The NFL Draft is still a few months away, but why wait? With today marking the conclusion of the 2015 Scouting Combine, we finally unveil Mock Draft Season upon the Cowboys universe. There is still plenty to be finalized before teams know how they will approach the draft. Free agency is still a few weeks away and the signings made by each team will drastically alter the way they approach the draft.
Many teams aim to have a Best Player Available (BPA) or a Best Available at a Position of Need (BPAPN) strategy, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
What we’ve tried to do here is stick to the BPAPN model for all teams, using reasonable assumptions about their needs and (obviously) guessing as to their evaluations of the players available to them. Mock drafts will always be flawed, yet they are still extremely helpful tools in analyzing needs, skill sets and a possible hierarchy of the players. What can’t be anticipated are trades that throw a monkey wrench into the best thought out mocks.
If you are familiar with our “6 Draft Tendencies and Tells” article, you’ll know we think this is the more likely way things play out for Dallas. Still, mocking trades is even more of a fool’s errand, so we stand pat and pick from what’s available.
Here’s a look at CowboysHQ first Mock of the draft season.
|1||Tampa Bay||QB, Jameis Winston, Florida State|
|2||Tennessee||Edge, Dante Fowler, Florida|
|3||Jacksonville||LB, Randy Gregory, Nebraska|
|4||Oakland||DL, Leonard Williams, USC|
|5||Washington||OT Brandon Scherff, Iowa|
|6||NY Jets||QB, Marcus Mariota, Oregon|
|7||Chicago||CB Trae Waynes, Mich State|
|8||Atlanta||CB, PJ Williams, Florida State|
|9||NY Giants||Edge, Alvin Dupree, Kentucky|
|10||St Louis||WR Kevin White, West Virginia|
|11||Minnesota||WR, Amari Cooper, Alabama|
|12||Cleveland||Edge, Vic Beasley, Clemson|
|13||New Orleans||CB, Jalen Collins, LSU|
|14||Miami||DT, Eddie Goldman, Florida State|
|15||San Francisco||WR, Jaelen Strong, Arizona State|
|16||Houston||DT, Danny Shelton, Washington|
|17||San Diego||WR, Davante Parker, Louisville|
|18||Kansas City||SS, Landon Collins, Alabama|
|19||Cleveland||TE, Devin Funchess, Michigan|
|20||Philadelphia||ILB, Shaq Thompson, Washington|
|21||Cincinnati||Edge, Shane Ray, Missouri|
|22||Pittsburgh||CB, Quentin Rollins, Miami|
|23||Detroit||Edge, Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA|
|24||Arizona||DT, Carl Davis, Iowa|
|25||Carolina||OT, Andrus Peat, Stanford|
|26||Baltimore||DE Arik Armstead, Oregon|
|27||DALLAS||RB, Todd Gurley, Georgia|
|28||Denver||OT, La'el Collins, LSU|
|29||Indianapolis||DT, Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma|
|30||Green Bay||Edge, Eli Harold, Virginia|
|31||Seattle||WR, Dorial Green-Beckham, Oklahoma|
|32||New England||OT, DJ Humphries, Florida|
A few notes, in order of the picks. Jameis Winston is a clear No. 1 choice, and with the hire of Chan Gailey and his propensity for the Pistol offense, we can’t see Mariota making it past the Jets at 6. Randy Gregory’s weight scares us into thinking he’s going to get a lot of time standing up as opposed to heads-up against left tackles all the time. Jacksonville’s Gus Bradley has an affinity for the LEO edge guy so we can see him using the Nebraska star in that SAM/LEO role.
The tackle mix is muddy, but we’re confident in predicting Washington will choose the wrong one (we kid, we kid). Alvin Dupree seems like he’s built for what New York likes to do with their defenses. Cleveland gets themselves an explosive edge rusher and a tight end safety net for their young quarterback. Houston pairs Danny Shelton with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney if he ever returns to build a frightful defensive front.
The wideouts go to the teams that need them most and create instant upgrades. It just feels right that Pete Carroll is the one to take the flyer on Green-Beckham.
Finally, the Cowboys. We truly see signs that point to Adrian Peterson trying to make his way to the Lone Star State once his suspension is lifted. Until then though, we’ll move forward with mocking the only running back we would feel comfortable breaking the “no backs in the first round” edict for this team. We feel that Todd Gurley is as close to Adrian Peterson as you’ll find and will warrant a second contract ... two things of utmost importance in drafting a player the team will control financially for five seasons (only first-round picks have a team-option for a fifth year).
In the draft, teams routinely give first-round grades to between 15-20 prospects a year. So a team picking in the last third of the round is likely getting a player that they have graded as a second-rounder. Gurley’s skillset warrants a first-round grade and many believe even when factoring in his knee injury, he is still a cut above the rest of a talented running back class. The question is whether he’s so far removed from the rest that it justifies the talent drop off at another position that could potentially be the pick.
We think it does. For now.