Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Latest 7-Round Predictions Heading into Bowl Season
The Dallas Cowboys' personnel issues have become clear in 2012, which means certain positions will surely be high on the team's 2013 draft board.
Many of Big D's weakest positions are the same positions that the team should have addressed last season. Jerry Jones and co. cannot get this unit back on the map without wise drafting this upcoming offseason.
Here is the latest seven-round mock draft for the Cowboys heading into the college bowl season.
Round 1: Chance Warmack, Guard, Alabama
The Cowboys' biggest needs are at both safety positions and everywhere on the offensive line except left tackle.
When looking at Dallas' guard positions, neither Nate Livings nor Mackenzy Bernadeau have been close to rock solid this year.
There hasn't been one game where quarterback Tony Romo has had dependable protection through all four quarters. The best way to change that is to grab the best guard in the draft in Chance Warmack out of Alabama.
With draft writers such as Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller ranking him the No. 7 overall prospect, the Cowboys' chances of grabbing Warmack all depends on the team's final record.
They'll likely need to trade up to get him, but as Jerry Jones showed during last April's draft, he'll make big moves if he really wants a player.
Round 2: Matt Elam, Strong Safety, Florida
Heading into the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cowboys were projected by many to take Alabama's Mark Barron in the first round—before Jerry Jones' big trade of course.
Strong safety is still a big need for Dallas. Original starter Barry Church has been out for much of this season and the team has gotten poor production from everyone else at the position in 2012.
Florida's Matt Elam is undoubtedly one of the best at his position in this draft and arguably the best player on the Gators this season. He's a ferocious defender who has shown great closing speed over his college career.
While Elam's height of 5'10" is a tad concerning, he makes up for in other areas.
So far this season, the Gator standout has posted four interceptions, one sack and has only five games with less than six tackles or assists. That is the type of production that the Cowboys are looking for at the crucial safety position.
Round 3: Rick Wagner, Offensive Tackle, Wisconsin
At this point in the draft, the Cowboys should be deciding between drafting a center or an offensive tackle to sure up their miserable line.
The more realistic decision that the team will make is going for a tackle who can play guard over center. There still seems to be some confidence in Phil Costa despite another mediocre and injury-riddled season.
Also, considering the team went out and traded for former Miami Dolphin Ryan Cook, the team likely won't invest in a center early in next year's draft.
That leaves the team to pick Wisconsin's Rick Wagner, who could challenge Doug Free and provide depth at two positions for the Cowboys.
Round 4: Montee Ball, Running Back, Wisconsin
Don't be surprised if the Cowboys draft back-to-back Badgers come April. Felix Jones is in the last year of his contract in Dallas and he has not done much to warrant receiving a new one.
Jones could very well be out in Big D sometime this offseason, which would leave the Cowboys in need of a backup running back. Montee Ball would be a fine backup to DeMarco Murray, who has proven to be an injury concern in his first two NFL seasons.
Ball has posted just three games this season with less than 93 yards rushing. He's also scored 21 Badger touchdowns in 2012. There are better running backs in this year's draft than Ball, but none would be a better fit for the Cowboys.
Dallas needs to cut ties with Jones and find a new backup to Murray. Ball would be the ideal backup if the 'Boys are focusing solely on the draft for this position.
Round 5: Lavar Edwards, Defensive End, LSU
The Cowboys drafted Tyrone Crawford last year, who they hope will develop into a starter. That's great for the right defensive end position but that leaves the other side still in need of improvement.
Lavar Edwards comes from a big time program, and at 6'4" and 258 pounds, he could pay off big time for the 'Boys.
Jason Hatcher is currently at left defensive end, and while he's decent, it would be nice to see him challenged for his starting spot. With just Ben Bass behind him on the depth chart, the team could, at the very least, use the depth Edwards would provide.
Edwards has been playing in a backup role for the Tigers this year but that hasn't stopped him from producing. He has seven tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks on the season.
The Cowboys have the time to let Edwards develop on the sidelines with Hatcher being only 30 years old, so he'd be an interesting project for the team to consider.
Round 6: Dalton Freeman, Center, Clemson
At this point in the draft, all teams, including the Cowboys are hoping for a Tom Brady-like find.
Whether Dallas will strike gold with Dalton Freeman or not will take time, but it's probable that he could still beat out Phil Costa in training camp.
He made the All-ACC First Team in his senior season and fits the Cowboys classic "big man" build on offensive line, weighing in at 286 pounds. Freeman has started during all four of his years at Clemson and comes into the league with a great amount of experience for that reason.
Freeman should be able to pick up the Cowboys' offensive scheme quite easily thanks to that experience. He's as good a lottery pick as any other player this late in the draft.
Round 7: Wes Horton, Outside Linebacker, USC
This pick is again focusing on the lottery pick thing along with the fact DeMarcus Ware could use a backup linebacker other than Alex Albright.
Alrbright has been with Dallas for a little while now and hasn't really made any sort of impact. If you're a Cowboys fan and heard his name called for something big in a game this year, please comment below.
Horton comes from a program known for producing NFL linebackers and was an honorable mention on the 2012 All-Pac-12 team.
Jerry Jones and his war room would be smart to pick players from established programs and just hope for the best from there.