I've been mocking Joey Bosa to the Cowboys for quite a while, but only because Jalen Ramsey hasn't been available. They like Bosa, but Ramsey is the No. 1 player on their board. As potentially the best player in this draft, he would add a much-needed dominating presence to Dallas' secondary. I'll be shocked if the Cowboys pass on him, as they've already said they're not trading the pick.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB - Jerry Jones wants Elliott, but he has been overruled a lot recently. See Johnny Manziel.
2. Joey Bosa, DE/OLB - With Greg Hardy on his way out, and Randy Gregory now one strike away from a year-long suspension, Bosa makes a ton of sense for the Cowboys.
With Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory serving four-game suspensions and being another incident away from a much longer sentence, the Cowboys almost have to address their pass rush early. They could be interested in Noah Spence and his superb athleticism.
Pick change; previously Kevin Dodd, DE
Rd. 3, Pk. 4
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
The Cowboys will consider Dak Prescott in the second half of Day 2. They want a solid backup as well as a successor for Tony Romo. As a Hall of Fame running back once said, this is killing two stones with one bird.
Rd. 4, Pk. 3
Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
Darren McFadden looked good this past season, but the Cowboys can't really count on him for the long term. The same goes for Alfred Morris. Here's their running back of the future.
Rd. 4, Pk. 37
Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah
I mentioned earlier that the Cowboys have a lacking pass rush right now, especially in the first four games. Adding more edge players makes sense.
Supposedly, the Cowboys are hot for Ramsey and if he gets to their pick he's a slam-dunk selection. Dallas would play Ramsey at corner, but also could move him to safety depending on the situation.
Sources with multiple playoff teams have told me they have given Ramsey a second-round grade. They say that they feel that Ramsey is more special at safety and prefer him there to cornerback. A few teams picking in the top 10 told me they have Ramsey in the top 10 on their board, so while opinions vary among evaluators, it only takes one team to fall in love and there are teams out there that love him, including the Titans. Ramsey spent 2015 at cornerback and totaled 50 tackles, 10 passes broken up, zero interceptions and a fumble returned for a touchdown there.
Ramsey showed that he can be a press-man corner, but isn't great in off-man or zone. He struggles to prevent separation from speed receivers and sudden route-runners. The game tapes against South Florida, Clemson and Miami, among others, illustrate those issues. Ramsey's okay to go against a big receiver like Brandon Marshall, but he will have issues with a small, fast receiver like T.Y. Hilton. Teams feel Ramsey is a big press-man corner like the Seahawks use. As a safety, he could be a difference-maker as he has tremendous instincts to be a play-maker. If Ramsey plays safety in the NFL, he could stand to add more weight to tackle power running backs in the second level.
Ramsey (6-1, 209) was one of Florida State's best defenders in 2014 as a safety, notching a lot of clutch tackles. He totaled 79 stops, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 12 passes broken up, two interceptions and two forced fumbles on the year. As a freshman in 2013, Ramsey started on the Seminoles' National Championship team at safety and cornerback. He recorded 49 tackles and an interception that season.
Pick change; previously Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Rd. 2, Pk. 3
Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson
The Cowboys grab their defensive line talent with a good scheme fit for Rod Marinelli at left defensive end.
Dodd (6-5, 277) put an exclamation point on his breakout 2015 season with a tremendous National Championship game against Alabama. He abused the Crimson Tide right tackle with speed and power to record three sacks of Jacob Coker.
After being buried on the depth chart, Dodd combined with Shaq Lawson to make life hard for quarterbacks in 2015. Dodd totaled 62 tackles with 23.5 for a loss, 12 sacks and one forced fumble on the season. He had a total of 21 tackles in his previous three years. Dodd entered the 2016 NFL Draft, but he probably would have had a better shot at the first round if he had one more productive year in college before turning pro. Some teams feel he should go on the second day, but think he could get over-drafted in Round 1.
Pick change; previously Connor Cook, QB
Rd. 3, Pk. 4
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
The Cowboys grab their running back of the future. Dallas has shown interest in Prosise.
The 6-foot, 220-pound Prosise has a nice burst to go along with having good size for a NFL running back. Prosise and Will Fuller were the engines of the Notre Dame offense in 2015. Prosise averaged 6.6 yards per carry for 1,032 yards with 11 touchdowns before injuries robbed him of a few games late in the year. He also had 24 receptions for 308 yards and a score.
Prior to 2015, Prosise was a wide receiver and special teams leader. He had 29 receptions for 516 yards and two scores in 2014.
Pick change; previously Maliek Collins, DT
Rd. 4, Pk. 3
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
If Prescott gets passed on by the Broncos, I think he could slip to the third day of the 2016 NFL Draft. Dallas has shown a lot of interest in Prescott and he could be a good understudy for Tony Romo.
Prescott (6-2, 226) completed 66 percent of his passes in 2015 for 3,793 yards with 29 touchdowns and five interceptions. On the ground, he totaled 588 yards with 10 scores. Prescott hurt defenses with his arm and legs while showing improved accuracy and ability to function as a pocket-passer.
Prescott completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,996 yards with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2014. He also ran for 939 yards (4.8 average) with 13 touchdowns. Teams really like Prescott's leadership skills, football I.Q., and character.
Rd. 4, Pk. 37
Alex McCalister, DE/3-4OLB, Florida
The Cowboys grab another edge rusher for their sub package.
McCalister was an effective situational pass-rusher for Florida during the past few seasons. He is fast off the edge with nice length and athleticism. Sources say they are grading McCalister (6-6, 239) in the mid-rounds and like his potential to be a role player quickly. I know a few teams that are talking about him for their fourth-round pick.
In 2015, McCalister totaled 26 tackles with 9.5 for a loss and 6.5 sacks in nine games. He had 23 tackles with six sacks in 2014. McCalister had some off-the-field concerns, but sources have said it was very minor and McCalister is a good kid.
I'm not buying the Ezekiel Elliott buzz here. I see the temptation in drafting the best running back prospect since 2007 (more on him in a bit) to fill out the offense, but I think as long as Romo stays healthy (and lets be real, if he isn’t healthy they aren’t going anywhere anyway) the offense will be totally fine with all of those weapons and a mid-round better value running back. The defense however is the main issue. Any of the top defensive players in this class are options here as they really could use help on all three levels. They’ve got some key worthwhile pieces like Byron Jones, Rolando McClain, Demarcus Lawrence, and Tyrone Crawford, but really everyone else on the defense is just average at best and no real young pieces to build on. So best defensive player available should be the pick here, and that is the incredible Joey Bosa. I think Bosa is an absolute superstar in the making I couldn’t be any higher on this guy. He’s right up there with Ramsey in my eyes as the top prospect in this class. You just can’t teach his production and motor. His broad jump, 3 cone drill, and 20 yard shuttle, maybe the three best judges of a pass rusher, were all best in the class and beyond elite. He has INCREDIBLE hands and really just top notch skills all around. The biggest knock on him was his average 40 time but it really was not even that bad at all and also is not a very telling stat for defensive lineman anyway. Joey Bosa may very well be the best player in the class and throwing him on a Dline opposite of Demarcus Lawrence and with Cedric Thornton and Tyrone Crawford in the middle is a scary proposition for the rest of the league. Making this pick even more likely, Demarcus Lawrence might be facing a suspension now as well, and Jerry Jones recently said that the teams number one need is pass rusher along the defensive line. Enter Joey Bosa and cue the fear of NFC east rivals.
This is an interesting situation. As far as a pure cornerback is concerned, I believe that Vernon Hargreaves is the best in this draft. I know multiple teams that have Hargreaves ahead of Ramsey. However in the 2016 NFL Draft, I think Ramsey will be the first defensive back off the board. Thus, he's the top rated. Two playoff teams have told WalterFootball.com that they have a second-round grade on Ramsey. Two other teams picking in the top 10 have Ramsey in the top 10 on their draft boards.
Sources from the teams that gave him a second-round grade say that in watching Ramsey, he is more special at safety rather than corner. For the NFL, they feel he would be a press-man corner to take on big receivers, but would struggle to prevent separation from speed receivers and sudden route-runners. They believe that Ramsey would have to be moved around and protected in their defense, but he would probably playing safety the majority of the time.
The sources that love Ramsey said that while big corners struggle with small shifty players, Ramsey can reroute them easily at the line of scrimmage and cover them up with size and length downfield. They compared Ramsey to Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson, Richard Sherman and Xavier Rhodes.
In 2015, Ramsey had 50 tackles with 10 passes broken up and zero interceptions. Against South Florida, Ramsey had a nice pass breakup and a long kick return, but also got lucky. He was all but beaten for a long pass play after losing a receiver deep downfield, but the wideout dropped the pass. Versus Miami, Ramsey gave up a 58-yard touchdown to Hurricanes wide receiver Rashawn Scott. It gave evidence that Ramsey is a work in progress as a corner. He played better against the Clemson Tigers and their talented wide receivers.
This is a terrible pick. Don't get me wrong, Zeke Elliott is going to be a very good RB, and he's a clear first round player. But the Cowboys over-react here. They have had some really solid choices in recent drafts. They have also had some real puzzlers. Last season's draft will turn out to be one of those. This draft is very uneven through the positions, which is a recipe for bad organizations to make dumb choices. They should trade down for almost any compensation here and then take Zeke. But nobody is wanting to jump in this scenario. Zeke will be a very good player for them, but here he goes too early, and the rest of their draft will be a disaster.
** FA Update ** The signing of Alfred Morris does not change this pick.
** Owner Ramblings Update ** Lance Zeirlein says the Cowboys will not be taking Bosa. I agree, because he's not an elite pass rusher. He's a tweener who is a merely good athlete and doesn't fit their system at all. Here begins Bosa's dramatic fall in mocks all over the NFL media landscape.
** NFL Rumors Update ** It has been reported that a Cowboys exec said they will absolutely consider taking Bosa, weeks after they said he was not in play. And last week they said Jack was not in play. They love to think their smokescreens will work, and maybe for bad teams they do. The Cowboys want a team that covets Bosa to trade up with the Chargers, allowing Ramsey to fall. No such luck.
Cowboys fans are already celebrating thinking they have Ramsey in the bag but unfortunately their hearts have just been crushed. But Dallas don't be too sad you're getting an amazing player in Myles Jack. He is arguably the best player in the draft and his versatility shows why. There's a lot of names that make sense here for The Cowboys. I think running back is on their mind but I couldn't pass up on a talented player like Jack.
Scouting report: Ultra athletic and can get to the rock from any position on the field. Former running back with speed to run down crossing routes and head off running backs exploding around the corner. Adequate instincts with above average reaction off the snap. Races downhill after the snap and can weave from gap to gap with blazing lateral quickness. Able to weave through and around traffic in relentless pursuit. Plays with desired pad level and leverage. Uses hip explosion to strike on the rise with a hammering blow at the point of attack. Can jar offensive linemen off-balance with his strikes. Comes off of blocks quickly. Stepped in and was "the dude" from Day 1 at UCLA. Physical and active with alpha qualities on the field. Offers tremendous versatility for creative defensive coordinators. Has the juice to be an edge rusher in sub-packages and can fit into any 4-3 linebacker spot at any time. Has played safety and running back at UCLA. Has the strength, speed and athleticism to cover tight ends, running backs and some slot receivers. Plays with frenetic energy and is always looking to get his licks in.
Other possibilities: Joey Bosa DE, DeForest Buckner DE, Eziekiel Elliott RB
Scouting report: One of the biggest running backs you will ever see. Can be a violent runner without even trying. Pummels tacklers with forward lean and dynamite behind his pads. Gives run-support cornerbacks bad dreams. Rare top-end speed for a runner his size. Long strides from second to third level cut into reaction time for safeties and often leave them a step short and grasping for air. Effective in zone, gap and power schemes. Rarely fatigues and wears down defenses as game goes on. Had 29.6 percent of his explosive carries come in the fourth quarter. Makes consistent, initial reads as a zone runner. Against Mississippi State, took outside zone run and cut it all the way back across formation outracing defense for 65-yard touchdown. Led nation in missed tackles forced with 60. Uses subtle change of direction on the second level while keeping runs north/south. Used as a possession bully in short yardage spots and when Alabama wanted to impose their will.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Derrick Henry Going to Cowboys
Rd. 1, Pk. 4
Ezekiel Elliott, RB,
For the past several years, the Cowboys have drafted very well. They had gotten away from the Jerry Jones-style of selecting players. Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, it's been rumored that Jones wanted Elliott, while everyone else was in favor of Jalen Ramsey. I don't know why, but the Cowboys are stupid again.
If you draft a running back No. 4 in this day and age, you better make sure that he's the next Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders. Elliott is not that......
Rd. 2, Pk. 3
Jaylon Smith, OLB/ILB,
Wow. WOW. I can't believe this. Some teams had Jaylon Smith as a sixth- or seventh-round prospect because they believed there was a good chance that he would never be able to play in the NFL. There were some rumblings that he'd go at the end of the third round, but this is unreal. Maybe the Dallas doctors know something the rest of the league doesn't, but this pick could obviously really pan out. Smith could be a perennial Pro Bowler if he ever gets back to 100 percent. I'm giving the Cowboys a solid grade, but I can't go into the A range because of the enormous risk. I'd like this a lot better if Dallas took him in the third round.
I messed up the 2nd round order, so I'm gonna try this again. Same deal as last time, no trades this time around like I did in my first mock even though projecting them can be fun. I'll do another one in about a month or so after the Super Bowl, Senior Bowl, combine and all that other good stuff.