NFL free agency is well underway and the Cowboys have had a few key additions and losses since our last mock draft. Let’s recap:
- CB Byron Jones signed a five-year, $82.5M deal with the Dolphins
- DE Robert Quinn signed a five-year, $70M deal with the Bears
- WR Randall Cobb signed a three-year. $24M deal with the Texans
- DT Maliek Collins, S Jeff Heath, and TE Jason Witten are all headed to the Raiders
- C Travis Frederick retires from the NFL after seven seasons, 5X Pro Bowler, All-Pro
- DL Gerald McCoy signs three-year, $18.3M deal
- S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signs one-year, $4M deal
- DT Dontari Poe signs two-year, $10.5M deal
- CB Anthony Brown re-signs on three-year, $15.5M deal
- CB Maurice Canady signs one-year, $1.25M deal
Now the Cowboys aren’t necessarily done shopping the free agent market but the bulk of the big time shopping has concluded. With that said, it certainly looks like a draft that could lean any which way for Dallas, though cornerback is not a bad place to start.
PICK 17: Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
Why it makes sense: Though Gladney might not be the Cowboys’ first choice at cornerback, he just might be the best cornerback available and most sensible selection. Gladney would be a great man cover corner for the Cowboys defense. His quickness and reactionary skills are excellent. Gladney is physical enough and will not shy away from tackling. Gladney improved his ball production in each season and is an ascending player.
Connor’s Scouting Report: While most would consider Gladney as a reach at pick 17, it shouldn’t be. Gladney is as good as any of the top corners from a coverage standpoint and is probably the most physical corner in this draft class. Playing in the BIG-12 has Gladney low on many radars, but he ended up with a first-round grade on my board.
PICK 51: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
Why it makes sense: Losing an All-Pro center like Travis Frederick is going to leave big shoes to fill. The Cowboys have protected themselves by re-signing Joe Looney and continuously going to the well in the draft with Connor McGovern and Connor Williams. If the opportunity is there, why not make the competition a bit stiffer? Matt Hennessy started three seasons at center and was really good at it. Hennessy earned Temple’s famed “single-digit” jersey for toughest player on the team. His technique is off the charts and that makes him an incredibly valuable pick for the Cowboys at 51. Will McClay and his scouting department would knock it out of the park once again with Hennessy.
Connor’s Scouting Report: After losing Travis Frederick to retirement the Cowboys may turn to the draft to find his replacement. While it may be more likely to allow Connor McGovern and Joe Looney battle it out for the spot, adding Hennessy to the interior OL competition would add another starting caliber player to bolster the Cowboys offensive line.
PICK 82: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Why it makes sense: For a defense that will now be in the hands of Mike Nolan, what more could you want at safety than a ball-hawk? Sure, Chinn is a small-school prospect but his production is outstanding and he does nothing but make plays. Chinn is a phenomenal defender that attacks the opponent and keeps on coming. His physical demeanor would be a welcomed sight for the Cowboys defense.
Connor’s Scouting Report: The more I talk to people tied into the nfl draft, the more it seems Chinn is going to go much higher than we expect. As a smaller school prospect at a position with solid top-end talent, it also wouldn’t shock me if Jeremy Chinn lasts till the 82nd overall pick. Chinn is a freak athlete with excellent size and athletic traits. Chinn has deep and box safety versatility, and has a knack for finding the football.
PICK 123: Leki Fotu, DT, Utah
Why it makes sense: With Gerald McCoy in tow for the present, the Cowboys can afford to wait and still get a solid defensive tackle prospect. Leki Fotu is not a superb athlete but he’s got some mobility and is an accomplished run defender. Though he has work to do as a pass rusher, Fotu recorded a respectable 6.5 tackles for loss in nine games last season. Fotu can step in as a backup nose tackle right away as he is very strong at the point of attack and has the desired NFL length.
Connor’s Scouting Report: After adding both Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in free agency, waiting until day three to add to the iDL wouldn’t be a bad move, and boy do they continue to beef up. While Fotu’s size would suggest a permanent move to nose tackle, Fotu plays with some athleticism and twitch too his game. He is a stout run defender, and showcases an impressive swim move and bull rush to penetrate the pocket consistently as a pass rusher.
PICK 164: Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
Why it makes sense: There are some concerns about his checkered past, Cephus missed the 2018 season as he dealt with a sexual assault case that was ultimately dismissed. Cephus is also not the most dynamic athlete but he is physical as any of his peers, and a consistent winner at the catch point. His best ability he will bring to the Cowboys is his precision as a route runner. Cephus is hard to cover and constantly works back to his quarterback. As a third WR for the Cowboys, Quintez Cephus will get the opportunity to excel and earn trust in a potent NFL offense.
Connor’s Scouting Report: After having a rather pedestrian combine, Quintez Cephus hype train has come to a screeching husky. That may be perfect for the Cowboys, who need to add a receiver that can crack the starting three in this years class. Cephus, while not being the most explosive athlete, has a knack for winning at the catch point, being a tough tackle after the catch, and is a rather savvy route runner for his size. While the athletic traits won’t suggest a ton of success for Cephus, the tape at Wisconsin says otherwise.
PICK 179: Kendall Coleman, DE, Syracuse
Why it makes sense: The Cowboys are hoping to get good news back regarding Randy Gregory and the new NFL CBA will help his cause. Still, the Cowboys should look to add some athleticism to the depth chart. Coleman shows flashes of elite pass rush ability but he is still a very incomplete prospect with a lot of work ahead. The traits that Coleman possesses stand out in a weak edge rusher class, including his ability to stay low, dip his shoulder, and good understanding of counters.
Connor’s Scouting Report: The best word to describe Coleman’s game is inconsistent. While there’s flashes of burst, bend, and pass rush potential, it just doesn’t come with any consistency. While there are some traits to like in Kendall Coleman’s game, a late day three selection is appropriate value for the Syracuse EDGE.
PICK 231: Kendrick Rogers, WR, Texas A&M
Why it makes sense: Always a fan of a team double-dipping at a position of strength in the draft. The Cowboys have a solid starting duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup but Randall Cobb is now in Houston and it’s about time to call it quits on the Tavon Austin experiment. The pick of Quintez Cephus gives the Cowboys a physical X-type receiver but Kendrick Rogers is still very intriguing as a big-play receiver that makes the most of limited opportunities. When the Aggies needed to make a play, it was often Rogers they went to. He can stretch defenses vertically with his speed and has an incredible catch-radius. Not a bad move to grab a guy like Rogers and keep yourself from fighting in the UDFA market.
Connor’s Scouting Report: After adding Cephus, more of a possession receiver earlier in the draft, the addition of Kendrick Rodgers adds a vertical threat body to battle in camp. Rodgers was Texas A&M most reliable receiver and pairs his ability to stretch the field vertically with intriguing size for the position. It’s unlikely Rodgers would crack the 53-man roster due to his rawness as a route runner, but he’s an intriguing guy to try to stash, and develop on the practice squad.