2009 Dallas Mock Draft (part I)

For the purposes of this mock draft, it has to be assumed that the Cowboys won't make any trades in the next 48 hours, which of course is unlikely to be the case with Jerry Jones captaining the Dallas ship through another draft.

As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, the internet is filled with mock drafts. The problem is, how many people really care what the Bengals will do in the second round, or the Lions in the sixth?

You'd be hard-pressed to find people in Cincinnati and Detroit who care, much less anywhere else.

For the purposes of this mock draft, it has to be assumed that the Cowboys won't make any trades in the next 48 hours, which of course is unlikely to be the case with Jerry Jones captaining the Dallas ship through another draft. As of now, the Cowboys have no first-round pick (traded to Detroit in the Roy Williams trade), and although there is talk that they'd like to trade up to get into the first round, there is no guarantee. So who should Dallas go after? Projecting which team will select which player is little more than idle scattershooting after the first 20 picks, but here are some possibilities worth considering.

Round 2 (pick 51): There are some who think Percy Harvin's freefall might carry him all the way down to the middle of the second round. With an alleged drug test failure, and widespread reports about his diva persona in Gainesville, many teams are getting scared off. But the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Harvin is a game-breaker with elite (4.41) speed and game-breaking running ability after the catch. He'll cause some headaches for whatever team drafts him, but he also will score touchdowns and give opposing defensive coordinators sleepless nights. Williams is a fantastic No. 2 receiver, but doesn't have the top-end acceleration to leave defensive backs in his wake and would benefit immensely from having a track star who has been compared to Santana Moss and Steve Smith on the other side of the field.

Round 3 (pick 69): In some ways, Oregon's Patrick Chung resembles former Dallas safety Roy Williams: he's short (just over 5-11) but extremely physical and aggressive, and will take any chance he gets to deliver the knockout tackle. But he also differs from Williams in that he also can cover and make plays on the ball. He's an instinctive player who makes up for adequate-but-not-great speed with great instincts and precise footwork many attribute to his upbringing as a soccer player in his native Jamaica. Should Chung end up in Dallas, he could spend a year or two backing up both Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh, and also contribute on special teams, while being groomed as a future starter at either safety spot.

Round 4 (pick 101): USC's Kyle Moore is a huge (6-5, 272) defensive end who should be strongly considered as an eventual replacement for the departed Chris Canty. When the Cowboys shifted to the 3-4 defense a couple of years ago, the prototype for defensive ends changed, and Dallas started collecting tall, bulky ends like Canty, Marcus Spears and Jason Hatcher, the presumed 2009 starter in Canty's spot. In the 3-4, defensive ends are not the pure pass rushers they are in the 4-3. They need to be able to stuff runners and tie up blockers to create space for elite pass rushers like DeMarcus Ware. Moore has a huge frame, with wide shoulders and long arms, and easily could bulk up to 290 or more with additional physical maturity and an NFL conditioning program.

Round 4 (pick 117): Utah's Sean Smith is arguably the most intriguing athlete in the entire draft. At 6-3.5 and 214, he is easily the biggest cornerback in the draft, but he's not just a big guy playing the position. He also has been timed at 4.53 in the 40 — of the top-rated corners in the draft, only Vontae Davis of Illinois (4.49), Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest (4.52) and Sherrod Martin of Troy (4.52) have run faster. A versatile athlete who also played running back and wide receiver at Utah, Smith has worked out in Dallas in the weeks leading up to the draft with his former position coach, Derrick Odum (now the secondary coach at SMU). Smith loves the spotlight of one-on-one matchups, and has the speed, size and strength to compete with many kinds of receivers. With pro coaching to refine some techniques, he very well could become a younger version of recently-departed Anthony Henry.

Round 5 (pick 156): The departure of Tank Johnson might have been a necessary move, but it left the Cowboys thin in the middle of the defensive line, where an injury to rising star Jay Ratliff would be devastating. Dallas absolutely has to address the issue in the draft, and one player very much worth considering is Clemson's Dorrell Scott (6-3, 312). The middle rounds are where teams start to consider boom-or-bust prospects, and Scott is exactly that. He's very athletic (not many players over 300 pounds can run sub-5.0 40s, but he has been clocked consistently at 4.9) and he has great strength. He's tough to move, and can occupy blockers and uses his hands well to free himself from blockers. But he also plays in short bursts, thanks to limited stamina and a questionable motor. Because he doesn't always get his pads low enough, he can be stood up into an upright position, in which case he can be knocked around and blockers will have a free path to search out linebackers.

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