If you believe in mock drafts, then the Dallas Cowboys are definitely going to pick a defensive tackle with the first pick in the 2019 draft, unless they pick a safety, or maybe a tight end. Tracking the Cowboys mocks on the internet will definitely lead you to one of those three positions, and this week the emphasis is on defensive tackles.
Dallas is unlikely to re-sign David Irving, he of the enormous talent but who can’t seem to stay on the field. They have Maliek Collins who is a steady performer, and Antwaun Woods was a revelation as a bargain bin free agent. But the Cowboys may be looking for more from the center of their defensive line, and that’s what some mocks are betting on.
Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Cowboys desperately need more pass-rush production from the under tackle (three-technique defensive tackle) position and selecting Jones in the second round would go a long way toward fixing that.
Jones has his issues, especially in the run game, but it’s impossible to not be impressed by his pass rush ability. The Ohio State product possesses a strong get-off with an outstanding burst, which allows him to stress the sets of interior offensive linemen. When he doesn’t attack vertically, Jones shows a nice repertoire of footwork to manipulate the pass sets of blockers.
At 6’2” 280 lbs, Gerald Willis III fits one role and one role alone on the Dallas Cowboys: The 3-technique defensive tackle. Luckily for Dallas, that’s the only D-line position they’re expected to be interested in on Day 2 of the Draft.
IF NOT FOR THE DEPTH OF THE CLASS AND HIS OFF-THE-FIELD ISSUES, WILLIS IS A CLEAR FIRST ROUND PLAYER.
For a man this size, Gerald Willis is abnormally quick and nimble. Big guys aren’t supposed to move like him and still be that strong. His different scouting reports also note his aggressive pursuit to the ball. He chases passers and ball carriers alike and shouldn’t be seen as just a pass-rusher.
With that said, he’s clearly not a run-stuffer and should be seen more as a splash play kind of talent (4 sacks and an impressive 18 tackles for loss) in 2018.
Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Tillery, DT/3-4DE/NT , Notre Dame
The Cowboys need more interior defensive line talent.
Tillery was excellent in the early going of 2018. Against Stanford, he turned in one of the best games of the year from any player in college football, dominating the Cardinal with four sacks, six tackles and a forced fumble. Tillery totaled 30 tackles with eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles on the season. In 2017, he totaled 47 tackles with nine for a loss, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Tillery had 37 tackles with three tackles for a loss in 2016. The sophomore played better than the numbers illustrate and caused some havoc in the backfield.
Tillery (6-6, 310) has a good skill set with size, speed, and athleticism to develop. In the pass rush, he displayed excellent strength to shed blocks, technique to get under the pads of offensive linemen, power to bull rush, and speed to close on the quarterback. He also is a stout run defender who is sound to hold his gap.
On the heels of defensive tackle come the safeties. One player in particular is starting to show up in multiple mock drafts for the Cowboys.
Florida - S
Hey, Cowboy Fans . . . what are we going to do if we DON’T sign Earl Thomas in the off-season? Well, down in the Swamp in Gator-Chomp Land, there’s a dandy ball-hawk (9 Int, 286 yards, 3 TD’s, and 12 PD in 3 years) by the name of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. The young man is not afraid to stick his nose in the pile, having recorded 161 tackles (92 solo), 15.5 TFL, and 4.0 Sacks.
The underclassman has “Pro Typical” size for the position and exhibits coverage range, having already been clocked at 4.4 in the forty. Florida played him in a lot of man coverage in the slot or underneath coverage in zone during the 2018 season. Chauncey displayed his deep-zone ball skills, flashing high-point and tracking ability in 2017. During his 3 years at Florida, he showed outstanding versatility . . . Kris Richard will love this kid because of his ability to play multiple positions at a high level.
58. DAL: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, FS, Florida
The safety spot may be the position in biggest need of an upgrade on the Cowboys roster.
Another popular draft position for the Cowboys is tight end. Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz have not locked down the position, and Geoff Swaim is a free agent.
Jace Sternberger - TE
School: Texas A&M | Year: Junior (RS)
Dak Prescott missed Jason Witten in 2018. Dallas needs to add a tight end.
58. Dallas — Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford, Jr.
Smith could be the final piece to a potentially explosive offense. Top needs: S, TE, OL
And for a wild card, it doesn’t look like Bleacher Report believes that Travis Frederick will be back in 2019.
58. Dallas Cowboys: Elgton Jenkins, OC, Mississippi State