys' pick at #18; nine blogs have the Cowboys drafting five different prospects. Find out below who these prospects are, and why other bloggers think they'd be a fit in Dallas.
|Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State||Arrowhead Pride (Chiefs)|
|Werner slides for some unknown reason after consistently being pegged as a top 10 pick. Werner is a natural athlete with great punch and strength to be a consistent run- stopper as well as showing a great prowess for getting to the ball and to the quarterback. Werner to me is a top 10 pick that has slid far enough and would be a lock to play alongside Anthony Spencer as the other DE. His explosiveness and his ability to get better every year puts Werner on a team that was so close to making the playoffs until bitter defeat. Werner has increased his sack totals every year in college and will be a great asset to a team that needs explosiveness at every position.|
|Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU||Pride of Detroit (Lions)|
|This was an easy pick for us. Mingo fills a need (LB/DE) and was rated very high on our board. We see Mingo producing similarly to Dion Jordan, who was drafted much higher. The talent is undeniable. Questions about motor and work ethic were quieted after an extensive battery of tests and interviews and by the tape we saw. We loved Tavon Austin and Kenny Vaccaro also, so with them being off the board, the pick was even easier. Guys we looked at who are still available included Datone Jones and Tyler Eifert. We love what Mingo can become for us, especially under the tutelage of DeMarcus Ware.|
|D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama||Niner's Nation (49ers)|
|After researching and talking to Cowboy fans about what they wanted, the top two choices were to either move up in the draft and get Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper, or Kenny Vaccaro. If all three were taken before the Cowboys could move up, the fans wanted to trade back for more picks in this draft or next years draft. Considering neither is an option I would have to choose D.J. Fluker for the Cowboys as the best pick for them at this time.
While the Cowboys do not have the worst offensive line out there, the contract extension offered to Tony Romo shows the importance of improving his protection so he may survive the duration of his contract. The Cowboys offense gave up 36 sacks and 19 interceptions in the 2012 season. Although the offensive line is not entirely to blame, many miscues can be attributed to Romo being forced to scramble quickly due to pressure given up by the O-line. D.J. is powerful and has very little flab in his mid section. Weight is distributed evenly throughout his entire frame and he has the size to move to guard later in his career.
The Cowboys have the needed weapons on offense for Romo now with the right help to protect him they could possibly win the division or at least make the playoffs.
|D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama||Cincy Jungle (Bengals)|
|While the Cowboys have many needs on the defensive side (most notably safety) they also need to keep Tony Romo off of his back. With drafting Fluker the cowboys can move Doug Free back inside on the right side and form a fearsome running attack (Fluker's strength is the run). Tge other benefactor in this move is the running game which at times suffered last year due to horrible O- line play. This strategy also works since the Cowboys still can pick a safety like Matt Elam in the second round. Fluker however provides an immediate upgrade at right tackle, fills a need, and provides protection in a division filled with versatile defensive ends (Orakpo, Peirre Paul, and the like).|
|Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina||Battle Red Blog (Texans)|
|The Cowboys need to upgrade the talent and depth of their offensive line (guard and right tackle). It is widely known Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau utterly failed to establish themselves as reliable personnel in the interior of the line. Tony Romo must get improved interior line play and a more reliable running game, so I put a premium on upgrading a guard slot.
The right tackle must also be upgraded, but I assume in making this pick the Cowboys sign a reliable veteran in free agency (Eric Winston or otherwise) to replace the woefully inadequate Doug Free. With this assumption, I see Dallas targeting a guard in the first round. If Chance Warmack is available, the Cowboys will draft him, but I do not see him slipping to No. 18 in the first round.
|Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina||Dawgs By Nature (Browns)|
|Whenever I watched the Cowboys this year it seemed like Romo was running for his life. It turns out that that's a strength of Romo's so the sack numbers weren't low. But Romo's league leading 19 interceptions reflect the fact. Dig a little deeper and you find the Cowboys guards are undrafted 30 year old Nate Livings and 7th round pick from Bentley College, Mackenzy Bernadeau. There's upgrade opportunity here.
Cooper meanwhile is thought by some to better than consensus top guard Chance Warmack. Cooper was 1st team all-ACC, all-America, and won the ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy whatever that is. Also, Cooper was a wrestler in high school. As has been mentioned before here: we're all for wrestling football players. The need at guard plus the talent of Cooper really make this a no-brainer.
|Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina||Music City Miracles (Titans)|
|The Cowboys desperately need to upgrade their offensive line in order to protect their impending large investment in Tony Romo, however misguided it might be. The interior of the Cowboys' line last year was an unmitigated disaster which led to tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free having terrible years as a result. Cooper is challenging Chance Warmack as the top guard in the draft, and some teams even have him above Warmack. If Cooper lasted this long, Jerry Jones would run to the podium and announce the pick himself.|
|Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas||The Phinsider (Dolphins)|
|The Cowboys have the biggest needs at offensive line and safety. While I don't believe in drafting purely for need, when selecting amongst the best players available I like to keep team needs in mind. Kenny Vaccaro is both the BPA and fits a need. Some would have liked to have seen an offensive linemen selected here, but the way this draft developed means that isn't the best idea. Thankfully this is a deep draft for o-line so there is no pressure to reach. Vaccaro should be able to start immediately and make an impact. It was tempting to select Cordarrelle Patterson, as this is becoming more and more of a passing league and he has star potential. But when BPA meets a team need you don't turn it down.|
|Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas||Big Blue View (Giants)|
|I was really twisting between Vaccaro and Jonathan Cooper here. I know how poorly the Cowboys o-line played last year. Maybe secretly I wanted their line to still stink so Romo could be lit up Boley Style. Yes, there is a lack of pure talent when it comes to the Boys' o-line outside of Tyron Smith. Free was a huge letdown after signing his huge contract back in 2011. But a rash of injuries before last season even started forced the Cowboys to make adjustments on the line which hurt them most of the season but seemed to even out towards the end. The lack of continuity really hurt them and I think this year they have the chance to be good enough if they pick up some help in the draft which is deep with O-line talent.
Safety, however, is a spot where there are no warm, fuzzy feelings. Barry Church is coming off an Achilles injury and they just let go of Gerald Sensabaugh so they are in dire need of a starting safety. Vaccaro at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, offers good size at the position but his athleticism and ability to cover space is what makes him a perfect fit here. With Dallas transitioning to a Tampa 2 next year, Vaccaro's an excellent fit to play zone while also being able to track down the deep ball. His fluid hips will help with change of direction and his solid frame give him some thump when stepping up to stop the run. This pick will set up the Cowboys secondary for years to come with a compliment to their solid cornerback team of Carr and Clairborne.