Hey, got to do something to pass the time until real football starts up again! Churn, baby, churn that roster!
I started to imagine, if the OCC is correct, what the Cowboys could do if they receive 4 compensatory selections (or perhaps 3 thanks to Victor Butler not suiting up for the Saints this year) in the 7th round and the flexibility to trade up by burning their regular 7th and perhaps 6th round picks. Here's what I came up with (note this scenario assumes Anthony Spencer gets an extended deal):
My ridiculously premature 2014 NFL Mock Draft - Dallas Cowboys
1st round Kyle Van Noy SAM 4-3OLB/DE Brigham Young (Von Miller-type weapon)
Van Noy can come in and immediately push for a starting job at the SAM LB spot due to his superb speed/athleticism that allows him to both cover tight ends and put his hand on the dirt in obvious passing situations like Von Miller of the Denver Broncos.
Since I'm assuming Dallas will be picking in the early 20s and the top DTs/DEs are off the board here, and assuming Van Noy gets past the 3-4 Saints (who take UCLA's Anthony Barr or USC's Morgan Breslin to play 3-4OLB), this is not an inconceivable scenario though Dallas is much more likely to get Van Noy in the teens than if they're picking in the low 20s. The other factors that could allow Van Noy to slip into the 20s is if (like many BYU players) he's a year or two older due to a Mormon mission (haven't been able to verify Van Noy's age as of this writing), or if he gets hurt his senior year. If DT wasn't also a need for Dallas entering the 2014 draft I wouldn't mind seeing us trade up for him either.
Adding Van Noy (and drafting Wisconsin's Chris Borland in the high 4th round) would make our LB depth chart in 2014 look like this:
2014 LBs Van Noy (R) / Lee / Carter S2 D. Holloman M2 C. Borland (R) W2 B. Magee
PS T. Reed (2013 UDFA SMU)
Sometimes you just have to take a team strength and turn it into a ridiculous team strength, particularly so you can throw some exotic blitzes with Van Noy coming up the A gap at the Eagles and Redskins. Sean Lee should be extended this year, Justin Durant will probably get cut at end of 14' training camp, and Ernie Sims will likely not be re-signed if Magee can ball. Caleb McSurdy may be switched to practice squad fullback should SMU's Taylor Reed beat him out or Devonte Holloman get moved to backup Mike this summer in training camp.
2nd round Ra’shede Hageman DT-1 Minnesota
The Cowboys find a replacement for Jason Hatcher while soldiering on with Jay Ratliff in 2014 -- or vice versa, since Hatcher probably wouldn't come too expensive on a one or two year deal. Hageman is a player who turned heads getting a lot of interior pressure for a bad Minnesota defense in 2012. He's long and rangy like Hatcher or ex-Cowboy turned New York Giant Chris Canty weighing in around 300 at 6"6. I'm projecting Hageman in the mid-2nd where Kawann Short, who was even more productive through his junior year in college, was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Of course for a 3-4 team Hageman might be a late 1st round prospect if he has a monster senior season.
2014 DTs Ratliff (3) / Hageman (R) (1) Lissemore (3) / Bass (1) / Reid (3) (R)
(Nick Hayden claimed off waivers, Ike Igbinosun plucked from our practice squad)
Here's hoping Ben Bass becomes this defense's own Henry Melton, and Reid, Lissemore or our 2015 1st round pick can prove to be a worthy successor to Jay Ratliff. Because I doubt this defense is going to find someone who can replace Anthony Spencer's production very easily.
3rd round Spencer Long OG Nebraska
It's the Bill Callahan-Cornhusker connection -- this would complete our interior OL upgrade and give us great depth along the OL provided that Edawn Coughman and Darrion Weems claim the swing tackle and 4th tackle jobs, respectively after Doug Free is cut in 2014. Imagine having your top nine offensive linemen be:
Tyron Smith - Ronald Leary - Travis Frederick - Spencer Long (R) - Jeremy Parnell
No 2's Edawn Coughman (swing OT) - David Arkin (LG/3rd OC) - Kevin Kowalski (OC/OG) - Darrion Weems (RT)
With rookie Dillion Farrell on the practice squad.
4 Chris Borland MIKE LB Wisconsin 2014 DEs Crawford (also plays 1-tech DT)
(Dallas trades 6th and 7th round picks to Jacksonville to move up and pick Borland)
I had a defensive end getting drafted here even if Spencer was extended. But since Bryan Broaddus says that Kyle Wilbur and Cameron Sheffield both had outstanding OTAs while Tyrone Crawford has developed as a solid DE/DT tweener, perhaps young DE depth won't be an urgent need in May 2014 -- especially if Alex Albright is given an affordable one or two year deal to be our 4th DE.
Borland is a bit undersized and lacks spectacular straight line speed but is a ballhawking tackling machine for the Badgers. Pair him with Holloman and Magee and you have a backup linebacker '2nd line' that could be more talented than some starting 4-3 LB units.
5 Keith McGill CB/FS Utah
McGill is a big (6"2), fast corner with some position flex/special teams ability as the 5th safety on the roster. He can eventually provide insurance behind Brandon Carr and Maurice Claiborne. Like Carr he gets drafted in the 5th round. I see McGill as a player Marinelli would be interested in because he can play zone and man against the two TE looks we're likely to see often in the NFC East.
2014 CBs Carr / Claiborne / Webb (slot) Moore (backup slot) / McGill (5th safety) - Scandrick released in 2014
Three Compensatory Selections for losing Kenyon Coleman, Felix Jones, and Mike Jenkins in 2013 free agency:
7 Caraun Reid DT-3 Princeton
Yep, you saw this one coming ever since I profiled Reid as a junior in 'A Few Good UDFAs'. This time around Reid will be drafted, it's just a matter of being drafted late since he's coming out of the Ivy League rather than the SEC. It’s the Jason Garrett alma mater connection. Reid will face fierce competition but just might be a player to watch in this system by the end of the 2014 season.
7 Taylor Martinez Nebraska
Dallas finally drafts a developmental QB and gets him very late in the draft to boot. I don't see why Martinez despite a stellar college career and having lots of mobility couldn't slide this far. Arizona QB Matt Scott went undrafted in 2013 to the Jacksonville Jaguars (where he's got a very good shot at winning the backup job and perhaps a starting role in 2014). Martinez is continuing to work on his footwork, release and cutting down on interceptions and batted balls (he stands barely above 6 feet tall with his cleats on, something that could limit him in the NFL). That hard work could pay off with him getting drafted to give Dallas our very own pistol/zone read QB.
Martinez can compete with Kyle Orton and our expected 2013 pre-training camp signee (Alex Tanney?) for the second and third QB jobs. Cutting Orton could save the Cowboys some money on his deal in 2015.
7 Dillon Farrell OC New Mexico
A 6"4 1/2 nearly 300 pound center with all interior position flex and upside. A possible replacement for David Arkin or Kevin Kowalski from Ryan Cook’s alma mater (see the OC/OG chart). But hopefully either Kowalski or Arkin gets extended prior to the 2014 season and Phil Costa gets traded to the Detroit Lions.
Looking to 2015...replacing the 'core'
This draft scenario would set up the top 2015 needs (along with the contract situations) as: DE/DT, QB (to be groomed as Romo's successor), WR (Miles likely to be cut and Harris in contract year), RB (with Murray in his contract year), and perhaps another backup OT (assuming Jeremy Parnell and Edawn Coughman your 2014-2015 starter/swing tackle, respectively).
Unfortunately I don't see Johnny Football coming out in the 2014 draft despite his tweeted weariness with College Station. UCLA QB Brett Hundley is someone who might be worth trading a 2016 1st to move to grab in 2015 after Johnny Manziel goes in the top 10. But even my crystal ball doesn't go out that far. It's just that the Cowboys had some success with a certain UCLA QB drafted in 1989...
What do you think BTBers? Would you be happy with this draft?