By Matthew Postins
Our last installment on Jan. 15 profiled 11 different NFL Mock Drafts from around the Internet. So it’s time to take another look at some of the players these mocks are projecting at No. 18. Remember – I’ll be debuting my first Mock Draft in March at RattleAndHumSports.com. We’ll do our next edition of Mock Talk after the NFL Scouting Combine.
DE Ezekiel Ansah BYU (selected by Daniel Jeremiah): If you read my Senior Bowl review, you know that Ansah blew up in this game and just destroyed any offensive lineman in his path. Half of his tackles were for a loss. The Cowboys certainly need help up front, and at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, he seems more like a speed rusher than a run-stopping rusher. It wouldn’t hurt to draft DeMarcus Ware’s eventual successor, and Ansah is drawing comparisons to the Giants’ Justin Tuck. He’s one of the fastest risers on the board right now.
DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri (selected by Bucky Brooks): Brooks updated his mock draft on Jan. 25 and changed his Cowboys selection to Richardson from Utah DT Star Lotulelei. If you recall from our last edition, three different mock drafts had the Cowboys taking Richardson on Jan. 15. At 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Richardson could play either tackle position in the Cover 2, but his pass rush skills make him a more likely fit at the three-technique, the position where the Cowboys don’t really have an answer right now. Most services consider Richardson a Top 20 pick right now. The danger for Dallas is that he improves his stock in Indianapolis in February.
Note: NFL.com’s Albert Breer and Josh Norris also have the Cowboys taking Richardson at No. 18, but have not updated their mocks since Jan. 15.
OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (selected by Gil Brandt): Brandt has not updated his mock since Jan. 15, so his pick is still the No. 2-ranked tackle on the board. The 6-foot-7, 305 pound tackle was considered to have had a great week at the Senior Bowl. He’s not going to unseat Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel as the No. 1 overall tackle, but Fisher appears on track to making a case as a Top 10 pick, taking him out of Dallas’ wheelhouse.
S Eric Reid, LSU (selected by NFL.com’s Charles Davis): Davis has not updated his mock since Jan. 15. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Tigers remains the No. 2 free safety on the board. The question is if current Cowboys safety Barry Church makes a full return to health, then how much do the Cowboys really need a safety in the first round?
DT Kawaan Short, Purdue (selected by Rob Rang): Rang had North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in this spot in his Jan. 15 mock draft. I guess Rang got the memo about the Cowboys likely offering Tony Romo an extension. Short makes more sense. He’s a collapse-the-pocket tackle who is tailor-made for the three technique tackle position in the Cover 2. At 6-foot-3, 308 pounds, few interior linemen are going to push him around. He’s shown great ability to shoot gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage, both of which the Cowboys need. His partner, Dane Brugler, has Short at No. 31. Meanwhile, Brugler has the Cowboys taking Richardson. Brugler’s pick of Richardson is a change from his previous selection of Florida State DT Shariff Floyd. So at least Rang and Brugler agree the Cowboys need help at the position.
Football’s Future updated its mock draft on Feb. 3 and had the Cowboys selecting Richardson. Two weeks ago Football’s Future had the Cowboys taking Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
Two weeks ago Walter Football had the Cowboys taking LSU DE Sam Montgomery. In its new updated mock the selection is Richardson.
Note: Walter Football is one of the few sites dipping its toes into the later rounds of the draft. In the second round it projects the Cowboys will take Reid. In the third round it projects the Cowboys will take Tennessee QB Tyler Bray. In the fourth round it projects the Cowboys will take Nevada RB Stefphon Jefferson. I find it interesting that nowhere in the four-round mock is the offensive line addressed.
This is an interesting site that uses computer modeling, team correspondents and other factors to put together a seven-round mock draft. Draftek spat out a new name:
DE Datone Jones, UCLA: At 6-foot-4, 280 pounds, Jones can play inside or outside. He’s considered above-average when it comes to speed and tackling ability. He also had a great week at the Senior Bowl, where he won some one-on-one battles with another name on this list, Fisher. Plus, Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin got a long look at Jones for three years out in Los Angeles. Jones’ versatility and ability to crash the line of scrimmage makes him an intriguing possibility.
DE Shariff Floyd, Florida: AOL/Sporting News updated its mock draft on Friday and installed Floyd as the first-round pick for the Cowboys. As mentioned in our first mock talk on Jan. 15, Floyd can play all four positions across the defensive line.
Thoughts? No one disagrees that the Cowboys have to address their dearth of talent on the offensive and defensive lines. What’s interesting is that just one mock draft has the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman in the first round. The good news for Dallas is that the defensive tackle position is incredibly deep this year and the offensive line prospects, overall, are quite good. So Dallas could go either way at No. 18 and find a good prospect. I think, with the hiring of Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, that draftniks are putting an emphasis on the defensive line, since the Cowboys need help to transition to the Cover 2. What Dallas does in free agency may change those scenarios.