Kenny Decker

Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft 2.0

Created on Apr. 28, 2014 9:32 AM EST

The 2014 NFL Draft is two weeks away, and the rumors continue to fly day after day. Mock drafts are updated daily (hourly for the real maniacs), and numerous players have been named as the potential No. 1 overall pick. But the way things are going right now, it may not be known until Roger Goodell calls that first name on the eve of Thursday, May 8th.

The most recent rumors surrounding the Cowboys’ draft strategy involves them trading up. The two players that they are said to be targeting are Aaron Donald and Johnny Manziel — yes, Johnny Manziel. This pick would make absolutely zero sense, but of course, since they are the Dallas Cowboys and their GM is Jerry Jones, the idea is being thrown around. It is highly unlikely considering the Cowboys’ other big needs and the fact that they already have an established starting quarterback in Tony Romo, but you never know with Jones.

Trading up and drafting Donald would make much more sense and is also more likely to happen. Given Jones’ track record in previous drafts and the need on the defensive line, expectations would be for Jones to move up and get Donald. Here is the issue with that, though: The Giants are the team Dallas would be most concerned with grabbing Donald before them. It is very unlikely that the Giants would make a trade for Dallas so they could draft a player that both teams want and need. Therefore, Dallas would likely have to jump in front of New York, which would leave them with Detroit at 10 as their best possible suitor.

The Rams are likely the only team in the top 10 willing to move out of it, and Dallas would have to give up a lot to move up to second overall. It could happen, in which case Dallas would take best available instead of Donald, but this trade is likely a long shot. However, Dallas could move up to 10 in a trade with Detroit. Detroit is in need of secondary help, and if the Lions were to move to 16, they could certainly fill that gap as this draft is loaded with good corners. There’s no telling what it would take for Detroit to make this move, but say Dallas swaps first-rounders with them and gives them a 2015 second-round pick, here’s a new mock draft for the Cowboys:

Round 1, Pick 10: Anthony Barr (Defensive End/Outside Linebacker, UCLA): Barr would be a big addition for Dallas and should be on the board at ten. He provides a better value at 10 than Donald, so although Donald may appear to be Dallas’ target in moving up, grabbing Barr would make much more sense. He could provide the help that Dallas needs on the defensive line immediately.

Round 2, Pick 47: Jimmie Ward (Safety, Northern Illinois): This may be early to take Ward, but waiting until the third round could leave Dallas with a much lesser talent who still needs development.

Dallas needs someone who can play now, as evidenced by their major issues at safety in 2013. Ward likely stays on here until unless Washington takes him at 34, in which case Dallas would look at defensive tackle.

Round 3, Pick 78: Daquan Jones (Defensive Tackle, Penn State): The addition of Henry Melton at defensive tackle will help clog the middle, but Dallas still needs another strong interior linemen. Jones will do the trick for them. Dominque Easley from Florida could be a good pick here, but given his ACL issues, Jones is the safer, long-term bet.

Round 4, Pick 115: Robert Herron (Wide Receiver, Wyoming): Herron will be the perfect slot receiver with Dez Bryant and Terrence Williams on the outside. Herron is small but quick and a good route runner. Romo will turn him into a weapon in no time. The Cowboys have other bigger needs, but grabbing Herron here will provide an offensive boost.

Round 5, Pick 146: Anthony Steen (Guard, Alabama): The original mock draft had Dallas taking Steen in the fourth round, but given his shoulder injury, it seems as if they could even get him in the fifth. Dallas could use Steen to add depth at guard or maybe even have him compete for a starting position. His shoulder injury shouldn’t be much of a concern; if it were his knee or ankle, it would be more noteworthy.

Round 7, Pick 206: Marcel Jensen (Tight End, Fresno State): Jason Witten is getting up there in age, and the opportunity is there to develop a big body like Jensen while Witten finishes his career up in Dallas. It would be worth spending a seventh-round pick on Jensen.

Round 7, Pick 208: Bennett Jackson (Cornerback, Notre Dame): In a draft that is deep with talent at corner, Jackson will probably fall to the seventh round. His experience playing under a national spotlight at Notre Dame could translate well to a similar big national spotlight in Dallas. He will help Dallas’ depth in the secondary, too.

Round 7 Pick 215: Corey Linsley (Center, Ohio State): Following the release of Phil Costa, Linsley could back up Travis Frederick at center or fight for the other spots on the line. Linsley’s versatility will determine his own fate for playing time, but Dallas could like him to back up Frederick.

Round 7, Pick 248: Kevin Graf (Offensive Tackle, Southern Cal): Dallas may end up dealing some of these seventh-round compensatory picks, but they could draft Graf to give them some needed depth on the offensive live.

Round 7 Pick 251: Denicos Allen (Outside Linebacker, Michigan State): Allen is small for the position but quick to the ball. Another compensatory pick here gives Dallas a chance to add depth where they lack it.

Round 7 Pick 254: Marcus Lucas (Wide Receiver, Missouri): Late seventh-rounders can be a long shot to even make the roster, but Lucas might be able to prove his worth. Targeted pretty consistently at Mizzou, he has size and speed that could be useful for Dallas.

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