The latest mock draft from ESPN's Todd McShay is out and includes a familiar pick at number 16, but a new name at pick number 47. Let's jump right in and see what McShay has in store for the Cowboys.
In the first round, the Cowboys are unable to get the player most analysts think they really want, and that is Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He goes to the Bears at #14. Instead, they get the "second choice" at defensive tackle.
16. Dallas Cowboys: Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Jernigan would improve Dallas' defensive line depth, which is critical in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's defense, since he likes to rotate his D-linemen so that he can send four-man pressure on a high percentage of plays. Jernigan is a good fit for Marinelli's scheme, and in particular he's a good complement to free-agent addition Henry Melton, who is more of a 3-technique defensive tackle, as Jernigan can play either 3-technique or 1-technique. Other options here include offensive tackles Morgan Moses and Zack Martin and safety Calvin Pryor.
Jernigan is an interesting pick, many mock draft experts have put him in this position for the Cowboys, but a substantial minority see Jernigan as a reach at this point, some even have him graded out as a second-round talent. The Cowboys don't have Jernigan on their list of pre-draft visits so far, but have included many other possible first-round picks on defense; this includes the aforementioned Donald, Anthony Barr, and Ryan Shazier. Could this be an indication that the Cowboys are not high on Jernigan?
In the second round, McShay still has Dallas thinking defensive line but this time a pass rusher.
47. Dallas Cowboys: Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, Georgia Tech
Attaochu could be effective as a 4-3 left defensive end for the Cowboys. That gives them two talented defensive linemen in the first two rounds, which I think is important for them.
Attaochu is a player I've watched his whole career. He was a 3-4 OLB but moved to a 4-3 defensive end when Georgia Tech changed schemes last season. He can be extremely disruptive with a great first burst off the line. He's got a high-gear motor. But he needs to add some strength to deal with NFL-sized tackles. Sometimes he dominates games but other times is just average. Bigger, better tackles neutralize him if they get their hands on him. He does have great potential and with some experience and coaching could be a special player.
One interesting thing about McShay's mock, he has Anthony Barr going to the Raiders at pick #36, that's all the way into the second round. Almost nowhere else do you see him fall to that level. I think the Cowboys would grab him if available and Donald wasn't.