The NFL draft is almost here, and there are mocks aplenty. But while most of these mock drafts are trying to guess what the various NFL teams like the Cowboys will do, I decided to put on my general manager hat and put together a mock draft based on what I think the team should do. Using the mock draft machine at Pro Football Focus, here’s what the Cowboys end up with, as well as the players that were also available at each pick.
Round 1, Pick 26: Luke Musgrave, TE - Oregon State
Fans may not want a tight end in the first round, but it’s the most logical move, especially considering the way the board fell here. Luke Musgrave (full scouting report here) has elite athleticism and pass-catching skills. He’s a wide receiver in a tight end’s body, and that’s a recipe for success in Mike McCarthy’s offense.
Previous four picks: Texas RB Bijan Robinson, Alabama S Brian Branch, Clemson iDL Bryan Bresee, Boston College WR Zay Flowers
Other players available: Notre Dame TE Michael Mayer, Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV, Oklahoma OT Anton Harrison, TCU iOL Steve Avila, Florida iOL O’Cyrus Torrence, Michigan iDL Mazi Smith
Round 2, Pick 58: Darius Rush, CB - South Carolina
Darius Rush has seen his draft stock rise a lot since the season ended, largely because he was overshadowed by teammate Cam Smith playing on the opposite side of the field. Rush stands at 6’2” with long arms and blazing speed. He converted from receiver in college and still has the ball skills to show for it. Sound familiar? It would be unfair to expect Rush to become the next Trevon Diggs, but taking a player with a very similar pedigree and letting him learn from Stephon Gilmore for a year is a no-brainer.
Previous four picks: Clemson LB Trenton Simpson, Iowa TE Sam LaPorta, Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron, Washington State LB Daiyan Henley
Other players available: Houston WR Nathaniel Dell, Miami CB Tyrique Stevenson, UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet, Tennessee WR Cedric Tillman, Wisconsin iDL Keeanu Benton, Baylor iDL Siaki Ika
Round 3, Pick 90: Moro Ojomo, iDL - Texas
The Cowboys are pretty much set on the edges, but there is worry about their interior of the defensive line. Outside of Osa Odighizuwa, there isn’t really a reliable young playmaker. Moro Ojomo (full scouting report here) is similar to Odighizuwa, as he’s a fundamentally sound run defender with the athleticism and length to blossom into a great pass rusher. Get him in the lab with Dan Quinn and just see what happens.
Previous four picks: Tennessee EDGE Byron Young, Wake Forest WR AT Perry, Alabama S Jordan Battle, Stanford WR Michael Wilson
Other players available: Syracuse CB Garrett Williams, Missouri EDGE Isaiah McGuire, Auburn RB Tank Bigsby, UAB RB DeWayne McBride, Michigan TE Luke Schoonmaker, TCU CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson
Round 4, Pick 129: Ivan Pace Jr., LB - Cincinnati
Linebacker probably isn’t a big need right now for Dallas, as Damone Clark should step into a larger role this year and Jabril Cox could be in the mix as well. But turning down Ivan Pace Jr. at this point in the draft is hard to do. Pace was a pass-rushing phenom as a blitzer at Cincinnati, and his coverage skills are better than you’d expect from someone who led all linebackers in pressures and sacks last year. More than anything, seeing what Dan Quinn can come up with for Pace in a defense that’s already skilled at pressuring the quarterback is exciting.
Previous four picks: Stanford CB Kyu Blu Kelly, LSU WR Kayshon Boutte, LSU iOL Anthony Bradford, Georgia S Christopher Smith
Other players available: Wake Forest iDL Kobie Turner, Iowa State S Anthony Johnson, Syracuse RB Sean Tucker, Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn, Texas A&M CB Jaylon Jones, Purdue CB Cory Trice
Round 5, Pick 169: Atonio Mafi, iOL - UCLA
Atonio Mafi (full scouting report here) is one of my favorite sleepers in this draft. He started out as a defensive tackle at UCLA, coincidentally playing next to Osa Odighizuwa, before switching to guard. He’s a massive body that brings to mind a less athletic Tyler Smith. That’s okay, because Mafi’s best spot is at left guard, where he won’t need to be the most athletic lineman. Furthermore, playing Smith at left tackle with Mafi right next to him is a tantalizing idea. Mafi is why it’s okay to pass on the likes of Steve Avila and Chandler Zavala earlier in this draft.
Previous four picks: Ole Miss iOL Nick Broeker, Michigan EDGE Mike Morris, Notre Dame S Brandon Joseph, Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn
Other players available: San Jose State EDGE Viliami Fehoko, Fresno State WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Maryland WR Rakim Jarrett, East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell, Coastal Carolina iDL Jerrod Clark
Round 6, Pick 212: Rakim Jarrett, WR - Maryland
Rakim Jarrett was almost the pick at 169, so getting him here at 212 is a no-brainer. Jarrett is a former five-star recruit who was poorly used at Maryland. He got stuck in the slot due to his size, but Jarrett is an athletic player who is at his best out wide. He has the raw talent to become something big in the NFL, and learning from Brandin Cooks in Dallas could help Jarrett evolve into a similar type of player.
Previous four picks: Florida A&M EDGE Isaiah Land, Maryland WR Dontay Demus, East Carolina RB Keaton Mitchell, Coastal Carolina iDL Jerrod Clark
Other players available: San Diego State iDL Jonah Tavai, Michigan State iDL Jacob Slade, Houston QB Clayton Tune, Kansas EDGE Lonnie Phelps, Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim
Round 7, Pick 244: Mohamed Ibrahim, RB - Minnesota
Getting Mo Ibrahim (full scouting report here) with the 244th overall pick is proof positive of why it’s unnecessary to spend premium draft capital on the running back position. Ibrahim was one of the most productive rushers during his time at Minnesota, and he offers a physical, short yardage style of running that would perfectly complement Tony Pollard. I call him Mini Zeke, because their play styles are very similar, but Ibrahim costs a whole lot less.
Previous four picks: Houston S Gervarrius Owens, Boise State OT John Ojukwu, Nebraska EDGE Ochaun Mathis, Oregon iOL Alex Forsyth
Other players available: UCLA WR Jake Bobo, Oklahoma TE Brayden Willis, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, TCU QB Max Duggan, Stephen F Austin EDGE BJ Thompson, Jackson St LB Aubrey Miller Jr.