As we all know, the Dallas Cowboys are without their first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Amari Cooper seems like a pretty good reason for that, but it makes mock draft season somewhat challenging. We generally have a love/hate relationship with mock drafts, but we still look at them on the regular. But without a first-round pick, there aren’t that many drafts that include the Cowboys.
Fortunately, Todd McShay and Mel Kiper have presented a dueling two-round draft for our entertainment. Let’s dive right in.
First up, Kiper.
Kiper: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
The Cowboys don’t have a Round 1 pick after trading it for Amari Cooper last fall. They do have a couple of needs, however, particularly at defensive tackle and safety. Jones, a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, has first-round talent.
Kiper has correctly identified a need for the Cowboys at defensive tackle. The team got worked by the Rams running-game up the middle in the playoffs. Daivd Irving has departed but the team did pick up Christian Covington, although he is just a rotational piece at the moment. Still, the Cowboys seem to pass on defensive tackles until later in the draft, and with this being their first pick int he draft, it seems unlikely. If they did decide to go defensive tackle at this point in the draft, Dre’Mont Jones is a perfectly acceptable answer. He could certainly help along the defensive line.
The Ohio State defensive tackle has always been a player waiting to unleash is potential, but he finally showed people how good he could be this past season. Jones had 43 tackles, 13 for loss, 8.5 sacks, one interception, and three fumble recoveries. The Cowboys love defensive tackles who can rush the passer and Jones definitely fits the mold. He’s quick out of his stance, moves his feet well to get around blockers, and has excellent hands to punch his way to the quarterback.
Jones doesn’t posses the frame to be an anchor-down defensive tackle. His build is very similar to Tyrone Crawford, but he’s still young enough to add more mass. He has a tendency to play with a high pad level which will be a problem if massive interior blockers get underneath him. He took a good step forward last season and if this is just the beginning, Jones could be an intriguing player to keep an eye on at the NFL level. He’s definitely got playmaking ability.
Next up, McShay.
McShay: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Dallas arrives in Nashville on Day 2 looking for a safety. Gardner-Johnson’s physicality and instincts make him a future starting safety, but he should be able to fill a nickel role in Year 1.
This seems more the Cowboys speed at this point in the draft. As we have pointed out previously, the Cowboys will be visiting with quite a few safeties before the draft that fall into the second-round range. (Check the draft visits tracker here.) Gardner-Johnson is among the visitors and certainly a player that could potentially tag-team with Xavier Woods at the safety position for years to come.
He does his best coverage work in zone, and especially in zones that are closer to the line of scrimmage. He has a quick burst from his stance that allows him break on the ball, but unlike other defensive backs with his athleticism, he doesn’t bite on routes too early in zone coverage but instead is patient and waits until the ball is out of the quarterback’s hand to make his move.
Overall, Gardner-Johnson is a versatile talent who can make plays everywhere in the secondary. If the Cowboys were to get him in the draft, he’d pair nicely with Woods, as both have the versatility to play both safety positions, slot cornerback, and come off the line of scrimmage as a blitzer.
So BTB, what’s your take? Which pick do you like better and is there another player you would like to have?
Which pick is better?
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