Okay, as the NFL Scouting Combine on-field workouts get underway today in Indianapolis, here is my first 2013 Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft:
1ST Round – #18: D.J. FLUKER – OT – Alabama (6-5,339) – there are plenty of quality offensive linemen who should be taken before the Cowboys pick. Do the Cowboys have a real need for a right tackle? They haven’t let on. But in reviewing coaching film from last year, I think they do. Fluker is a massive human being (size 22 shoes!), and is a day one starter at right tackle. Think Flozell Adams at right tackle. Unlike Flozell, Fluker is also an emotional leader. Check out early 3rd quarter in SEC Championship game vs. Georgia. He obliterates people in the run game, and though he lacks lateral quickness, he makes up for it with nearly 37 inch arms. No team in the league will have bookend tackles with longer arms than the Cowboys with Fluker and Tyron Smith.
2nd Round – #47: BARRETT JONES – C – Alabama (6-4, 305) – perhaps the most decorated offensive linemen in college football history. He started two years at right guard, won the Outland as a left tackle his junior year, won the Rimington as a center his senior year, and won the Academic Heisman (Campbell Trophy). He graduated in 3 years and earned a Master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA while playing three different positions on three national championship teams. A great communicator, this is the guy you want leading your offensive line. Position flexibility gives you many options. The big negative is the Lisfranc foot injury which he is currently rehabbing. Also, doesn’t possess ideal athleticism or play with great power. However, I believe he more than makes up for it with his intangibles. Cowboys will be fortunate he is available in the 2nd round, in my opinion, though some project he could last to 3rd round.
3rd Round – #80: COBI HAMILTON – WR – Arkansas (6-3, 212) – I believe wide receiver is a real need for the Cowboys, especially looking at the contract landscape the next couple of years with two high dollar veteran wideouts on your roster in Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Love Hamilton’s playmaking ability, confidence and makeup. He can contribute immediately as a 3rd receiver, a much needed big outside receiver opposite Dez Bryant with Miles Austin in the slot. Hamilton’s presence, and payroll issues, would likely make Austin a salary cap casualty in a year or two. I also love smaller receivers Tavon Austin (1st round), Quinton Patton (2nd round), and Stedman Bailey (2nd/3rd round) but believe they will be gone by the time the Cowboys pick in the 3rd. Hamilton could be a 2nd rounder too.
4th Round: REX BURKHEAD – RB – Nebraska (5-11, 210) – love everything about him. The Plano product, amazingly, is being projected as a late round pick or undrafted free agent by many. He had knee injury issues (not major) his senior year but showed he’s back to full health by rushing for 140 yards and catching a TD pass in bowl game against a vaunted Georgia defense that features perhaps eight 1st and 2nd day picks in this draft. Burkhead can be used as a between the tackles runner or as a 3rd down back with terrific receiving ability. He’s much like Sean Lee in the character, smarts, and work ethic departments. He’s a core player for years to come. If you think a team (New England?) might take him in the 3rd round, then beat them to the punch and take him there.
5th Round: JAKE KNOTT – LB – Iowa State (6-2, 240) – see Burkhead. Suffered a season ending shoulder injury that required surgery his senior year, which would be the only reason he drops to the 5th round. He’s a top playmaker, leader, tough, 2-time captain with 8 career interceptions. He would team with Sean Lee and Bruce Carter to form a dynamite linebacking trio.
6th Round: DAMION SQUARE – DE – Alabama (6-3, 286) – I’m surprised this Houston native (Yates HS) is being projected as a late round pick. He made 33 starts for Alabama with 18 tackles for loss. A captain his senior year, he was voted “most inspiring player” on Alabama’s 2012 national title team. Perfect size to be a base 4-3 defensive end or could slide inside to a 3-technique. Square should step in his rookie year and be a rotation player in the defensive line.
So, in a nutshell, when in doubt, pick an Alabama player!
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