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Mock-It-Yourself: The Cowboys 2.0

Thanks to one of the writers at dallascowboys.com, I found a nifty site that allows you to select an NFL team and do a mock draft for them.

http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/

This is the second mock draft I've blogging about. The first one was done a few weeks ago, which is an eternity in pre-draft coverage, so let's just pretend it never happened.

The basic site doesn't allow you to trade picks, which is a problem for the 'Boys since they likely won't have any obvious targets at 16 and have about 87 seventh round picks at the moment, but I figure since I have to know at least as much as Jerry Jones about football (low bar to clear, but still), I selected the OurLads big board, gave it a whirl and came up with the following:

Round 1 (16): Ryan Shazier, OLB, An Ohio State University
At this point I think there's only about a 20% chance, at best, the Cowboys actually pick at 16. Aaron Donald would be ideal for them, but he'd be ideal for too many teams picking just ahead of the Cowboys, like the Bears or Giants, to last this long. Ditto for Anthony Barr, who I'm not even convinced would entirely work as a 4-3 DE (what Dallas needs) rather than a 3-4 OLB, but the 'Boys do need his pass rush. Either they trade up to nab one of those two, or they'll try to trade down as they did last year and pick up an extra selection in a later round. It worked in 2013 - while the fanbase lamented letting a "future star" like Sharrif Floyd slip through their fingers, the trade down netted them Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams. If they do stay at 16 though, more and more I'm liking Shazier as the pick instead of a safety, 1-technique DT or a lesser O-lineman (he's also my pick if they trade down into the early 20s, by the way). Bruce Carter was a huge flop at weakside LB last year, and Shazier would give them a whirling dervish of a playmaker from that spot, and a guy who can genuinely take some pressure off Sean Lee. Rod Marinelli's Tampa 2 defense needs a Warren Sapp, sure, but it also needs a Derrick Brooks. Shazier can be their Brooks.

Round 2 (47): Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
The next few picks look off to me, as they went about a round lower in the mock than I expect them to in real life, but this is a very deep draft and guys will slide. Even if it's not these specific guys, there will be great values available in rounds two through four. At any rate, Ealy is still raw but seems like he was born to be a fearsome pass rusher as a 4-3 DE. This would be a steal for the Cowboys. (Incidentally, the other guy who matches that description is Kareem Martin out of UNC, who went one pick earlier to the Steelers in this mock.)

Round 3 (78): Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
The Cowboys don't need another wide receiver per se, but when you're paying your aging QB $100 million it doesn't hurt to give him as many weapons as possible. Latimer has been shooting up draft boards after posting 40 times in the mid-4.4s at his pro day and at 6-foot-2, 215 lbs, he fits the prototype of what Dallas looks for in a big, physical WR. He won't be here at 78, but hey, it's fun to dream.

Round 4 (119): Terrance West, RB, Towson
Another non-need pick, perhaps, but take a look at the Cowboys' depth chart at RB. Injury-prone DeMarco Murray at the top, injury-prone and unproven Lance Dunbar second, slow-as-molasses Joseph Randle third. This club badly needs a player capable of really stepping in for Murray if/when he goes down again and even pushing Murray out the door entirely, and West can be that guy. He might not have a long career given his heavy usage in college, but then again he never got hurt in college either, and he's got the speed, moves, and toughness to make his mark in the NFL. Bonus: he's built like a brawnier Emmitt Smith. Hey, you never know.

Round 5 (158): Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill
He's a project, but what a project. Coming down from Canada, he's built like some Quebecois sculptor was commissioned to create the ideal offensive lineman out of marble, and he has the nastiness to not back down from NFL defenders while his skill set catches up to his measurables. With Doug Free still on the roster for one more year, Duvernay-Tardif will get some apprenticeship time under his belt before he steps in at right tackle.

Round 7 (229): Dezman Southward, S, Wisconsin
I passed up taking a safety earlier since the Cowboys used a third-round pick on J.J. Wilcox last year and will probably want to see what he can do, but Southward ran his 40 in the low 4.4 range at the Badgers' pro day and has the size and physicality to at least make an impression on special teams while he learns the ropes on defense. Again, he'll probably go earlier that this in real life, but if he falls into the late rounds he'd be a good target for Dallas.

Round 7 (231): Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas
Jerreh loves his local boys, so I draft one to keep him happy. Byndom's not physical enough to be much more than a nickel corner, but he's got some quicks.

Round 7 (238): Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State
He's got the physical tools to be a solid blocker and as a former basketball player he should have the vertical skills to be effective in the red zone. I stand by thinking Gavin Escobar will be a huge bust, neither useful as a blocker nor reliable in the passing game, and nabbing Jensen will give them a bit of insurance behind Jason Witten.

Round 7 (248): Kerry Hyder, DT/DE, Texas Tech
Versatile mucker to provide some D-line depth, which the Cowboys still have a crying need for, and another Texas boy.

Round 7 (251): Aaron Lynch, DE, South Florida
A certified underachiever for Marinelli to work with. Lynch looks the part of a 4-3 DE, and if he doesn't get with the program, hey, he's only a seventh rounder.

Round 7 (254): Kirby Van Der Kamp, P, Iowa State
Chris Jones is not exactly a Pro Bowl punter, and Van Der Kamp hasn't yet proven he ISN'T a pro Bowl punter, so what the heck. Picks like this are what happens when you have too many selections in the last round.

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