As disappointing as it may be, we, as Cowboys fans, have to face the fact that the season is over and the offseason has begun. And with the offseason comes that annual ritual that so fascinates/infuriates us... mock drafts. We love ‘em, we hate ‘em, but we can’t turn away.
With the Cowboys getting bounced from the playoffs, they are now planted at #28 in the first round. That’s a long way down from last year’s #4 position that landed Dallas Ezekiel Elliott. So which direction will they go this year.
Let’s take a look at ol’ helmet-head’s first mock draft of the year. Mel Kiper, Jr. has released version 1.0 of his annual series of mocks and the Cowboys land:
*Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Jones, a three-year starter for the Huskies, is the sixth corner off the board. At 6-1, 170, he's agile and fast with nice ball skills. He had nine interceptions in his career. Dallas has a glaring need at defensive end, but don't count out a corner here. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are free agents.
Cornerback and defensive end are going to be very popular picks for the Cowboys during the entire mock draft season. Everyone knows Dallas wants to upgrade their defense, and with Carr and Claiborne free agents, one or both could land elsewhere. That would leave Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown and not much else. Restocking with help from the draft makes sense.
Jones came into the campaign with a lot of hype, and for the most part, he lived up to it. The playmaking junior racked up 34 total tackles, six pass breakups, three interceptions and a forced fumble across the Huskies' 12 regular-season games.
His lockdown ability in coverage is his greatest asset, however, and it's not always something that's easy to quantify on the stat sheet. He's got the speed to guard against the deep ball but is also physical enough to win battles at the line of scrimmage.
One area in which he showed noticeable improvement throughout 2016 was run support. The California native showed increased awareness coming off the edge to make key stops.
CBS Sports has Jones ranked #20 on its Big Board.
A big part of the Huskies ascent into the playoffs in 2016 was due to its extraordinary secondary, which will see three members (senior Kevin King, junior Budda Baker and Jones) drafted this spring. Jones is the most polished of the bunch. A silky-smooth athlete with excellent awareness and composure with the ball in the air, Jones has a shot to be the first cornerback, though some worry about his somewhat slim frame. While Alabama showed its muscle against the Huskies, it is worth noting that the Crimson Tide did not attempt a single pass in Jones' direction in the Peach Bowl.