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Mel Kiper Jr’s three-round mock draft: Cowboys get Rashaan Evans, then a baffling second-round pick

Grading the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Todd McShay took his shot at a three-round mock draft, and according to me and you, the results for the Dallas Cowboys were less than satisfactory. I gave the draft a grade of C- and the BTB community viewed it even more poorly.

That’s not good. So let’s see if his partner, Mel Kiper, Jr., can do any better. He is out with his three-round mock today and it starts off with a pick Kiper continually makes for the Cowboys.

Round 1 (19): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Anthony Hitchens got a big free-agent deal from the Chiefs, and we still don’t know if Jaylon Smith is going to get back to his pre-injury form. That’s why if I’m the Dallas GM, I’m taking a hard-hitting, versatile linebacker in Evans. He’s a three-down player with a high ceiling.

Personally, I have no problem with this pick. With Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds gone, Evans would be my next linebacker on the board. He is a three-down linebacker who is extremely athletic and has a nose for finding the quarterback on blitzes. His game has improved each year at Alabama and his best football is ahead of him. He would fit into the linebacker rotation immediately, and would be Sean Lee’s replacement down the road.

But is he the right pick here? Certainly Leighton Vander Esch is a consideration if the Cowboys are going linebacker. He has many fans among the BTB faithful, likely more than Evans. He would be available in this draft. The Cowboys could also grab D.J. Moore if they really want to re-make their receiver group.

Instead, grabbing a guard could be the call here. Both Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are gone, so a top guard might be the BPA at a position of need. Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez are both available here. You could also make a case for grabbing defensive end Harold Landry.

On to round two.

Round 2 (50): Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

Gesicki won’t be Jason Witten’s replacement on Day 1 -- he was a glorified slot receiver for the Nittany Lions. He needs time (and coaching) to figure out how to be an inline blocker. As a receiver, though, the 6-5, 247-pound Gesicki is a nightmare matchup for linebackers and safeties.

Stop. Just stop. I’m can’t fathom was is going on in the heads of McShay and Kiper with this pick. Since McShay made the same one yesterday, I’ll just insert my analysis again.

Ugh. I hate this pick. The Cowboys are going to play Jason Witten, so you are essentially picking a backup for 2018. The Cowboys are also going to find out what they have in Rico Gathers this season, who has flashed the potential to be a true weapon. I guarantee you there will be tight ends they can take in the 2019 draft to replace Witten if this is his last year.

The Cowboys could have taken a shot at filling their guard need with James Daniels, Austin Corbett, Billy Price or Braden Smith here, all still available. How Daniels is still available is a mystery. Or they could have grabbed WR Anthony Miller, S Ronnie Harrison, LB Jerome Baker or DE Sam Hubbard. So many good choices instead of this pick.

Round three.

Round 3 (81): Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State

I really like Shepherd, who broke a hand in practice at the Senior Bowl. I don’t know if he’ll be a penetrating 3-technique, but his tape is impressive.

I know I sound like a broken record, but what the Cowboys need is a 1-tech, not another 3-tech. They have two of those in Maliek Collins and David Irving. But, Shepherd has the size to be a 1-tech and some athletic traits of a 3-tech, something the Cowboys are looking for, but he is still pretty raw. He has a lot to learn about technique but the potential is there. It’s not a bad pick, but should the Cowboys have taken someone like Tim Settle, Derrick Nnadi, or even taken gamble on the upside of someone like P.J. Hall who killed his Pro Day with staggering numbers for a man his size?

Overall, I like this draft about as much as McShay’s, which is to say I don’t like it. Evans is okay at 19 but taking a guard might have been the better play. Still, if you go with Evans there are quite a few nice guard candidates available at pick #50 so you could work the need of linebacker and guard in this scenario. Unfortunately Kiper blows it by going tight end. The third-round pick of a DT, and the player Nathan Shepherd, is okay but he might not be the player I would choose.

Overall, this draft is a D grade. How do you grade it BTB?

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Kiper’s three-round mock draft deserves a grade of...

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  • 2%
    A to A-
    (112 votes)
  • 10%
    B+ to B-
    (487 votes)
  • 33%
    C+ to C-
    (1550 votes)
  • 35%
    D+ to D-
    (1641 votes)
  • 18%
    F
    (843 votes)
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