2012 NFL Draft: 1st Full 7-Round Predictions of the Dallas Cowboys' Picks
In just over three weeks, the brain trusts of each NFL team and a lucky handful of fans will storm Radio City Music Hall in New York City; but it's becoming clearer what positions teams will be eyeballing.
The Cowboys have had themselves a solid offseason, signing a franchise record number of players, including new No.1 cornerback Brandon Carr. Dallas isn't done improving the squad before the regular season rolls around, though, with several positions needing depth or improvement.
Here is a full seven round mock draft for the 'Boys using the results from Bleacher Reports' inaugural Community Mock Draft, in which featured columnists from all 32 teams collaborated, traded and selected draft picks for their respective squads.
Note: Special thanks to Christian Blood, Peter Matarazzo and Lawrence Burneal for their thoughts and input on Dallas' draft needs heading into the B/R Community Draft.
First Round: Michael Brockers, Defensive Tackle, LSU
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Note: Through lengthy discussions with the Miami Dolphins, Dallas was able to move from pick 14 to eight in the first round. The Cowboys sent their first and second round selections to the Dolphins in exchange.
Michael Brockers is a beast of an athlete. This pick would allow Dallas to move current DT Jay Ratliff down to defensive end.
Bleacher Report's own draft analyst Matt Miller recently said via his Twitter account that he believes Brockers to be the best defensive tackle in the class when you combine talent and potential.
This would allow the Cowboys to still get great pass rush out of their DT but have a Pro Bowler like Ratliff providing pressure at an end position where Dallas struggled to see consistent production out of all of last season.
Second Round: Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback, Nebraska
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Note: Once again working the phones, Dallas was able to move back into the second round after completing a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cowboys received the Chiefs second round selection (44th overall) while sending their 2012 and 2013 third round picks to Kansas City.
It's well documented that the Cowboys had issues at cornerback last season. While the signing of Brandon Carr from KC significantly helps, Dallas could lose Michael Jenkins due to free agency next offseason.
One can assume that the Cowboys would like to be able to hold onto Jenkins; but drafting a young and talented cornerback allows them to cut ties with No. 21 should they not be able to agree on a new contract.
Dennard would provide the Cowboys with insurance for the present and future, as Jenkins and even Orlando Scandrick to some extent have been a tad injury prone throughout their careers. It never hurts to add a high-caliber talent who could earn the right to start alongside Carr in the near future.
Fourth Round: Nigel Bradham, Linebacker, Florida State University
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In our mock draft, I was really surprised to see Bradham drop out of the third round, where Matt Miller had him just a month ago.
Dallas lost Bradie James and Keith Brooking this offseason and only recuperated depth by signing Dan Conner. Bradham is a phenomenal athlete who comes from a great linebacking corps down at FSU.
While some (including myself) believe Bruce Carter has potential to become a starting linebacker in the near future, drafting Bradham would push both players to improve in hopes of climbing up the depth chart. He'll add depth for the Cowboys in the short term while providing a future at the position in the long term.
Fourth Round: Michael Brewster, Center, Ohio State
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Note: The Dallas Cowboys were recently awarded with a fourth round compensatory pick from the NFL.
The Cowboys seem to be looking for center Phil Costa to step up and develop over the offseason. Unfortunately, outside of him there is nobody on the current roster to challenge or take over for him in the event of an injury.
Brewster has been rated as the third best center in the draft class by NFLDraftScout.com and at this point in the draft Dallas would be wise to add depth and a potential starter to a position that bit them in the backside too many times in 2011.
Fifth Round: Phillip Thomas, Safety, Syracuse
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While Gerald Sensabaugh and Abram Elam are both still under contract for next season, Dallas has only Brodney Pool under contract besides those two heading into the 2012 season.
It is a bit concerning that Thomas struggled during his workout at the NFL Combine just a little while back, but it's not uncommon for players to have a bad workout at the combine and go on to have successful careers in the league.
He is a very physical player and shined during his time at Syracuse, proving to be one of their best defensive backs, if not their best. The Cowboys will hope he can do the same down at Valley Ranch and on the field in Cowboys Stadium.
Sixth Round: Terrance Ganaway, Running Back, Baylor
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In 2011 the Cowboys learned the hard way what happens when injuries plague your backfield. While Felix Jones's injury lead to DeMarco Murray's rise to fame, the team had to rely on veteran Sammy Morris after Murray fractured his right ankle.
Ganaway would give Dallas some insurance at the position if Jones gets banged up again or Murray doesn't react well to his rehab. Injuries are a part of the game, and the Cowboys are in need of someone who has been proven capable of running the ball well in a primarily pass-friendly offense.
Seventh Round: Matt Daniels, Safety, Duke
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Like I mentioned the Cowboys are in need of some help at safety, and at this point in the draft it's about high upside and hoping for the best.
Dallas thought long and hard about taking a tight end here. Ultimately, the players they were targeting at this position were already off the board. There are plenty of tight ends they can bring in as rookie free agents while using their seventh rounder in an attempt to see whether Daniels or Phillip Thomas can fit into defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's defensive scheme.
Daniels has some solid raw skills and could develop into a nice backup in the years to come.