Even though it it feels like not much has happened over the last four weeks of another dreary offseason, the NFL has actually been pretty busy, first with the Combine and then with the start of free agency.
And both events have had a significant impact on the mock draft landscape. When we looked at 50 drafts prior to the Combine, we saw that Myles Jack and Jalen Ramsey were the consensus favorites for the Cowboys. After the Combine, Joey Bosa emerged as the consensus favorite, garnering 36% of the votes from 25 post-Combine mocks we looked at two weeks ago. More importantly, the post-Combine/pre-Free Agency mocks collapsed the field of potential candidates from 11 to five.
And there's been yet another seismic shift after free agency. Not only has the field shrunk to just four possible candidates, but a new candidate has popped up out of almost nowhere: Ezekiel Elliott garners nine out of a possible 25 votes, just one shy of this week's leader Joey Bosa, who leads with 10 votes.
|Feb 20 (50 mocks)||March 2 (25 mocks)
||March 18 (25 mocks)
|Carson Wentz||10%||4%||- -|
|Jared Goff||4%||20%||- -|
|Ezekiel Elliott||2%||- -||36%|
|Others||18%||- -||- -|
In today's round-up, we look at some of the latest mocks published over the last few days, including mocks from SI.com, NFL.com, USA Today, a whole armada of mocks from CBSSports and many others. All the mock draft goodness is summarized below.
|Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
Optimum Scouting (Galko), 3/18: Myles Jack is tempting, but pairing Bosa with Demarcus Lawrence for the future could give this team an immediate and needed impact on the defensive line that could pay more immediate dividends for a playoff-bound team.
ESPN Cleveland (Grossi), 3/18: Fits perfectly at left end in Cowboys’ 4-3.
PFF (Collinsworth), 3/17: Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will get a defensive end who perfectly matches his work ethic. Bosa may not be J.J. Watt, but he’ll work just as hard. Bosa is one of those admired football players who lifts players around him as they try to match his effort. Bosa is not a quick-twitch, pure pass-rusher, so don’t expect a 15-sack season, but if healthy, Bosa will consistently deliver 10 sacks per year and dominate his space in the running game — similar to Cameron Jordan of the Saints.
DraftKing (Pickney), 3/17: A pass-rushing menace with remarkable skill, Bosa would be an excellent addition to a Cowboys team that will be without DE Randy Gregory for the first four games of the season and is likely to not sign impending free agent DE Greg Hardy to a new deal. I'm as bullish on Bosa's NFL chances as just about anyone who covers the draft, and I suspect he could have a tremendous positive impact in Dallas.
Walter Football (Walter), 3/16: I could see Joey Bosa slide to the Dolphins or Buccaneers because of his character concerns, but Dallas is a strong possibility as well. Jerry Jones has shown that he's not afraid to take a chance on a talented player with some off-the-field questions. With Greg Hardy on his way out, and Randy Gregory now one strike away from a year-long suspension, Bosa makes a ton of sense for the Cowboys.
Yahoo (Edholm), 3/16: Bosa played high school at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), one of the dominant programs in the country. He played college ball for Urban Meyer at Ohio State. And in this projection, Bosa would join one of the more storied NFL franchises, on a defense that could use his help. is gone, and is an unknown quantity. and Bosa would make a fine pair. This is the kind of scheme in which Bosa can thrive.
NFL.com (Jeremiah), 3/14: The Cowboys can't count on Randy Gregory, and Bosa will have an immediate impact.
CBSSports (Brugler), 3/14: The Cowboys need to address the defensive line this offseason and if Bosa is still available at pick No. 4, I don't think he'll still be around at pick No. 5. Bosa would be an ideal fit at left end in coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme and gives the Cowboys much-needed depth, especially considering Randy Gregory's troubles.
CBSSports (Rang), 3/14: With Greg Hardy not in the team's future plans and 2015 second-round pick Randy Gregory facing a suspension, the Cowboys may have little choice but to address defensive end early in the draft. Bosa is ideally built for the 4-3 and he has the pro-ready game that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli will appreciate, showing awareness and strength to handle run-stuffing duties as well as the burst and refined hand play to attack the quarterback.
CSNPhilly.com (Hudrick), 3/14: If Bosa falls here, the Cowboys would have to be elated. He fills an immediate need for a pass rusher. Bosa's ability to work inside or outside makes him even more valuable. I've seen mocks where Bosa has dropped and it makes no sense to me.
|Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Cowboyswire (Drummond), 3/18: [Cowboys trade down to No. 7 in this Cowboys only mock] Ramsey and Jack were off the board, leaving Elliott for the Cowboys to give a tremendous boost to their running game. Elliott’s selection will make Darren McFadden expendable, and opening the door for a short-yardage back to complement Zeke and Lance Dunbar and lengthen the bell-cow’s career.
Draftwire (Ledyard), 3/16: With a loaded roster that is ready for a deep playoff run if healthy, I’m just not sure Jerry Jones can pass on an exceptional talent like Ezekiel Elliott in the Dallas backfield. A quarterback, Myles Jack, and Joey Bosa (Ramsey too if available) will all be considered here, but the Cowboys are built to win now, and Elliott is the most NFL-ready skill player in this year’s draft.
Drafttek, 3/16: No comments provided.
Rotoworld (Norris), 3/16: But positional value says no running backs in the first-round? I believe Elliott is a foundation piece of an NFL offense and shines in every phase of the position. Elliott converts three yard gains into seven yard gains and might be the best blocking ball carrier we have seen. And behind the Cowboys’ offensive line? Have mercy.
NFL.com (Brooks), 3/16: Adding a disruptive edge rusher is tempting, but the presence of an electric runner in the backfield would alleviate the pressure on Tony Romo and allow the Cowboys to get back to the smashmouth approach that netted a division crown in 2014.
CBSSports (Brinson), 3/16: My gut feeling is the Cowboys believe they've got a firm enough grasp on NFL economics whereby they can get away with spending big on a running back (either in draft or free agency). But they also look at Zeke and see a transcendent running back talent who could immediately revitalize the running game in Dallas. He's a win-now option who sets them up for several good years of running the ball effectively. Plug a special back behind their line, keep Tony Romo healthy and Dallas is winning the NFC East.
Newsday (Klopsis), 3/14: The junior is a complete back with the power to grind out tough yards, the speed to break long runs, the hands to catch passes out of the backfield and the balance to help in pass protection. He's a high-floor prospect who can start Week 1 and be a true three-down back. And with all the talk of preparing for life after Tony Romo, imagine the Cowboys transitioning to a power run offense, with Elliott behind the same offensive line that helped DeMarco Murray run for 1,845 yards in 2014.
DraftAce (McCrystal), 3/14: Cowboys not going hard after a FA running back may indicate they're after Elliott.
Rael Football (Miller), 3/13: A three down back who is a bruiser on 1st & 2nd down and a devastating blocker on 3rd downs, with added value as a capable receiver out of the backfield.
|Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
HGSN.com (Buggy), 3/17; The Cowboys may be one of the most difficult teams to read in the lead up to the draft, but if Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey is still on the board at four it's unlikely the Cowboys will pass up on him. Ramsey has drawn comparisons to Richard Sherman and Sean Smith, and would make a strong addition in Dallas' defense next season. Bosa is the trendy pick and he makes plenty of sense as a Greg Hardy replacement, but unfortunately for Jerry Jones, Bosa's already gone.
SD Union Times (Brown), 3/17: This fills a need, but it's the Cowboys also taking the best player available. Ramsey is a play-maker who can play either cornerback or safety at the next level, and is one of the true premium talents in this draft class.
SB Nation (Kadar), 3/14: The Cowboys are in a position in the first round where they really can't go wrong. Bosa makes sense if he's there, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack would be a good pick and Ramsey would give them a huge upgrade in pass coverage.
CBSSports (Prisco), 3/13: They need a playmaker in the secondary. Ramsey can play both corner and safety, which offers versatility that the Cowboys need.
|Myles Jack, LB, UCLA|
SI.com (Burke), 3/16: With Bosa off the board, this pick boils down to three main options: Myles Jack, Ezekiel Elliott or trade down with a team that wants a quarterback. The Cowboys might be tempted by Elliott but letting DeMarco Murray walk and then getting 1,000 yards out of Darren McFadden helped back the theory that their O-line—not their starting RB—is the real star. Even with Rolando McClain returning, the Cowboys could find room to let Jack’s versatility shine.
Walter Football (Charlie), 3/14: I could see Jack becoming a star for the Cowboys. He's a perfect fit for Rod Marinelli's defense as a Will (weakside) linebacker. Jack's pass-coverage skills could remind Marinelli of Derrick Brooks during Marinelli's run of success in Tampa Bay in the late 1990s and the first half of the 2000s. Sean Lee has a hard time staying healthy, and Rolando McClain isn't the most reliable player. Jack could be a difference-maker for Dallas.
This weeks, it looks like an even battle between the Zekeists and the Bosans in Mock Draft Country. But what if a scenario comes along like the one described by KD Drummond: The Cowboys trade down from No. 4 to No. 7. They don't get a QB, an edge rusher or a corner, but get Ezekiel Elliott.
Ultimately, that might be what it comes down to: Stay put for Bosa or trade down for Elliott.
Which would you prefer?