By Bill Jones

Time to start emptying the 2015 Big Green NFL Draft Scouting Notebook. It’s an April Fools’ Day edition of the 2015 Cowboys Mock Draft 1.0!

After the signing of MLB Rolando McClain this morning, the Cowboys draft needs come into sharper focus. Prior to the start of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Cowboys make some news:

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TRADE: DALLAS trades TE Gavin Escobar and LB Kyle Wilber to NEW ORLEANS for the Saints 2nd of two 3rd round picks (#78).

The Saints are in desperate need of a pass catching tight end after dealing Jimmy Graham to Seattle. There are very few quality tight end prospects in this draft. Escobar, a 2nd round pick in 2013, has two years left before free agency. Wilber, in his free agent year, doesn’t really fit in the Cowboys 4-3. Rob Ryan needs OLB depth in his 3-4.

The draft is now underway, and it starts with a shocker!

TRADE: TAMPA BAY trades the #1 overall pick to PHILADELPHIA for QB Sam Bradford, RB DeMarco Murray and the Eagles 1st round pick (#20).

Turns out, Chip Kelly didn’t want Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray after all. No wonder he signed RB Ryan Mathews on the same day he signed Murray. So, combined with the Bradford/Foles trade with St. Louis, the Eagles give up QB Nick Foles and their 1st round draft pick to move up to #1 overall. They take a sizable salary cap hit this year for the Murray signing but they have enough cap space to handle it. And it was only a $5 million signing bonus they paid Murray.

With the 1st pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select:


(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

And with that, the draft gets off to a rockin’ start!

Obviously, the Cowboys are in need of a running back, and the first one comes off the board:

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The Cowboys are getting nervous, having targeted Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) with their 1st round pick (#27). Tampa Bay is now on the clock at #20. The Cowboys realize Gordon will never make it past Arizona at #24. It’s time to make their move.

TRADE: TAMPA BAY trades 1st round pick (#20) and 5th round pick (#162) to DALLAS for 1st round pick (#27) and 3rd round pick acquired from New Orleans (#78).

Dallas is now on the clock. NFL Network shows live footage of high fives all around the Melvin Gordon party room. But Stephen Jones is on the phone, talking trade with … Minnesota!

The Vikings selected CB Trae Waynes (Michigan State) with their 1st round pick (#11) and don’t pick again until the 2nd round (#45). The Adrian Peterson albatross is hanging over the entire organization. The prospect of adding a charismatic and explosive Melvin Gordon from nearby Wisconsin is too good to be true!

Meanwhile, the Cowboys believe Peterson would make them immediate Super Bowl contenders but tell the Vikings, thanks, but no thanks. “We feel like we can teach Melvin to pass block,” Stephen Jones tells Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

So, Spielman sweetens the pot. “Okay, along with Peterson, we’ll give you our 2nd round pick, but we’ve got to have your 2nd next year.”

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Jones says let’s do this:

TRADE: DALLAS trades its 1st round pick (#20) and a conditional 2016 draft pick to MINNESOTA for RB Adrian Peterson and 2nd round pick (#45).

Minnesota Vikings  v Dallas Cowboys

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The 2016 pick is a 1st rounder if Dallas wins the Super Bowl and Peterson is the rushing champ. It’s a 2nd rounder if either of those two happen, and a 3rd rounder if neither happens. Prior to the draft, Minnesota allowed Dallas to talk with Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, laying the framework for a new contract in case a draft day trade was made

The Cowboys also announce the signing of 53-year old RB Herschel Walker and throw him into the deal too.

2ND ROUND – #45 (from Minnesota)
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney says if he was starting his team from scratch (a team that includes probable 1st round DE Vic Beasley and 2nd round LB Stephone Anthony), he’d pick Grady Jarrett first. The son of 5-time Pro Bowler Jessie Tuggle, Jarrett calls Ray Lewis “Uncle Ray”. Jarrett says he’s known Lewis, his current workout partner, since he was five years old. A 6-1, 304 pounder who has similar athletic ability and intensity as two accomplished 3-technique defensive tackles, Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (3-time Pro Bowler) and St. Louis’ Aaron Donald (2014 NFL Defensive Rookie of Year).

2ND ROUND – #60
Veteran Oregon secondary coach John Neal says Ekpre-Olomu is the best football player he’s ever coached. John Neal coached Jairus Byrd. Ekpre-Olomu was considered the top CB prospect in this draft until he suffered an ACL injury in December. Doctors believe he will be available by September, but even if he misses half the season, this is too good a talent to pass up (with off the chart intangibles).

3RD ROUND – #91
This guy reminds me of DeMarco Murray more than any other RB in this draft…maybe its because he wore #7 in college, but he’s built like Murray, and has terrific receiving ability like Murray…I rank Johnson alongside Boise State’s Jay Ajayi as top RB’s behind Gurley and Gordon in this draft…more Murray comps: Johnson had 5621 yards rushing and receiving on 1019 touches and 64 TDs in college…Murray had 5256 yards on 959 touches with 65 TDs…6-1, 224 pounds…strong (25 bench reps), 4.46 speed (1.54 split), 41.5 vertical, 10-7 broad jump, 4.27 shuttle, 6.82 cone…Murray: 6-0, 213…21 bench reps, 4.41 speed, 34.5 vertical, 10-4 broad jump, 4.18 shuttle, 7.28 cone…even in this unlikely scenario that the Cowboys trade for Adrian Peterson, I would still draft Johnson if he’s available this late, but Cowboys will probably have to take him at #60…even with Peterson, he would be a great understudy and receiving threat once he learns how to pass block.

4TH ROUND – #127
3-time small school All American…this 6-1, 221 pounder will be an immediate special teams demon…transfer from Louiville loves to hit…sure, the Cowboys have too many box safeties but as evidence by his production in college, Tartt also has shown playmaking ability on the back end…could be used as a nickel or dime LB while he learns how to play safety…would be 2nd DB from Samford on Cowboys roster…CB Corey White (waiver claim from the Saints) also played there.

5TH ROUND – #162 (from Tampa Bay)
Dallas St. Mark’s product (6-0, 221) is your replacement for the departed Dwayne Harris…terrific return ability…led the nation in kickoff returns…averaged 30 yards a return his junior season…also averaged nearly 20 yards on punt returns last year, including 2 TDs…totalled 122 catches the past two seasons…NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout, says Montgomery “could be a Pro Bowl kick returner”…says he has a good frame, football demeanor, and toughness.

5TH ROUND – #163
The son of former Texas Longhorn and Philadelphia Eagle Brit Hager, this 6-1, 234 pounder has a real chance to make it in the NFL…one of the reasons Baylor was much improved on defense the past couple of seasons was because of the linebacker play…in fact, when Baylor struggled against Oklahoma State and Central Florida at the end of the 2013 season, Hager was out with an injury and it showed…the signing of Rolando McClain lessens the immediate need for a LB in the draft, but taking Hager in the mid rounds could pay off in a big way.

TRADE: CLEVELAND trades 6th round pick (#189) to DALLAS for RB Joseph Randle
With acquisitions of Peterson and Johnson to go along with Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams, the Cowboys should be happy to get something for Randle after his off the field issues.

6TH ROUND – #189 (from Cleveland)
The Belldozer converted from QB to TE his senior season and showed so much promise at his new position that Mike Mayock ranks him as the #5 TE in what is a weak class. Some project Bell to be a 4th or 5th round pick, but with just one year’s experience at the position and with little special teams value, I suspect he’ll last until the 6th round. Prototype size (6-6, 252), he had 16 receptions and 4 TD grabs last year…big game experience as a QB…good athleticism having run a 4.8 forty at the combine with an 11.81 60 yard shuttle…father, Mark Bell, was a 4th round draft pick of the Seahawks, and uncle, Mike Bell, was the #2 overall selection of the Chiefs, starting 100 NFL games…only way Cowboys would draft Bell is probably if he lasts until the 7th round, but if they were to move Escobar, clearly they would need to find a receiving TE, and Bell has as much potential as any in this class.

TRADE: PHILADELPHIA trades 6th round pick (#196) to DALLAS for RB Darren McFadden
After Peterson trade, Cowboys have no need for McFadden…and they can use the salary cap relief, saving $1 million with this move…McFadden only counts $200,000 in dead money against the cap this year.

6th ROUND – #196 (from Philadelphia)
Cowboys are probably counting on Darrion Weems to replace Jermey Parnell as the swing tackle, but Gibson has a private workout with the Cowboys and is being looked at as a possible developmental tackle, much like what Parnell was once upon a time. 6-6, 305 pound late bloomer with 35 inch arms, he was the Hokies starting left tackle last year…two college degrees.

7TH ROUND – #237 (from Baltimore)
Gus Malzahn doesn’t throw to his TE much in his offense. In fact, they don’t use an in-line TE that much so this 6-5, 262 pounder is flying under the radar…only 11 catches his senior year but caught 3 TD passes each of the last two seasons, and he even threw a TD pass to the late Philip Lutzenkirchen as a freshman…ran a 4.63 forty at his Pro Day…former HS quarterback.

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7TH ROUND – #244
This 6-2, 243 pounder, who set a Spartans record with 53 career starts, could be eventually be the perfect fit to replace Kyle Wilber as a Sam LB and 3rd down pass rusher…tremendous 6.73 cone drill for a man his size…should be a core special teamer…had 7 ½ sacks his senior year…key 4th quarter blocked FG in Spartans comeback win over Baylor in Cotton Bowl. Coach Mark Dantonio calls him a “grinder”, with a “huge motor, plays with a passion.”