As the draft nears, it doesn't look like the picture is getting any clearer for the Cowboys. Such is life in the middle of the smokescreen season that we find ourselves in. What we do know is the Cowboys are still swinging away at their visits list and looking anywhere and everywhere.
Another idea that has been floated around is the possible interest in trading back up for a quarterback because currently they've only got Kellen Moore and Jameill Showers. Not exactly an impressive stable of capable arms, huh? So, for this exercise, we have decided to take a look at a possible trade back up to snag that potential heir to the Cowboys' throne. Let's go ahead and make a mockery of the draft once again. (Players values are based on CBS Prospect Rankings to keep the mock exercise legitimate.)
As the round begins, the picks go and there are no surprises. Laremy Tunsil to the Titans, Carson Wentz to the Browns, and Jalen Ramsey to the Chargers. Staring right at Dallas is Joey Bosa, Jared Goff, Ezekiel Elliott and Myles Jack. At this point, there is not clarity on Jack's knee, so he's eliminated. Both Bosa and Goff haven't generated a ton of interest from the Cowboys though they are both options here. The Cowboys are hoping for a phone call that never comes, so the best decision is obvious, but O.C.C. is not happy right now.
Pick 4: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
We've been over this though it may not please everyone, it should please the guys that count. I'm talking about Tony Romo and the offense. Elliott doesn't have any holes to poke and takes them right back to where they were as an offense in 2014. Sometimes the best help to the defense is a better and more controlling offense. Think about it, Jeremy Mincey led the Cowboys in sacks in 2014.
Sure, their lack of pass rush was their downfall in the playoffs, but at four, there just isn't the right type of rusher for what they need that makes sense. The Cowboys like Elliott and he can help them keep Romo playing at his best. They will have to attack that defensive problem later but with nine picks, they have a real shot at doing something. Elliott can run, catch, block and all. Why not take the running game from good to absolutely dominating?
(As round one progresses, the Cowboys make their move. They see that Goff is off the board at this point and Paxton Lynch is their guy. However, they decide to wait a little longer, he gets past the Rams and Texans. Dallas gets on the horn and their good pal in Minnesota is listening.
They offer picks 34 and next year's second round pick for pick 23. The value of this trade is +10 points for the Cowboys, close enough to make it a valid trade option.)
Pick 23: Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
It's time to get someone behind Romo with the skills to develop into a potential franchise quarterback down the road. Lynch is a very intriguing prospect with his elite arm strength and superb accuracy. Dallas does have defensive needs but they also haven't done a single thing to address the quarterback position. These opportunities don't come every year and Lynch is still at the top of some draftniks' lists.
Lynch has generated a lot of interest from the Cowboys of late and knowing Stephen Jones, he likes to improve immediately while also keeping a watchful eye on the future. Two picks in the first solve big questions offensively, but now they must get defensive, and it just got a little harder.
Pick 67: Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
The Cowboys have been trying to upgrade their secondary all offseason long and particularly at cornerback. However, the talent level of Joseph is starting to get take shape and gain some notice around here. Joseph is a hard-nosed hitting machine but he makes plays all over the field. Joseph was asked to play the free position a lot in college but it's not his true fit. He's better when he's near the play not on an island.
Joseph can be a little over aggressive but he has received comparisons to Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks. I think he reminds me a little more of a Kam Chancellor of the same team. He can hit you but he can cover as well. Perhaps his best trait is his knack to make plays and be a force for any offense to have to reckon with. He seems to be on track medically and would be a great pickup for a defense that feels stale. Joseph is without a doubt one of the toughest competitors in this year's class and is one explosive player.
Pick 101: Matt Judon, DE, Grand Valley State
At this point, the Cowboys need some guys with pass rush ability. Judon is a small-school guy but he can set the edge and get to the quarterback. Because of the first-round moves, it pushed pass rusher down, but that doesn't mean the Cowboys aren't getting a great toy for Rod Marinelli.
Judon absolutely dominated DII Football but teams certainly need to see what he can do against better competition. He's got the burst, speed, build, and bend of an NFL-caliber defensive end. He's got great flexibility and a history of production leading the nation (at any level) with 20 sacks in 2015. He is a well-coordinated athlete with the ability to excel with more development.
Pick 135: Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
The kid fought his heart out at the Senior Bowl and has all the skills to make it as a starting cornerback at the next level. He's a tough competitor with a phenomenal wingspan though he will certainly need to add some bulk in his rookie offseason.
Miller is an aggressive run defender and is tall with great length and passion. He understands the game of football and loves it. He's fiery and also knows how to make a play or two (11 interceptions, 33 PBUs, and two blocked kicks on special teams). The Cowboys are getting a really good player with a high football acumen.
Pick 189: D.J. Reader, DT, Clemson
Reader missed the majority of the 2015 season for personal reasons but had a wonderful showing at the Senior Bowl that has him climbing back up the ranks. He is surprisingly athletic for his gigantic size and starred in multiple sports for the Tigers. He played mainly at the three technique due to his penetration and first step quickness but seems a better fit at the one in a traditional 4-3 setting.
Pick 212: Deiondre' Hall, CB, Northern Iowa
He was obviously the most standout player on Northern Iowa's defense. He's got terrific eyes and awareness with insanely good instincts and ball-skills. He definitely fits the mold of a ball-hawk type player with 21 passes defended and 13 interceptions in 46 starts. He's still a bit undeveloped and will need to work on his footwork, but Hall has all the traits to become a solid corner or safety at the next level.
Pick 216: Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Mississippi
Do you want a receiver that brings the heat on every play? This is your guy though he played against lesser competition. Thomas snagged 71 receptions for 1,391 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015 easily destroying his numbers from 2014 with 41 catches for 592 yards and five touchdowns. He plays like he is possessed and can't be stopped once he gets going. They can use a poor man's Dez Bryant to give Romo another fiery target.
Pick 217: Anthony Zettel, DE, Penn State
Sound the pet cat horn once again, Cowboys Nation. Dallas needs numbers on the defensive line and something tells me this guy can help. They talk about the Austin Johnson's and Carl Nassib's but neglect Zettel who was second to only Joey Bosa in tackles for loss in the Big 10 with 17. Zettel has the versatility to kick inside but lacks the prototypical size. However, his relentless motor and aggressive tendencies to attack blockers will be something that catches the eye of Hot Rod. He's got the elite first-step, so he's halfway there.