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ESPN’s Todd McShay mock draft 1.0 has Cowboys going big along defensive line

The first of Todd McShay’s mock drafts for the 2018 event.

Florida State v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Yes, the Dallas Cowboys are still fighting for their playoff lives with three games left to go in the 2017 season. But, it won’t be long until attention will build toward the 2018 NFL Draft, and with that always comes mock drafts. So let’s get an early jump on that by taking a look at Todd McShay’s first mock draft of the season.

16. Dallas Cowboys

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson*

The Cowboys have generated good pressure up front, thanks to DeMarcus Lawrence's 13.5 sacks, but he'll be a free agent. Last year's first-round pick, Taco Charlton, should help as well, but the Cowboys need to bolster the interior of that defensive line. Wilkins has experience both inside and outside on an outstanding Clemson D-line, but I believe his best fit is inside as a 3-technique. He has the foot speed and quick hands to slip blocks and is a stout run-defender.

Interesting pick. Wilkins is a force as anybody who has watched Clemson recently can tell you. He is disruptive and hard to handle for offensive linemen. Talent-wise there is not much to argue here.

The question is does he really fit for Dallas. For one thing, the Cowboys in recent years don’t really seem to think an interior defensive linemen is the right move in the first round. They have had opportunity and need, but have passed.

They also have Maliek Collins who they really like in the 3-tech spot which looks like Wilkins’ natural position. David Irving has also been playing in the interior, so they could move him outside to end if they wanted to play a Wilkins/Collins combo on the interior.

The Cowboys are thin at defensive tackle, and Todd Archer noted that Wilkins has something the Cowboys covet - position flexibility. From a long profile of Wilkins, we get this paragraph:

"It's like a switch-hitter in baseball, a guy that can hit 25 home runs right-handed and left-handed," [Dabo] Swinney said. "There's nobody else that can go and play 3-technique, shade and end, and not miss a beat. Plus, you've got to have the mentality for it. I've been around some ends who could go play D-tackle, but they didn't really have the mentality for it. I've been around a lot of really good D-tackles but maybe not quite athletic enough to go play D-end.

"He is a rare guy."

They could move him around if they wanted.

What do you think of this projected pick, BTB?