My name is KD Drummond, and I'm a mock draft addict.
I have no misconceptions about the irrelavancy of mock drafts, especially four months prior to the real draft and a long ways away from free agency as well. We know what the team needs are, but we have no clue what they will be after holes are filled through available veterans. However, you will not shame me from enjoying the mock draft experience, naysayer. I will rebuke you and enjoy pretending to be GM for a day with the "perfect" plan to fix what ails the 4-12 Dallas Cowboys.
For this exercise, I will employ the assistance of the good folk at Fanspeak's On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator. You can perform your own mocks by simply clicking this link. You'll need to upgrade to Premium for the option to trade.
The real point of these exercises is not only to get an idea of how the draft process flows, but also give readers an opportunity to learn about some of the prospects in the draft. To assist in that, we will feature a video (using DraftBreakdown.com when available) for each of the selected prospects from their collegiate days. I will not guarantee that it will be a game they played particularly well in. Fans should get used to the idea that players with plus skills can still put out bad tape, and players with questionable ones can play a "game of their life" they may not ever live up to again.
As this is the first entry, be prepared for this exercise to morph over the coming weeks and months, but I hope it remains entertaining to those of you who keep a perennial eye towards the draft.
For today's mock's we will utilize CBS' Big Board from January 9th, 2016.
Not every sim has the Cowboys receiving trade proposals prior to the draft, but this one did. I was offered the Bucaneers 1st, 2nd and 3rd as well as the Eagles 1st, 2nd, and two thirds. I decided to drop back to the 9th spot, knowing that it would mean the loss of the "elite" level talent in this year's draft. This is a big deal. You don't normally plan on being this high in the draft too often, so passing on a blue-chipper is a highly questionable thing to do.
As it turns out, numerous blue-chip talents were still available at Pick 9. LB Myles Jack, WR LaQuan Treadwell and QB Paxton Lynch all were still on the board, as well as elite RB Ezekiel Elliot of Ohio State. The gameplan was originally trade back and select QB Carson Wentz from North Dakota State, but this presents an interesting "problem" to have for Dallas.
As always, a team needs to stick to its board, and as such, I currently have Wentz rated slightly higher than Lynch due to his winning history as well as amount of time spent under center in college. Getting your QB of the future and having two top-11 picks in each of the next two rounds means I can fill the other positions I considered taking here. Win-win.
At the start of the second round, there are some key prospects I'm on the lookout for. Dallas loves injured guys with 1st round talent in Round 2, so of course Jaylon Smith LB from Notre Dame is at the top of this list. He's the pick at 34.
I was targeting Kendall Fuller, DB from Virginia Tech with Tampa's second rounder, but the Giants snatched him up. Instead, I focused on the defensive line, adding a run-stuffer with the talent to also develop into a pass-rusher, DT Kenny Clark of UCLA. Clark would slide in next to Tyrone Crawford and his repaired shoulder in 2016. Dallas' staff grades out Nick Hayden very well most weeks, so he will be an important person to replace. It's likely that happens in free agency, but drafting a stud that can line up at 1-tech and also give you some rush would be ideal. Here's the rest of the draft.
For a look at the mock draft in it's totality, click here. Here are the individual game films, including Carson Wentz vs Northern Iowa that the GIF above, highliting a 4th quarter, 3rd and 13 throw while down four points, was taken from.