Drafting Dallas 2020: 7-Round Mock Draft

What a difference a year makes.

For the Dallas Cowboys, the dreams of building upon the dramatic turnaround and postseason run that capped the 2018 season were dashed by the end of the 2019 calendar year. Despite a promising 3-0 start, America’s Team was ultimately defined by maddening inconsistency, inexplicably alternating between cruising and trudging through a disappointing 8-8 campaign.

Failing to reach the playoffs in the face of such high expectations, the organization was inevitably thrust into perhaps the most uncertain offseason they have experienced in some time.

Out was long-time head coach Jason Garrett, succeeded by former Green Bay Packers sideline general Mike McCarthy. The majority of the incumbent coaching staff was also allowed to walk, most notably defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and top assistant Kris Richard. Now in their place, a collection of well-traveled, experienced NFL staffers like Mike Nolan, Jim Tomsula, Joe Philbin, and John Fassel, and highly respected voices like Rob Davis and George Edwards.

The tabling of contract talks during the season with franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and star receiver Amari Cooper would also come to a head in the offseason. The signing of an eleventh-hour deal expects to see Cooper in silver and blue for his prime years, but Prescott’s future with the team is yet to be determined. The Cowboys used the franchise tag to secure his rights for the upcoming season, but it remains to be seen if he will sign either that or a potentially record-breaking contract that is rumored to make him the highest-paid player to date in the history of the NFL, let alone the Cowboys.

In the midst of these high-profile decisions, the Cowboys also must navigate through significant roster turnover. More than 30 players who wore the star entered the new league year as free agents, and Dallas has already seen a number of names sign with other teams, including Byron Jones, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins, Jeff Heath, and Randall Cobb. Even future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten bid farewell (again) to join the Las Vegas Raiders. That’s not to say the Cowboys aren’t welcoming some of those free agents back. Emerging tight end Blake Jarwin, veteran linebacker Sean Lee, and fan favorite offensive lineman Joe Looney will all be returning, along with a few others.

However, one unexpected departure also comes with the retirement of center Travis Frederick. While making a miraculous return this past season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in 2018, the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl pivot made decision to leave the gridiron for life after football in March.

With a coaching staff, roster, and salary cap situation that will look markedly different in comparison to the last few years, knowing what to expect from the Cowboys moving forward is anyone’s guess. But, when it comes to the 2020 NFL Draft, I do feel like there are a few things becoming clear, which leads us to this exercise.

In this one and only edition of Drafting Dallas 2020, I’m assuming front office duties to mock draft the full seven rounds for the Cowboys using my DRAFTPLEX Board and the current official draft order. For context, this isn’t a prediction or projection of what the actual front office will do, nor is it a fantasy draft where the best players just happen to conveniently fall to the Cowboys. I will be making my selections as realistically as I can based on my evaluations and how I think the board could fall.

That all being said, let’s go on the clock with Drafting Dallas 2020.

Round 1 | Pick 17
K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU
Effectively priced out of retaining defensive end Robert Quinn and cornerback Byron Jones—and doing virtually nothing thus far in terms of replacing them through free agency—the Cowboys would seem to be narrowing down their first-round draft considerations to the edge and the boundary. Should that hold true, their draft-night decision may come down to choosing between high-ceiling pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson or toolsy cornerback C.J. Henderson. Given the relatively pedestrian edge class and the depth of the cornerback class by comparison, I gave the nod to Chaisson. The former LSU Tiger doesn’t come without questions, but his flashes are incredibly compelling and his upside as a potential game-wrecker is undeniable.

Most likely alternative:
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida

Not expected to be there:
Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina


Watch out for:
CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Round 2 | Pick 51
Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn
Following the projected pick of Chaisson, I would expect the Cowboys to then lean in on finding a replacement for Byron Jones. While the cornerback room returns Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown, the experience and continuity that they bring back is offset by the reality that none reside at or expect to reach the CB1 level of their former teammate. The contracts of Awuzie and Lewis are also up following the 2020 season, increasing the urgency of reloading the position. Igbinoghene is far from a finished product as a pass defender, but his rapid development in just two years at the cornerback position and room for continued growth could make him a more intriguing option than some of his more battle-tested draft counterparts.

Most likely alternative:
Justin Madubuike, DL, Texas A&M

Not expected to be there:
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota

Watch out for:
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Round 3 | Pick 82
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina
The Cowboys’ defensive line rotation expects to look a lot different this season compared to years past, with what appears to be a greater emphasis on size, strength, and pedigree and less reliance on the coaching staff squeezing every last ounce of talent and production out of late-round draft choices and unheralded free-agent finds. Look no further than the signings of former first-rounders Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe to man the interior. But even with those reinforcements, the nonexistent contribution from second-round selection Trysten Hill and the tentative return of veteran Tyrone Crawford from injured reserve could lead the Cowboys to look for more help. Strowbridge showed out during the pre-draft process and flashes starter-quality tools at strongside end along with the flex to reduce inside as a sub-package pass rusher.

Other possible options:
Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

Round 4 | Pick 123
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
With Amari Cooper signed and the emergence of Michael Gallup, the Cowboys are set on the outside at receiver. But, with veteran slot Randall Cobb moving on to Houston after a productive year in Dallas, the Cowboys are in need of a reliable receiving option to work underneath and across the middle. Hill leaves Ohio State as one of the most accomplished pass catchers in the program’s storied history, including being the holder of the school’s all-time record for receptions. If not for his average size and lack of a defining physical trait, he’d probably be off the board much earlier, but with his crafty route-running and ability to create separation, he should certainly be in the conversation to receive a call from Dallas early on Day 3.

Other possible options:
Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
Quartney Davis, WR, Texas A&M

Round 5 | Pick 164
Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati
After a year in retirement followed by one-season swansong in the silver and blue, Jason Witten and the Cowboys seem to have finally put each other in the rear-view mirror, at least in terms of his time as a player. Meanwhile, the tight end torch appears to be officially passed to Blake Jarwin, who should be a more featured part of the offense in 2020. Offseason acquisition Blake Bell also expects to figure into the 53, likely as an in-line blocker. But, adding an H-back type like Deguara would provide an added dimension from the position for the Cowboys to work with in deploying their offense.

Round 5 | Pick 179 (compensatory)
Geno Stone, S, Iowa
The departure of the polarizing Jeff Heath coupled with the arrival of former first-round pick turned journeyman Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has the feeling of a break-even situation at safety where the front office is concerned. Between this and the team’s recent history of not investing significant resources into the position, I once again don’t expect the Cowboys to address the last line of defense early. That said, they could look later in the draft to bring in another name to add to a depth chart that also includes Xavier Woods, Darian Thompson, and Donovan Wilson. Stone is a scrappy, undersized defender with plus ball skills and play-making ability, and he carries a chip that could also help him make a name for himself on special teams.

Round 7 | Pick 231
Tanner Muse, LB, Clemson
The Cowboys love to draft linebackers and they love to draft from big-time programs. With 59 games logged for a perennial NCAA powerhouse, Tanner Muse certainly fits that bill. Not really thought of much as a prospect coming into the pre-draft process, a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine has put Muse firmly in consideration for a late-round selection. Likely transitioning from college safety to NFL linebacker, his in to a roster spot would expect to be as a core special teamer as he works to do more than just round out the linebacker depth chart.

Validated using the DRAFTPLEX Board with the Fanspeak On The Clock Mock Draft Simulator
https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/sharedraft.php?d=yfzirk


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2020 NFL Mock Drafts | COMING SOON

Thanks for visiting! 2020 NFL Mock Drafts will be coming soon! For now, check out the Archive!


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2019 NFL Mock Draft: Day 2 Bonus Edition

The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is officially closed and what a night it was! But, we still have two full days of picks to come. With that in mind, I am pleased to present my 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Day 2 Bonus Edition. These Round 2 and Round 3 projections are based on the draft order as it currently stands and my impression of remaining team needs.

Second-round projections are featured on this page. To view the complete DRAFTPLEX 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Day 2 Bonus Edition that includes third-round selections, use the button below.


SECOND ROUND



Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2019 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Final Edition

After months of evaluation and speculation, click-bait and hot takes, the 2019 NFL Draft will finally go live from Nashville on Thursday night. As much as we all want to think we know heading in, we all understand that once teams officially go on the clock, the entire game changes. There will be prospects that unexpectedly rise and slide, trades that make perfect sense and none at all, and selections that surprise no one and shock everyone. It’s what makes the draft fun as a fan and compelling as an evaluator.

With that being said, I am pleased to present my 4.0 and final 2019 NFL Mock Draft. These first-round projections are based on the current draft order and my impression of team needs as of April 23, with consideration given to potential trade scenarios.

Enjoy the draft!

FIRST ROUND


1 | Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
I started the process projecting Kyler Murray to the Cardinals when virtually no one else was and despite recent reports that the Arizona front office is still weighing its options in the eleventh hour, I will finish the process with that projection.

2 | San Francisco 49ers — Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The 49ers may consider Nick Bosa here, but I think the Raiders might make a play to move up for the Ohio State end. That said, whether they sit at #2 or bump down to #4 in a trade, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that San Francisco prefers Quinnen Williams regardless.

3 | New York Jets — Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
I’ve liked the fit, but I’ve hesitated projecting Ed Oliver to the Jets because I couldn’t confidently say they would draft him at #3. I still can’t say for sure, but I could see a trade-back situation where they drop down a few spots and are still able to land him.

4 | Oakland Raiders — Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
With scenarios on the table that include them standing in to draft the third of the three top defenders, taking the first LB off the board, and potentially coveting a QB, the Oakland war room has gone dark at #4. I’ll venture that the Raiders will attempt to work a deal with the 49ers, jumping up to #2 to draft their pass rusher.

5 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Devin White, LB, LSU
The Buccaneers could look at drafting Josh Allen here, but I feel like they might make a go of it with their edge defenders as they are. Instead, I’ll follow the smoke that’s been wafting around Tampa Bay all draft season and project them to take Devin White.

6 | New York Giants — Josh Allen, RSH, Kentucky
There’s no way to tell if the Giants are truly interested in drafting a QB at #6 — until they don’t. If Josh Allen remains on the board after the top five cards have been turned in, I think there’s a strong chance he goes from one Big Blue to another.

7 | Jacksonville Jaguars — Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Jawaan Taylor to Jacksonville has been a popular prospect-team projection. The fit and value makes sense, so I’m maintaining the pick I made for the Jaguars in my seven-round Super Mock.

8 | Detroit Lions — Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama
I’m not sure the Lions don’t look for defensive help or possibly trade out of #8, but Jonah Williams to Detroit has been gaining steam in recent days. He’d be an immediate upgrade and long-term solution for an offensive line in need of both.

9 | Buffalo Bills — Brian Burns, RSH, Florida State
The Bills spent millions of dollars in free agency to improve their offense, which leads me to believe this pick will be on defense — specifically a pass rusher. Brian Burns has the tools and traits to develop into an incredibly disruptive force off the edge for Buffalo.

10 | Denver Broncos — Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
While they traded for former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, John Elway and the Broncos clearly love Drew Lock — they might even trade up to guarantee they get their latest QB of the future. That said, if they choose to ride with their veteran signal caller, expect one of the next two picks to become a Bronco instead.

11 | Cincinnati Bengals — Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
I think Dwayne Haskins would make sense for the Bengals with Andy Dalton as the bridge, but Cincinnati might not have the opportunity to draft the former Buckeye if Miami or Washington moves up. Devin Bush would make an excellent alternative for a team that seemingly has an annual offseason need at LB.

12 | Green Bay Packers — T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
The Packers have veteran options at tight end in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis, but both are past their prime and neither is long for Lambeau for more than a season at best. If T.J. Hockenson lasts until #12, I expect him to be bound for Titletown.

13 | Miami Dolphins — Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Christian Wilkins would be a quality player, leader, and locker room presence for a franchise starting over. I could also see the Dolphins trading back, as they desperately need picks to help rebuild a roster that might be the most devoid of talent in the league.

14 | Atlanta Falcons — Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma
The Falcons will look hard at adding another edge rusher, but I don’t think Ty Sambrailo is their first choice to fill the vacancy at right tackle. I do think they like Cody Ford, though, and I think he steps right into the starting role.

15 | Washington Redskins — Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The Redskins appeared to be a suitor for Josh Rosen and they still might be. However, they might be content to draft a QB and I think their guy, if available, is Dwayne Haskins. I’d venture they’d even consider chasing him up the board into the top ten if they could strike a deal.

16 | Carolina Panthers — Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Drafting an edge rusher like a sliding Montez Sweat or high-floor Clelin Ferrell is a definite possibility for the Panthers, but I think it’s time they finally drafted a left tackle. Andre Dillard would be the target.

17 | New York Giants (via CLE) — Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
The word is that the NFL likes Daniel Jones more than those of us in the draft community and that the Giants covet him the most. That’s enough for me to assume that if he’s on the board at #17, he will be drafted as the eventual successor to Eli Manning.

18 | Minnesota Vikings — Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
The Vikings offensive line has the potential to be a game of musical chairs before the season begins and they project to introduce another player early. I would expect Chris Lindstrom to come in and start at guard or possibly right tackle.

19 | Tennessee Titans — Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
I feel like the Titans are one of the hardest teams to read in the first round because they can realistically go in any direction. That said, they were linked to Jeffery Simmons before his ACL injury and might still value him enough to draft him at #19.

20 | Pittsburgh Steelers — D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Everyone expects D.K. Metcalf to be drafted in the first round and I think Pittsburgh is a potential landing spot. He has the size and straight-line speed that they tend to employ outside and he would enter into a situation where he can develop instead of dealing with the pressure to be WR1 right out of the gate.

21 | Seattle Seahawks — Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The Seahawks were able to flip Frank Clark to the Chiefs, the key piece in return being Kansas City’s first-round selection at #29, but that makes Seattle’s first order of business drafting his replacement at #21. Clelin Ferrell may not have Clark’s ceiling, but he’s ready-made for a starting role in the NFL.

22 | Baltimore Ravens — Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
The Ravens could pursue an edge rusher or wide receiver here, but I venture their priority will be protecting QB Lamar Jackson and strengthening their running game now led by Mark Ingram. Garrett Bradbury would project to be their new starter at the pivot.

23 | Houston Texans — Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
The two glaring weaknesses for the Texans are the offensive line and the secondary. The cornerback position should stretch until their back-to-back selections in the second round, but offensive tackle will not. If they don’t attempt to trade up for one of the top three tackles, Little is the consolation prize.

24 | Oakland Raiders (via CHI) — Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
The Raiders don’t have much in the way of a weapon at the tight end position and Fant is exactly that. The Iowa product would fit in nicely as a matchup player alongside their remade receiving corps that now includes Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, and Ryan Grant.

25 | Philadelphia Eagles —Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
With a lingering shoulder issue, questions about his positional fit, and his lack of college production, I expect Gary will be drafted lower than his athletic profile would suggest. But, I feel like the Eagles might be the team to swoop in, bank on his potential, and attempt to groom him into an impact professional.

26 | Indianapolis Colts — Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
The Colts could be in the market for another front-line defender, but they’ve also been connected to Johnathan Abram, who would pair with Malik Hooker to give Indianapolis one of the better young safety tandems in the NFL.

27 | Oakland Raiders (via DAL) — Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
I expect cornerback to be a target for the Raiders early, which could put any of the top prospects in play. While Mike Mayock’s voice as an analyst has been absent from draft coverage, I can just hear him raving about Rock Ya-Sin and jumping at the chance to drape him in the silver and black.

28 | Los Angeles Chargers — Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
If they don’t look to escape the first round with an offensive tackle, cornerback looks to be where need and value line up for the Chargers. Greedy Williams could be a steal for San Diego with his measurables and coverage skills.

29 | Seattle Seahawks (via KC) —Montez Sweat, RSH, Mississippi State
I have a feeling the Seahawks might elect to parlay the pick acquired from the Chiefs in a trade down to procure more draft assets. But if they stand in, I could see them double-dip at edge by taking Montez Sweat, whose stock is rumored to have fallen due to concerns about his known heart condition.

30 | Green Bay Packers (via NO) — A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
The Packers will probably give consideration to drafting an offensive or defensive lineman with their second first-round selection, but they could also choose to upgrade their pedestrian receiving corps by pairing A.J. Brown with Davante Adams.

31 | Los Angeles Rams — Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
The Rams have multiple positions of reasonable need, including their offensive line and virtually every level of their defense. Seeing they’re short a second-round pick, trading out of the first round is also a possibility. If they stand in and pick, Dexter Lawrence makes sense to line up next to Aaron Donald, where he can draw double-team blocks and push the pocket with his power.

32 | New England Patriots — Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
The Patriots are loaded with draft capital, but I don’t expect them to make twelve picks over the course of seven rounds. Look for them to wheel and deal, possibly shooting up the board in the first round to draft a playmaker — perhaps the electric Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown.


Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX

2019 NFL Draft Super Mock

With one week until the next wave of NFL players officially arrive on the scene, I am pleased to present my 2019 NFL Draft Super Mock. For this exercise, I went on the clock for all 32 teams across all seven rounds to make all 254 selections. These projections are based on the official draft order and my impression of team needs heading into the draft, and do not reflect any potential trade scenarios.

First-round selections are featured on this page. To view the complete DRAFTPLEX 2019 NFL Draft Super Mock, including each pick in order of selection and the breakdown of picks by conference, division, and team, use the button below.


FIRST ROUND



Jason Pruett
DRAFTPLEX