I have been doing a podcast with fellow BTB writer Michael Sisemore for a couple of months. It’s called Brews and The Boys, and we have a lot of fun while occasionally even saying something informative and intelligent about the Dallas Cowboys. But this is more than just a shameless plug (although it is certainly that). In the latest installment (episode 56), Michael and I did a couple of full seven-round mocks for the Cowboys. Now, I am no genius at these things, but I did have a specific approach, and was kinda pleased with what I came up with. So it seemed like a good topic for a post to share it with everyone here.
First, a rather important caveat: There is virtually zero chance that Dallas will stand pat with the current ten selections they have. With the way Jerry Jones loves to wheel and deal, expect a trade, and probably more than one. However, there is no way to guess just what those will be, so this is more an exercise in how the Cowboys can stock up on talent, fill their needs, and also a way to look at how decisions in early rounds affect later picks. For my board, I used the CBS Draft Prospect Rankings. Of course, it does not really tell us who is actually going to be available at a given spot - but no one really knows right now, and I have generally found their rankings good in past years.
Now, on with the mocking!
Pick 19 (round 1): Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia
I have been making the case since January that the most valuable way to use the first pick of the draft is to address the trenches. That was my guiding principle here, and coming into things, my top three players to address those needs were Wynn, G Will Hernandez, and DT Vita Vea. In this case, it looked like Vea was already likely to be gone, and I lean OG as the more impactful position anyway. You want to see your first-round pick starting, and an offensive lineman is on the field and making a contribution on every offensive snap. With the choice down to Wynn and Hernandez, I went with the higher-ranked player - but between the two, there is no real wrong answer, at least to me. Wynn is the more finished product of the two, so he gets the nod. He is 313 pounds of mean looking to steal people’s souls. With him, the Dallas O line is immediately back in contention for one of, if not the best line in the NFL.
Pick 50 (round 2): Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
With the O line shored up in the first, the second was time to get a defensive tackle to complete the trenches. Settle is big at 335 pounds, but had four sacks last season to verify that he does indeed have the ability to penetrate up the middle and push the pocket that the Cowboys want (specifically Rod Marinelli). And on run downs, he is a true 1-tech Dallas has largely lacked. He is a good value at 50 before the DT market starts to dry up a bit.
Pick 81 (round 3): DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State
I toyed with safety Quin Blanding at this point, but went with Hamilton as more important. The Cowboys seem content to look for a safety later in the draft. Hamilton is primarily a slot receiver, which Dallas has a lot of already, but his strength is his route running and ability to get yards after the catch, both of which are areas where the team can use some improvement. He is also a first-down machine as a possession receiver. He will require some creativity to use most effectively, but his strong work ethic and character are pluses.
Pick 116 (round 4): Fred Warner, OLB, BYU
With lingering depth concerns at linebacker, Warner brings excellent coverage ability that is so valuable in the pass-happy NFL, as well as a demonstrated ability to crash down on runners to get them for a loss. His scouting report says he moves like a safety and has no problem covering receivers out of the slot, and he notched six interceptions during his college career. He also checks the team captain box that Dallas values. He would likely be the primary backup for Sean Lee, which makes the fourth round good value for him.
Pick 137 (round 4): Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State
The Cowboys have been showing a lot of interest in Hines, who projects as a legitimate change-of-pace back with real breakaway potential every time he gets the ball. He is seen as a great fit for teams that run the outside zone, which certainly includes Dallas. And he can fill in as the single back as well. Alvin Kamara is cited as a comp, but Hines is not at that level. Still, he would be great depth in the backfield.
Pick 171 (round 5): Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State
Now we are getting into the rounds where the players are certainly going to have to prove their value to make the roster. Lewis is more a pass rush specialist than three-down player, but he has good bend and was sometimes used in the interior of the line to go against guards, where his burst created problems for them. Although the Cowboys signed Kony Ealy after this mock was formulated, there is that old saying about never having too many pass rushers.
Pick 192 (round 6): Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
The Cowboys are still trying to figure out what they will do one day when Jason Witten finally hangs them up, but there is certainly no reason to use a high pick on a tight end. In the sixth round, however, it makes a lot of sense to try and get one. Smythe is described as an old-style tight end that plays like an offensive lineman when blocking who will be most valuable in the run game, which seems to be right up Dallas’ alley. And he is still an option as a receiver who can catch in traffic, although that is not his real forte.
Listeners of the Brews and the Boys podcast might notice that this is a change. I originally selected TE Hayden Hurst here, but his availability on the CBS board seems to be an anomaly, with most draft sites have him gone no later than day 2 of the draft. I took him, because he was the biggest steal of that original list, but after some consideration, he was obviously an unrealistic choice. Smythe is much more likely to be an option here, so he is the one taking Hurst’s place.
Pick 193 (round 6): Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
Back-to-back picks in the sixth round means Lauletta and Smythe are the same value for Dallas. And in addition to needing camp arms, the team can use a developmental QB. This would likely be to stash him on the practice squad and see what they have. His scouting report sounds an awful lot like he could be another Kellen Moore, with decision-making and pocket presence as positives and arm strength a possible limitation. While that may not be the most appetizing thought to many, what better place for him to maximize his potential than the Cowboys? And when you think about it, Dallas has a pretty good history with smaller school QBs.
Pick 208 (round 6): Tre Flowers, SS, Oklahoma State
Could the Cowboys find another Xavier Woods in the sixth round this year? That is a high mark to shoot for, but Flowers had a good college career. The real solution for safety may come from a late free agent signing, where there has been remarkably little activity so far. Still, Flowers looks to be a solid late-round flyer to bring in.
Pick 236 (round 7) Darrel Williams, RB, LSU
Williams was the backup for Derrius Guice and did a very good job filling in when needed. Running back may seem an odd place to double-dip, but the position is very thin for Dallas. And Williams is quite different from Hines, a real bruiser who also was good as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s decisive and can make good jump cuts to find a hole, and is solid in short yardage situations. He might be another PS target as insurance for Ezekiel Elliott, similar to his role at LSU.
There you have it. Just one man’s opinion, and opinions are like mock drafts. This one’s mine.
Let us know if you like it in the comments. Maybe I’ll throw another one out later.