You go and put a bid in on Sammy Watkins in free agency, and suddenly it’s all about the wide receivers with the Dallas Cowboys. At least according to our latest batch of mock drafts. Once, it was all about defensive tackles, but that is so pre-free agency. Now, in our first mock draft tracker since free agency has been in full swing, we find wide receivers ascending, with Calvin Ridley becoming the man.
We looked at 15 mock drafts, all done at least two days after the start of free agency. We wanted to try and get a more accurate picture after the big names in free agency, the kind of names that would affect first-round draft strategies, had moved teams. What we found is the Cowboys interest in Sammy Watkins, and the previous talk about uncertainty with Dez Byrant’s future, has vaulted Ridley to the top. He is the pick in six of our 15 mocks. Not only that, two mockers went for Courtland Sutton and one picked DJ Chark, giving WRs 9 out of the 15 slots!
At defensive tackle, Vita Vea is still hanging in there, and Isaiah Wynn, as usual, is the consensus choice if the Cowboys go with a guard.
|, DT, Washington|
|Cleveland.com (Labbe), Mar 17||Vea might be the best player available here and the Cowboys could use that big body in the middle.|
|NJ.com (Dunleavy), Mar 20||The Cowboys will be thrilled if Vea slips this far — and the Lions will be bummed he didn't make it one more pick. Maybe the Lions even trade in front of the Cowboys to get Vea. He is a matchup nightmare.|
|The Ringer (Kelly), Mar 20||Dallas still needs to add teeth to its defensive line, and Davenport, while raw, could do exactly that. Put him in a pass-rushing subpackage with Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving, and Taco Charlton, and the highly athletic pass rusher could make an impact in year one.|
|, CB, Iowa|
|NJ.com (Slater), Mar 17||He didn't test great at the NFL Scouting Combine. So he falls here to the Cowboys. .|
|, WR, Alabama|
|NFL.com (Reuter), Mar 20||It's easy to believe Ridley would be a welcomed addition to Dallas' passing game.|
|NFL.com (Brooks), Mar 19||The Cowboys need to find a No. 1 receiver with Dez Bryant's skills declining rapidly. Ridley is as polished as they come at the position. He's a clean route runner with strong hands and explosive running skills.|
|CBS Sports (Trapasso), Mar 19||The Cowboys bite on Ridley here, a sharp route runner who'll also threaten defenses down the field to give Dez Bryant more one-on-one opportunities.|
|NFL Draft Scout (Brugler), Mar 17||Dallas hasn’t addressed the top-three on the wide receiver depth chart over the last five seasons, and it is time for an upgrade. Ridley would be an ideal “Z” receiver opposite Dez Bryant, giving Dak Prescott a pass-catcher who can create his own separation.|
|The Big Lead (McIntyre), Mar 21||Dez Bryant, you’re on notice. The Cowboys have a big need at WR. The secondary has question marks, but they’ve drafted six DBs in the last three years, perhaps a few take the leap this year.|
|CBS Sports (White), Mar 20||Ridley's stock is down after an unimpressive combine, but the Cowboys decided to use one of their predraft visits on the talented wideout, who might not fall any further than this pick. Considering wide receiver is one of the team's biggest needs, they could jump at the chance to draft Ridley, who could eventually take over the No. 1 role if the Cowboys move on from Dez Bryant next offseason, which would save them more than $12 million on the cap.|
|, WR, SMU|
|SI.com (Breer), Mar 21||With concern over Dez Bryant’s ability to run, Dallas suddenly has a need for an outside target. Sutton’s potential is tantalizing—those who’ve scouted him live have a pretty high opinion of him.|
|Walter Football (Campbell), Mar 19||The Cowboys could move on from Dez Bryant before long and will need a No. 1 receiver for Dak Prescott. In 2017, Sutton recorded 68 catches for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. If Sutton finds a little more "Dez Bryant to him," aka playing more physically and bullying defensive backs, he could be tremendous in the NFL. Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them over the next two seasons. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Doctson, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft|
|, WR, LSU|
|With the First Pick (Dove), Mar 16||The Cowboys need speed at the wide receiver position and Chark offers a ton of that.|
|, G, Georgia|
|SB Nation (Kadar), Mar 19||A defensive lineman would be intriguing for the Cowboys, but finding a left guard is just as big of a need. Even on a loaded offensive line, Wynn could start straight and help improve the unit.|
|DraftTek (Longball), Mar 21||Didja miss me??? During Free Agency Frenzy, we like to maintain a degree of flexibility due to changes that may impact the Draft. It's "Long Ball Opinion" time: with the Jets trading for the Colts #3, can the Bills be far behind in working a deal with the Giants for #2? They certainly have the firepower, with 2 RD1 and 2 RD2 selections . . . this makes me believe that 3 and possibly 4 QB's will be taken in the first 6 selections. If that happens, talent will slide and Cuzzin Jerruh has his powder dry, ready with the multitude of supplementary picks to move up a little. However, in this scenario, that's not the case . . . and Dallas may well move back in RD1 to address OG. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Dallas utilized a RD1 selection (#16 overall) on a college LOT from Notre Dame with excellent technique and footwork, and moved him inside where he became an All-Pro OG. Could lightning strike twice? Isaiah Wynn played LOT for the SEC Champion and National Champion runner-up Georgia Bulldogs. Bill O'Brien's South coaching staff moved Wynn inside and he was easily the most impressive interior OL prospect during practice sessions . . . even Mike Mayock declared him to be the most dominant player at any position! Everyone acknowledges how strong Alabama's DL was this last season . . . watch Wynn (#77) at LOT in the Championship Game and compare his technique to Zack Martin at the same position in the previous video. Makes sense to me, but then again I love me some Big Uglies!|