With the combine in the rear-view mirror, free agency and Pro Days are the only two things standing in the way of the 2019 NFL draft. While those two events will give us plenty to talk about until the draft in April, it’s a perfect time to start narrowing down the Cowboys options in this years draft.
In this seven-round mock draft, I used the The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator to give me a life-like look at how the draft could. Using their TDN predictive big board, this gives us realistic options that could be available in rounds one through seven for the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s dive in.
Round 2, 58th Overall
Jaylon Ferguson - Louisiana Tech - EDGE - 6’5” 265-lbs
Other options still on the board: Christian Miller, Dre’Mont Jones, Irv Smith Jr., Juan Thornhill
The Cowboys are in a rough spot at defensive end before the start of free agency. With Randy Gregory looking at starting the season off on the suspended list, DeMarcus Lawrence and the team far apart in long-term deal negotiations, and the lack of development from Taco Charlton heading into year three, defensive end is a position that needs to be addressed in some form this offseason. Even if Tank Lawrence does eventually sign a long-term deal with the Cowboys, adding a talented pass rusher to a team that needs help pressuring the quarterback is a excellent idea. That’s where Jaylon Ferguson out of Louisiana Tech makes a ton of sense.
Jaylon Ferguson is a long, powerful pass rusher entering the NFL draft as one of the most productive NCAA EDGE rushers to ever play the game. Ferguson raked up 45 sacks, 67.5 tackles for loss, and 187 total tackles in his 50 career games at Louisiana Tech. Ferguson possesses a long frame that allows him to convert his speed-to-power with ease when rushing the passer of the edge. Ferguson also has tremendous technique in his arms/hands and showcases an awesome long-arm, swim, and cross-chop move to get to the quarterback off the edge. While being a very productive pass rusher in college, playing the run was also something Ferguson worked at. Ferguson uses his length, power, and explosiveness to win at the point off attack when rushing the QB and playing the run. Due to his size, Ferguson could likely rush from the 3-technique in certain packages, which is something the Cowboys defensive coaching staff loves from their defensive lineman.
Ferguson rushing from the right side is just as effective. Ferguson's hand usage is really good. Can win in a variety of ways (snatches, push-pull, cross-chops, clubs, swims). pic.twitter.com/qh7b4dPxKQ— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) January 15, 2019
Round 3, 90th Overall
Mecole Hardman - Georgia - Wide Receiver - 5’10” 183-lbs
Other options still on the board: Riley Ridley, Dax Raymond, Darrell Henderson, Daylon Mack
With the Cowboys likely to lose wide receiver Cole Beasley, the team will be looking to add a slot receiver to the mix via the draft. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Noah Brown, and Lance Lenoir all expected to be competing for a roster spot adding a talent that has a few special traits would be great for both the Cowboys and Mecole Hardman.
Hardman is a primary slot that possesses ridiculous top end speed. At the combine, he ran the second fastest 40 time out of all the wide receivers at 4.33 seconds. Hardman is a speedy slot that wins using his quick burst, tracking abilities, and ability to win vertically out of the slot. He averaged 16.0 yards per reception during his time at Georgia. Adding an athlete like Hardman to this receiving corps would give them a dynamic speed threat out of the slot that can also line up outside to take the top off a defense a few snaps a game. Hardman is dynamic with the football in his hands, and can replace Tavon Austin as the teams return man and jet-sweep specialist.
Mecole Hardman again. Too much speed pic.twitter.com/eI1Ao35936— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 8, 2018
Round 4, 128th Overall
Khalen Saunders - Western Illinois - Defensive Tackle - 6’0” 324-lbs
Other options still on the board: Gerald Willis, Daniel Wise, Joe Jackson
If Khalen Saunders is still available at 128th overall, the Cowboys need to SPRINT to the podium to turn in his card. While coming from a small school, Khalen Saunders is not a small name. Saunders has had a tremendous offseason improving his draft stock both at the Senior Bowl and at the combine in Indianapolis. Saunders weighed in at 6’0”, 328-lbs at the combine, and tested extremely well for a man of that size. Saunders ran a 5.01 40-yard dash, put up 27 reps on the bench, 101” broad jump, and ran a 4.62 20-yard shuttle.
On tape, Saunders showcases impressive explosiveness, athletic ability, and pass rush ability for a man of his size. Saunders plays with impressive power in his lower half, and is able to disrupt the pocket consistently with his power and speed. He showcased a nice club-swim and long arm, and plays with tremendous leverage from the interior of the defensive line. He has the size, strength, and athleticism to play both the 1 and the 3 in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme, and provide versatility, pass rush ability, and impressive athletic ability for his size.
Khalen Saunders has my attention. pic.twitter.com/DAIGUrlShk— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) January 26, 2019
Round 4, 136th Overall
Rodney Anderson - Oklahoma - Running Back - 6’0” 224-lbs
Other options still on the board: Trayveon Williams, Drew Sample, Evan Worthington
With Rod Smith set to hit free agency, the Cowboys will be in the market for a complement back to starting running back Ezekiel Elliott. Though there have been rumors that the Cowboys may be interested in trading for Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson, drafting a guy like Rodney Anderson would bolster the Cowboys’ talent at running back greatly. If not for a knee injury that ended Rodney Anderson’s season far too early, Anderson may be looked at as one of the better running backs in this years draft class. Unfortunately for Anderson, he has dealt with several injuries over his college career and has yet to find any consistency due to those injuries.
Anderson is a bigger back at 6’0”, 224-lbs, something the Cowboys value on their backup running backs. Along with his size, Anderson possesses burst, contact balance, and receiving ability out of the backfield, though the opportunities were few and far between due to his lack of playing time at Oklahoma. Injuries are never a good thing, but getting a back with only 200 carries in college could give the Cowboys a fresh back with plenty of tread left on the tires once 100% back from a season-ending ACL tear he suffered in 2018. Along with the 2018 ACL tear, Anderson has also suffered a season-ending fractured vertebrae in neck in 2016, and a season-ending broken leg 2015. So the durability concerns are definitely a red flag, but that’s the only reason he’ll be available this late in the NFL draft.
I really do hope Rodney Anderson stays healthy. A complete RB who can break a game open at any time. He’s going to be great if he’s healthy. pic.twitter.com/er4gZ00na5— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 28, 2019
Round 5, 165th Overall
Sheldrick Redwine - Miami - Defensive Back - 6’1” 195-lbs
Other options still on the board: Lukas Denis, Foster Moreau, Michael Dogbe
If there’s one thing the Cowboys love in their defensive backs, it’s guys with size and guys with position versatility. Miami’s Sheldrick Redwine has them both. Redwine, who weighed in at 6’0” 196-lbs ran a 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL combine last weekend in Indianapolis. Redwine, while not an elite athlete, shows enough athletic ability to play all over the secondary for the Hurricanes.
Redwine was recruited as a cornerback coming of high school, but transitioned to safety in his junior year at Miami. He is a guy that plays with impressive range, is physical in the run game, and is one of the better tackling safeties in this draft class. He plays with quality instincts from the free safety position, while also showing good physicality and coverage ability as a strong safety. Once moved to safety, Redwine was able to create turnovers in his final two seasons, which is something the Cowboys defense desperately needs out of their secondary.
Sheldrick Redwine baited the QB into this throw from the snap. Love the instincts he plays with. pic.twitter.com/Q46gsbF8Ht— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 14, 2019
Round 7, 241st Overall
Jamal Davis II - Akron - EDGE - 6’3” 245-lbs
Other options still on the board: Savion Smith, Cece Jefferson, Mitch Hyatt
When we get this late in the draft, we’re drafting guys off of traits, and Jamal Davis II has plenty of intriguing ones. While being a bit undersized at 245-lbs, Davis does not get overpowered often playing with his hand in the ground at Akron. A former Pittsburgh transfer, Davis showcased an extremely impressive first step and bend at Akron to get after the quarterback in his junior and senior year. He had a solid showing at the combine running a 4.60 40-yard dash, jumping 39.0” in the vertical jump, and 122.0” in the broad jump. What stood out the most from Davis’ combine was his 7.00 second three-cone drill, which ranked third best out of all the EDGE rushers at the combine. While Davis isn’t one of the bigger names in this draft class, he’s a guy with intriguing traits at the EDGE position.
Gotta love the relentless effort Davis gives dow after down. Re-direct skills ain't too shabby either. pic.twitter.com/WjXRMQOMiU— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) March 5, 2019
Once free agency comes and goes, we’ll have a better idea of what positions the Cowboys will need to target in the 2019 NFL draft, but for now this is a good read on some of the names, and positions the Cowboys need to address before the start of the 2019 NFL season.