Another week, another mock draft roundup. Last week, it was the Grant Delpit show as the LSU safety was mocked to the Cowboys in seven of 10 mocks surveyed. This week, we get a little more variety. Sure, Delpit still reigns supreme as the player who is mocked the most, but other players and other positions slide their way in, but it’s still all about the defense for the Cowboys in these mocks. Let’s take a look.
Since we were already discussing Delpit, we’ll look at his mocks first. The Cowboys have passed on spending resources this high on safeties, but with a new coaching regime in town, could things change in 2020?
Delpit is a player who can not only help in coverage but will also get involved in the running game as well. He’s the exact type of player the Cowboys defense has been lacking for years and will make an impact right away.
Dallas Cowboys — Grant Delpit, S, LSU (17)
2019 season stats: 2 INTs, 7 passes defended, 65 total tackles
I give Delpit the slight nod over Xavier McKinney as the best safety in the draft. This would get adjusted if Jerry Jones is able to trade for Jamal Adams of the Jets.
17. Dallas Cowboys — Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Jerry Jones may have brought in offensive-minded head coach but there are still upgrades needed on the defensive side for the Cowboys. Delpit really shined as he got healthy and could address a position that has been lacking in Big D since Darren Woodson left.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Grant Delpit, S, LSU
This should be the absolute floor of Delpit’s range in the first round. He’s a good all-around safety prospect who showed this season he’s capable of being a single-high coverage safety.
Four mocks for Delpit, but he’s not the only safety getting some action in Cowboys mocks. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney is right there with him as pundits are either declaring Delpit, or McKinney, as the best safety in the draft class.
Xavier McKinney S
ALABAMA • JR • 6’1” / 200 LBS
PROJECTED TEAM Dallas
The Cowboys desperately need to bolster the secondary, especially at safety, and McKinney is arguably the best one in this draft class. He can play centerfield or closer to the line of scrimmage, and he brings a physicality that was on display week in and week out during the Crimson Tide’s ‘19 season.
The Dallas Cowboys have glaring holes in their secondary and need to address this early in the draft. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney can step right into the Cowboys secondary with little issues. He can do it all from covering man to man to coming up in the box to make a tackle. He has even shown to be an effective blitzer.
17) Dallas Cowboys: Xavier McKinney, S Alabama
One could easily make a case for a cornerback here, with Byron Jones expected to have multiple offers in free agency. While a cornerback would make sense, safety is arguably as big of a need, if not greater. Jeff Heath has his limitations and is far too inconsistent to be a 16-game starter. Adding an impact player like McKinney to patrol the back end, along with Xavier Woods, should help to solidify the deep middle of the field.
This week we get a new name that we didn’t see last week. Javon Kinlaw is a big defensive tackle, and that’s a position, like safety, that the Cowboys seemed to always bypass in the first round. But with a new coaching staff, in particular defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, on board, that could change. Nolan is know to like big bodies in the middle who can make plays.
17. Dallas (8-8) — Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina, Sr.
The Cowboys have had success creating pressure on the quarterback from the edge, but not inside. An interior wrecking ball like the AP All-American has the potential to be a force against the pass and run at the next level. This could be wishful thinking for Dallas if Kinlaw continues to dominate in Mobile. Top needs: S, DL, TE
The Cowboys are also dealing with the potential loss of Robert Quinn at defensive end in free agency. If that happens, they may need a replacement, and could use the draft as the place to get it.
Dallas Cowboys: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE/3-4OLB, Penn State Robert Quinn could leave the Cowboys in free agency, and they could use an end to go across from Demarcus Lawrence.
In 2019, Gross-Matos had 40 tackles with 9.5 sacks. He enjoyed a breakout sophomore season in 2018, recording 54 tackles for a loss, 20 for a loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has a lot of upside to improve as he gains more experience. He has strength and physicality with the quickness to get upfield. Gross-Matos is a good run defender and emerging pass-rusher.
And finally, we come to the cornerbacks. It’s been discussed plenty that Byron Jones could be the odd man out in Dallas after the team gives huge contracts to Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Additionally, Anthony Brown is a free agent. Corner could become a position of need real quick.
Trevon Diggs CB
ALABAMA • SR • 6’2” / 207 LBS
PROJECTED TEAM Dallas
With Byron Jones likely to bolt in free agency, the Cowboys need a physical corner to man the perimeter. That is Diggs’ forte at his size, playing style and length.
Dallas Kristian Fulton
”Show me the money!” This battle cry may not come from Jerry Maguire, but Jerry Jones when talking salary cap with his son Stephen. Everyone in Cowboy Land knows about impending long-term deals for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper . . . but what about the defense? In 2020, there are 18 UFA’s on defense (compared to 10 on offense) and 3 of those play CB . . . including Pro Bowl CB Byron Jones!
Fresh off a National Championship (best part about that game, the number of times I got to hear Tiger Rag . . . from both bands !), CB Kristian Fulton provides quality at a position of need. A backup his freshman season, he was suspended by the NCAA for the 2017 season after using another player’s urine for a drug test. Fulton returned to the field in 2018, turning in a solid year with 17 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT and 7 PBU’s. In 2019, he recorded 38 tackles with 14 PBU’s and 1 INT. Fulton can play off-man, press-man and zone coverages, plus outside or inside at the slot . He has shown the ability to run the route and prevent separation. This young man projects as a Day One Starter for the Cowboys!
- Grant Delpit is still the consensus pick even though that lead has shrunk.
- Safety is the dominant position in the mocks with Delpit and Xavier McKinney the two candidates.
- With the appearance of Javon Kinlaw, mocks are including two positions the Cowboys used to ignore in the first round, safety and defensive tackle. Will that drafting philosophy change with the new regime?
- If the Cowboys lose either Byron Jones or Robert Quinn, or both, in free agency, they will have big-time needs at two prime positions on defense.
- Everybody agrees the Cowboys need help on defense and are ignoring the offense in the first-round projections.
What’s your call BTB? Are you down with any of these picks or do you have someone else in mind?