Mel Kiper released a three-round mock draft that is a little different than his other efforts. In the previous editions, he's trying to project picks for teams, but in this one he acts as the GM for every team. In other words, this is what he would do as a GM instead of trying to guess what real GMs would do. His rules state:
1. At each spot, I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 5 just because I like how he fits better at No. 7 or No. 10.
2. There are no trades. I note team needs, but not all picks are specifically to hit a need -- same as the draft.
3. This is NOT A PROJECTION. It's more a look at how I currently value players at each slot.
In a second companion piece, he explains his picks for each team.
Top needs: DE, DT, S, G, WR
Round 1 (16) DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Round 2 (47) G Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
Round 3 (78) DT Will Sutton, Arizona St.
Analysis: I don't think Dallas can do enough to upgrade along the defensive line. Donald getting past the Bears at No. 14 is a surprise, and I draft him here with the belief that he can come in and start right away. He was the most disruptive defensive player in college football last year. Brent Urban is a tempting player at No. 47, but Su'a-Filo, who can start as a rookie at guard, a position of need, is the pick. In Round 3, I'm going back to the defensive line. Before his senior season, I wouldn't have thought Sutton could fall this far, but he didn't look as explosive in 2013 and lost some ground. Given that the anchor of the interior defensive line is Henry Melton, who's coming off knee injury rehab, adding depth and upside has to be a priority.
For the most part, I would be very pleased with that draft. Aaron Donald is a player that I, along with many other Cowboys fans, have coveted for quite a while. The only issue I have here is that Anthony Barr is still on the board. If the Cowboys think Barr can be transitioned to a hand-on-the-ground defensive end, then he makes a lot of sense here. Even though the signing of Henry Melton should not preclude the Cowboys from choosing Donald, Dallas is very weak at right defensive end, or the pass-rushing specialist end, and Barr could be the answer there. In my own personal opinion, I think Barr will go much higher than the #20 pick Kiper has him at, somewhere before #14. But having Donald as the pick is a no-brainer if Barr was off the board, and still a consideration with him on the board depending on how the Cowboys view him.
Su'a-Filo would have to be considered a tremendous value at this point in the draft. He could likely step in as a starter at either guard spot, he's that talented and has a ton of experience as a starter at UCLA. Many mocks have him going late in the first round. Will Sutton is a guy with the talent to be a first-rounder, but his discipline and desire have been questioned. After a stellar junior year, his numbers tailed off in 2013, many saying it was due to weight gain. He sounds like a project that if coached up right, could be a great value in the third round. But, the Cowboys might want to look at a receiver or a safety with this pick
What are your thoughts on this particular draft?