A few weeks ago — back when I though the Dallas Cowboys were likely going to keep a hold on the No. 3 overall pick — I did a mock draft, just to see what they might get.
1) Mocking the Cowboys
This weekend I did another mock, this time at No. 8, which is the range of where the Cowboys would select going into action today. The question I wanted to answer was, “How much of a difference does five selections really make?”
Let’s find out. But, first, let’s take a look at that mock draft with the Cowboys at No. 4, done just six weeks ago (which seems like six months in COVID time):
First round: OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Second round: CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State
Third round: LB Jabril Cox, LSU
Third round: S Paris Ford, Pitt
Fourth round: Edge Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati
Fourth round: Edge Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame
Fifth round: CB T.J. Carter Memphis
Sixth round: DL Cory Durden, Florida State
Sixth round: Edge Chris Rumph, Duke
Seventh round: WR Marquez Stevenson, Houston
That first mock draft was heavy on defense, but it also came with the No. 1 tackle in the draft, Penei Sewell of Oregon. That mock was done shortly after we knew that Tyron Smith would be out of the rest of the season, and the Cowboys do have to think about the future at that left tackle position.
But with the Cowboys sliding back to No. 8, well, Sewell is unlikely an option anymore. So, this next mock draft ended up checking all of the defensive boxes in the first three rounds (the Cowboys are expected to have a compensatory pick in the third round):
First round: DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL)
Second round: CB Asante Samuel II, Florida State
Third round: DL Darius Stills, West Virginia
Third round: S Andre Cisco, Syracuse
Rousseau (6-7, 253) would give the Cowboys’ pass rush an immediate boost. Samuel II is a corner with an NFL pedigree (his father played in the league) and a first-round grade. Stills had a great 2020 at West Virginia and would boost the defensive interior. And Cisco would be an immediate contributor at safety. So, if you’re looking for a draft that might immediately help the defense, this could be your ticket.
Then, we get into some offensive depth (and potential help):
Fourth round: RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Fourth round: OT Myron Cunningham, Arkansas
Fifth round: OT Cordell Volson, North Dakota State
Hubbard was a 2,000-yard rusher at Oklahoma State in 2019. If you’re a conspiracy theorist who thinks the Cowboys might try to trade Ezekiel Elliott (I am not among them), then you might want some depth behind Tony Pollard. The tackle duo of Cunningham and Volson represent two players that have NFL potential and could be ready to assume a starting role around the time Smith decides to head off into the sunset (and I sincerely hope that it’s his choice and not his body’s).
After that, it was back to adding some depth on defense:
Sixth round: S Greg Eisworth II, Iowa State
Sixth round: DE Tyreke Smith, Ohio State
Seventh round: LB Ventrell Miller, Florida
These three fit the profile of players that the Cowboys like to take late — productive players from Power 5 programs. All three could make the team in 2021 and contribute. I personally think Eisworth is a bit of a steal in the sixth round.
So, if we’re looking at the difference between No. 3 and No. 8, it’s basically a top-flight offensive tackle. Is that a good trade-off? Given what the Cowboys need on the defensive side of the ball, it might just be a good trade-off.
Oh, and later on we go back into our weekly ‘Organic Tanking’ update and what the Cowboys need to do (lose) and who else needs to win to help the Cowboys move back up in the draft order. Getting out of No. 8 and into a higher pick is certainly a possibility, if things fall right.
2) Check out the Cowboy Maven Top 60 All-Time Dallas Cowboys
We published our Top 60 Dallas Cowboys of all-time as part of our celebration of the Cowboys’ 60 seasons in Dallas. We presented the Top 60 in groups of five. We hope you enjoyed the series and if you have an opinion, take them to our Cowboy Maven community or hit me up on Twitter at @PostinsPostcard.
If you missed any of the stories in our Top 60, just click on them below.
3) 'Boys vs. Boise?
The Cowboys will want to keep Kellen More, writes Fish ...
But he's already interviewed at Boise State, writes Fish ...
4) Cowboys Zero
5) Zeke Speaks: Should Pollard Start?
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott missed the Week 15 win over the 49ers due to his nasty calf contusion — and while he is practicing here at The Star on Christmas Eve in preparation for this Sunday, he is limited. Meanwhile, replacement Tony Pollard played very well last week — and as Zeke is the first to say, is "a special back.''
So all things considered, should Pollard start in NFL Week 16 vs. the visiting Philadelphia Eagles?
“I don’t really pay much attention to (the discussion),” Elliott said. “I don’t really know what to say to it. Tony is a great back, though. As you saw (last) weekend, he’s special. He can do some great things.''
It's true that Pollard had 69 yards rushing, another 63 yards receiving, and two total touchdowns in the victory over San Francisco. But Elliott is the one who has earned the "special'' tag — even if the two-time rushing champion is having a down year.
And that's where the bright minds of our guys on the "Locked On Cowboys'' podcast, hosts Marcus Mosher and Landon McCool, come in. There is a smart way to use both runners, right?
Plus, listen to their podcast from earlier in the week, Jerry Argues With Jerry: Was This Going to Be ‘One Of Best Cowboys Teams’?
6) Get ready for Sunday’s game with Philadelphia
Need to prep for Sunday’s game with the Eagles? Check out our primer below.
7) An ‘Organic Tanking’ Update
Each week we will update you on the Cowboys’ 2021 NFL Draft situation, mainly to see if they can improve their stock in any way as the season winds down.
Cowboys record entering this weekend’s action: 5-9.
Current selection (if season ended today): No. 8 (source: tankathon.com/nfl)
Who is ahead of Dallas?: New York Jets (1-13), New York Jets (1-13), Cincinnati (3-10-1), Carolina (4-10), Atlanta (4-10), Houston (4-10)*, Philadelphia (4-9-1).
Can Dallas catch any of these teams? Well, yeah. The Cowboys can catch the Eagles with a loss on Sunday. That would be the immediate way the Cowboys could move up one spot. Any of the four-win teams are in play, too. But the Jaguars, the Jets and the Bengals are out of reach at this point.
Who is chasing Dallas? Any team with five wins is a problem right now. That list includes the Los Angeles Chargers, the New York Giants, Detroit, San Francisco and Denver.
Games to watch this week?: Any game involving the teams with four or five wins is worth tracking. The most significant ones to watch include the Bengals and Texans (you’re a Texans fan in this one), the Panthers and Washington (you’re a Panthers fan in this one) and the Broncos and Chargers (you’re a Chargers fan in this one because the Broncos have a much higher strength of schedule (.560) than the Chargers (.487), and that’s the first tiebreaker).
If you’re a ‘tanker’… You need the Cowboys to lose, of course. Then, if the Texans, the Panthers and the Chargers can all win, then the Cowboys could slide up three spots to No. 5. I’m not counting on the Falcons beating the Chiefs. But, if for some reason that happened, too, the Cowboys would move back at No. 4.
*-Houston owes its first-round pick to Miami.
8) Updating Cowboys Draft Needs
Now that we are more than two-thirds of the way through the season, it’s time to update our 2021 Cowboys NFL Draft needs. Now, we can debate the ranking of these needs (and they’re being debated on Twitter). But looking ahead to next season, I find it hard to see any other major needs than the five I’ve included here. And needs are relative now as opposed to the draft in April, after the Cowboys have moved through free agency.
I will update these at the end of the regular season.
9) Whitt’s End: Cowboys Know Value Of Losing: Its Name Is 'Troy Aikman'
I am NOT an advocate of tanking, intentionally trying not to win games in order to improve a draft pick. While the team is mathematically alive for the playoffs, that is.
After that, yes. By all means, tank you very much.
Therefore, the Cowboys — much as it pains some fans — should attempt to beat the Eagles on Sunday. Washington will likely take care of the Panthers and win the NFC East to put us all out of misery. If so, the Cowboys should indeed win by losing their final game. Ben DiNucci, let’s see what you got. Trust me, come April we won’t remember that they drubbed quarterbacks named Brandon Allen (Bengals) and Nick Mullens (49ers). But we will be fixated on how much it would cost to move up a couple spots in the draft.
I saw a tweet this week that proclaimed, “Losing to improve draft position nurtures an organization of losers.” That person has never played checkers, or else he would be familiar with intentionally taking one step back to take two forward.
I covered the NBA in 1996, when the Spurs tanked the season and wound up getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 draft. Fella named Tim Duncan, who wound up winning five championships in San Antonio. “Organization of losers”, my ass.
I was also at Texas Stadium on Dec. 18, 1988, a day when an NFL team lost by winning and set forth the greatest dynasty in DFW sports.
10) Tweet Of The Week