Dallas Cowboys Draft: Analyzing the Picks on Defense

Safety JJ Wilcox drafted in the 3rd round.

Safety JJ Wilcox drafted in the 3rd round.

My previous blog analyzed the offensive player draft picks so now a look at the defensive draft picks. It can easily be argued that more should have been done in the draft to help in the conversion to a 4-3 defense but these are the picks that Monte Kiffin will have to work with in 2013.

Safety JJ Wilcox, 6’0 204 lbs

-Good build and plays physical. separates receivers from the ball with hits and can wrestle the ball away.
-Breaks on the ball nicely when it goes up in the air. A converted WR and that receiver mentality comes out when the ball is in the air.
-Kickoff returner that averaged 25 yards/return.
-Good athlete. Was quite productive as a receiver for Ga. Southern before switching to defense. Ran a 4.51/40 time and also performed well in the cone at the combine.

Areas to improve:
-Tackling and ability to help in run support needs to improve. Remember he only played one year on the defensive side of the ball.
-Man coverage will need development. Played at a small college and while he performed well at the senior bowl, he hasn’t been asked to man up on a TE very often, at least on video.
-On video, he looks for the knock out hit on a receiver and may miss tackles or even get flagged.

How he fits:
Can contribute right away on special teams as a kickoff returner for Dallas. A duty that the departed Felix Jones managed primarily but no one else seem to take ownership of.

Not ready to be an every down safety yet and will need a season to develop. The Cowboys drafted safety Matt Johnson last season and how he can contribute remains to be seen because of injuries. Based on film, I think Wilcox has more upside potential than Johnson but they do play in a similar manner that being more of a strong safety than free safety.

Immediately Wilcox will do fine in zone coverage where he is asked to keep everything in front of him and can contribute in packages for 3rd down and long. The new Tampa 2 defense will primarily be zone anyway.

Player comparison: Jerron McMillian– Wilcox, not lacking in any confidence, compares himself to the hard hitting former Redskin pro bowl safety Sean Taylor. Some of the hits Taylor made back in the day, would result in fines today.

Wilcox said of his own versatility, “Offense, receiver, running back, free safety, strong safety, I’m a special breed.” He can do it all! More realistically he compares to Jerron McMillan the small school safety the Packers drafted last season and will likely start in the future.

LB Devonte Holloman 6′-2, 243 lbs

-Excellent feet quickness and a top performer in the 20 yard shuttle. Athletic.
-Good run tackler and brings a pop with his hits.
-Experienced as a safety, scouts like his ability to cover the pass as a LB. Good instincts in coverage.
-Excellent open field tackler. On video I saw a guy who doesn’t go for the juke but makes the tackle.
-Good effort and stays after the play.

Areas to improve:
-limited experience at the position and doesn’t always find the ball at LB.
-Can get blocked near the line.
-To compete as a NFL LB, will need to add strength.

How he fits:
The plan would appear to play Holloman as a strong side LB in the 4-3 defense. However he will require some time to develop into a starter there. His pass coverage ability is impressive and I really like how he played as a strong safety at S. Carolina.

I look for Holloman to be in pass coverage packages soon as a LB, safety, or hybrid position.

Player comparison: David Thornton– LB that played in the NFL for 8 years with the Titans and Colts. In 2003 he lead the Colts in tackles and had 2 INTs. Similar size as Holloman and was effective in pass coverage.

CB B.W. Webb 5-10, 184 lbs

-Productive punt returner.
-Solid in zone coverage and breaks on the ball well.
-Able to jump and get hands on passes. Top vertical jump among CBs at the combine.
-Quick feet and had top shuttle time of CBs at combine.

Areas to improve:
-Poor tackler particularly in open field. Arm tackles and that will not get it done in the NFL. Not above whiffing on tackles too. Evidently B.W. stands for the “brotha whiffs”.
-Man coverage needs development. Chases the receiver and consequently loses the ball.
-Played at smaller division college. NFL receivers will be a big step up.
-Average CB size at 5-10 and that becomes more of an issue at next level.

How he fits: Punt return duties are in good hands with Dwayne Harris however Web can compete for kickoff returns right away. I think expectations are that he eventually replace the over paid Scandrick to cover the slot however it remains to be seen if Webb can develop. For now he is the 4th corner.

Player comparison: Mike Jenkins– Not a huge compliment I admit. The former Dallas CB Jenkins who made the Pro Bowl one season but was not much of a tackler.


Dallas Cowboys Draft: Analyzing The Picks on Offense

Breaking down the offensive draft picks of the Dallas Cowboys. Evaluating how they can contribute to the Cowboys offense and identifying areas where they may need to improve their game.

WR Terrence Williams 6’2″ 208 lbs
-On video Williams displays good wide receiver fundamentals.
-Comes back to meet the ball not allowing defenders to step in and get the ball.
-Runs nice routes. Particularly stop and go and great post routes where he nicely blocked out defenders.
-Enough size and strength to get off press coverage.
-A willing blocker down field and can hold without getting caught, with the best of them.

Areas to improve:
-On video I didn’t see Williams run after the catch very effectively. Not one to break tackles or make defenders miss. His YAC (yards after catch) needs to improve. Austin and Harris do this real well.
occasionally lets the ball get in close to his body instead of catching with hands. Can lead to drops.
-Blocking can get better.

How he fits:
If Dez suffers an injury, Williams should be a solid backup.
-Williams could develop into an effective weapon in the redzone. His size will be an advantage and he really goes up after the ball. Blocks defenders out well like a basketball player rebounding.

Player comparison: Laurent Robinson– Williams reminds me of Robinson who was a favorite target of Romo’s. Both 6’2″ and run good routes.

TE Gavin Escobar 6’6″ 254 lbs
-Great hands. Displays soft hands and catches the ball away from his body.
-Has enough speed (4.78/40) to cause match up problems for LBs and safeties while enough height at 6’6″, to cause trouble for CBs.
-Has a real natural ability to find open space against zone defenses. And a big target for QB.
-Runs well after catching the ball. Fights to get the first down or get the ball in the endzone.
-Light on his feet. At combine, had second best times in both the cone and shuttle for all TEs.

Areas to improve:
-Very weak run blocker. Gets too high on contact and needs to bend hips and create a wider base with feet. To become a complete TE, Escobar could benefit from some time in the weight room and some practice time with offensive tackles learning to block.
-Doesn’t tuck the ball away when running the ball and may fumble at next level.
-At NFL level, may have trouble getting off line of scrimmage. Adding strength in weight room will help.

How he fits:
-With Dallas drafting a similar player last year in James Hanna, it’s not clear where Escobar fits in. I look for Jason to roll out some creative formations to get Escobar on the field. He could develop into a great go to go guy on 3rd down for Romo. He is a liability in the run game for now.

Player comparison: Jay Novacek– The outstanding 5 time pro bowl TE for Dallas. Watching Escobar run after the catch, may remind many long time Cowboy fans of the great Jay Novacek. Jay was a very valuable pass weapon for the Cowboys so it’s a big comparison. Like Jay, Escobar played basketball in high school and it shows in his game. Former basketball players turned TE, typically display soft hands and an excellent feel for finding open space in the defense.

Some may recall that Novacek wasn’t an instant success in the NFL as he played five unspectacular years with the Cardinals, where he saw little action, before becoming a star with Dallas. Escobar will need some time to develop his game as well.

Center Travis Frederick 6’4″ 312 lbs

-Solid run blocker. At college level was part of a good power running game at Wisconsin.
-At combine, best vertical jump of all centers. While centers aren’t asked to ever jump, it indicates good power in his legs which can really help in run blocking. Drive defenders off the line. QB sneak may work now.
-Very intelligent with strong football I.Q. Centers must recognize the defense, identify blitzes, and make the correct protection calls. Getting this done correctly will be a huge benefit to Romo.
-Can also play guard.

Areas to improve:
-Doesn’t have good straight line speed. Very slow 5.55/40 time. To block LBs at the next level, Frederick will need to work on his quickness. Could benefit from some jump rope drills.
-Plenty of room to improve strength with a lower than average 21 reps on the bench for offensive linemen. Needs to set goals in the weight room like yesterday.

How he fits:
After drafting Frederick in the first round, I believe expectations will be for him to start at center or possibly even guard, right away. He will see plenty of playing time as Dallas needs help at his position.

Player Comparison: Peter Konz– Wisconsin center that was the highest rated center in the 2012 NFL draft. The Falcons drafted Konz last year in the 2nd round which is where Dallas could have picked Frederick, instead of the 1st. (don’t get me started on that GM blunder)

Konz performed well last year at center for the Falcons.

RB Joseph Randle 6’0 204 lbs
-A very capable receiver out of the backfield. Good hands.
-Good combination of power and speed when running the ball.
-Described by scouts as a dedicated hard worker.
-On video, I saw better than expected running instincts and ability to find day light.
-Seems strong enough to pick up a tough yard when you need one.
-Protects the ball.

Areas to improve:
-Pass blocking needs to improve. Not bad but will need to improve in NFL.

How he fits: Clearly Randle is Felix Jones replacement and will back up Murray. The idea is for the offense to not miss a beat when the predictable injury to Murray comes.

Player comparison: DeMarco Murray– After the draft, head coach Jason Garrett compared Randle to Murray and explained that’s why they picked him. I wouldn’t argue with coach on that but perhaps Murray runs with more power and Randle has a little more shake and bake in his running style.

Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft Grades

Jason Garrett looks at Jerry Jones like "WTF?". That's what we all were thinking Jason.

Jason Garrett looks at Jerry Jones like “WTF?”. That’s what we all were thinking Jason.

Before the 2013 draft, I blogged that Coach Jason Garrett needed an extraordinary draft in order to have the kind of season in 2013 to save his job. Let’s have a look at each pick while I provide a grade based on the player they drafted, how that pick fills needs on the Cowboys team in 2013, and does the pick represent value? “Reach” picks are frowned upon.

1st round: C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
After trading down, the Cowboys surprisingly selected a center. I was on board with the trade down which added a 3rd round pick from the abundantly blessed with picks 49ers. My issue with this pick isn’t that they drafted a center or the center they drafted but when they drafted him. Dallas pulled the trigger on a center about 60 picks too soon.

This pick qualifies as a reach by anyone’s standard. Some experts projected Frederick to go as late as the 4th round. Even Travis himself was surprised to be a first round selection while admitting he was thinking 2nd round, maybe. It’s a wonder that when Jerry Jones called him, that Travis didn’t assume he was being punked by some of his friends and hang up on Jerry. “Yeah right the Cowboys are picking me in the first. I told you guys to cut it out. I’m going to bed now so I will be rested when I get picked in the 4th round Saturday like all centers.”

Look I’m not saying Dallas doesn’t need help at center because they do, but centers in this draft could have been selected later like the 3rd or 4th rounds. The next center didn’t go off the board until the 4th round for example.

Quality safeties like Elam and Cyprien were available at that point as the Super Bowl champ Ravens wisely picked Elam next at #32. The Ravens staff must have been a bit shocked to see Dallas pass on him there. Either safety could play right away for Dallas.

How much Frederick can help them remains to be seen and he may turn out to be a good center but picking a guy at #31, when he could be picked around #90 or so, is just foolish. Fredrick appears to be an intelligent player described as very coachable but not very quick. The Cowboys are hoping he has success like Wisconsin rookie center Peter Konz had with the Falcons last year. As a first round pick, he better help sooner than later.

Dishing the real GRADE: D

2nd round: TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State
With their second pick, Dallas picked 6’6 TE Escobar who has nice hands and speed. Escobar appears to be a talented receiver but not much help at blocking. More of a receiver than TE one might assume. He led his team in catches, yards, and TDs

While I think Escabor could develop into an effective offensive weapon, I’m not sure where exactly he will fit into a line up that already has last year’s pick, TE James Hanna.

Escobar represents a bit of a reach by Dallas again as he was projected to go in the third round. Once again, I think higher rated prospects were available that could have had more of an immediate impact for the Cowboys instead of a TE that will struggle to get playing time.

Dishing the real GRADE: C-

3rd round: WR Terrance Williams, Baylor
Williams, who is from Dallas, was expected by many to go by the 2nd round so getting him here in the third is not considered a reach. Williams offers a nice combination of size and speed (6’2, 208 and 4.48/40).

I’m just not sure how Williams will fit into the Cowboys current corp of WRs that seemed to be a position in pretty good shape prior to the draft. Like Escobar, I think Williams is a good prospect but will battle for playing time among several good receivers. Romo only gets to throw one football so how do all these guys add productivity?

Dishing the real GRADE: B

3rd round SS JJ Wilcox, Ga Southern
With their second pick in the 3rd, Dallas selected a much need safety JJ Wilcox. Wilcox has only played safety for one season as he came over from the offensive side of the ball. He looks like he is going to eventually develop into a solid safety but to expect him to start right away, is not likely. He will help on special teams immediately but he will likely need some time to develop at safety.

It’s a disappointing pick considering the Cowboys really need help at safety immediately and could have found it in round 1. My criticism with this pick is Wilcox doesn’t help right away but may next year.
Dishing the real GRADE: B-

4th round: CB B.W. Webb, William and Mary
In the 4th round Dallas continues to surprise and jump around all over the place by selecting a CB. By no means would I predict Webb will not be a good NFL CB but my question is how does he help Dallas in 2013? Dallas could have used a DT or an OT with this pick but they add a CB after signing two CBs last year Carr and Claiborne. Scandrick is locked into a big contract to cover the slot so Webb may not see much playing action.

Webb had no INTs last season but he is a pretty good punt returner. However Dallas has WR Harris to return punts so again, I don’t see how Webb contributes next season other than provide depth. Feels like a Mike Jenkins replacement.

Dallas had needs bigger than CB and there were much higher ranked prospects on the board.

Dishing the real GRADE: C

5th round: RB Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St.

The Cowboys released RB Felix Jones so getting a RB to back up Murray was a need. Drafting Randle here in the 5th made sense and I like the pick. Randle led the Big 12 in rushing with 1,417 yards and 14 TDs. He runs with both power and speed and can be an effective receiver out of the backfield with 28 catches last year.

Randle will be not only be a solid backup for Murray, but will no doubt see plenty of playing time rotating into the Cowboys offense. Randle also is a willing blocker on pass plays with blitzers. A solid pick here for Dallas.

Dishing the real GRADE: B+

6th round: OLB DeVonte Holloman, S. Carolina
Holloman was the Cowboys last pick in the draft and since he had a DUI in college, he should fit right in with the Cowboys defensive players. With the Cowboys transitioning to a 4-3 defense in 2013, I can’t say that I thought they would draft an OLB. At South Carolina, Holloman played some strong safety but as a he added size, they tried playing him closer to the line. I have no idea where the Cowboys plan to line Holloman up in the 4-3 defense.

Holloman provides good hits on tackles and I like his physical style of play. He also played the “Spur” in college which is kind of a hybrid LB and safety combined. Dallas may plan to use him as a Will LB in the 4-3 defense or perhaps they will add him in coverage more like a strong safety. Either way he will provide depth.

I don’t hate the pick by any means and he was projected to go a little earlier than the 6th round so he represents some value. But it’s just tough to figure how he fits in the picture with a 4-3 defense.

Dishing the real GRADE: C

While Dallas did get a much needed RB to assist their starter Murray, they failed to effectively address many needs they will have going to a 4-3 defense. They added depth but not the type players that will really make a difference in 2013.

The center, Travis Frederick, may help their offensive line but that pick was the definition of a “reach”. WR Williams and TE Escobar may turn out to be good picks eventually but their contribution in 2013 will be minimal.

The Cowboys dreadful running game is still in trouble in 2013 with only adding a center, a backup RB, and more receivers. And new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was only given a project safety, a backup CB, and a unidentified position player to help him implement the 4-3.

I fear Jason’s fate in 2013 has been sealed with this draft.

NFL Draft Night: List of Cowboys’ First Round Prospects

Jerry grins like a fox in the hen house after intercepting Claiborne.

Jerry Jones and Morris Claiborne.

Thursday night the NFL draft will be in prime time TV for the second time. Last year provided plenty of drama as Jerry Jones suddenly traded up to draft CB Morris Claiborne at number 6. That kind of maneuver is difficult to predict and makes for an exiting draft.

Based on position needs combined with prospect availability, I’m providing a list of the first round prospects that are on the Cowboys radar. As a fan, these will be the ones to watch as the prospects move off the board Thursday night.

Check each of them off the list as they become unavailable, and it should offer an indication of who Dallas will pick at #18.

Cowboys First Round Prospects and overall ranking according to CBS Sports prospects:
Guard- Chance Warmack Rank-8
Guard- Jonathan Cooper Rank-12
Safety- Kenny Vaccaro Rank-21
OT- D.J. FLuker Rank-22

I expect Dallas to address the offensive line in the first round or take care of getting a safety for their Tampa 2 defense being implemented in 2013. In my MOCK DRAFT, I came to the conclusion they would likely pick Vaccaro in the first round.

Wildcard: Speedy WR Tavon Austin (rank: 13) is expected to go before #18 but if he should slide down to the Cowboys, I think they would have to consider a change of plans and take him.

Defensive Line Picks: Since Dallas is keeping DE Anthony Spencer and DT Jay Ratliff, I speculate they will not use a first round pick on a defensive lineman but may draft them on the 2nd day. First round defensive linemen that could be drafted by Dallas include:
DT Sheldon Richardson Rank-17
DT Sylvester Williams Rank-18
DE Bjeorn Werner Rank-20

My Take: Buckle up and expect a fast pace ride Thursday night during the draft. I don’t look for Jerry to trade up again but trading down to add picks, is a possibility. I think Dallas has their eyes on the top two guards in the draft (Warmack and Cooper) but if they are gone, then they will get a much needed safety in Vaccaro.

If Vaccaro is gone too, then OT DJ Fluker represents a good pick to help the Cowboys part ways with right tackle Doug Free. Picking a defensive lineman is not as high of a priority and depth is available there later. However, drafting a DE or DT in the first round is still a possibility.

WR Tavon Austin will be an interesting prospect to watch. I think there are teams that may be willing to trade up to get him if he moves down a bit.

Enjoy the show!

Should the Cowboys add a Free Agent Offensive Lineman?

The Cowboys deficiencies on the offensive line last season have been well documented and the consensus among mock drafts are that Dallas needs to draft offensive linemen. Honestly, they could use an offensive tackle, guard (or two), and a center. But is it realistic that they can get the offensive line fixed in the 2013 draft with only six picks?

I’m thinking probably not. There are some veteran offensive linemen available in free agency that could likely help the Cowboys next season so adding one of them could be a good move. That makes trying to pick up one starting lineman in the draft much more realistic.

After resigning Romo, the Cowboys have $4.4 million available in cap space which could be just enough to add an offensive lineman.

With their current starting guards Livings and Bernadeau, the Cowboys are in need of an upgrade in the middle of the line. There are good ones in the draft that can help.

Draft– In my recent mock draft, I speculated based on the mocks, that the top two guards, Cooper and Warmack, will be off the board when Dallas goes on the clock at 18. Be nice to get one of them but it’s no guarantee they will be available. I also pointed out that Warford would be a nice pick up in the 2nd round but again, no guarantee he is there when they pick in round two.

Free Agent Guards: Brandon Moore and Stephen Peterman
Moore has started 137 straight games for the Jets so he is durable but is an 11 year veteran. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the top free agent guard and he has a rating of 21.3 on last year’s play. A very consistent guard that no doubt offers an upgrade over current guards on the Cowboys roster.

Peterman is durable as he played every game for the Lions the last three seasons. He isn’t rated as high as Moore with a rating of 0.6, but still could provide an upgrade for Dallas at guard.

Right Tackle: Doug Free is the current right tackle but it has not been working out as he struggled with penalties and his performance last season. The Cowboys would like to upgrade here if possible and actually they recently asked Free to take a cut in salary HERE.

DRAFT: D.J. FLuker, Alabama is a right tackle that is expected to go in the first round about where Dallas picks. It’s more of a sure thing that he will be available than guards Cooper and Warmack. While Fluker needs some development in pass blocking, his run blocking would represent an immediate upgrade and is an area that needs improvement in Dallas.

Free Agent Tackles: Andre Smith, Tyson Clabo, and Eric Winston
Smith actually had an outstanding season for the Bengals last year but remains unsigned. PFF gave him an impressive 26.9 rating for his play in 2012. Smith plays right tackle and represents a serious upgrade however he is looking to get paid in a big way but those expectations could be declining as time goes by. He has only been in the NFL for 4 years so he has the ability to help a time for a while.

Clabo was cut by the Falcons and is a 7 year veteran that received a PFF rating of 21.3 last year. It would appear that Clabo can still offer a team solid play at right tackle. Certainly he offers an upgrade over Free and brings valuable NFL experience.

Winston was cut by the Chiefs after only one season and that comes after only one season with the Texans. He is a 7 year veteran with a very respectable rating of 15.1 for his play in 2012. His inability to stick with a team must be of concern but it appears that he can still play the game at a high level. Winston has already expressed frustration with not being signed and said that he would play for 3 or 4 million next year. That’s not a bad deal if he is a starter, and compared to the 7 million Free will get.

My Take: Fixing that entire offensive line in one draft is just not realistic so Dallas should consider adding a free agent lineman and use one of their top two draft picks on one as well. They could sign guard Moore and then draft Fluker as a right tackle in the first or sign one of the free agent tackles ( I tend to favor Clabo) then make certain they get one of the top 3 guards. That could possibly mean having to work a deal to move up a little.

Adding a veteran while picking up a talented rookie lineman, may be what gets the running game on track and helps protect Romo in 2013.

Dallas Cowboys 2013 Mock Draft: 6 Picks to get over the 8-8 Hump.


Last year in my 2012 mock draft I had Dallas selecting TE James Hanna in the draft and they actually did select him. If you were to check back on the “experts” mocks, you will find that they didn’t even get one pick correct. Perhaps I have earned a little credibility in my Cowboys mock for 2013.

TE James Hanna proved to be a solid player for Dallas as the season progressed. In my 2012 mock I pointed out that Hanna’s speed would cause trouble for defenders and in 2013, I expect to see him play a larger role in the Cowboys passing offense.


First Round: Safety Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
The Cowboys have had Vaccaro in for a workout so I know that he is at least on their radar screen. Gerald Sensabaugh is no longer with Dallas so they are going to need help at this position. Next season in the 4-3 defense, it’s going to be all about creating turnovers and on film, Vaccaro intercepted passes and caused fumbles.

Vaccaro looks like an ideal fit for Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense that will ask a safety to cover half the field, provide run support, and occasionally blitz. On video, Vaccaro demonstrated he can deliver a pop in tackling and he has the speed to cover in the slot.

It seems Dallas has needed a real safety for years now. I think in this year’s draft they finally take care of this spot. Kenny Vaccaro can immediately improve the Cowboys run and pass defense. Also will help special teams too as an excellent open field tackler. If he is there at #18, I don’t see how Jerry can pass on the top rated safety in the draft.

2nd Round: Guard Larry Warford, Kentucky
Many mocks have Dallas drafting a guard in the first round in either Jonathon Cooper or Chance Warmack. While I think either pick would be outstanding for Dallas, I just don’t think these two guards will make it down to #18 where Dallas picks. So I think Dallas gets that much needed guard in the second round and in Warford, they will be getting a mighty good one.

Warford allowed 0 sacks at Kentucky last year and he brings a nasty attitude that the Cowboys offensive line has not displayed in a long time. He is a physical run blocker which Dallas desperately needs to revamp their sluggish running game.

Drafting Warford in the second, would immediately improve both the Cowboys running game and help protect Romo in the middle of the line. He could replace Bernadeau (who is having surgery on his right shoulder before the season) and start at right guard immediately.

The Cowboys play in the Hall of Fame game this year where former guard Larry Allen will be inducted, and it would be nice to have big nasty guard like Warford on the field to remind us of how Allen played the game. Warford could lock down one guard spot for years to come.

3rd Round: OT/OG David Quessenberry, San Jose State
Since his appearance in the senior bowl, David has been moving up the prospect rank boards. He is a 6-5″, 302 lb. former TE that moves his feet very well. I don’t view David as a day one starter but he can provide depth at tackle, guard, and has even been considered as center which is valuable, and his upside potential is excellent. Needs to become stronger and adding some weight wouldn’t hurt either. But he is very athletic and demonstrated nice feet at the combine finishing in the top 5 among OTs in the cone and shuttle drills.

I think in a short time, David could become a starter at guard to replace Livings or at RT to replace Doug Free. Or even center to replace Costa. Dallas could use help in all three places. At this point, it appears Free will remain at RT for Dallas but David gives us hope that things could improve there.

David Quessenberry was a team captain at San Jose State which coach Jason Garrett has shown a tendency to want to draft. He is the right kind of guy if you will. He compares to converted TE and current left tackle for the Patriots, Nate Solder. Similar size, build and good feet. David could be used effectively as a tackle eligible too.

4th Round:Running Back LeVeon Bell, Michigan State
RB Felix Jones has not been resigned, so far, and it’s clear that Jason would like to have a durable RB in the mix considering his starter DeMarco Murray has missed games with injuries in both of his seasons.

Bell has good size (6-2″, 230) and power that would make him a solid option for the Cowboys. He catches the ball well out of the back field and picks up would be blitzers well too. Last season at Mich. St. Bell rushed for 1,793 yards (led the Big 10) and 12 TDs. This pick allows Dallas to move on from the not so healthy Felix Jones. Bell has visited Valley Ranch so he is on the Cowboys radar screen. Perhaps Bell can help add a spark to the Cowboys struggling run game.

5th Round: Defensive Tackle Everett Dawkins, Florida State
The Cowboys are converting to a 4-3 defense so it makes sense to add youth to the defensive line that can be a good fit for that scheme. Dawkins will thrive in a 4-3 as a DT that can pressure the QB. Dawkins ran a 5.0/40 and has the athletic ability to play at both DT and DE in a 4-3. His role could be to fit into the rotation on the line and can get after the QB with fresh legs at times.

Drafting an athletic DT here in the draft makes good sense for the Cowboys.

6th Round: DE David Bass, Missouri Western State
Bass (6-4, 262 lbs) was very productive at the division II level with 39.5 sacks and 56 tackles for a loss. That was against lesser competition no doubt but he did hold his own in the Shrine Bowl. Has excellent quickness and athletic ability to rush the passer at DE. Bass had the 4th best time in the shuttle of all DE prospects. Bass can provide depth at DE in the new 4-3 defense and develop into a pass rusher of the future.

Bass is described as a player with high character and it’s the type of guy that Jason likes to draft. I think they could count on him to work hard to develop his pass rushing skills and contribute in the near future.

These are six prospects that could help the Cowboys get over that 8-8 hump they are stuck on. Three offensive players and three defensive players to address the areas that need improving on both sides of the ball.

Here are the main points of my mock:
1. They must get one of the top three guards in the draft in order to improve their running game and give Romo protection in the middle.
2. They must come up with a safety that can provide good pass coverage.
3. They need depth on the defensive line and fortunately this draft is deep there so they can find help in later rounds.
4. It would be nice to get an OT that can replace Doug Free but it will be challenging to do while addressing other draft needs too.
5. It would be a good move to draft a RB that can replace Felix Jones and back up the often injured DeMarco Murray.