If you've been around BTB for a while, you'll be familiar with our Mock Draft challenges. If not, here's our sales pitch:
For the fourth straight year, we're hosting a January Mock Draft Challenge here on BTB. If you think this is going to be an easy exercise, be warned. In our 2011 challenge, only one BTB member (Ekijoh) correctly picked the Cowboys' first-round pick, Tyron Smith. Same thing happened in the 2012 challenge: only one participant (I am Ironman!!!) correctly predicted Morris Claiborne as the Cowboys' first-round pick (and he blew all his draft picks to trade up to the fourth spot). Our 2013 challenge saw exactly 100 different mocks submitted, only two of which (by wwilbur3 and by Diamondbone) had the Cowboys picking Travis Frederick - in the second round. Nobody had Terrance Williams or Gavin Escobar in their mocks.
The challenge this year is the same as in the previous years: create a mock draft based on the latest CBSSports Big Board and submit it for a peer review by your fellow Blogging The Boys community members. The BTB community will hand out recommendations for those mocks they like the most and I will feature the top vote-getters and their mocks in a front page post next week.
But wait. You can't just pick whatever players you like, that would not make this a challenging exercise. The idea here is that you'll have to make choices based on the best player available, so these are the rules for our Mock Draft Challenge:
- The contest will run from now until Monday morning at 6:00 AM ET. We will use the CBSSports Big Board from January 29, 2013 as the basis for all mock drafts.
- We will assume that all draft-eligible players will be available at exactly the spot CBSSports has them in. You don't like where a player is ranked? Go complain to someone who cares. Seriously. The Cowboys didn't like the Seahawks picking Max Unger two spots ahead of them in 2009 either, but it happened. Deal with it.
- The Cowboys' draft position, either 16th or 17th, will be decided via a coin flip at the NFL Combine in February. For this exercise, we'll assume the Cowboys win the coin toss and will alternate picks with the Ravens in the following rounds, which would give them picks no. 16, 48, 78, 115, 146, 206 and 208. No compensatory picks awarded yet. [EDIT: The Cowboys also own the 215th pick, I missed this in the first version of this post]
- You pick at your exact spot or anywhere below that (e.g. 16th or anywhere from 17th on down)
- You cannot trade down, because it would be too easy to trade to the exact spot your favorite prospect is sitting at.
- You may however trade up using this handy draft pick value calculator and the draft value chart immediately below it. The value you give up in the trade up must be equal to or greater than the value you receive, e.g. your 16th (1,000 pts) and your 78th (200 pts) picks could get you the 13th pick (1,150 pts).
Post your mock in the comments section below. As you read through the mocks other BTB members have posted, look for mocks that you like and rec' them (Just press rec at the bottom of the comment box). And don't be stingy with your rec's. It's more fun for everybody involved if we have a high rec' count.
The best mocks will be featured on the front page in some form next week, so put some thought into your mock. And give us a rationale for your picks - mocks that have some extra content beyond 6 or 7 player names usually get more rec's, are more fun to read, and will be treated preferentially as I pick the best mocks for the front page post next week.
I'll get this party started with the following mock draft.
My trade: 78+115 for Cleveland's 71+164 (264 for 261.8 points)
This leaves me with picks 16, 48, 71, 146, 164, 206, 208 and 215. Here's who I pick:
1. (22) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh - The Cowboys grab the perfect 3-technique for their scheme, after which newly promoted defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli breaks out into an impromptu victory shuffle in the war room.
2. (52) Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas - Jeffcoat would be something of a legacy pick for the Cowboys, but it's his production ratio of 2.47 over his last two college seasons (19 games, 30 TFL, 17 sacks) that make him a great pass rushing prospect.
3. (72) Kelcy Quarles, DT, South Carolina - Quarles adds another pass rushing threat inside at DT. He's one of the top-ranked DTs in this year's draft class with a production ratio of 1.50 over his last two college years. Quarles was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection last year.
5. (152) Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami - Bryan Broaddus recently said "the fourth round is where you draft the criminals." This is not the fourth round, and Henderson is not a criminal, but he's been suspended three times by his team. The Cowboys should be hard-pressed to pass up on Henderson, who has outstanding size for an offensive tackle. He’s listed at 6’7”, 331 and he is very strong in the upper and lower body. There are questions about his mental makeup, and he may not fit very well into the RKG mold, but the fifth round is where you can take a calculated risk like this.
6. (172) Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia - A four-year starter from a major college program who's enjoyed great individual and team success is usually a first- or second-day pick. Murray's ACL injury has him dropping this far down, as he may not play a single snap this year - but that also makes him the prototype for the "developmental QB" some Cowboys fans are pining for. While Orton is still under contract, Murray would have one year to fully recover and learn the system, before potentially becoming the backup QB for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, with an eye on perhaps starting from 2017 onward - if needed. QB is the one position where the Cowboys can draft with a view towards future needs, and don't need to draft for immediate impact. Assuming his knee checks out medically, I would consider Murray a major steal anywhere on the third day.
7. (214) Jeremiah George, ILB, Iowa State - A co-captain of the Iowa State Cyclones, George ranked fourth nationally with 11.1 tackles per game. Adds solid depth at linebacker and should be a special teams standout. He may be a little undersized at 5'11", but you'll be hard pressed to find a more productive linebacker. And what good is a 6'3" guy who always runs in the wrong direction?
7. (216) Ryan Hewitt, FB, Stanford - Ryan has great blocking ability and is a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. "His ability to play both tight end and fullback is a huge asset to NFL teams. His versatility saves a roster spot." writes NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah. And you thought there was no way you'd see a mock this year with a tight end in there somewhere? Ha!
7. (215) I forgot we had this pick.
You wouldn't trade away your fourth-rounder? Go ahead and show us your mock.
Please don't be stingy with your rec's for the mocks submitted below. If you like it, rec' it.