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Mel Kiper’s mock draft picks leave the Cowboys without a guard in first three rounds

ESPN seems determined not to get the Cowboys a guard.

NFL: NFL Draft Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Mock draft season is reaching a crescendo as the NFL Draft draws ever closer. At ESPN, resident draft gurus Mel Kiper and Todd McShay combined to do a full three round mock for the league. They alternated picks, with Kiper drawing all three of the selections for the Dallas Cowboys during the first two days of the draft. This was strictly by the current draft order with no trades. Kiper wound up going in a different direction than many might expect for Dallas. Here are his three players he sees going to the Cowboys.

24. Dallas Cowboys

Kiper’s pick: Arnold Ebiketie, DE/OLB, Penn State

I love this team-prospect pairing, especially if this many receivers have already been taken. Ebiketie can join his former Penn State teammate Micah Parsons in Dallas, and he’ll allow Parsons to stay at off-ball linebacker.

It is clear he is thinking a bit differently than many fans of the team, as both Zion Johnson and Kenyon Greene were both still available at this point. But the way it would pair Ebiketie with Parsons has a lot to like. It would also make Stephen Jones’ remarks about Dorance Armstrong replacing Randy Gregory look even more foolish, but this was done before those remarks came out.

While he talks about keeping Parsons in the off-ball role, that disregards what Dan Quinn might dial up with both on the field. It would present a delectable prospect of bringing both at once, which would seem a terrifying idea for most quarterbacks. This has the potential to make the much improved defense from last year even more potent. If this should be how things actually go, there really isn’t much to complain about.

56. Dallas Cowboys

Kiper’s pick: Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State

With La’el Collins gone, Lucas could compete for Dallas’ right tackle spot. He’s not a surefire early starter, but his experience at right tackle (2,862 college snaps) makes him a nice value pick this late on Round 2.

Here Kiper got help for the offensive line, but not where most are focused. It does address a legitimate need for the team. A guard was mocked just four picks later, but Cole Strange is from Chattanooga, not a Power Five school. The Cowboys definitely have an aversion to small school prospects, so there is clear logic in not going after him.

We discussed the variety of directions that the Cowboys draft could go in on the latest BTB Roundtable on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.

The need at offensive tackle is important as a possible upgrade for Terence Steele or as a swing tackle that could eventually start down the road. Right tackle is generally more important in protecting the QB than left guard, and help for Dak Prescott always looks like a good thing.

88. Dallas Cowboys

Kiper’s pick: Bo Melton, WR, Rutgers

Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson are gone, which means Dallas could look to Day 2 to draft a slot receiver, especially if it wants CeeDee Lamb to play more outside. Melton was a demon in the screen game in college, and he ran a 4.34 40 at the combine.

This certainly has the potential to strengthen the wide receiver room. One objection here is taking a 5-11 slot receiver when Dallas prefers taller WRs who can play all three positions, but with the current situation they may be more open to this idea. They certainly had some struggles with the screen game, and having someone who can open that up also helps Prescott in getting the ball out before the pass rush can get home.

This also means the Cowboys pass up on a couple of other players who are projected as possible guards in the NFL, Nicholas Petit-Frere of Ohio State and Kentucky’s Darian Kinnard. Melton would be a flashier pick, and that is not something to disregard when Jerry Jones is in the room.

A quarterback hunter and two offensive tools is not a bad haul for the first three rounds. Whether they would pass up not once but twice on solid opportunities to upgrade left guard is an open question. But this year, the draft seems highly volatile and unpredictable. This is an interesting exercise that has very long odds of being accurate.

How would you react if this was the haul from the first two days of the draft? Let us know in the comments. Politely, of course.