The playoffs aren't even over yet, and it's already mock draft time. Love 'em or hate 'em, we just can't resist them. We know they mean absolutely nothing, and that the guys making the mocks have about as much insight into who the Cowboys will draft as we do. Still, once the season is over - we like free-agency, but we love the draft.
With Andrew Luck and Janoris Jenkins deciding to stay in college, two potential top 10 picks are gone and the landscape at the top of the draft has changed significantly, as it probably will every week until the draft. You would have thought that that would further limit the options for the Cowboys in the ninth spot, but far from it: ten mockers offer ten different players for the Cowboys to take in the ninth spot.
Below you'll find choice quotes on which players some mock drafts like as our No. 1 pick. So without further ado, let's take a spin around the Cowboys mock draft world.
Drafttek.com, 1/13/2011: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson.
One of two questions would have to be answered with a positive response for this pick to happen: 1) Is Da'Quan big enough to play DE in a 3-4 alignment, or 2) Does he have the agility to play on 2 feet at OLB34? There is no doubt that he is an impact player but his best position may be DE43 -- at any rate, Dallas needs more of a push from their pass rush and Bowers can certainly provide that.
Walter Football, 1/13/2011: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin.
Jay Ratliff and Stephen Bowen figure to start on Dallas' defensive line for a long time. There is a void at the right end position, however, currently occupied by an ineffective Igor Olshansky. The Cowboys could use an upgrade there, and J.J. Watt happens to be the best player available who makes sense for Dallas at this juncture. The Cowboys could be the first team to move down. In this version of my 2011 NFL Mock Draft, none of the top players available fit Dallas' needs (RB, CB, S, DE, OL).
NEPatriotsdraft.com, 1/13/2011: Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn.
Fairley is a guy who can play the attacking 3-4 DE or 4-3 DL position well, although he will be at his best in a one-gap system. He is an explosive player that disrupts the play in the opponents backfield on a regular basis. He will make an NFL team very happy.
NewNFLdraft.com, 1/12/2011: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State.
The Cowboys get another good interior defensive lineman in the 2011 NFL Mock Draft. They have a good rush on the outside and good LB’s but they can improve their D-Line and Paea is as good a player to do this.
Foxsports (Peter Schrager), 1/11/2011: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska.
In DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff, the Cowboys have some legitimate stars on their defense. The rest? Well, yeah. This year has not gone exactly as planned for the Dallas D, as second- and third-tier quarterbacks such as David Garrard, Rex Grossman and Shaun Hill lit up the Cowboys in 2010. Cornerback and safety are the most pressing needs on the roster. Though he didn’t rack up the interceptions in 2010, Amukamara (pronounced ah-MOO-kuh-MAR-ah) lived up to the hype: He was an All-American, Big 12 defensive player of the year and Jim Thorpe Award finalist. He'd be a welcome addition to the unit.
SportingNews.com, 1/11/2011: Anthony Castonzo, T, Boston College.
Castonzo is a four-year starter for in 2010. He started at right tackle in his first year, before moving to left tackle for the next three seasons. He has exceptional size and growth potential to add for the position at the NFL level. Overall, he deserves top-10 draft consideration in April. He is an immediate starter at either tackle position.
CBSsports.com (Rob Rang), 1/10/2011: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Excluding outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer (college defensive ends) the Cowboys spent one first-round pick this decade on the big men up front (DE Marcus Spears, 2005). Dallas could use a highly rated offensive tackle here, but with no OT worthy of this pick, they shift to the defensive side of the ball or trade down. Clayborn's production dropped this season, but not his value in the eyes of scouts, who view him as the top senior defensive lineman (and among the safer prospects) in the draft.
CBSSports.com (Chad Reuter), 1/10/2011: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State.
Improving the offensive line is of great importance to keep QB Tony Romo healthy.
Footballexpert.com, 1/7/2011: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina.
The best player available for the Cowboys doesn't fill a big need, but it helps to improve their poor defense. QBs will now have to not only worry about Ware but Quinn too. This pick helps bring their pass rushing to new levels. Quinn who hasn't played this year is still highly thought of as the best 3-4 OLB in the draft. He is comfortable in coverage and can rush the passer. If he hadn't been suspended he probably wouldn't of lasted this long.
Fanhouse.com, 1/6/2011: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU.
Not sure how this happened, but arguably the best player in the draft is still on the board at No. 9. And for a team like Dallas that was one of the worst in the league against the pass, Peterson would be a godsend.
Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft overview (min. two rounds deep)
||1st Round||2nd Round||3rd Round||4th Round
||5th Round||6th Round||7th Round
|Draftsite||1/13/2011||Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
||Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
||Kristofer O'Dowd, OC, USC
||Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
||Andrew Rich, CB, BYU
||Roy Helu Jr., RB, Nebraska
||Byron Isom, OG, Auburn
|Walter Football||1/13/2011||J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin
||Kenny Tate, S, Maryland
||Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech
||Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida
|Drafttek||1/13/2011||Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
||DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson
|NewNFLdraft||1/12/2011||Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
||Tyron Smith, OT, USC
||Justin Boren, G, Ohio St
||Jeron Johnson, SS, Boise St
||Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU
||Ian Williams, DT, ND
||Jason Teague, CB/FS, TCU
|NFL Draft Blitz||1/12/2011||Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
||Stephen Paea, DE, Oregon State
||Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
FF Toolbox (Randall)
||1/10/2011||Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
||Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU
||Christian Ballard, DT/DE, Iowa
|Sideline Scouting||1/8/2011||J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
||Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
||1/6/2011||Marcel Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
||DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas