The Senior Bowl is going on this week, and even though the annual combine event will look drastically different this year, draft season is in full swing now. And with the Cowboys currently slated to pick tenth overall, there is no shortage of speculation on what they might do with it. The draft is still very far away and prospect rankings are sure to fluctuate quite often between now and then. For example, the case for Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore being worthy of the Cowboys’ first round pick.
The nice part about this long draft process is having a ton of time to purely speculate, and that’s what this piece is all about. Using the mock draft machine over at The Draft Network, we put together three different seven-round mock drafts for the Cowboys, just to get a sense of how each respective draft class turns out based upon that first selection.
This first draft was satisfying my own affinity for Barmore, as noted above. While it would be considered a reach right now, this was based on the belief that Barmore will shoot up draft boards. At 6’5” and 310 pounds, Barmore is a dominant force in the middle of the defensive line. He led the entire nation in pressures this season and has the versatility to one-gap or two-gap from the 3-technique, 1-technique, 4-technique, and nose tackle spots. Dan Quinn’s defenses in Seattle and Atlanta were at their best when they had versatile and big game-wreckers in the trenches (see: Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Michael Bennett, Grady Jarrett) and Barmore could be exactly that.
Next is Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo, who figures to be an ideal fit in Quinn’s Cover 3 scheme. Adebo has highlighted time and again his ability to make plays in both press man and off-ball zone. Drae Harris of The Draft Network compared him to last year’s ninth-overall pick CJ Henderson, which would make Adebo a high-value selection to pair with Trevon Diggs on the perimeter.
Richie Grant from Central Florida was the easy pick in the third round, providing Quinn and passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. with a rangy deep safety that can patrol center field in both Cover 1 and Cover 3 looks. Grant’s biggest weakness is in run support, and paired with his playmaking skills that resulted in him snagging 10 interceptions, four fumble recoveries, and five forced fumbles in three years for the Golden Knights, Grant figures to be tailor-made for the free safety in a scheme like what Quinn is expected to run.
After these first three picks, it’s a lot of reinforcements for the Cowboys. Charles Snowden offers special teams ability and could very well supplant either Leighton Vander Esch or Jaylon Smith, while Iowa’s Alaric Jackson is a powerful offensive tackle that could use some technique refinement while learning behind the aging Tyron Smith. Rashad Weaver and Khyiris Tonga provide decent depth on the defensive line, as do Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Jermar Jefferson for the offensive skill players. Finally, Bryan Mills is a big and strong ball-hawking cornerback from the FCS who could be a nice developmental prospect.
The Cowboys’ biggest need this offseason (besides re-signing Dak Prescott) is arguably at cornerback opposite Diggs. While there’s no big name like Jeff Okudah this year, the consensus top two cornerbacks are Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. In this mock, Surtain was already off the board, so Farley was the pick. Like Diggs, Farley only started playing cornerback during college, and his athleticism as a former receiver is apparent. He offers a ton of appealing traits that would translate well to Quinn’s scheme, but has a concerning injury history that could scare some teams off.
Next up is an early fan favorite in TCU’s Trevon Moehrig, who fits the mold of the free safety Quinn is likely looking for. Moehrig played that same type of role for most of his college career and produced seven picks over three years. After pairing Diggs with Farley, the Cowboys could now pair Moehrig with Donovan Wilson, giving them a promising young secondary.
Up next is LSU’s Tyler Shelvin, a massive 362 pound nose tackle that stuffs run plays at an alarming rate. The Cowboys sorely missed someone of Shelvin’s caliber last year, and he would provide what they thought they were getting in Dontari Poe. Shelvin is followed by Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning. As a fast and instinctual tackler, Browning could fit in well as a WILL linebacker for Quinn, although he needs to be better about how he reads offenses.
Once again, the remaining picks are mostly focused on adding depth. CJ Verdell and Josh Imatorbhebhe offer some offensive firepower while Brenden Jaimes offers position flexibility all over the offensive line. Adetokunbo Ogundeji is the latest Notre Dame edge rusher with tons of potential while Robert Rochell and JaCoby Stevens are two defensive backs who can provide valuable depth and likely contribute on special teams.
This one takes its cue from a few other mock drafts already out there that envisions the Cowboys spending their top pick on Tyron Smith’s (or La’el Collins’) replacement by taking standout Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater. As our own Tom Ryle recently broke down, all is not well for the Cowboys’ offensive line, and Slater is an elite talent that some draftniks think might be even better than Oregon’s Penei Sewell. Passing up on that kind of player would be hard to do, especially if the Cowboys brass doesn’t fall in love with any defensive prospects.
The next two picks go to the defensive line with Daviyon Nixon and Hamilcar Rahed Jr. At 6’5” and 305 pounds, Nixon is a prototypical 3-technique penetration guy who has a refined technical prowess with his hand usage. Rashed is a dynamic edge rusher who totaled 14 sacks in 2019 - only Chase Young and Gregory Rousseau had more that year - and has the ability to be a highly effective rotational rusher right off the bat, with long-term potential down the road.
Paris Ford is the next selection, although he’s not as ideal a fit for the deep safety role as the aforementioned Grant and Moehrig. Ford totaled three picks in each of the last two years, showcasing good ball skills and instincts, but doesn’t seem to have the range Quinn and Whitt will want in their free safeties. Perhaps Ford could develop into that kind of player in a year or two, but he shouldn’t be counted on to start right away.
Oklahoma State star receiver Tylan Wallace gives some extra firepower and serves as a potential replacement for either Michael Gallup or Amari Cooper down the road. Linebackers Ventrell Miller and Antjuan Simmons are lean and quick linebackers who could thrive in this system, while Marco Thomas and Ambry Thomas offer ideal traits for the scheme but require some fine-tuning. This mock rounds out with Lorenzo Neal, a rocked up defensive tackle that can function best as a penetrating 1-technique or nose tackle.
And now it’s decision time. Each of these mock drafts targets similar types of players, but with very different results. It should offer some idea of how things are currently slated to fall based on what Dallas does on Day One.
So which draft haul offers the best overall value?
Which mock draft did you like the most?
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