The NFL Combines continues to be the primary way for teams to weigh and gauge the rookie talent that will be available at the NFL Draft. Given the cap restrictions the Dallas Cowboys face and the injuries that derailed 2013, this year the Draft for the Cowboys could be the most important one they have had in over a decade. Between now and the actual Draft I will probably do 4 to 5 dozen mock drafts to look at who they can possibly add to improve the football team.
It is one of the things that gets me by each off season. With the Super Bowl just ending and my Cowboys not a part of it yet again, I am looking at this past Senior Bowl as the depth for the Draft, and with the Combines coming soon we will learn a lot more about the potential future of this team.
Heads or Tails?
Immediately on the horizon will be the coin flip with the Baltimore Ravens to determine who has pick 16 and who has pick 17. I am greedy and want that coin clip to be our first win of 2014. Then in March when the owners meet yet another bonanza can happen, the awarding of Compensatory Draft picks to teams who lost a lot of Free Agents and signed very few. Dallas can potentially be awarded 4 Compensatory picks, but I think 3 is far more likely, all in the 7th round.
Dallas traded away their 6th round pick in 2013 in exchange for the Kansas City Chiefs 7th round pick this year and Edgar Jones. They also traded Dante Rosario to the Chicago Bears for their 7th round pick this year, giving us no 6th round pick and three 7th round picks. You might ask about the trade with San Diego for Sean Lissemore, but that is for a 7th round pick in 2015, not 2014.
So that gives us 8 Draft picks in 2014 and I am going to speculate 3 Compensatory picks for a grand total of 11. I will also tell you up front that if we trade back in round 1 and add a 2nd or 3rd round pick, I am probably going to be on board more than anyone you might know. It worked to perfection in 2013 with Travis Frederick and Terrance Williams coming for the 18th pick.
In the first round of this Mock Draft I am going to select Aaron Donald, Defensive Tackle from Pittsburgh. The knock on Donald is that he is too short. He is listed at 6’0″ and 288 pounds. I say forget the size and focus on the football. This kid is one hell of a football player. In 2013 this kid racked up tackles for losses and sacks as a DT that most players do not register in a career. He won the Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award, the Bednarik Award, and the Outland Trophy all in one season.
There is a very good reason for that. Despite his small stature he is so fast off the ball, plays with such great leverage and ferocity that he literally disrupts plays more than any other defensive lineman in the game this year. I won’t lie to you, if Ra’Shede Hageman is the player we take, I am going to be thrilled. He is huge. If he played with the drive Donald does he’d be number 1 overall. Put Donald’s focus in Hageman’s body and you’d have an animal who could not be dealt with.
In the 2nd round I am going to add a 2nd DT who some may feel is too short. I will take Will Sutton from Arizona State. Like Donald he is considered too small by some. I assure you no one who faces either of them thinks they are too small. Sutton is 6’1″ and weighs 315. Like Donald he plays the game like someone stole something from him. Dallas needs that kind of energy on the DL. Like Donald, Sutton is a playmaker. Forget size when talking about these two guys and focus on football. It worked out for the Cowboys with Emmitt Smith.
In the 3rd round I am going to stay on the defensive line and take Michael Sam, DE from Missouri. Sam is 6’2″, 265 pounds and along with Kony Ealy just terrorized QBs for the Missouri Tigers. If he is gone I am also interested in Jackson Jeffcoat of Texas, son of Dallas Cowboy Jim Jeffcoat. But of the two I prefer Sam at this point.
You might wonder why I would go DL in three straight rounds unless you are a Cowboys fan and know about the revolving door on DL in 2013. Whether Anthony Spencer or Jason Hatcher come back or not, whether Tyrone Crawford or Ben Bass return to form, I want depth on DL. That is why these 3 players are my day 1 and day 2 picks.