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Dallas Cowboys 2011 Mock Draft, Version 2.0: Rounds 1-7

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Jonathan Bales

You can see my first Cowboys-only mock draft here.  Both that mock and this one contain a built-in assumption that the Cowboys will sign a veteran free safety in free agency.  Michael Huff (Raiders) and Eric Weddle (Chargers) are two guys I love, but pretty much anyone can beat Alan Ball and his 67.7 percent overall grade for the 2010 season.  You can see all of my safety grades here.

The Cowboys may target UCLA’s Rahim Moore in the second round, but I don’t think the team should put all of their eggs in the rookie safety basket.  This class is awfully weak at safety, and filling that hole via free agency will allow the organization to concentrate on other needs, such as right tackle and defensive end.

It is becomingly increasingly obvious that USC tackle Tyron Smith is a legitimate option, and probably the favorite, for the Cowboys at No. 9 overall.  The team desperately needs an upgrade over right tackle Marc Colombo, and Smith played right tackle during his time at USC.

Smith is an extremely athletic player and the future of NFL linemen.  His selection would be a good indicator the Cowboys are moving in the right direction.

The ‘Boys may try to trade up for Patrick Peterson or Marcel Dareus if either player falls past the fifth pick, but that may be unlikely.  Smith was the pick in my last 32-team mock draft.

  • Round 2: Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton

I recently performed a March Madness-style “tournament” with 16 prospects who could get selected by Dallas in the second round.  I concluded that, if the ‘Boys do not plan on signing a veteran free safety, Rahim Moore is the most likely candidate to go No. 40 overall.  The other “Final Four” prospects were Miami CB Brandon Harris, Baylor guard Danny Watkins, and Ohio State defensive tackle Cameron Heyward.

But what if the Cowboys go “off the map” in the second round?  Who is someone we are all overlooking who could potentially land in Big D?  Enter Kenrick Ellis.

I understand new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said he will keep Jay Ratliff at nose tackle.  Guess what?  I don’t necessarily believe him.  If the Cowboys are on the clock and their highest-rated player is a nose tackle, they would be foolish to pass on him.

The concerns about Ellis are plentiful.  He was dismissed from South Carolina for academic reasons and marijuana use.  He was suspended this season due to assault.  There are concerns about his work ethic and weight (he is reportedly 346 pounds).  All of these issues could lead Dallas to take him off their board.

But you don’t often find true 3-4 nose tackles with Ellis’ athleticism.  He has big-school talent that he used to dominate his competition at Hampton.  He’s a mean player that, despite off-field work ethic concerns, works very hard in games.  Most importantly, he is the two-gap defensive lineman that Rob Ryan covets.  Mike Mayock recently stated Ellis will not get out of the second round.  He’s a “sleeper” to go to Dallas here, but don’t rule it out just yet.

I had Rackley going to Dallas in my last Cowboys-only mock as well.  That’s because I really like him and I know the Cowboys do too.  Actually, Rackley was just in town on April 5 for a visit and lengthy conversation with Jerry Jones (via Rackley’s Facebook. . .he requested me guys, cause we’re tight like that).  I recently interviewed Rackley and I think his versatility to play any position on the line would be huge for Dallas.

In that mock, I had him going in the fourth round, but I really think the ‘Boys will need to spend their third round selection on Rackley to secure him.  He is gaining some steam and a third round pick would by no means constitute an ‘overpayment’ for Rackley.

I see Rackley playing guard in Dallas (especially if the team drafts Smith, obviously).  I’ve been very high on Kosier the past two years, voting him the team’s most underrated player in 2009 and providing him with the seventh-highest grade in 2010.  The Cowboys need an infusion of youth along the entire offensive line, however, and who better than a prospect with legitimate potential to play every position on the line?  From my scouting report on Rackley:

I do think whoever drafts Rackley should at least give him a look at tackle.  He’s quite athletic for a 310-pounder, displaying great knee bend and quick hand movement.  His lateral movement and slide in pass protection are superb.

Rackley’s athleticism allows him to play with tremendous leverage.  He can easily get to the second level in the running game, which is something Dallas is missing right now at right tackle.  It sure would be nice to be able to run a toss or counter to the right side of the field, huh?

Rackley’s mobility is complemented well by his strength.  He has a very thick lower body, and his upper body strength is adequate (29 reps at the Combine).

  • Round 4:  Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville

Patrick is No. 66 on my revised Big Board (yet to be published).  I recently posted a scouting report on Patrick in which I wrote:

At 6’0”, Johnny Patrick has a long frame that allows him to effectively re-route receivers at the line-of-scrimmage.  He will become even more effective at that when he adds five or 10 more pounds (he’s only 190).  Despite being thin, Patrick is physical in all aspects of the game.  He’s generally a willing tackler.  He could benefit from using better technique at times, but a willing attitude is far and away the most important aspect of tackling.

Patrick has plenty of flaws, but he possesses the sort of upside you want in a mid-round draft pick.

  • Round 5:  Lawrence Guy, DT/DE, Arizona State

Once considered a potential second-rounder, Guy has dropped down boards.  He never tallied much production at Arizona State and his arms are shorter than you would like.  Nonetheless, Guy is a natural 3-4 defensive end with tremendous character and intelligence.

  • Round 6:  Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville

I personally have no interest in Powell.  Despite his production in 2010 (1405 yards rushing and 14 total touchdowns), I think Powell is a better fit for a zone-blocking scheme.  He is a downhill, one-cut runner who doesn’t possess great lateral quickness or burst.  I would much prefer Pitt’s Dion Lewis here, but the Cowboys have shown heavy interest in Powell.  I think Garrett views him as a potential replacement for Barber.  Little does he know, he already has that player on the roster in Tashard Choice.

  • Round 7: Kristofer O’Dowd, C, USC

O’Dowd is a talented player who may not last this long, but centers tend to drop.  O’Dowd has also been horrible since the season ended, getting blown backwards all week in Senior Bowl practices and running just a 5.16 40-yard dash at the Combine.  He has the potential to play any position along the interior line, however.

  • Round 7:  Alex Wujciak, ILB, Maryland

The National Football Posts’ Wes Bunting characterized Wujciak as “tough, instinctive, and hard-nosed.”  He’s not going to ‘wow’ you with athleticism, but he is a good football player.  He’s a hard-worker that, with Sean Lee taking over Keith Brooking’s role, could eventually be the Cowboys’ “new” Bradie James.

Overall Thoughts

You can see this mock draft is heavy on both the offensive and defensive lines.  If the Cowboys came out of the 2011 Draft with high-upside prospects at tackle (Smith), guard (Rackley), and center (O’Dowd), I would be thrilled.

Plus, the Ellis/Guy combination would do a lot to strengthen the defensive front.  With Ellis and Josh Brent manning the nose, Ratliff would upgrade the defensive end spot.  He would join forces with (perhaps) Stephen Bowen and/or Jason Hatcher (Bowen is more likely to stay, in my opinion).  With Guy as a prospect for the future, the line is suddenly looking okay.  Throw in improved play from Anthony Spencer and the continued emergence of Victor Butler, and the Cowboys’ potential pass-rush looks a whole lot more formidable.

Personally, I would pass on Powell.  I do think the ‘Boys should address the running back position late in the draft, but there are an abundance of talented second and third round talents who will drop.  Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington), Graig Cooper (Miami), Dion Lewis (Pitt), Shane Vereen (Cal), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), and Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) are all players I really like and have rated anywhere from No. 34 to No. 63 on my Big Board.  A few of those backs will go later than they should, and Dallas can and should benefit from that.

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22 Responses to Dallas Cowboys 2011 Mock Draft, Version 2.0: Rounds 1-7

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I’d agree w/ your mock w/ the exception of Moore. Yes, this draft is weak at FS but I still think the Boys’ would be better served to address the position w/ someone (that is, someone who has PLAYED the position most of their college career and projects to at least be above average) from the draft just in case free agency is “constrained” or is drastically changed to the point that it’s difficult for the Boys’ to pick up a FA FS. Thus, Moore would be my 2nd round pick. I’d still look for Ellis in the 3rd (where lots of mocks project him) but if he’s not there I’d look at Jerrel Powe. Rackley is essentially an “insurance” pick for Tyron Smith which is a good idea if Dallas didn’t have so many needs – since they do, I don’t think he needs to be drafted by them at all.

    I honestly don’t expect any significant contributions from anyone picked up after the 1st three rounds of this draft (outside of special teams), so your 4th – 7th is fine w/ me.

    I might think about drafting a kicker in the 6th or 7th (given Beuhler’s issues) but only one who projects to be ELITE…I honestly haven’t looked at any kickers yet so I have no idea if any do or not.

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Almost forgot…

    If Ijalana is available in the 2nd round at 40, he’s a no brainer pick for the Boys!

  3. Mark Sands says:

    Mike Pouncey just tweeted his fans saying that “Frankly, I would be very surprised if Im wearing anything other than a star on the side of my helmet after the draft, but we will have to wait and see.” Number 9 is to early for Pouncey– this might mean that the trade with NE to move down is in the works (Dallas gives #9 and #110 for NE #17 and #33).

  4. Tyrone–Well, I envision Rackley eventually playing guard. I would give him a shot at OT and make sure he has that down for versatility reasons, but I think he could be the RG of the future for the ‘Boys. A Free, Kosier, Gurode, Rackley, Smith line looks good for 2011, with another top interior lineman (or Costa, perhaps) in 2012. What do you say? And I would go as far on Ijalana to say if he drops anywhere into the second, a move up would be necessary.

  5. Mark–I saw that about Pouncey, and it is surprising. Not sure how he thinks Dallas will get him, as he appears to be in that gray area where a trade down from the first and trade up from the second wouldn’t really work. Maybe he should talk to Randy Moss and Shawne Merriman about “knowing” the Cowboys will draft them haha

  6. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Given that each NFL team can only carry 54 players into the season, the “breakdown” of people at positions is key. I think Dallas’ 2 TE sets makes them want to carry 4 TEs which takes away from needs at other positions. I think Dallas should go w/ 3 TEs and 2 FBs and carry an extra FG kicker. They should carry both FBs on game day and leave the 3rd RB off of the active list. The roster would look like:

    3 QBs – Romo, Kitna, McGee (emergency QB)
    3 RBs – Jones, Choice, Miller
    2 FBs – Gronkowski, draft pick (doubles as short ydge back and TE)
    5 WRs – Williams, Austin, Bryant, Ogletree, (pick em among current personnel)
    3 TEs – Witten, Bennett, Philips
    5 Starting O line – Free, Gurode, Kosier, Davis or Holland, TBD (draft pick)
    5 Backup O line – Parnell, Young, Costa, TBD (pick em), TBD (draft or FA)

    That’s 26 offensive personnel.

    6 D lineman – Ratliff, Bowen, Brent, Hatcher, Geathers or Lissemore, TBD (draft pick)
    8 LBs – Ware, Lee, James, Spencer, Butler, L Williams, TBD (draft or FA), TBD (draft or FA or pickem)
    5 CBs – Newman, Jenkins, Scandrick, McCann, Ball or draft pick
    3 FS – Ball or free agent, Owuso-Ansah, draft pick
    2 SS – Sensabaugh, Church or FA/draft pick

    That’s 24 defensive personnel.

    1 P – McBriar
    2 K – Beuhler and FA or draft pick
    1 LS – LaDoucuer

    That’s 54 people.

    From the way I see it, Dallas needs 2 or 3 O linemen, a DT/DE, LB (probably ILB), CB, FS and SS to be addressed either in the draft of via free agency. Since FA probably won’t occur until after the draft, the smartest strategy would be to address those positions that have the greatest need w/ draft picks just in case FA isn’t favorable for picking up people (new rules for restricted free agency, different franchise rules, etc.)

    With that, I go with a RT or DE in the 1st round (probably after trading down) if the cost is too high to get Peterson. The 2nd round is crucial in that this is the best value position the Boys will have in the entire draft. I go with Ijalana, Moore, Aaron Williams, Phil Taylor, Martez Wilson, Kenrick Ellis or Cameron Heyward (one of them should be available) – I don’t like Aldon Smith or Christian Ballard here at all. In the 3rd, I’d have to go w/ IT DEPENDS on who we picked up in rd 1 and 2. Of the notables, I like Rackley, Greg Jones, Wisniewski, Marcus Cannon, Ras I-Dowling or, of course, any of those mentioned previoulsy. 4th round – this is where the FB comes in. I’d say Dallas needs to go after Owen Marecic or Stanley Havili. Other 4th rounders might include Ian Williams, Robert Sands, Chris Culliver, Alex Henery, DeMarcus Love or Kristofer O’Dowd. 5th round – Lee Ziemba, Joe Lefeged, Casey Matthews or Jeremy Kerley (yes, he’s a WR but in the 5th round he’s a definitely draft if he’s there).

    After the 5th, I don’t really concern myself w/ anyone …

    If, somehow, the Boys are able to trade up and get Patrick Peterson, all bets then they will probably have to give up their 2nd round pick (where they lose the most value). The draft strategy stays the same w/ the 3rd round on forward.

  7. Here are my agreements/disagreements:
    – Agree on 3 TE, but I think one FB is plenty, assuming John Phillips is healthy (FB/TE versatility)
    – I don’t see Miller making the final roster..I think it will be a rookie
    – Even though I don’t want it, I’m pretty sure Brooking will make the team again…Leon Williams is out
    – I think Newman is gone and Ball AND a rookie make the roster
    – FA AND rookie at FS
    – Will both Church and McCray make the team again? I really have no idea.
    – I think Kris Brown is kicking FGs for Dallas in 2011

    Awesome breakdown though. Interested in others’ thoughts on this subject.

  8. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys Potential 2011 Draft Pick: Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton | Dallas Cowboys Times

  9. Mark Sands says:

    I still believe that the time to trade Kitna is now,while we can get something for him. The Boys will be offered some serious draft picks for him this year, but next year nothing.I’d bring in a developmental guy in a late pick,and make Mcgee the backup. Running back-Barber is gone–Miller is also . I do agree that a good fullback is needed–I LOVE STANLEY HAVILI—Gronkowski is gone(I’ve never seen this guy do anything right-including not making the block that put our QB out for the season). I hope Newman is still with the team-I’d think about moving him to one of the safety spots, or allow him to back up at CB. WR,TE,LB, are ok. I believe Bueller will be the kicker,and Brown brought in to motivate him. They won’t keep both.DL looks good unless you can bring in a real stud. I believe that Marcus Spears is highly under-rated and we will miss him(dont know what you’ve got till its gone). The three man front isnt working by itself-you must blitz somebody every play. Our defensive backfield is awful. I’d keep Jenkins ,Newman, and Ansah—and scrap the rest, just start over.As for OL-They need to get younger–bring in one or two from the draft to help out. Who wants to bet that Columbo shows up for camp in the best condition he’s ever been in,and has a great pre-season?

  10. Mark–Like a lot of your thoughts…but I will take your bet on Colombo haha…IMO, he is SO far behind where he needs to be that there is no recovering. I don’t think he even makes it to camp.

  11. john says:

    I like the mock. I’d love it if they spent two of their first three picks on the O-line. I could live with taking a premier player if he fell to us: someone like Fairley. But I’d be happy if they moved down and addressed the O-line early and often.
    We need to have a good draft (we’re due).
    Any opinion on Haruki Nakamura (FS Ravens)? He has an original draft pick tender on him (6th round). He’s always had some very good players in front of him on the depth chart, but I think he’d be better than any other sixth round safety out there.

  12. John–I will be honest..I know very little about Nakamura. Having said that, I can still say he’s better than Ball.

  13. john coleman says:

    I too like this mock overall. The 1st three are outstanding. Patrick and Wujciak I can deal with. Powell and O’Dowd, not so fast my friend. Guy is a toss up.

    Again for sure I like the 1st three and consider tose to address our three biggest needs.

    I also like Mark’s thoughts on a move down with NE and the possibility of shopping Kitna. There will be a quality RT at #17 and #33(Carimi and Sherrod). Also moving down would make Taylor an option at #17.

    As I have said all along the real value in this draft is from say #22-#75.

  14. Omar says:

    I still think the Cowboys get Peterson but my mock would be

    1st Tyron Smith
    2nd Benjamin Ijalana
    3rd Rahim Moore
    4th Ras I Dowling
    5th Roy Helu Jr.
    6th Kris O’Dowd.
    7th Ryan Hill

  15. Omar says:

    Err…I also have Rodney Hudson being the pick in the third round.

  16. JC–You know I like Patrick more than most. I’m not so high on trading Kitna…how much can you really get for such an old QB, albeit one who played well last year? He’s a heck of an asset if Romo goes down for a month or so. If you’re backup can go 3-1, or even 2-2, that’s good.

    Omar–I would LOVE this mock but no way it happens haha….I do not think Ijalana will be there in 2, although there is a small chance. There is NO way Moore or Dowling are available where you have them. Moore will likely be a 2nd rd pick, and Dowling as well. What makes you think those players will drop?

  17. GT says:

    If you can trade down to the patriots and get their 33rd pick that would be great. At 17, you could take Gabe Carimi, who is the kind of huge lineman that Jerry Jones loves. Than at 33, you could take Ras-I Dowling instead of Marcus Cannon, because there is a better chance Moore falls instead of Cannon. This would give them a tackle, guard (who is similar in size to Leonard Davis, who is creeping up there in age) and a cornerback to replace Terrence Newman who is most likely leaving. In the third, you could go Jarvis Jenkins, who would fill in one of the holes that Spears/Hatcher/Bowen leave, and in the fourth you could go Jaiquan Jarret, who projects to be a FS, even though he played SS in college. Than in the 5th, you could go Lawrence Guy, in the 6th Jerod Johnson (to eventually start when Sensabaugh leaves) and in the 7th, Mario Harvey, who was a tackling machine at Marshall. with Keith Brooking retiring soon and Sean Lee injury prone, inside linebacker depth is a major need. Plus, Harvey is athletic enough that he start in a couple years, potentially replacing Bradie James when he retires. With the other 7th pick, they could try Ricardo Lockett, who while raw, is fast and has the potential to be a good post or nickel WR/KR. Wouldn’t that make more sense than all OT’s/DL’s and one cornerback. It would rejuvenate their offensive line, add linebacker depth, find a replacement for Alan Ball, Terrence Newman, Kyle Kosier, and Marc Colombo.

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  19. GT–I would have no problem with Carimi, but I think 33 is much too early for Dowling. He has risen, but I think he could still be available in the 3rd.

  20. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys 2011 Seven-Round Mock Draft: Signing a Free Agent Tackle « Top Sports Hub

  21. Omar says:

    JB, I got Husdson in the third…he’s a guard, unless your last name is Iupati you’ll fall if you’re a gard. As far as Dowling goes? Meh, I dunno he seems like a late riser to the second round but I think the other four CBs will go higher than than he will. Just a hunch.

  22. Omar–I think Hudson could go in the back of the second, but 3rd is probably just as likely. And yeah, I think Dowling will be the fifth CB off the board as well.

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