We are under 20 days away from the NFL Draft and the Cowboys are in as good a position as any to just stick with their board. It’s been a much more exciting offseason for the Cowboys after they did solid work in the last several weeks of free agency.
They extended their best pass rusher, DeMarcus Lawrence, traded for Robert Quinn, added safety George Iloka, receiver Randall Cobb, versatile defensive linemen Kerry Hyder and Christian Covington, keeping the team very busy.
For the first time in a while, it certainly feels like the Cowboys will be in position to pick the best player possible. Though Dallas will still put an emphasis on certain positions, they shouldn’t feel any pressure at all to reach for any player. The Cowboys use their 30 visits as a vital part of the selection process and most of their recent top picks were 30 visit guys. If we were to create a mock draft off 30 visits alone, what might that look like?
Well, first, here is the mini-board with 27 of the 30 names the Cowboys will bring in for reference.
(Note: In terms of prospect rankings, which are all over the place, we decided to use CBS for this exercise.)
|Player||Position||School||Proj. Rd.||Pos. Rank||CBS Ovr.|
|Johnathan Abram||S||Mississippi State||2||4||43|
|Deebo Samuel||WR||South Carolina||2-3||7||48|
|Jaylon Ferguson||DE||LA Tech||2-3||6||56|
|Gerald Willis III||DT||Miami||2-3||10||66|
|Jace Sternberger||TE||Texas A&M||3||4||67|
|Dawson Knox||TE||Ole Miss||3-4||5||92|
|Trysten Hill||DT||Central Florida||5-6||22||182|
|Will Harris||S||Boston College||6-7||15||208|
|Kingsley Keke||DT||Texas A&M||6-7||31||235|
|Mike Weber||RB||Ohio State||6-7||24||244|
|Khari Willis||S||Michigan State||7-FA||21||273|
|Cole Holcomb||LB||North Carolina||7-FA||53||488|
|Darius Harris||LB||Middle Tennessee||7-FA||-||-|
Pick 58 - Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia
Thornhill was this year’s Byron Jones in many ways after dazzling teams with his Combine performance where he posted a 4.42 40-time and a 141-inch broad jump. Also like Byron Jones, some teams may view his ability to cover as a better fit at cornerback. Thornhill is what everyone hoped Obi Melifonwu would have been in 2017. Where Melifonwu struggles to hold up in man coverage, Thornhill excels.
For the Cowboys, they covered themselves nicely and wouldn’t be forced to start Thornhill immediately. He is a fit for the type of safety the Cowboys are looking for as they seem to covet guys that can be interchangeable. Thornhill could stand to learn a lesson in physicality, he’s not a great tackler but he’s also not exactly a liability either. Thornhill would be a great fit for the Cowboys and because of his versatility he would be able to get playing time fairly early.
Pick 90 - Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia
Hardman has only played two seasons at receiver after moving from his original position as a defensive back. There was a reason for the move, Hardman is on the fast-track to becoming a playmaking threat at the next level. His quickness and overall speed is on a different-level. If he develops as quickly as some scouts believe he can, Hardman could land somewhere between Tyler Lockett and Tyreek Hill.
Now, he does have a tendency to rely too heavily on his athletic gifts and will have to learn the nuances at the receiver position. Hardman’s skill set shows how difficult he is to cover because he’s too sudden for press corners but dangerous on short passes if teams back off. He’s a dynamic punt returner and can track the deep ball very well but needs some development in making contested catches in the NFL. The Cowboys have a solid depth chart where a pick like this makes sense. You’re drafting Hardman for the playmaking ability and coaching will be key to developing the rest.
Pick 128- Drew Sample, TE, Washington
If you’re looking for a guy that can reach and make just about every block on the second-level, this is your man. Sample is still developing his skill set as a receiver because he just wasn’t asked to do all that much by his coaches. The Cowboys will always love that lunch pail guy and Sample is certainly that. He still has a ton of room to grow but he’s smart and a very sound technician.
Pick 136 - Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida
The Cowboys continue to fortify their defensive line by getting themselves some help on the interior. Dallas has Maliek Collins, who has been a solid starter, when healthy. Hill was by far the most effective defensive lineman for his college program but he does have a few maturity concerns.
Sometimes, Hill shows maturity issues and can be tough to coach but his skill set will be desired in the NFL. As an interior player, he has the burst to get upfield and attack the quarterback . Hill is very much a twitch-style of player that Rod Marinelli likes to have and he hustles to the ball-carrier. If the Cowboys can find a way to get him to reach his potential, Hill will turn into a great pick.
Pick 165- Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State
Everyone knows that Ezekiel Elliott runs the show in Dallas but the team really could use another guy behind him as Rod Smith struggled last season. Weber’s best strength is his vision as a runner and though he’s not going to create his own rushing lanes, he knows how to hit the hole and finish. Weber’s instincts and smoothness as a runner will be what gets him drafted.
Pick 241-Dre Greenlaw, LB, Arkansas
This is the perfect fit for your special teams unit and a capable backup plan if you need one in a pinch. Greenlaw was a four-year starter and he’s a solid run-and-chase 4-3 outside linebacker. He’s almost always around the football and has some versatility to his game. Greenlaw doesn’t possess traits that set him apart from anyone but he’s an efficient tackler and will be an asset as a backup in the NFL.