It’s time to circle back for a second 7-round Dallas Cowboys mock draft. My last mock took place before the NFL Scouting Combine (see here) and, as usual, things changed quite a bit after the combine. (Heck, things changed inside The Star in Frisco in a finger snap on Friday night with a flurry of Cowboys free-agency moves. Catch up on those here.) In fact, this mock went in a completely different direction than my first mock. This one became defense-heavy and, given the first days of free agency, that might not be a bad thing.
Like last time, I used the Fanspeak.com mock draft software and used the CBSSports.com overall player rankings, which were updated after the combine. Also, like last time, I built the mock on a “best available player within reason” philosophy, meaning that I was looking to fill need where I could, so long as that need was at or near the top of the board.
The Fanspeak.com software isn’t perfect, I’ll grant you. But one thing I like about it is that when you’re on the clock, you’re stuck with what’s on the board. No speculating on what “might” be there. If I’m the GM, I must make my pick from what is there, and that’s exactly what every GM must do on draft day.
So here we go.
Round 1 (28): DE Taco Charlton, Michigan
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis was ranked just ahead of Charlton on the board, while Florida CB Teez Tabor was ranked right behind him. Charlton would provide immediate pass rush help. NFL.com’s Lance Zierling compares Charlton to Chandler Jones, who just got a huge extension from the Cardinals after 47 sacks in five seasons. That would be just fine by most Cowboys fans right about now.
Round 2 (60): LB Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State
When the top player on the board is one of the best linebackers in the draft, you take him. Offensive players like G Dion Dawkins and TE Adam Shaheen were right behind McMillan. S Budda Baker would have been nice, but he was ranked 11 spots behind McMillan here, so I stuck with the value. If I had done this mock a couple of days later, however, I might have been tempted. As it stands, plug McMillan in with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith and, well, good lord that would be something else.
Round 3 (92): S Josh Jones, NC State
Jones was ranked in the same range as Kansas State edge rusher Jordan Willis and Washington CB Kevin King, but I was concerned about the Cowboys’ depth situation at the position before free agency began. And, with Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox apparently on the way out, Jones would have to help immediately. He would come with 4.4 speed in the 40 and some of the best combine numbers of any safety. The key is whether he can play coverage as a rookie.
Round 4 (133): TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson
Leggett would be a terrific pickup this late for the Cowboys. I was impressed with what I saw in the national title game vs. Alabama. The Cowboys are still trying to find that guy that will eventually assume Jason Witten’s duties. He was the third-ranked player on the board after two centers.
Round 5 (no pick)
Round 6 (211): WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
I’m going to pass on a couple of defensive tackles and an edge rusher at the D-2 level to take Taylor, a player I saw at the Armed Forces Bowl. He’s a Cole Beasley-type of wide receiver but he was highly productive at La. Tech and he adds value as a return man and special teams player. I’m not convinced Brice Butler is the answer as the No. 3 receiver. He deserves the opportunity to prove it. But Taylor could push him.
Round 7 (228): CB Aarion Penton, Missouri
I didn’t know much about him when I took him. But he was the top player on the board. At 5-foot-11 he feels like a slot corner. He also fits the profile of the type of player the Cowboys like late in the draft — starter at a Power 5 school who could work as a special teams contributor immediately and as depth down the line.
Round 7 (246): S Tedric Thompson, Colorado
Thompson is high value late in this draft, given that he started at a Power 5 school and played for one of the best defenses in college football last year. I saw him in person twice and while he wasn’t the fastest guy on the field in either game I saw good football instincts. Those are key with late-round players. Give me a guy who understands the game but may not be the most athletic guy over a pure athlete with few football instincts any day.