IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) — I’ve spent three months filling up my 2014 Big Green NFL Draft Scouting Notebook, and now less than two weeks before Draft Day, it’s time to empty it.
This is the first of three Cowboys 7-round mock drafts that will be presented over the next two weeks leading up to Thursday, May 8 — the first day of the draft.
Here it is, your 2014 Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft 1.0:
(Selections based on prospect rankings listed on April 25 at NFLDraftScout.com. Click on player’s name for profile.)
1st Round – #16:
ODELL BECKHAM JR., WR, LSU
Great playmaker…in a deep wide receiver class, I’ve got Beckham ranked right behind Sammy Watkins, #2 on the list…5-11, 198 pounder with 4.43 speed (4.31 handheld) with a 1.50 10-yard split, 38.5 vertical, and a blazing 3.94 shuttle and 6.69 cone drill…averaged 19.5 yards a catch, with 59 receptions and 8 TDs playing alongside another top WR prospect Jarvis Landry in LSU’s run based offense…great hands…great first step quickness to separate from defenders…tremendous makeup…father was an LSU running back and mother was an All American track star…yeah, yeah, yeah, Dallas needs defensive players, but Cowboys also have done nothing to improve the offense this offseason and need to find a replacement for Miles Austin…Beckham is a rich man’s version of Austin…a dynamic kick returner too…he’s even fun to watch when he one hands kickoffs in the back of the end zone.
2nd Round – #47:
TELVIN SMITH, LB, FLORIDA STATE
One of my favorite players in this draft…with Bruce Carter going into his contract year and underperforming last year as a former 2nd round draft pick, Telvin Smith would be the heir apparent to the important weakside LB position in Rod Marinelli’s defense…has great speed (hand timed 4.41 at combine) but plays even faster than that when he diagnoses a play…great read and react, run and chase LB who is surprisingly stout as a run defender despite his size…has good height (6-3) so should be able to add about 10 pounds to his 218 pound frame…plays with great passion and emotion…a natural leader…I’ll be writing more about him in the coming days.
3rd Round – #78:
JACKSON JEFFCOAT, DE, TEXAS
Son of former Cowboys DE Jim Jeffcoat…6-3, 253 pounder who ran a 4.63 forty with a 1.60 10 yard split at the combine…also posted some of the top numbers for edge rushers with a 36 vertical, 4.18 shuttle, and 6.97 cone…those numbers translate to being higher than a 3rd round draft pick, as do his college stats…in fact, his 60 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks in four years at Texas are pretty much exactly what Demarcus Ware posted in four years at Troy (58 tackles for loss/27.5 sacks)…(read more about Jeffcoat here)
4th Round – #119:
WILL CLARKE, DE, WEST VIRGINIA
Athletic 6-6, 271 pounder flashed an impressive 1.63 10- yard split at the combine…3 year starter who really emerged as a senior with 17 tackles for loss and 6 sacks…a hard worker, he is the only West Virginia player ever honored three times as an Iron Mountaineer for his work in the weight room….”right kind of guy” who would fit in nicely as a strong side DE and inside rusher on passing downs.
5th Round – #158:
TRAI TURNER, OG, LSU
Think Tyron Smith…only 20 years old, like Smith was as a rookie…became a full-time starter midway through the 2012 season and was impressive against top competition in the SEC…6-3, 310 pounder with long arms (34 inches)…moves well as evidenced by a 4.93 forty with a 1.72 10-yard split.
7th Round – #229:
BROCK JENSEN, QB, NORTH DAKOTA STATE
No one’s talking about this prospect, but maybe this 4-year starter and 3-time national champion QB just might surprise in the NFL…has decent size (6-3, 223) and athleticism, running for 1240 yards and 35 TDs in his career…most impressive was his improvement as a passer, completing 66 percent with 34 TDs and just 7 INTs as a senior…started a whopping 52 games in his career.
7th Round – #231:
TREY MILLARD, FB, OKLAHOMA
An NFL scout told me a year ago that Millard was a 2nd or 3rd round prospect…unfortunately, the 6-3, 245 pound Academic All Big 12 and 3 time 1st team All-Big 12 fullback/running back/H-back/tight end suffered an ACL injury in late October which dropped his stock…I’ll be very surprised if he is still around in the 7th round, but if he is this is a no brainer pick…averaged 6 yards a carry in limited time as a running back…is a very natural pass catcher out of the backfield, but used primarily as a blocking back…one of Bob Stoops’ favorite players.
7th Round – #238:
DAVON COLEMAN, DT, ARIZONA STATE
A sleeper prospect who isn’t getting much buzz but actually outplayed his more highly touted defensive tackle teammate Will Sutton in 2013…came on strong the second half of the season to total an impressive 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks…a stout 6-2, 297 pounder who put up 35 bench reps at his Pro Day…started his collegiate career at Fort Scott JC in Kansas where his coach, Jeff Sims, had high praise, calling Coleman “a freak athlete” who is just as fast as he is strong.
7th Round – #248:
BROCK VEREEN, S, MINNESOTA
Brother of New England Patriot RB Shane Vereen…only 21 years old, this 6-0, 199 pounder ran a 4.47 forty with an impressive 25 bench reps of 225 pounds…1st team All Big Ten selection has good instincts…a 2-time Academic All-Big Ten player who had 36 career starts, 23 at safety and 13 as a cornerback….highly doubt Vereen will be available this late but he was when I ran this through the FanSpeak simulator, so we’ll take him.
7th Round – #251:
KERRY HYDER, DT, TEXAS TECH
41 career starts for the 6-2, 290 pounder with 33 ½ inch arms…2nd team All Big 12 selection who totaled 117 tackles, 25.5 for loss, and 7.5 sacks from an interior line position the last two years…Austin LBJ product ran an impressive 4.33 shuttle and 7.23 cone drill.
7th Round – #254:
MARCUS WILLIAMS, CB/S, NORTH DAKOTA STATE
4 year starter for the 3-time national champion Bison who has good size (5-11, 197)…21 career interceptions…returned an amazing 7 of them for TDs…played CB in college but 4.57 speed probably means he projects to a ball hawking free safety in NFL.
So, there you have it. Five picks in the first five rounds and then a six-pack of 7th round choices.
Keep in mind I’m looking for the best players available for the Cowboys’ needs, based on the available inventory of draft prospects.
Aside from the obvious needs the Cowboys have on the defensive of the ball, this team also needs to find a replacement for the departed Miles Austin at wide receiver. They also need to add an interior offensive lineman or two.
Also, keep in mind they have a 34-year-old franchise quarterback coming off two back surgeries in the past year and a starting running back (Demarco Murray) and outside linebacker (Bruce Carter) entering the final year of their contracts.
Plus, the coaches probably feel like they will get greater contributions this year from a safety (J.J. Wilcox), tight end (Gavin Escobar), and running back (Joseph Randle) from last year’s draft, not to mention a 3rd round defensive linemen from the 2012 draft (Tyrone Crawford), who missed all of last season with an Achilles injury.
With around 100 underclassmen applying for this year’s draft, this is widely considered to be the deepest crop in recent memory. More than a half dozen wide receivers could go in the first round, while there’s not much separation between the top dozen or so players at other positions. In other words, you might be able to draft an equally talented defensive lineman in the 3rd or 4th round as you would in the mid to late 1st round.
That is why this is the year where you want as many top 100 draft picks as possible. It also might be why this could be a year where teams are more reluctant to trade away picks in order to move up.
So, with this first mock draft, we picked ‘em straight up. No trades. Next week’s mock? Now, that’s another story. The trade winds will be blowing!
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