By Matthew Postins
We’re well into the Pro Day portion of the talent evaluation period. And now that free agency has started, the ability to narrow down team needs and draft possibilities becomes more pronounced.
Don’t forget – my Mock Draft 2.0 is up at RattleandHumSports.com.
So who will the Cowboys take at No. 18, according to everyone else? Let’s find out.
So, here we go.
Just about all of the NFL.com Mock Drafters have updated their drafts since last we met. And they’re all over the place:
Bucky Brooks: S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: He would be a nice replacement for the released Gerald Sensabaugh and could start immediately, much like Morris Claiborne did a year ago.
Josh Norris: OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina: The Cowboys need some help inside to improve the running game. In some circles Cooper is the No. 1 guard in this draft. He could unseat Nate Livings or Mackenzy Bernadeau quickly. Note: Gil Brandt also has the Cowboys taking Cooper.
Charles Davis: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama: If Doug Free is a June 1 designated roster cut for Dallas, this could make sense. I still question whether Fluker’s 355-pound frame is too big in the long run.
Daniel Jeremiah: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri: He’s been the most popular pick at No. 18 since I started tracking mock drafts in January. He could become Jay Ratliff’s heir apparent at under tackle in the new 4-3.
Note: While NFL.com has about 10 different experts offering mock drafts, only five are doing full first-round mocks.
CBSSports.com has half a dozen experts offering mock drafts and they’ve updated since our last meeting.
Rob Rang: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah: The question here is Lotulelei’s health, which is still under scrutiny after he was diagnosed with a heart condition at the Scouting Combine. If he gets a clean bill of health, I’m convinced he won’t fall this far.
Dane Brugler: Cooper: Like I said, he’s a popular pick in the middle of the first round and most see him as a starter immediately. I have him being selected before Dallas in my mock.
Clark Judge: Fluker: It’s worth noting that Judge picked Fluker in his first mock draft.
Pete Prisco: DT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State: Hankins isn’t in my first-round mock, period. But the Cowboys do need help inside and Hankins had a productive career at Ohio State. It’s worth noting that Prisco believes Hankins will be the fourth interior defensive lineman taken in this draft.
Pat Kirwan: DT Kawaan Short, Purdue: Kirwan, a former NFL personnel guy, takes Short here after selecting Chance Warmack the last time I checked in. I like Short. To me, he projects as one of the quickest defensive tackles in this draft and that’s something the Cowboys don’t have much of right now up front.
Will Brinson: Richardson: Another holdover from his previous mock draft.
Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner; TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner, edited by Doug Farrar, has not updated since its post-combine mock draft. I still think this selection is way out in left field.
Walter Football: Vaccaro: Walter Football had the Cowboys taking Vaccaro in their post-combine mock and haven’t changed their minds.
Note: Walter Football is going five rounds deep in their mock. This is who they have the Cowboys taking after the first round: LSU DT Bennie Logan (second round, No. 47 overall), Alabama C Barrett Jones (third round, No. 80 overall), Clemson RB Andre Ellington (fourth round, No. 111 overall) and TCU WR Josh Boyce (fifth round, No. 144 overall).
I have to say, if the Cowboys end up falling into Jones, Ellington and Boyce at those slots they should be absolutely thrilled. But Jones won’t drop nearly that far.
This is an interesting site that uses computer modeling, team correspondents and other factors to put together a seven-round mock draft:
DraftTec.com: Cooper: Hankins was the computer’s selection when I last checked in.
Here’s how DraftTek sees the rest of the Cowboys’ draft: Georgia DT Jonathan Jenkins (second round, No. 47 overall), Texas A&M OLB Sean Porter (third round, No. 80 overall), Arkansas Pine-Bluff OT Terron Armstead (fourth round, No. 111 overall), South Carolina DE Devin Taylor (fifth round, No. 144 overall), and Michigan State RB Le’veon Bell (sixth round, No. 175 overall).
This is a much better post-first round mock than the computer spit out last time. Armstead is considered a project, but has great raw tools. Bell is a nice value in the sixth round.
Vinnie Iyer: Cooper.
Thoughts? There is less consensus on the player than there was a couple of weeks ago, but the positions are locked in – offensive line, defensive line and safety. If the draft were today, and if these mocks were right, Cooper would be on his way to Dallas. But there is still plenty of time to change one’s mind. We’ll check in again at the end of March and see where everyone else is at.