NFL News

The Missing Pieces; Cowboys Seven-Round Mock Draft

With the NFL draft inching closer and closer, (first round kicks off April 27) I have decided to build off of my previous article about the needs of the Dallas Cowboys heading into the draft. This time around I am going to be providing two options for each of the Cowboys seven draft picks and highlights if available.

First round: 28th overall

Option 1- Sidney Jones IV, cornerback, Washington

Hear me out here for a minute before you call me crazy. I know Jones is coming off of a torn ACL he suffered at his pro day but he is a legit first round talent. In his last season at Washington, he registered 39 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles according to sports-reference.com. He also has eight career interceptions and six career forced fumbles. Jones has a nice frame at 6’0 181lbs that he can still fill out and is a 4.49 guy in the 40-yard dash. He played in the pass happy PAC 12 and thrived. He also played in every game of his career and started all but one. The Cowboys took a chance on Jaylon Smith last year who like Jones suffered a torn ACL. They might take another chance here. Sidney Jones IV highlights

Option 2- Jabrill Peppers, strong safety, Michigan

Peppers is a versatile talent evident by playing on both sides of the ball. On defense alone he played three different positions; cornerback, safety, and linebacker. He racked up 119 career tackles, 18.5 for loss, one interception and 11 pass deflections according to sports-reference.com. The biggest knock on Peppers is his size. At 6’0 205lbs he is too small to play linebacker and has limited experience in coverage. With the Cowboys needing help at safety, cornerback and linebacker Peppers would be a solid pick. He’s an aggressive player and with his frame, football IQ, and speed (4.52 in the 40) he can play a multitude of positions and would be a great value at 28. Jabrill Peppers 2016 season Highlights

Second round: 60th overall

Option 1- Carlos Watkins, defensive tackle, Clemson

Watkins was a huge part of why Clemson brought home the national championship this past season. At 6’3 305lbs Watkins can certainly fill a need at defensive tackle and would pair nicely with Malik Collins. As a fifth-year senior Watkins notched 50 total tackles, 12.5 for loss and a very impressive 10.5 sacks according to sports-reference.com. He is also versatile enough to thrive in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defense due to his blend of size and strength. This would be a great pick up for the Cowboys as he would be a great value this late in the second round. Carlos Watkins highlights

Option 2- T.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin

Watt is the younger brother of Houston Texans all-pro defensive end J.J. Watt. Registered 63 total tackles, 15.5 for loss, 11.5 sacks, one interception which he returned 17 yards for a touchdown, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles with one recovery according to sports-reference.com. Has great instincts and football IQ making the switch to defense in 2015 and dominating like he did last season, his second at the position. At 6’3 243lbs he is a tweener, not big enough to play defensive end on a consistent basis and his 4.76 40 time is a concern for a linebacker. Watt is still learning the position but knows how to get to the quarterback something the Cowboys desperately need. A Watt- Demarcus Lawrence Combo combo is a scary thought. T.J. Watt Highlights

Third round: 92 overall

Option 1- Vincent Taylor, defensive tackle, Oklahoma State

I know another tackle but the Cowboys are in desperate need of depth and playmaking there. Besides Collins, no tackle did anything of note consistently. Taylor can change that. What jumps off the page besides his impressive 6’2 310lbs frame is that he led the nation in blocked kicks with four helping him earn all-Big 12 first team. He racked up 51 total tackles, 13 for loss, 7.5 sacks, one pass deflection, two forced fumbles and one recovery last season according to sports-reference.com despite facing constant double-teams. Has excellent upper body strength and is a typical bull rusher. Has trouble changing directions quickly making him a liability defending cutback lanes. Still, the Cowboys could use his playmaking abilities on both defense and special teams. Would be a very solid pick here.

Option 2- Dan Skipper, offensive tackle, Arkansas

Skipper is a massive man at 6’9 317lbs. Played in a run-heavy pro-style offense at Arkansas. Versatile as he started eight games at guard before moving to tackle for his next 51 games. Is a technically sound player with a mean streak which is a plus. Durable as well. Does struggle against a speed rush and has questionable recovery speed but so did Doug Free. Would be a great pick here to add depth to a line that took some hits in that department. Dan Skipper highlights

Fourth Round: 133rd overall

Option 1- Josh Harvey-Clemons, strong safety, Louisville

Harvey-Clemons possesses tremendous size at 6’4 228lbs that scouts drool over. Has the athleticism to play multiple positions as he covered slots and played some stand-up linebacker, a need for the Cowboys, during his career. Spent two years at Louisville after transferring from Georgia where he was kicked off the team after two suspensions. Stayed clean at Louisville. Racked up 148 career tackles, five for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, five pass deflections and one forced fumble in his two years at Louisville according to sports-reference.com. Has surprising quickness and speed (4.59 in the 40) for somebody his size. Has narrow hips and has trouble against shorter slot receivers. Is aggressive to a fault sometimes leaving him vulnerable in play-action situations. Could be the long-term answer for the Cowboys at strong safety were J.J. Wilcox lack of speed hurts him and the team. While off the field issues might scare some teams off, the Cowboys have looked past those in the past and might do the same here. The former five-star recruit would be a solid pick here. Josh Harvey-Clemons highlights

Option 2- David Sharpe, guard, Florida

Another high-quality depth pick here. Could help fill the void left by Ronald Leary and the long-term answer with Jonathan Cooper only in town for one year. Is a versatile player having played left tackle for 26 games? Projects as a guard to his sheer size as he is 6’5 357lbs and has trouble against a speed rushers. Quick for his size and has a great upper body with long arms. Has problems technique wise but can be fixed with coaching. Imagine seeing Sharpe and Skipper on the same sideline together. Cowboys already have one Florida Gator on the line in Chaz Green so why not add another? David Sharpe highlights

Sixth round: 211th overall

Option 1- Ricky Seals-Jones, wide receiver, Texas A&M

Seals-Jones is an intriguing prospect and could be a steal this late in the draft. Was a five-star mega-recruit who never lived up to the hype finishing his career with 123 catches for 1442 yards and 10 touchdowns according to sports-reference.com. Has great size at 6’5 243lbs and could probably develop into a tight end. Is a physical receiver which is something the Cowboy don’t have outside of Dez Bryant. His 4.69 he ran in the 40 at the combine along with inconsistent play has hurt his stock. Solid blocker. Is a bit of a project but might be worth a pick here. They did take Rico Gathers, a power forward on Baylor’s basketball team, in the sixth round last year. Ricky Seals-Jones highlights

Option 2- Ahkello Witherspoon, cornerback, Colorado

Witherspoon is a long, rangy corner at 6’2 195lbs. Only started one full season at Colorado but what a season it was as he led the nation and tied a school record with 22, yes TWENTY-TWO, pass deflections. Is a physical corner that smothers receivers. Have to wonder why he only started one full season in his four-year career for an average team. More than likely a press corner and only a press corner. Only managed 23 tackles and one interception last season according to sports-reference.com. Is an intriguing prospect and so was Anthony Brown last year. Ahkello Witherspoon highlights

Seventh round: 228 overall (from Buffalo Bills)

Option 1- Jalen Robinette, wide receiver, Air Force

Robinette is another physical, big-bodied receiver at 6’3 220lbs who the Cowboys could use. Has good leaping ability and able to pull down jump balls. Has a quick release and gets good separation. Hauled in 35 catches for 959 yards and six touchdowns for an average of 27.4 yards a catch according to sports-reference.com. Raw as a route runner due to playing in an option offense but that can be overcome as Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas has proven. Can be slow to find the ball at times and has less than ideal speed as his 4.62 40 time indicates. Could be a practice squad player for a few years before seeing the field but worth a look this late in the draft. Jalen Robinette highlights

Option 2- Ben Boulware, weakside linebacker, Clemson

Boulware was the heart and soul of Clemson’s national championship defense. Undersized at 6’0 236lbs but plays bigger. Registered 116 total tackles, 11.5 for loss, four sacks, one interception, two pass deflections, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery according to sports-reference.com. Average athlete (4.84 in the 40) but has a great feel for the game and possesses a non-stop motor. Great blitzer and is a true leader. Has trouble separating from blockers due to size and aggressive playing style cause him to miss too many tackles as he led Clemson in that category the past two seasons. Has all the makings of a core special teamer with a chance to make a name for himself in a wide open linebacker core. Ben Boulware highlights

Seventh round: 246 overall

Option 1- Victor Salako, offensive tackle, Oklahoma State

Salako possesses NFL size at 6’5 327lbs and is a strong run blocker with a well-built frame. Probably a better fit at guard as being a tackle at OSU exposed his lack of initial quickness and agility. Was a two-year starter at UAB before the program folded (has since returned) before transferring to OSU. Better fit in a pro-style offense. Would add much-needed depth to a line lacking in that department. Victor Salako highlights

Option 2- (have a twofer here) Ryan Glasgow, defensive tackle, Michigan

Glasgow is a feel good story having gone from a walk-on to leader of a storied program. Has solid size at 6’3 299lbs and quick for an interior linemen. Is an old-school physical linemen. Registered 39 total tackles, 8.5 for loss, three sacks, one pass deflection and one forced fumble last season according to sports-reference.com. Struggles as a pash rusher and to change direction quickly. Hard worker who is best suited to a two-down role. Has a shot to make the roster due to effort and leadership skills. Ryan Glasgow highlights (#96)

Fish Smithson, free safety, Kansas

Good instincts. Not afraid to come up in run support. His size, however, at 5’11 190lbs is concerning for his type of play. Tackling machine who led the nation in solo tackles per game in 2015 with 7.9. Led Kansas in tackles last season registering 93, 2.5 for loss, four interceptions and seven pass deflections according to nfl.com. Athletic limitations hurt him in coverage and also has some tackling problems not wrapping up all the time. Would be a great value here as he has the potential to play both safety spots if he can add size to his frame. Special teams player from day one. Fish Smithson highlights

I focused heavily on defense and the offensive line as I feel those are the weakest areas on the team. Adding two or three offensive linemen can help secure long-term depth and adding overall defensive talent is a much. Hopefully, come April 27 one or more of these players can call themselves Dallas Cowboys.

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