The 2015 NFL Draft is about a month away and mocks are firing out on all cylinders. The last time out I tried my hand at trades and it was met with a 50/50 response. For the sake of a more clear purpose, I'll leave the trading out of it and we will stick with the picks.
Just a quick reminder, I prefer to use the CBS Big Board and luckily Fanspeak has now added that board, making it a lot easier for this exercise. Some things have changed since the last mock, the Cowboys lost their bell cow, added depth at linebacker and signed a premier pass rusher. Without any further ado, here's how it all shook out:
With the 27th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Cornerback Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
A three-year starter at Wake Forest, Johnson is a very fluid and athletically built NFL prospect. His lean but muscular frame adds to his impressive coverage skills. Johnson has great foot-quickness and vision to lock onto a receiver and follow him throughout the route. He possesses the skill to turn and run with the downhill burst needed in zone coverage. He never panics and shows the ability to sit and bait quarterbacks into bad decisions. Johnson is very durable and never missed a game in his 41 outings. He can get over-aggressive at times and needs work to not get burned on double-moves by speedy receivers. Johnson will also need some help with technique in run-support but he never backs off or loses the confidence to bounce back. Johnson has the ability to really thrive in the NFL and his physical nature bodes well against the wide-outs of today
With the 60th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Running Back Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Dane Brugler with CBS has stated that Coleman is a mirror-image of DeMarco Murray. Without Murray in the fold, this pick makes a ton of sense for Dallas. His physical demeanor and one-cut style is perfect for the Cowboys. He has a nice acceleration to him and hits top-speed rather quickly. He's great at changing directions and has decent hands to be a pass-catcher. Coleman has also shown his ability to pick up blitzes and fair well in pass-protection. He's a durable runner and doesn't wear down in games. He's not as elusive as you would want and also needs work in securing the ball but his production cannot be argued with. A great snag for Dallas that can step in and fill the void left from Murray's defection.
With the 91st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Defensive End Za'Darius Smith, Kentucky
Bud Dupree's counterpart was often overlooked but has the same relentless spirit as an edge rusher. Smith has surprisingly quick burst off the edge and solid core power. Smith has very active hands and has mastered the swim and swat moves. Za'Darius has great vision and rarely loses sight of the ball. He's a fiery competitor and physical tackler and striker. Smith possesses only average speed but shows his passion in every snap. He has a never-give-up attitude and plays hard all the time. He's a very physically and mentally tough player and coach's dream. He needs to control his momentum better. He also needs work anchoring down to not get driven off the ball so easily. He's still somewhat new to the game and will need more development but would be a solid pick in the third round.
With the 127th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Safety James Sample, Louisville
Sample certainly has the framework to play NFL safety, but like J.J. Wilcox in 2012, he lacks the production in the position. He's a rangy safety that likely fits better as a free but can play both positions in the 4-3. Sample flashed a lot of ball skill at Louisville and had a relentless motor as a competitor. He'll need some fine tuning in certain areas such as run-defense and has the tendency to bite on fakes. He's however a proficient tackler and has a nose for the ball at all times and can get downhill in a flash. His lack of experience will leave him to be had in the fourth or fifth round. He does show the physicality to thrive as a safety in today's NFL, just needs the right polishing.
With the 163rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Defensive Tackle Xavier Williams, Northern Iowa
Xavier is a very strong competitor that plays just as hard in practice and takes it to gameday. High motor, higher intensity type of player with well-proportioned frame and long arms. Very athletic for his 6'2 325 lbs size, and he's a closer. He's got fantastic body control and light on his feet. Good ability to stay low and finish blockers with ease. Has a solid special teams background with eight blocked kicks in college career. William's lacks the ideal brute strength and needs to strengthen his upper body. He's a very strong-willed and intelligent player with impeccable self-motivation. Williams will need further development in learning how to anchor but his production suggests he's only getting better. Williams is the type of self-evaluator that knows how to push himself to get better, some thing Marinelli would love to add on Sundays.
With the 219th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Quarterback Cody Fajardo, Nevada
The more I watch and research, the more I love Fajardo. Like Romo, he has the potential to be a diamond in the rough. Fajardo is also a bit small like Tony, he shows the same agility to step up in the pocket and avoid the rush. Fajardo shows very efficient footwork and has the vision to really pick up yards as a ball carrier. Cody has a quick set-up and release and can do it with a nice rhythm, although he needs more consistency with that. He's a smart thrower and runner to limit potential mistakes. Fajardo holds the Mountain-Valley record for most completions without an interception (193). According to CBS, He's one of only two players with 9,000-plus passing yards and 3,000-plus rushing yards in a career (along with Colin Kaepernick). Will need more development to not be so erratic, but his line was not good and he was often on the move. Also, will need to work on his progression to read multiple receivers. Not saying he's the second coming of Tony Romo, but there are similarities and he's got some upside.
With the 243rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Offensive Tackle Eric Lefeld, Cincinnati
Good length with long arms and good athletic ability. Has some nastiness to him and flashes explosiveness off the ball. He's dependable and has great production. very durable player. Needs to not play so upright and lower his hips but could be a developmental player with upside to start. Improved as a run blocker in 2014 and already shows ability in passing downs. Never leaves field, relentless motor. Very optimistic that Lefeld could handle the swing tackle duties and may even develop into something more. Not a lot of exposure for him but a warrior on the field every time out.
Analysis: I was hoping that Fanspeak would make it a little tougher in the first round. I would have liked to have a mock where a few defensive studs were there but as Broaddus has said all along; corner was the likely bet. I actually really like Kevin Johnson and pairing him with James Sample later could look to help this secondary out immediately. Tevin Coleman has been my hopeful replacement for the Cowboys. I understand that Gordon and Gurley are the sexy picks, but Coleman is still a good fit for the offense and allows Dallas to help the defense early. Za'Darius Smith has Marinelli-magic written all over him as does Xavier Williams. Both those guys could be solid contributors in 2015. Anytime you pick a quarterback in the 7th round, it's hard to say he's the heir by any means. I do like Cody Fajardo and would love to see how he can fit in the competition for the backup role. Eric Lefeld is another intriguing pick because of his production, his description says RKG to me. Lefeld would get great coaching in Dallas and could end up being something more down the road.
Well, as in every mock, there will be some backlash. Of course I love to spark conversation about this with the wonderful BTB community.