The Dallas Cowboys started out free agency with a whimper, but have turned the corner with a few thrifty picks and the big signing of Henry Melton from the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys have a plan in place and have been executing it with precision. They are likely done signing any top tier, big ticket names, but we may see another addition here and there. For the most part, we are heading full steam ahead towards the NFL Draft, which is roughly just 45 days away.
There’s no doubt that snagging Henry Melton was a huge boon in shaping our defensive line, but he’s just a start. Rod Marinelli needs more rushmen and if wants to field a “fearsome foursome” on any given down, then this year’s draft will be a statement draft. I think it’ll be clear what the Cowboys will be doing. I see us going heavy on defense and double-dipping in some areas defensively as well.
So, let’s take a look at my 7-round mock 3.0:
Let’s talk about my selections.
1st round (#16): Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
I think a lot of mocks may be shifting away from Donald here, but if he’s the highest rated player on the Cowboys board, then they should go ahead and take him. Not only would Donald provide us with some insurance in case Melton isn’t at 100% at the start of the season, but he would also give us some serious rotational pressure up the middle. Marinelli demands constant pressure from his front four, and he would solidify it by adding Donald here. Thought about going Zack Martin as he was still available, but went with defense. It needs to be ferocious.
2nd round (#47): Morgan Moses, OT, Virgina
I’m not so sure Moses will fall out the bottom of the 1st round or early 2nd round, but he was still available in my mock draft, so this was a no brainer. I’ve said in previous posts that the Cowboys need to come away with franchise replacements for DeMarcus Ware and Doug Free. With Moses, he would become the heir apparent at right tackle and will be the starting RT in year 2.
3rd round (#78): Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Last mock draft I took Jeffcoat in the 2nd round, but he was still on the board in the 3rd round, and will more quality defensive lineman needed, picking Jeffcoat was a steal. Jeffcoat is an intriguing prospect for me. I’ve see a few of Texas’ games and he was an impact player, but not in every game. I think with the right coaching Jeffcoat can be what his father was and perhaps better. Marinelli and Lett can get the most out of Jeffcoat. He has the bloodline, and has shown he can be menacing on defense. With questions around Ware’s health and Spencer likely gone, its time to get some legit players at defensive end. Jeffcoat actually had a very nice Combine, exhibiting speed, and explosiveness.
4th round (#115): Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
This is exactly the path I would like to see the Cowboys go. Rebuild this defense and double-dip, make our divisional opponents fear our defense with a barrage of fresh pass rushers. Snagging Kareem Martin in the 4th round would be incredible. There’s no doubt the Cowboys plan on bolstering the defense, and with Martin you get a blue chip player who will contribute out the gate. The Cowboys have had some draft success from North Carolina, so they know what they will be getting with Martin. Martin has a solid frame and prototypical build with long arms. Coupled with his explosiveness off the line, this is a player Marinelli could turn into a Pro Bowler.
5th round (#146): DeVonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
The Cowboys will likely draft a running back somewhere in this draft, especially with Murray’s inability to stay healthy and the Cowboys won’t be giving him a second contract. That being said adding Freeman here in the 5th round will give us a change of pace back, and someone the Cowboys can lean on for the future at RB. We have several backs in the stable, but nothing special, no one that scares defenses. Freeman is shifty, and powerful. Taking him here gives our running by committee some added legitimacy.
7th round (#206): Ryan Groy, OG, Wisconsin
I usually see 7th rounders as guys the Cowboys will take a flyer on to see how they compete in training camp, and sometimes we hit on some late rounders. Taking Groy here could give us a potential back up at guard. Frederick played with Groy and lining up next to his teammate could help him be a contributor on the offensive line for Dallas. Either way, the Cowboys will likely take an offensive lineman to shore up the guard or tackle positions.
7th round (#208): Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
I’ve seen average play well in big games. Being a fan of Notre Dame, I’ve seen Savage play some great football against the Irish, and he’s probably being overshadowed by a lot of the bigger QB names out there, but this guy can play, and could potentially be a huge steal for someone. He doesn’t get rattled in the pocket and he’ll be a leader. Good player, and with him still on the board, I took the pick here. Yes, I know we have Weeden, but Weeden is not guaranteed a roster spot, his minimal contract would say he’s fully expendable. He’s there in case Orton retires or in case someone wants to trade for Orton. We’ll have a backup in place, but we could use another QB back there.
7th round (#215): Kerry Hyder, DT, Texas Tech
The Cowboys will be loading up on defensive line talent and Hyder would be a nice fit for the Cowboys. He’s a big body, but still has explosiveness to get in the backfield.
Compensatory Picks should be announced in the coming days and the Cowboys are projected to get (3) 7th rounders due to last years free agent departures of Mike Jenkins, Victor Butler, and Kenyon Coleman.