It’s mock draft season. Of course, it is very early, and anything out now is likely going to be subject to massive revisions before the actual picks go in at AT&T Stadium. Still, it is a subject of great interest to all NFL fans, and for the Dallas Cowboys, what is most interesting is not who exactly is projected to them with the 19th overall pick. Most mocks do not do a really good job of understanding the needs of the team or their tendencies. But they can give us some interesting suggestions of just who might still be available for the Cowboys when they go on the clock.
One of the best known mockers is ESPN’s Todd McShay. His latest first round mock looks very favorable for Dallas, as there are some names still there for them to consider that might just make you drool.
Yesterday, Dave Halprin summed up most of the basics of McShay’s mock. I wanted to break it down a little more and see what it can tell us about how the first round may go down.
Perhaps the best news, and something that seems to be fairly consistent across all the early mocks, is that a lot of quarterbacks are taken in the first eighteen picks, mostly in the top ten spots. McShay has four being selected, and given that the Cowboys are not in the market for a QB early, that is all good.
There are some early crushes for Dallas that go off the board for them, such as DT Vita Vae, who lasts a bit longer than some might expect but still is projected to be taken at 16. Other names that are gone include LB Roquan Smith, and S Derwin James and CB Mike Hughes, who also. But here are some first-round talents (according to McShay) that would certainly fit for the Cowboys, at least in many of our eyes.
DTs Mo Hurst, Da’Ron Payne, and Taven Bryan. There has certainly been a reluctance by the Cowboys to invest draft capital in the DT position. But if the team is really looking to make some corrections, this could be the year that the team makes a pivot similar to the one that saw them take three offensive linemen in the first round in four years after Jason Garrett became head coach. Kris Richard is now part of the staff, and he may bring a very different view on how to build the defensive line. And as he is the passing defensive coordinator, his voice should carry a lot of weight.
Interior OLs Isaiah Wynn, Billy Price, and James Daniels, If the Cowboys shy away from DTs, then a player to fill the LG spot could be much more to their taste. Wynn is the best name here, but Price and Daniels played both guard and center, which might make them more attractive given the (over)emphasis the staff seems to place on position flexibility. The latter two would be likely starters at LG while providing some insurance for stud center Travis Frederick. That may not be the wisest way to look at it, but it does fit the pattern.
LB’s Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. With Sean Lee always subject to injury, and the demonstrated negative impact that has on the team, this might be a chance to shore up the linebacking corps and have a plan of succession in place for Lee, as painful as that is to think about.
CBs Josh Jackson and M.J. Stewart. If Richard is not pounding the table for a DT, he is certainly going to be looking to shore up the secondary if possible. It remains to be seen how these two fit his profile, but if they do, they could be targets for him.
WR Christian Kirk. I am no draftnik, but I’m still not a fan of taking a WR in the first round, especially with what looks to be a deep draft at that position. And Kirk has some flaws. But with “Dak-friendly” being the watchword for the offense, he just might be seen as an option.
All this is dependent on things like combine measurements, interviews, and what the scouts see on video, but collectively, this looks like a pretty good slate of options. If one or more of them are in the first round on Dallas’ board, we may have a good indication on who will be called out if the Cowboys stick at 19.