For this particular mock draft, I will be operating on the assumption that a.) Dez Bryant is tagged at least until July, b.) DeMarco Murray will be signed to remain in Dallas, and c.) One of the two free agent tackles will remain, most likely Doug Free.
For the actual draft, I used the FanSpeak mock draft tool. I personally believe in the CBS Sports Big Board more than any other, so in turn I had to spend some quality time setting a custom board based on their rankings. Mock drafts, as anyone knows, are always a crap-shoot. For example, it almost never takes into account a pick like Anthony Hitchens for the Cowboys last year. As Bryan Broaddus would say, "That's why Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors."
In the first mock, I thought it best for the Cowboys to stay put and pick accordingly. Do not worry BTB community, I'm figuring on getting a little more creative in the second part of this mock draft exercise. For this first attempt, we'll operate as if there are no suitors looking to trade up. Seeing as the "sweet-spot" in this draft is in the later rounds, it's a likely option the 'Boys will have to make their picks as scheduled. Without further ado, here's how it shook out:
With the 27th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Cornerback P.J. Williams, Florida State:
Analysis: Williams is a press-man corner with the ability to play on his own island. His height, length and speed should translate well at the NFL level. He has the ability and range to play all spots but would fit best on the outside in an aggressive man-cover defense. He'll need some work in zone coverage and at times plays inconsistently as a run defender. A coach with a high motor like Marinelli could really elevate Williams' potential. Plug-and-play type of prospect.
With the 60th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Defensive End Mario Edwards Jr
Analysis: We drafted the father, why not the son? Mario was outstanding at Florida State. He utilizes his long arms to gain the advantage, has strong hands and great vision for a rusher. He's got good acceleration and strength to send tackles retreating. He'll need help with his awareness and often times he's the last guy off the ball, need works with snap recognition. Mario will also need time to develop better pass-rushing moves but could play 4-3 end or tackle.
With the 91st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Defensive Tackle Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Analysis: Jarrett has explosiveness to crash the pocket immediately. He's got a short frame but uses great leverage and is very strong to knock blockers right out of their stances. He gets great extension off the snap and has really good flexibility. Very light on his feet but a bit undersized and sometimes gets overwhelmed by the sheer size advantage of offensive linemen. His short arms limit his ability to snag down ball carriers or deflect passes. Jarrett will need work learning to make up for some of his obvious size limitations.
With the 124th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Offensive Tackle Tyrus Thompson, Oklahoma
Analysis: Thompson has tree-trunks for thighs and his lower body is built well for the NFL. He's got good initial quickness and long arms that make him equally efficient in run or pass blocking. Thompson also had extensive exposure in the Big 12 to elite pass rushers. He's got good functional strength but overall needs help to not get bullied on his heels. He tends to get grabby and must eliminate his mental mistakes but could be a starting right tackle at the NFL level.
With the 155th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Running Back Matt Jones, Florida
Analysis: Jones has the natural look and build of an NFL running back. He runs with great vision, balance, and acceleration that makes him a all-around type of back. Has pretty good hands and hand-eye coordination. Jones needs help learning how to pick up blitzes and help his quarterback. Has tendency to be one-trick pony as a downhill runner, but has the frame and takes well to coaching. Jones could also use help learning to protect the football, has had some fumble issues. He had meniscus surgery in October 2013 but recovered well.
With the 211th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Safety Dean Marlowe, James Madison
Analysis: Marlowe is rangy and versatile to play slot, close to the line, and deep. Very aggressive tackler and lands good, clean hits. Good recognition in run defense and is particularly good with single-high play. Takes very good angles towards the ball and is rarely out of place. Marlowe sometimes plays with less speed than he's capable of and has poor technique, need help to not lose track of receivers at times.
With the 218th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select:
Linebacker Norkeithus Otis, North Carolina
Analysis: Still a very raw talent, Otis has the versatility to play at all the linebacker positions. He's a little small at 240 lbs to be playing as an outside-rusher. I think Otis fits best as a Sam or Will in the Cowboys' scheme. He has very active hands and agile feet that make him a capable every-down player. For 6'1, Otis has great length in his arms that allows him to hang in there with lineman and wrap up running backs. Good initial quickness but needs more development.
My initial take with this draft is I'm really happy with the value of the first two picks. Both Williams and Edwards could find significant playing time in their rookie seasons. The Grady Jarrett is a pet-cat type of pick for me. Though he's small, I really like the way he plays and he has a great motor. Thompson and Jones fit roles for the future but can still be productive right away. Jones' sheer size and frame make him intriguing as a potential replacement for Murray if injured or gone elsewhere in a season or two. Thompson has all the tools and abilities to become a good right tackle if developed properly.
Dean Marlowe will need a ton of work with his technique but he has good size and ball skills. His overall ability to play high and good vision should translate well in the NFL. Otis is interesting because just about everybody thinks he's got tremendous upside. When it get's that late in the Draft, I'm all in favor of finding good traits, Otis certainly has some.
The NFL draft process always commands a lot of difference of opinion and of course we welcome that in the comment section. If you hated staying put and making picks, that's totally fine because in Part II we will wheel-and-deal to find the best value possible.