Mock drafts before the Free Agent period is kinda silly in my opinion. It’s good we at least have the Combine behind us even if it did expose Aaron Donald as the kind of player we thought he was. Still, until we see the fall out of Free Agency, the needs analysis is going to be off for each team. I was curious to see how a draft would play anyways, so I scooted over to First-Pick.com and gave it a try. I know there are others, but First-Pick is the only one that offers trades and I firmly believe the Cowboys will be active in trading.
My goal going into this mock draft was to two fold. First, try to shore up the Defensive Line as much as possible and then try to match the best player on the board with a position we could use, but DL was foremost in my mind. Second was to attempt to try and trade down when a good trade presented itself where I could pick up some picks in the first 100 picks. Since this is such a deep draft and Dallas needs as much talent as it can get, more would be better as long as it didn’t defeat the need to shore up the DL. I did not want to trade up as there was too much depth here and there isn’t a single player that I had to have, even if that meant I couldn’t get Aaron Donald or Jadevon Clowney.
So, I put on my Jerra cap and started it up. If you want to see all the picks together, they are at the bottom of this article.
Decision Number One: First Round, Pick 16
Imagine my elation seeing that Aaron Donald was still available to me. I was just about to select him when I saw that besides Donald there were several draftees available that would suit Dallas and Green Bay was offering a very nice second rounder for dropping five (5) slots. Before I decided, I looked at the teams between Green Bay and Dallas and none of them scared me as potential threats for any of my choices. Cincinatti offered more, but was farther down than I was willing to go. So, I decided to roll the dice knowing that only if every single team picked one of my player choices would it be a bad decision, but the odds were in my favor.
Dallas Trades Their First Round Pick (16) for Green Bay’s First Round Pick (21) and Second Round Pick (53)
Decision Number Two: First Round, Pick 21
After sweating it out for about an hour, I was paid back for my patience and gamble by having every single player still on the board. Even though Denver and Seattle offers quite a bit, neither offered more than one (1) extra pick in the top 100 and it was so far down, ten or more slots, that the chance all my players would be available were slim. I played it safe and picked Aaron Donald with a silly grin on my face.
Dallas Picks: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Decision Number Three: Second Round, Pick 15 (47 overall)
Imagine my surprise when I see that both Hageman and Jernigan were still both available. Although Jernigan is slightly undersized, Hageman is a bit scheme diverse and I figured he’d be long gone, but who am I to anger the draft gods. I really don’t need Jernigan with Donald in the stables already, but being able to put two young studs in a defensive rotation isn’t a bad idea and the same goes for Hageman. Before I make a final decision though, I notice that the Jets have offered me a third rounder for moving down only two slots. Really? How can you not do that? So I took them up on their offer.
Dallas Trades Their Second Round Pick (15) for New York Jet’s Second Round Pick (17) and Third Round Pick (16)
Decision Number Four: Second Round, Pick 17 (49 overall) obtained from New York
I decided to look at the trade offers first this time and only San Francisco offers anything of note, offered a third to jump down seven (7) slots, but I was getting antsy and decided to pick someone instead. The pick might seem odd to some, but I felt the player had some position flexibility and his size to quickness ratio was hard to ignore.
Dallas Picks: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Decision Number Five: Second Round, Pick 21 (53 overall) obtained from Green Bay
I seriously though about taking Ryan Shazier here. He’s clearly a head of the others, but San Diego decided to tempt me with a third round pick. I was kinda surprised really as here we are in the final third of the second round and they offer up a pick in the top 100. It was only a four (4) slot drop and the option to pick up a free top 100 pick was something I just couldn’t pass up.
Dallas Trades Their Second Round Pick (21) for San Diego’s Second Round Pick (25) and Third Round Pick (25)
Decision Number Six: Second Round, Pick 25 (57 overall) obtained from San Diego
Okay, seriously, no one selected Shazier by now? Well, I couldn’t pass on his twice, could I? New England did offer a third rounder to trace up five (5) slots and I might have taken it, but Shazier’s value at this point was just too much to pass up. Here it was getting near the bottom of the second round and a talent like his is still there and he won’t last much longer.
Dallas Picks: Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Decision Number Seven: Third Round, Pick 14 (78 overall)
So, it’s my first pick in the third round and there are a few targets here that I like. Fortunately, there are more here than needed so I could trade this one. I’ve traded every other one so far, so why change a pattern? The reason is that the offers aren’t very good. Only Cincinnati offered anything of substance and nothing in the top 100 and it was ten (10) slots down. Sorry, too far and too much of a risk to lose out on a player that I think could still contribute in 2014. On top of that, tall skilled cornerbacks are hard to get this low in the draft these days as they are all the rage now.
Dallas Picks: Keith McGill, CB, Utah
Decision Number Seven: Third Round, Pick 16 (80 overall) obtained from New York
Having a pick so quick on the heels of our previous one meant that pretty much everyone we targeted is still available outside of the one we already picked. So, it’s time to see what other teams are going offer and believe it or not, New Orleans steps up to the plate with a strange one. They are willing to give us a free sixth rounder, remember we don’t have a 6th rounder this year due to a trade last year, and all we have to do is drop down one slot. Really? One slot and I get a free 6th round? Done.
Dallas Trades Their Third Round Pick (16) for New Orleans’ Third Round Pick (17) and Sixth Round Pick (26)
Decision Number Seven (again): Third Round, Pick 17 (81 overall) obtained from New Orleans from Miami
Okay, so we waited a whole… uhm… few seconds, and we still had everyone there. Philadelphia jumps up and offers a fourth rounder for us to slide down five picks, but I’m worried that the player I want won’t be available when that pick comes up, so I decide to pick up another defensive line player to give it more youth.
Dallas Picks: Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
Decision Number Eight: Third Round, Pick 25 (89 overall) obtained from San Diego
Before I could even look at the available players, New Orleans was at it again. They offered a free fourth rounder for dropping only two slots. With a quick look at the available list, I decided it was worth the risk. No sooner did I do the trade and New Orleans picked up one of targets: Pierre Desir. I wasn’t real happy with that, but I already had McGill, so it wasn’t a huge loss and I still have a fourth rounder in my pocket. Still, it stung a bit knowing I could’ve had him.
Dallas Trades Their Third Round Pick (25) for New Orleans’ Third Round Pick (27) and Fifth Round Pick (13)
Decision Number Eight (again): Third Round, Pick 25 (91 overall) obtained from New Orleans
Time to stop playing around and grab one of my targets, Jared Abbrederis. This is someone who I thought might slip later in the draft, but he’s been getting some good buzz lately and there’s no reason to wait around at this point. A good route runner with good hands is something we need in a receiver. He could even climb to be a number two in skill, but lets hope Williams and Bryant stay healthy so we don’t have to test that.
Dallas Picks: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Decision Number Nine: Fourth Round, Pick 19 (115 overall)
So, I’m pretty happy with having six total picks in the top 100. It’s time to find some gems and with three QBs still on the board, I felt very happy taking the pick of the litter. with Mettenberger, Murray and McCarron all are second tier options with Mettenberger having the best measurables. McCarron seemed to need more talent around him so he could be a game manager even though he’s been in his share of big games, he just seemed lacking to me. Murray has a better pedigree in my mind than McCarron and is a bit of a game manager with a slightly stronger arm, but he also had to carry his team so he’s a bit higher in my eyes from that stand point. Murray’s height on the other had is a concern and doesn’t show the level of athleticism that could overcome it in the pros.
Dallas Picks: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Decision Number Ten: Fifth Round, Pick 13 (141 overall) obtained from New Orleans from St. Louis
Okay, trading is pretty much over at this point. We have quite a few players and while it might be nice to have a ton of players, there’s only so much coaching that can go around. Time to fine some more gems. First on the list:a running back in the mold of a someone who can carry a load all game long and push Randall.
Dallas Picks: James Wilder, Jr., RB, Florida State
Decision Number Eleven: Fifth Round, Pick 18 (146 overall)
I would have loved to have found a tackle long before this, but Johnson is a solid prospect with a good head on his shoulders. He could also move inside to guard temporarily, but he's a year or two away. His smarts might accelerate that progress, but his technique will need work, but his athleticism for guard and right tackle are there.
Dallas Picks: Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbuilt
Decision Number Twelve: Sixth Round, Pick 26 (186 overall) obtained from New Orleans
With our replaced sixth rounder, our next gem: A fullback with soft hands and good technique for blocking. Has some injury concerns, but finding a good FB is hard these days, but a sixth round pick is a good spot to try and find one.
Dallas Picks: Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma
Decision Number Thirteen: Seventh Round, Pick 14 (206 overall)
It’s the last round and time to take flyers on some people with potential, the first being a very smart corner with zone coverage skills. He won’t be able to do man and his press is suspect, but for the Tampa 2, this is what you want.
Dallas Picks: Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice
Decision Number Fourteen: Seventh Round, Pick 16 (208 overall)
For flyer number two in the last round, it’s a free safety with some skills, but needs to seriously be coached up. He could have been a free agent candidate for after the draft, but with three picks, why not lock him up and not take the chance.
Dallas Picks: Tre Boston, FS, North Carolina
Decision Number Fifteen: Seventh Round, Pick 23 (215 overall)
Last pick and time to look at pure potential at a small school. He won’t be more than a backup, but he’s ready for the special teams and linebackers excel there. This guy is a guided missile and has a nose for the ball.
Dallas Picks: Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
Okay, so that’s how it came to be. In total we ended up with thirteen (13) players with only two positions with multiple picks, CB and DT. Having more CBs is never a bad thing and our second DT, Hageman, has some position flex with the ability to play end, almost another Crawford but with better college competition and very solid skills, especially for a second rounder.
The only player that probably got away was the OT from Tennessee Antonio Richardson. He was available in the second round at 15, but that would shave meant that I would also have to give back Hageman and not have a chance at Kareem Martin. While he would have been much better than Wesley Johnson and primed to take over the Doug Free after this year, our DL was my focus and I’m still happy with the final turnout.
Below you will see the table of what I was looking at when I made each decision. I bolded the decision I made at the time.
|Round||Available||Teams Behind||Trade Offer|
|1:16 (16)||Donald, Aaron
1:18 New York Jets
1:21 Green Bay
| 1:21 (21)
|1:21 (21) (GB)||
|1:22 New York Jets
1:23 Kansas City
1:25 San Diego
|2:15 (47)||Amaro, Jace
2:17 New York Jets
New York Jets
|2:17 (49) (NYJ)||
2:22 New York Jets
|San Francisco||2:24 (56)
|2:21 (53) (GB)||Jernigan, Timmy
|2:22 New York Jets
2:24 San Francisco
2:25 San Diego
2:26 New Orleans
|San Diego||2:25 (57)
|2:25 (57) (SD)||Matthews. Jordan
|2:26 New Orleans
2:28 New York
2:29 San Francisco
2:30 New England
|New England||2:30 (62)
|3:14 (78)||Abbrederis. Jared
|3:15 New Orleans
3:17 New Orleans
3:18 New Orleans
|3:16 (80) (NJY)||Abbrederis, Jared
|3:17 New Orleans
3:18 New Orleans
3:20 New York
3:21 Green Bay
|New Orleans||3:17 (81)
|3:17 (81) (NO)||Abbrederis, Jared
|3:18 New Orleans
3:20 New York
3:21 Green Bay
|3:25 (89) (SD)|| Abbrederis, Jared
3:27 New Orleans
3:29 New England
3:30 New Orleans
|New Orleans||3:27 (91)
|3:27 (91) (SD)||
| 3:28 New Orleans
3:29 New England
3:30 New Orleans
|4:19 (115)||Freeman, Dovanta
4:21 New Orleans
4:23 New Orleans
|New Orleans||4:21 (117)
|1 Pick 21||Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh|
|2 Pick 17||Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota|
|2 Pick 25||Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State|
|3 Pick 14||Keith McGill, CB, Utah|
|3 Pick 17||Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina|
|3 Pick 27||Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin|
|4 Pick 19||Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU|
|5 Pick 13||James Wilder Jr., RB, Florida State|
|5 Pick 18||Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt|
|6 Pick 26||Trey Millard, FB, Oklahoma|
|7 Pick 14||Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice|
|7 Pick 16||Tre Boston, FS, North Carolina|
|7 Pick 23||Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky|