With 25 of Dallas’ 30 pre-draft visitors now publicized, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of who the Cowboys might be targeting at the end of this month.
In that spirit of enlightenment, now seems like a good time to break out my first 7-round Cowboys mock of the draft season.
#28: Kevin King, Cornerback, Washington
This is a difficult pick in terms of who it will be, but I’m pretty confident that 28 will be a corner. Could it be Teez Tabor? Adoree’ Jackson? Right now I’ve got Kevin King at 28, which some may feel is too early.
Often the forgotten man in a Huskies secondary the last four years that has featured Marcus Peters, Budda Baker, and Sidney Jones, King is arguably the most physically gifted defensive player to come out of Washington’s stacked roster over the last few drafts.
The spider chart above makes it clear that King is a rare athlete at the cornerback position. Outside of possibly linebacker, the secondary is where the Cowboys most frequently look for elite athletes.
While King is still very raw, those athletic numbers and his potential make it unlikely he’d fall to Dallas at 60. I think the Cowboys trust their staff to take him from raw athlete to elite corner.
#60: Tarell Basham, Defensive End, Ohio
Of the seven edge rushers the Cowboys have already brought in for pre-draft visits, only two of them are reasonably expected to be available by pick 60; Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagnon and Ohio’s Tarell Basham. Kpassagnon is considered more of a third round prospect, but 60 is right around the consensus overall ranking for Basham.
Since it’s unlikely Dallas would pass on addressing the pass rush until 92, I think Basham makes a lot of sense here. With 4.7 speed and a 4.35 shuttle, Basham moves exceptionally well for his 6’4, 270 pound frame.
The Cowboys have conducted workouts with him, brought him to The Star for a pre-draft visit, and even had dinner with him the night before his Pro Day. If corner is the pick at 28, I think Basham becomes the likely second round target for the Cowboys
#92: Justin Evans, Defensive Back, Texas A&M
Texas A&M’s Justin Evans is a polarizing name for many. A strong athlete at safety with genuine ball-skills, there are major questions about his ability to tackle and provide adequate run support. DallasCowboys.com’s Bryan Broaddus recently said on The Draft Show that Evans would be up for first round consideration by teams if he could just tackle.
Evans’ struggles with tackling has apparently led some teams to consider the possibility of moving him to corner. If he ends up with a star on his helmet, corner could very well be their plans for him. Another possibility might be the “play-it-by-ear” strategy the team used with Byron Jones.
It appears Dallas is high on Evans’ potential, and the third round would likely be their last opportunity to snag him.
#133: Jeremy McNichols, Running Back, Boise State
With Lance Dunbar gone, Darren McFadden likely entering his final year with the Cowboys, and questions about whether Alfred Morris will even be on the roster in week 1, the Cowboys will likely be selecting a running back this year.
McNichols is a well-rounded athlete (4.4 speed, 35 inch vertical, sub-7 seconds 3-cone) with strong receiving abilities and solid pass-blocking, making him the type of complete back the Cowboys covet. It also doesn’t hurt that McNichols hails from one of Dallas’ favorite talent factories, with Kellen Moore, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Orlando Scandrick all representing Boise State on the Cowboys’ roster.
#211: Jeremiah Ledbetter, Defensive Line, Arkansas
The Cowboys have shown some interest in Ledbetter, and it makes sense given their track record with defensive linemen.
Scouts and analysts are consistently debating whether Ledbetter is a defensive end, or a 3-technique tackle. Coupling his tweener ability with a similar skill set of the recently departed Jack Crawford, you can see why the Cowboys might value his youth in a role that is now vacant.
#228: Fred Ross, Wide Receiver, Mississippi State
This is a bone thrown to your franchise quarterback. Ross is a close friend and former favored target of Dak Prescott’s. The two have worked out on a number of occasions this offseason, and the Cowboys would be risking very little to give Ross a chance to make the back-end of the receiver rotation.
#246: Brendan Langley, Cornerback, Lamar
The Cowboys don’t often take a dip in the small school waters, but Langley is a little bit different. A former Georgia Bulldog who transferred for his junior season due to playing time, Langley fits the mold of late-round SPARQ project that the Cowboys frequently pick on day three.