Mock Draft SZN is still going strong. With the 2020 NFL Combine coming up very quickly, it is fun to guess where the Cowboys are looking early in the draft. Defensive tackle, safety, and corner are popular options. Obviously, what the Cowboys do in free agency will play a big role in the draft strategy.
Last week, we went over a potential four-round mock for the Cowboys. In there, Dallas was able to fill four different needs with some very talented prospects. This week, we used The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine and allowed the simulator to make the picks.
Here were the results...
ROUND ONE, PICK 17: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
This is a bit of a new name regarding the Cowboys and the NFL Draft, at least in regards to many other mock drafts on the web. Many assume Dallas will target a safety in the first round, such as Alabama’s Xavier McKinney or LSU’s Grant Delpit. The Mock Draft Simulator, however, has the Cowboys going corner with pick 17.
CJ Henderson is all over the board for many draft elevators. Some believe Henderson has the second-highest ceiling at the position in the class, while others are concerned with his ability to tackle and bring support in the run game.
Where Henderson succeeds is with his long, lengthy arms and his ball skills. The former blue-chip prospect often went up against some of the best receivers across college football during his career with the Gators in the SEC. He was able to come up with six interceptions and over 20 pass deflections in his three seasons in Gainesville.
CJ Henderson.. arguably the best cornerback in the nation pic.twitter.com/Dy8zbJsXDb— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) October 13, 2019
The Miami native earned first team All-SEC honors after his final collegiate season — and for good reason. In addition to his skills in coverage, Henderson added four sacks and 93 tackles over his career. The aggressive nature of Todd Grantham’s defense gave Henderson some opportunities to blitz, and he was able to have some success there.
If Byron Jones walks in free agency, corner certainly becomes an even bigger priority and need than it already is today. Henderson is one of many corners that could be in play for the Cowboys in the first round. His length and coverage skills make him a really nice option to add to the secondary.
ROUND TWO, PICK 51: KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Speed. Explosion. Play-making ability. Those are three traits that would take the Cowboys offense from already really good to nearly unstoppable — especially if Amari Cooper is still wearing silver and blue this season.
Penn State’s KJ Hamler is one of the most fun prospects in the 2020 draft class. He has the speed, quickness, and explosive play-making ability to impact the game every time he touches the football. That is evidenced by his 15.2 yards per scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns over his two seasons in Happy Valley.
KJ Hamler. House call. The run after the catch is why he’s one of the most dynamic weapons in college football pic.twitter.com/xIqlGyVjij— Chase Senior (@Chase_Senior) September 28, 2019
To emphasize that point even further, Hamler was one of the more electric return men in all of college football through his career with the Nittany Lions.
Hamler returned a total of 81 kicks (44 kickoffs, 37 punts) in 26 games. In those returns, Hamler totaled 1,036 yards on kickoffs (23.5 avg) and 222 yards on punt returns. The Penn State star did not record a touchdown in the return game, but it was clearly questionable to kick to him:
It remains to be seen whether or not Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys decide to bring the veteran Randall Cobb back to town. If they choose to go a different route, Hamler is an intriguing candidate to make an impact in both the slot and on special teams.
ROUND THREE, PICK 82: Alohi Gilman, SAF, Notre Dame
Cornerback and wide receiver are already needs for the Cowboys. If Jones and Cooper leave town, those needs obviously grow. Safety is another need that the Cowboys must address, as that has been a clear hole for Dallas.
The simulator decided to roll with Notre Dame’s Alohi Gilman, choosing the Fighting Irish prospect over safeties Jeremy Chinn of Southern Illinois and Brandon Jones of Texas. Kyle Dugger is another name at the position that has grown popular on Cowboys Twitter, but he was taken off the board a few picks earlier at number 75 by the Indianapolis Colts.
Gilman, 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds possesses a good size and frame that has to be attractive to NFL teams. The Utah native began his career at the Naval Academy prior to transferring over to Notre Dame. In South Bend, Gilman made 168 tackles, recorded six tackles-for-loss, and grabbed three interceptions. He also forced four fumbles as member of the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman is a player that constantly flashes on tape. Reminds me a lot of Taylor Rapp. Excellent in the underneath areas. pic.twitter.com/Nm93yDNH4n— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 19, 2020
Brian Kelly and his crew utilized Gilman as in-the-box defender, where Gilman was productive in both run support and in blitz packages. He is a very intelligent defender and consistently made plays all over the field.
Delpit is a popular name that will likely hear his name called on the first night of the draft; however, the LSU product struggles as a tackler and his effort was questioned in 2019. That is certainly not the case for Gilman.
The Notre Dame product would bring a high motor, an effective tackler, and an intelligent safety to the Cowboys, should he be the pick.