After the Dallas Cowboys midseason acquisition of Amari Cooper, they found themselves on a run to the Divisional round. Due to that trade, they’ll be without a first-round pick in this upcoming draft. Looking at their 2018 results, they are a likely regression candidate due to their record in close games.
In order to prevent that regression, they’ll need to make improvements to their roster. Starting with free agency, Dallas has a few decisions to make.
The Cowboys are expected to bring back 26 year-old edge rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Without that happening, the Cowboys mock draft will look drastically different. EDGE would become a top priority, rather than a position to target for depth.
Another key free agent is longtime slot receiver Cole Beasley, along with counterpart Tavon Austin. I’m anticipating the Cowboys to move on from both, as Beasley is in the back-half of his career and Austin was uninspiring in 2018.
In order to make these selections, I fired up our Mock Draft Machine, which releases to the public on February 25th. You can draft for one team, two teams, heck, you can draft for all 32 teams if you’d like. Make sure to keep your eye out for the launch!
Round 2, Pick 58: Taylor Rapp, SAF, Washington
Dallas will be looking for an answer next to free safety Xavier Woods, and could address the position in free agency. If they don’t, they’re likely to look at Rapp with their second round pick.
With a distributed frame, range and open-field tackling, Rapp would fit perfectly into the Cowboys secondary. His ability to play near the box and in man coverage on tight ends would be an ideal fit in the Jeff Heath role.
We should be talking about Taylor Rapp (6'0", 200) more than we currently are. He's a do it all type of safety.
Not as lengthy, but he reminds me a lot of Harrison Smith coming out of Notre Dame. pic.twitter.com/cNhemf15rg
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 11, 2019
Round 3, Pick 91: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
Dallas is likely to move on from free agent Geoff Swaim, and Rico Gathers has never lived up to his raw potential. While Blake Jarwin had one big receiving game in 2018, he has minimal career production. Rookie Dalton Schultz is best suited as a primary blocker.
This makes a pass-catching tight end a priority for the Cowboys, and this NFL Draft class is rich with them. Jace Sternberger provides size and potential after producing 832 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018. At 6’4 and 250 pounds, his size over the middle is something the Cowboys failed to provide Dak Prescott with in 2018.
Moses wants to keep inside leverage on Sternberger, good job by TE crossing his face with a quick move and making an extension grab with safety closing pic.twitter.com/IIKWw8y8b6
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) October 10, 2018
Round 4, Pick 122: Daylon Mack, IDL, Texas A&M
Dallas is likely to move on from oft-unavailable defensive tackle David Irving. They have some depth next to Tyrone Crawford in Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods, but they’ll look to add versatility and potential to their interior defensive line.
Daylon Mack is a former 5-star recruit who has impressed with appearances at the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. With violent hands and raw athleticism, he could fill in reps at the 1 or 3 technique.
Right now, it’s win with first step or bust for Daylon Mack. But he’s explosive for sure pic.twitter.com/QIZMoNPefK
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) July 2, 2018
Round 5, Pick 155: Jalen Hurd, WR/RB, Baylor
Dallas has needs with their weapons surrounding Dak Prescott. With Beasley likely out of the door and a need for a pass-catching running back, a versatile player such as Jalen Hurd can fill both of those complimentary roles.
Hurd has experience as a former 5-star running back coupled with raw receiving talent he showed in his lone season at Baylor. His size and athleticism could be utilized best in Dallas’ offense.
Former Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd (slot left) got on the scoreboard in his first game as a Baylor WR
Impressive body control and natural hands at the catchpoint pic.twitter.com/jQifDkXUV7
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) September 7, 2018
Round 7, Pick 219: Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
Dallas has a stacked linebacker core with young talents such as Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. However, they could add a prospect at the position for life after Sean Lee.
Dakota Allen has plus athleticism and instincts, with sideline to sideline speed and explosiveness as a tackler. While Dallas could use depth at the EDGE position as well, that could come with compensatory selections they are afforded.
The broadcast of Texas Tech-Ole Miss discussing Dakota Allen as he flies to the sideline to lay the wood… twice pic.twitter.com/SJXL5GZs2E
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) September 3, 2018
*REMINDER*: You can play general manager for your favorite team too when Mock Draft Machine releases to the public on February 25th!