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Cowboys news: Mock drafts offer no clue to Cowboys first-round pick

Some differing opinions on who Dallas should take, including some reasons for and against some well-known names.

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NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia
Rashaan Evans is one name coming up - as both a good and a bad pick at 19.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Why Cowboys are willing to take 1-Tech Vita Vea in draft’s 1st round - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
So is Vita Vea really an option for Dallas at 19? Here's an argument that he is indeed.

From Bill Parcells through Jason Garrett, the Cowboys have never spent higher than a sixth-round pick on a nose tackle since Willie Blade in 2001’s third round.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones made it clear, the Cowboys would only break this trend if there was a one-technique who had three-tech traits. Those are better known as pass-rushing skills.

Vea is that guy.

Relationship between production, athleticism and drafting successful NFL D-linemen - Marcus Mosher, Pro Football Weekly
This is a detailed look at some predictive data concerning defensive tackles - and it brings up some names connected by many with the Cowboys. The conclusions are not what you might want to see.

The above list has three 2018 draft-eligible defensive linemen — and all three are being discussed as potential first-round picks. Let’s start with Taven Bryan from Florida. Bryan is an undersized under tackle who is an athletic marvel, but his production leaves a lot to be desired. In three years at Florida, Bryan had a total of just 10.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks in 30 games. It’s not impossible that he becomes a big-time player in the NFL, but there really is no reason as to why he should be considered in the first round despite his athleticism.

Nose tackle Vita Vea finds himself in a dangerous place on this list. His production puts him near a bunch of failed nose tackles in the NFL, such as Terrence Cody, John Jenkins and Daniel McCullers. His athleticism might allow him to be a productive player, but his college production suggests that he should be a mid-round pick.

Finally, there is Da’Ron Payne from Alabama. Payne has a lot of love in the draft community and is routinely discussed as a lock first-round pick, but his college production is as poor as any player coming into the NFL since 2010. Payne had just one tackle for a loss in 14 games last season. In his career at Alabama, Payne had a total of just five tackles for a loss on 1,481 snaps.

“The 30”: 2018 Cowboys draft prospect WR D.J. Moore - Joey Ickes, Cowboys Wire
BTB alum Joey Ickes takes a look a the video for D.J. Moore, and offers his take.

Many viewed Moore as the second-best wide receiver in the class before the combine, but after he measured in a full 2 inches taller than projections, and ran in the low 4.4s in his 40 yard dash, some, including myself, consider him the premier wide receiver in the class.

His ability to run a variety of routes, and win in the short, intermediate, and deep areas of the field, would make him a perfect fit for the “Z” receiver role in Dallas that has been occupied by Terrance Williams. He can be used as a mismatch player out of the back field or in the slot as a rookie, and expand to a full time outside receiver by his second season.

His most likely landing spot in the draft is somewhere in the back half of the first round. Making it possible that he’s the best player on the board for the Cowboys 19th overall pick. If the Cowboys are interested in drafting a receiver in the first round, Moore should be at the top of their list.

Kiper, McShay dueling mock drafts send Cowboys in opposite directions - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay offer different choices for the Dallas Cowboys in the first, both on defense.

Kiper: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama

Evans could replace Anthony Hitchens at middle linebacker and help rush the passer on third downs.

McShay: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

An interior pass-rusher with his best football ahead of him, Bryan has elite first-step quickness. He’d fit well in a D-line rotation in Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys: Brugler's mock draft: Dallas Cowboys going after a rising NFL prospect at No. 19? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
Draft guru Dane Brugler has another linebacker in mind for the Cowboys at 19. (However, he also has G/C James Daniels of Iowa going a couple of spots later. Just sayin'.)

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Some might see this as a reach, but the Cowboys don't. Vander Esch is an ascending talent with very encouraging tape, traits and production, giving Dallas immediate depth at linebacker and a potential Pro Bowler.

How Alabama LB Rashaan Evans Could Fit Cowboys' Plan - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star
Rashaan Evans is one of the 30 visits to the Star - but he may not be a good option for the first round.

At 6'1" and 232 pounds, Evans is actually a bit smaller than most linebackers the Cowboys tend to target in the draft. His 3 cone time and broad jump both surpass the Cowboys' athletic thresholds, and his 20 yard shuttle just misses the mark by 0.3 seconds.

As high as I am on Rashaan Evans, I don't think he would be the right pick 19th overall. In fact, as I just mentioned, I don't think Dallas should be taking any linebacker outside of the top two guys in round one. Not only is there is enough depth in this class for the Cowboys to snag a linebacker at 50th or 81st overall, but I also don't see linebacker as all that important a position to upgrade.

2018 Dallas Cowboys 7-Round Mock 5.0: The Cowboys 30 Visits (Plus) Mock Draft - Mathew Postins, 247 Sports
This is an interesting exercise in trying to build a mock based on what we know about visits and other indications of interest from Dallas in various players. But this second round pick may cause a bit of heartburn for the fans.

Round 2 (No. 50 overall): TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

Why: Goedert popped up in my last mock draft and someone said they were done with San Diego State tight ends. Well, first, Goedert went to South Dakota State. Second, I think Goedert is more talented than Gavin Escobar. Third, there’s a higher need for a tight end of the future. Yes, they have Rico Gathers, but two years in the Cowboys still have no idea what Gathers is, aside from an athletic freak who can’t stay healthy. Goedert at least played the position in college and played it very well (92 receptions for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final season at SDSU). The Cowboys met with him privately at the NFL Combine, so I’d say they value him. Combine visits are precious.

Pro Football Focus three-round mock: Who did the Cowboys take? - DannyPhantom, Blogging The Boys
Here's who PFF has the Cowboys taking in the second round:

WR Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame

St. Brown offers a large target at nearly 6-foot-5, but he also has the explosiveness and quickness to create separation down the field. He averaged 16.1 yards per reception while dropping only six passes on 98 catchable targets during his career.

What can the Cowboys find at #50? A history lesson and a look ahead – Kevin Turner, The Athletic
It's behind the paywall, but this list is interesting, because Turner goes a bit deeper to look at likely possibilities in the second round for the Cowboys. See any names here to whet your appetite?

Anthony Miller, WR – Memphis: This is the best-case scenario at 50. Miller is a good route-runner and will come down with some circus catches deep down the field.

Jessie Bates, S – Wake Forest: I want my safeties to have range, great instincts, and tackling ability. Bates checks all three boxes. He can handle the NFL free safety position.

Duke Ejiofor, EDGE – Wake Forest: Duke is an unorthodox pass rusher, using his long arms to create space between himself and the offensive tackle. While his get-off can be infuriating at times, there’s clearly a lot to work with here and I have him as a top five pass rusher in this draft.

Deadrin Senat, DT – South Florida: The 1-technique mauler that I’ve been looking for doesn’t come at the price of a first-round pick. Senat is only 6'0, but he’s incredibly strong and has a motor that never stops. Ever. Some teams will overthink the measurables, but Senat proved time and time again that he’s a big baller in the middle.

Rashaan Gaulden, S – Tennessee: I see Gaulden as one of the most underrated players in this entire draft, and I still can’t believe how minimally people talk about him. Gaulden played mostly in the slot at Tennessee, but one of his key traits is his football IQ. There’s not a doubt in my mind that he could transition into a free safety.

Nathan Shepherd, DT – Fort Hays State: Shepherd can play both defensive tackle positions. His quickness off the snap stands out, and he keeps his pad level low. Shepherd plays violently and does a great job of using his hands to engage and shed interior offensive lineman. Don’t worry if you haven’t ever heard of Fort Hays State, this kid can play.

Kemoko Turay, EDGE – Rutgers: Turay is a top-five pass rusher in the draft, using his length and quickness off the edge. While he might profile better in a 3-4 where he can get wide, I can’t get over how well he turns his speed into power. He doesn’t have a history of putting his hand on the ground, which has been a Cowboys red flag in the past, but if he’s there at 50 he's absolutely worth consideration.

Finally, just to take a break from the draft:

Kony Ealy visits the Cowboys but leaves the facility without a deal - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys didn’t make an addition to the roster when Kony Ealy came to visit.

It looks like they will continue to monitor the situation and see if Ealy’s price finally comes down to their range. Pro Football Talk reports that his former team, the New York Jets, are still interested in resigning Ealy so he may be trying to play the two teams off each other to get the best deal he can.

If the Cowboys did sign him, Ealy would be trying to break into a defensive end rotation that potentially has a lot of pieces. DeMarcus Lawrence is the sure thing, and Tyrone Crawford was the starter last year. They also have last year’s first-round pick Taco Charlton, oft-injured Charles Tapper and Datone Jones who can play inside or outside. Plus, there’s the possibility of Randy Gregory getting reinstated. There is also the upcoming draft where it’s entirely possible the Cowboys could add another defensive end.

After being cut a year ago, things have turned out well for Tony Romo - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
After his incredible career as a UDFA who became the face of America's Team, Tony Romo has become a huge success as a broadcaster. No one deserves it more than him.

Romo is different than other TV analysts. He doesn’t just describe what just happened. He explains why it happened. He predicts plays every now and then and is able to correctly figure out end-of-game scenarios. He has had fun with it, too, grunting and giggling, and even breaking down the change of direction skills of a cat that wandered onto the field.

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