Cowboys Mock: Post-Hardy Heartthrobs

With the big fish in the boat, Dallas now has a much clearer picture what needs to be done. Let's Mock-Draft the Cowboys' seven rounds!

We’ve made it through the first wave (and a lot of the second wave) of free agency, and there is finally actual activity to report from the Dallas Cowboys. CowboysHQ has been at the forefront of the on-again, off-again pursuit of Greg Hardy, and now the upper-tier pass rusher is in the fold. Many had hoped that with a closing window of championship hope based on quarterback Tony Romo’s age and injury history, that the franchise would smartly enter the free agent market. The defense needs playmakers to compete for a championship, and they finally went out and grabbed one.

Most of the acceptable targets, youthful with multiple years of production, were locked up by their own teams. That’s the norm, especially when the salary cap jumps by $10 million in one season. Hardy, of course, has special circumstances surrounding his continued availability. There were a handful of other players that could have likely helped Dallas that were available for acceptable rates who went to other teams. In addition, Dallas intelligently stuck to their guns on their own free agents who have made their way to other teams; most notably RB DeMarco Murray.

Dallas has made a series of competition-minded signings, players meant to challenge others for their spot on the depth chart. There have been no stars, or concrete difference makers, which is in line with what they’ve done over the last few years. If a Hardy signing does happen, Dallas will be in a position of relative comfort heading into the draft. They’ll need a running back, but knowing that difference making backs can be found throughout the first two days and into the third means the team’s hand won’t be forced. With that, we bring you to our latest mock draft exercise.

Now that Hardy is in the fold, it’s time for the draft to become the primary focus of improving the Cowboys.

It’s becoming more clear that Dallas will likely be having a go at it without the services of Rolando McClain. It appears that the organization doesn’t want to invest too much in a player with a spotty track record of playing through pain and being available at important times. Will the club need to replace Brandon Carr on the roster? Could the club bringing in Bryce Petty for a visit signal they are finally ready to start grooming a Romo successor? Using the Mock Draft Simulator of Fanspeak.com, we will attempt to model an entire seven-round mock for Dallas. Fanspeak allows users to mock for one particular team, while the other 31 teams are controlled by the simulator. The sim combines Fanspeak’s rating of team needs with whichever Big Board the user selects to be the “player ranking” bible. There are currently seven different big boards to choose from. For this exercise, we used Matt Miller’s Big Board.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
2.11
43
ILB

Paul Dawson

6’0” 235 lbs
TCU

Other Players Available: LB Bernardrick McKinney, RB T.J. Yeldon, CB Kevin Johnson, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, QB Bryce Petty

The trade down is on. Was able to find a willing partner in Cleveland and won the trade using the Harvard Value Chart, losing it by just 5 total points using the traditional chart. Dallas trades Pick 1.27 for Pick 2.11 and Pick 3.13. Cowboys fans should resign themselves to the likely possibility that Rolando McClain isn’t coming back. Dawson is small, along the lines of the days of Dat Nguyen, but should function nicely next to Sean Lee. He knows how to avoid blockers, and has an uncanny ability to make a B-line for the ball carrier.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
2.28
60
CB

Byron Jones

6’1” 199 lbs
Connecticut

Other Players Available: LB Stephone Anthony, S Derron Smith, CB Quinten Rollins, DT Jordan Phillips, CB Alex Carter, CB Steve Nelson

The best athlete at the combine with a star on his helmet. Already a top cornerback prospect with the intelligence to play safety and direct a defense, Jones then set the world on fire with his record setting broad jump 7” further than the previous record. He also came close to setting the vertical jump record as well. To put it in perspective, prior to the 2015 combine, Terrance Newman had the fourth longest broad jump ever. Jones beat his mark by over a foot. A foot. Oh yeah, about football. He’s a physical press corner with the speed (didn’t run 40) to be able to recover when beaten. Better in press than zones, though.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
3.13
77
RB

Mike Davis

5’9” 217 lbs
South Carolina

Other Players Available: QB Brett Hundley, S Anthony Harris, WR Phillip Dorsett, RB Jay Ajayi, DT Xavier Cooper, DE Trey Flowers

Gives you everything you want in a back except for the ability to break the long one. Sound familiar? Powerful back, compact frame. Nimble feet and ability to fall forward after contract. Can catch ball out of the backfield, good in pass protection

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
3.27
91
DT

Grady Jarrett

6’1” 304 lbs
Clemson

Other Players Available: OT Donovan Smith, DL Mario Edwards, RB David Cobb, G Tre’ Jackson, DT Gabe Wright, OT Tyrus Thompson, G Ali Marpet

Jarrett could be Aaron Donald Lite, for the Cowboys. Short and stocky with a quick first step, great change of direction and an ability to penetrate using his hands. Very strong. He chases draws and screens exceptionally well and almost always wins the leverage battle against offensive linemen with longer arms and taller frames. There is a downside, that when they are able to engage on him, he loses the battle. He flashes on every tape you put on of Top 15 pick Vic Beasley. Should be able to play both 1 and 3 tech when required.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
4.28
124
S

Eric Rowe

6’1” 205 lbs
Utah

Other Players Available: RB David Johnson, WR Jamison Crowder, CB Kevin White

Rowe moved to cornerback after playing three years as a safety (All-Conference) but Dallas will move him back and have him control centerfield. Has a great frame for the position, enough speed to keep from getting beat deep and is great at attacking the pass and the catch point. Should excel with plays in front of him in the pros.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
5.27
155
DE

Lynden Trail

6’7” 269 lbs
Norfolk State

A mountain of a man, Trail didn’t test as well at the combine, but that could be attributed to not being given the same assistance in prepping for the job interview as others at bigger schools. He needs some work converting his physically imposing traits, which is perfect for a guy like Rod Marinelli. He turns a good corner and has the frame to add serious power once he gets in an NFL program.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
7.14
206
FB

Tyler Varga

5'11” 222 lbs
Yale

A fullback you can actually hand the ball to in short-yardage situations and throw to when he leaks out of the backfield? Say it ain’t so! Pre-med with a 3.5 GPA at Yale, he’ll have the smarts to play the position and be the H-Back Dallas needs on occasion. Bruising physical specimen. Tackle breaker with halfback moves. Jason Garrett loves the fullback despite him taking a weapon off the field. Varga is a solution for this problem, times ten.

PICK
POSITION
PROSPECT HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCHOOL
7.16
208
DE

Ryan Russell

6’4” 269 lbs
Purdue

A Texas native and another piece of clay for Marinelli to mold. Has a good first step and power, but that’s about it. Purdue switched to a 3-4 D and stunted Russell’s development. Quality athleticism in his combine results, ranking near the top of the DE class. Another H/W/S flyer from a top conference.

Obviously, these players are slotted at very different slots depending on which big board you use; but just as they might be long gone under different circumstances, other players worthy of consideration could be available where Dallas picks. For a look at how the entire mock draft unfolded, check out this link.



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