My love/hate relationships with mock drafts continues. I recognize their inherent inaccuracies and absurdities, yet I enjoy reading them and dreaming along with them. So with that paradox in mind, feel the force of four more mock drafts!
Todd McShay is up first and he has moved off of the Calvin Pryor pick, and on to what many now consider the Cowboys fallback position.
16 Zack Martin Dallas Cowboys (8-8) COLLEGE: Notre Dame HT: 6-4 WT: 308 POS: OT
Analysis (May 5): This doesn't fill a pressing need for Dallas, but there aren't any defensive ends or defensive tackles who make sense here, and this would be a smart move to solidify the offensive line and get one of the 12 best players in this draft at No. 16. There have been a lot of rumors about the possibility of the Cowboys trading up to draft Johnny Manziel, and to be honest, nothing would surprise us with them at this point. But rather than giving away a bunch of picks in a loaded draft, they'd be better served staying put and trying to bolster a depleted roster, particularly on defense.
McShay's mock drafts come with the caveat that he doesn't value Anthony Barr high in the first round, so he constantly has the Cowboys passing on him, like he does in this mock. Aaron Donald goes #12 to the New York Giants. Martin is the safe pick, he could absolutely start on the offensive line and become part of a rebuilt line for years to come with Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith.
Over at Peter King's MMQB, they have two mocks - What teams will do, and what teams should do. King takes care of the "will do" mock.
16. DALLAS: TIMMY JERNIGAN, DT, FLORIDA STATE Defensive coaches breathe a big sigh that Manziel’s off the board, because they know Jerry Jones was smitten with him. Jernigan will be day-one help for the league’s 30th-ranked run defense from last year. Not a giant, but a good run player because he plays with strong leverage.
This brings up the interesting point of Timmy Jernigan. Will the "diluted sample" failed drug test reported yesterday send Jernigan's stock plummeting? It's hard to say. It's likely King did this pick before that news came because he makes no reference to it in his analysis. King's mock is a scary one; all the guys we think the Cowboys might covet at #16 are gone, with HaHa Clinton-Dix the only one that might be in play. King passes on Clinton-Dix for Jernigan.
His partner Greg Bedard does the "What teams should do" portion. He describes it like this:
So what you will read below is, basically, "Who each NFL team should have picked if their power brokers didn’t overvalue their own team’s talent, fail to see trends in the game, fear for their jobs and/or ego."
And the Cowboys pick? The same as King's.
16. DALLAS: TIMMY JERNIGAN, DT, FLORIDA STATE
If UCLA edge rusher Anthony Barr is still available, Jerry Jones will run to take him, but that would be a mistake. Barr needs too much work as an end. Be smart, and get better up the middle.
Bedard passes on Anthony Barr, who goes to the Jets at 18, and Zack Martin, who goes to the Ravens at 17. Not only is that not what will happen in that situation, I don't even believe it is what should happen.
And finally, let's check in with Bill Barnwell, who is always super-critical of the Cowboys, and especially Jerry Jones. (It's no different today as he still takes shots at the Cowboys organization in his analysis.) His picks are based on the "perfect draft" for each team. So in that respect it's not really a mock draft; for instance, Aaron Donald is the perfect pick for three teams straight - Titans, Giants, Bears. So it seems he's doing the prefect draft for teams using his own board and trying to realistically slot players.
Round 1, Pick 16: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Round 2, Pick 47: DE Dee Ford, Auburn
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cowboys trade up to draft Clinton-Dix, so if he were to fall to 16, it would be a rare moment of brightness for this franchise. They’ve been a garbage fire for years at safety, and while they seem to suck the confidence and talent out of the players they acquire (see: Claiborne, Morris), Clinton-Dix would be the best talent the Cowboys would line up at that position since Roy Williams. Ford is hardly a replacement for DeMarcus Ware, but he would slot in as part of Dallas’s rotation of pass-rushers on the edge.
I'm on record as preferring Clinton-Dix over Calvin Pryor if the Cowboys go safety. I think his skill-set is a much better fit for what Dallas needs at safety. But I'm still unconvinced that Dallas will go safety in the first round, especially since they didn't bring in Clinton-Dix or Pryor for an official pre-draft visit.
The second round pick is more interesting in this draft. Dee Ford is not a player many have mocked to Dallas, my guess is they see him as a 3-4 OLB instead of a hand-on-the-ground 4-3 defensive end. But his speed and skill at rushing the passer is a coveted quality. Think about it this way, Ford is 252 lbs. while Barr is 255 lbs. So why not on Ford?