Though one caveat stood out from this article -- that last year in 67 combined early mocks, only one had the Cowboys taking Ezekiel Elliott -- even though the Cowboys were picking fourth so there weren't that many choices ahead of them, this is the takeaway:
We're still very far away from having a consensus pick for the Cowboys emerge from these mock drafts, though if you sort by position, DE (25 of 40 mocks) is the clear front-runner, followed by CB and WR (both 6). Going by the results of this iteration of our mock draft database, a quartet of players seems to be hogging the mock draft vote of the assembled draftniks above: Taco Charlton, Charles Harris, Takkarist McKinley, and John Ross.
Moore picks Darren McFadden, and in an article that will appear later this week, I completely concur.
Why he's likely to return: Morris has one year left on his contract. They could go with him as Elliott's backup and draft a young back to move into the mix. But the Cowboys showed in those final three games that they prefer McFadden to Morris.
One can also make a pretty good case for bringing back Brandon Carr, if he wants to keep playing.
Argument To Keep: Carr has taken criticism outside the organization for his takeaway total throughout his five seasons in Dallas, but he’s durable, solid player at a premium position. The 2016 season was arguably his best as a Cowboy, and the club has depth questions in the secondary this offseason with fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety Barry Church also set to be unrestricted free agents.
Jason Pierre-Paul to Dallas? Not likely, even though Archer correctly points out it can help to weaken an opponent by stealing their free agents. More likely is Terrance Williams to the Giants, who just cut Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings to free up $10 million in cap space, and showed last year they aren't afraid to use it.
On Sunday, Jason Pierre-Paul to the Dallas Cowboys in free agency became a thing.
It makes sense on a couple of fronts. The Cowboys have a need to improve their pass rush and Pierre-Paul should be one of the best available pass-rushers if he is available when the market opens. It would also hurt the Cowboys’ NFC East rival New York Giants.
Not a very inspired list. It's missing Brian Hoyer, who would be the best option if he could be had for the $2 million he received last year from the Bears. She tries making a case for Kellen Moore. Affordable, yes. A winner? No. What do you think?
Moore makes a lot of sense for Dallas, considering it was willing to enter the 2016 season with him backing up Romo. Moore never got the chance, of course, breaking his ankle early in training camp, being placed on season-ending injured reserve and opening the door for Prescott's emergence. But Moore has an extensive relationship with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and knows the ins and outs of the offense. He showed flashes of potential in his two games started in 2015, though they both ended in losses. His lack of game experience could make the Cowboys uncomfortable, though they might be tempted to overlook it because of his affordable salary.
Meanwhile, Barry Church was on The Fan. After singing the praises of Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, he says he'd like to be back in Dallas.
"I've been here seven years, the defense we have now I feel like is right up my alley and we're starting to flow as a defense," Church said. "I would love to stay here - this is my home basically. But we'll see what happens in the offseason."
In more of the Barry Church interview, he gives some love to David Irving and the oncoming Dallas pass rush.
"Oh it's unbelievable, it's like night and day," Church said of Irving's improvement. "If you look at him, you always see the potential he has. He's like 7-9 with an unbelievable wing span, but he just turned it on a couple games this year. He has the potential to be unstoppable, but hopefully he can tap into that."
Back to the draft. This article reviews 10 wideouts Dallas could target, listed in alphabetical order. Of these, John Ross of the Washington Huskies got mocked to Dallas four times in OCC's roundup, but this quick review shows he wouldn't fit Dallas's scheme as a wideout.
"Ross is an instant-impact weapon who scored 23 touchdowns in just 112 touches. He should be able to step right in as a kick returner and a slot receiver, but teams with speed at tight end might utilize him outside to create extreme vertical stress on opposing safeties. If his knees check out as healthy, Ross is a likely first-round pick with the rare ability to become a high-volume slot receiver or a lesser-targeted, high-yield deep-ball threat."
As we asked yesterday, will Jason Witten decide that 2017 is his last season? If so, Dallas might finally get to fully utilize a well-drafted tight end. There are lots of good ones to choose from. Here's the write up on Gerald Everett.
"It's difficult to find a good comparison for Everett because his size and toughness are similar to Marshall's coming out, but his playing style resembles Delanie Walker at times. Everett has size, speed and tremendous run-after-catch potential, but it is his willingness and ability to block that separates him from other 'matchup' tight ends. Route running is below average, but he should improve with NFL coaching. Everett has the talent to become a very good NFL starter with Pro Bowl potential if he puts it all together."
This is Archer's take on a Dan Graziano evaluation of how all 32 teams feel about their QB situation. Ridiculously, Graziano has the Cowboys 19th. Archer would rank them higher. It's still not high enough. What neither one of them are valuing is how the energy in a franchise rockets up when it has a young franchise quarterback.
If I were constructing a ranking, albeit with different criteria than this list, I’d probably have Prescott somewhere in the 10-14 range.
Graziano wants to see more from Prescott, which is a completely fair expectation. Everybody should want to see more from Prescott, even as well as he played in a season that ended with him being named Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Dak and Zeke as rookies turned a 4-12 team into one that blew away team history by winning 11 games in a row, could have set a franchise record with a 14-2 season if they'd played the last game, and set numerous other records. Think Seattle when it landed Russell Wilson in the third round. Where did they end up in year two?