ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper submitted his final draft projections for the 2013 NFL Draft yesterday, but left himself a little backdoor by saying there might be some more changes before tonight. Be that as it may, let's take a look at what Kiper has in store for the Cowboys.
Kiper is a larger than life target for all sorts of ridicule, but his track record is nothing to sneeze at. The Huddle Report, a leading draft site that has made it its specialty to grade mock drafts, ranks Kiper as the fourth most accurate mock drafter over the last five years. So Kiper has been pretty good at this mock draft thing for a long time. As is his custom, he does not project trades, but he does mention if he feels that a team might decide to move up or move down on Draft Day.
We wrote yesterday that the there are reports of the Cowboys targeting Sylvester Williams with their first round pick, and it appears that Kiper reads the same reports, as he sends late-rising DT Sylvester Williams to the Cowboys:
The Cowboys currently have 31-year-old Jay Ratliff as one starting defensive tackle, and 30-year-old Jason Hatcher as the other. They may have other more pressing needs, but if the Cowboys can't put together a solid rotation on the interior of their defensive line, the conversion to a 4-3 is going to be ugly. Williams, an active, powerful, interior presence can occupy blocks and would give Dallas a much-needed jolt of youth up front.
Kiper's mock doesn't leave a lot of options for the Cowboys, as the usual suspects are all gone by the time the Cowvboys are on the clock. Jonathan Cooper goes 8th to the Bills, Sheldon Richardson goes two spots later to the Titans and another two spots later, the Dolphins pick up Chance Warmack.
Interestingly, Kiper has Star Lotulelei falling all the way to number 14, where the Panthers grab the Utah DT. Would a trade-up to the 14th spot be an option for the Cowboys if Lotulelei falls that far?
A little further down, the another probable Cowboys target, safety Kenny Vaccaro is picked up by the Rams at number 16.
Mike Mayock also posted his oone and only mock draft for 2013 yesterday, and he also has the Cowboys picking a defensive tackle. Except in Mayock's mock, that tackle is Star Lotulelei, who slips all the way to 18th:
I think the value for Star Lotulelei is too much for Dallas to pass up. They were No. 22 against the run a year ago. You plug him in with Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher, who are both in their 30s, and you're a better defense on Day 1.
As with Kiper's mock, Mayock has the usual suspects gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. Cooper (7), Warmack (11), Richardson (14)and Vaccaro (16) are all gone, leaving the Cowboys with the choice of Lotulelei and Sylvester Williams. All things considered, that's probably not a bad choice to have.