FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Leading up to Thursday’s NFL Draft, we’re looking at several different ways the Cowboys might approach it.
In Cowboys Mock Draft 3.0, we give you an idea how the full 7-round Cowboys draft might look like if they elect to draft a safety in the 1st round.
1st Round – #14 – MARK BARRON – S – Alabama
The consensus top safety in the draft, Barron (6-1, 213) was a three-year starter on Alabama’s talent-laden defense…coming off a double hernia surgery following the national championship game, ran a 4.54 forty with a 1.63 10-yard split at his Pro Day late last month…also posted a 34.5 vertical and 10-2 broad jump…played in the box as a top notch run supporter a lot of the time but has shown ball skills as well…is said to be a savvy leader…plays with a confident presence on the field but doesn’t display that in interviews…quiet type who apparently “does his talking” on the field…was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of hindering prosecution after an early morning one car accident in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
2nd Round – #45 – KEVIN ZEITLER – OG – Wisconsin
Cowboys will feel fortunate if Zeitler is available when they pick at #45…widely considered to be one of the top 3 or 4 guards in this draft…6-4, 314…has the bulk the Cowboys are looking for on the interior of their offensive line…comes from a program that has produced a wealth of quality o-linemen who are NFL-ready when they graduate…has similar measurable as the consensus top guard in the draft, Stanford’s David DeCastro.
3rd Round – #81 – ALAMEDA TA’AMU – NT – Washington
In the middle of the 3rd round, you’re reaching the end of the line as far as 2nd tier defensive linemen go, but if the Cowboys were indeed interested in Memphis’ massive nose tackle Dontari Poe, then why not this 6-2 ½, 348 pounder…some would say Ta’amu is a better prospect than Poe…a prototype 3-4 nose tackle, something the Cowboys have not had since converting to this defense 8 years ago…drafting Ta’amu would likely mean Jay Ratliff would shift out to DE in the base 3-4.
4th Round – #113 – T. Y. HILTON – WR – Fla International
A positively dynamic receiving and return threat who will likely be long gone by this spot in the draft but with a deep WR class, if he is available at 113, Cowboys would jump on it…one of my favorite players in this draft…electrifying run after the catch ability…reminds of Devin Hester and Titus Young, who was a 2nd round pick of the Lions last year…very natural pass catching ability who has 4.3 speed…have no idea why some “draft gurus” rank Hilton as a 5th or 6th round pick…college grad…5-10, 183…pint sized package of dynamite.
4th Round – #135 – JOSH NORMAN – CB – Coastal Carolina
Another small school player who I will be surprised lasts until the 4th round…did not time well at the combine (4.66 forty) but improved to 4.57 at his Pro Day…nonetheless, at 6-0, 197, he shows plenty of athleticism, speed, and ball skills on film that makes you think a team could pull the trigger on him in the late 2nd or early 3rd round…competitive, smart, long arms, terrific ball skills…8 interceptions in 2009 but only 3 picks the last two years…I suspect teams didn’t throw at him often…had 6 interceptions in the span of 3 workouts at the East-West Shrine Game…has the potential to eventually become an NFL starter…tall CBs with this kind of playmaking ability are hard to come by, regardless of the level of competition.
5th Round – #152 – JAMES HANNA – TE – Oklahoma
Hanna blew up the combine and promptly started rising up draft boards in what is a very weak tight end class…anyone who watched him make the game winning 80-yard TD catch and run to beat Oklahoma State knew he had very good speed for a 6-4, 252 pound tight end…ran a 4.45 forty with a 1.55 split at combine…36.5 vertical…4.11 20-yard shuttle…terrific 6.76 cone drill at 252 pounds…on the other hand, dropped a couple of balls during receiving drills at combine which might explain why OU didn’t throw him the ball much…52 career receptions…did score 7 TDs on 18 receptions in 2010…Flower Mound HS product who doesn’t figure to ever be a starting TE but could have a nice career as a hard-working, reliable 2nd or 3rd TE.
6th Round – #186 – CHRIS GREENWOOD – CB – Albion
Flashes rare athleticism as a nearly 6-2, 193 pound cornerback …4.34 speed…astounding 43 vertical and 11-2 broad jump…from a tiny school so he is a project, but this kind of size, speed, and explosion is the envy of secondary coaches around the league.
7th Round – #222 – BRAYLON BROUGHTON – OLB – TCU
Dallas Hillcrest HS product who, at 6-4, 257, is prototype size to make the conversion from a hand on the ground 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB…also has the speed you’re looking for…4.55 (1.61)…36 vertical…7.19 cone…26 bench reps…those are top half of the draft type measurable but didn’t have the kind of on-field production that would vault him up draft boards…this is the price you pay when you elect to draft a safety in the 1st round and an offensive lineman in the 2nd round…you sacrifice other need positions and wind up taking a nose tackle in the 3rd round and a project edge rusher in the 7th round.
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