Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Projections at Regular Season's End
One night the Dallas Cowboys are potential NFC East champions, the next it's time to dust off the draft whiteboard. This season was another roller coaster in Big D and it became obvious where some of the team's problem areas are.
Focusing primarily on need with these predictions, here is a full mock draft for the Cowboys. Also, it's worth noting that Dallas doesn't currently own a seventh-round pick due to the trade with the Miami Dolphins for center Ryan Cook.
Round 1: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Any Cowboys fan who watched the regular season finale against the Washington Redskins realizes their team needs help on the offensive line.
Chance Warmack is the 2013 draft's best guard, which happens to be the position at which Dallas has the least talent on the line. Mackenzy Bernadeau has been lackluster at best this year and Warmack would be an instant improvement.
Alabama has produced some fine NFL players under head coach Nick Saban's reign and this big lineman should follow suit. Saban coaches with the same attitude and approach as an NFL shotcaller. This is why Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and company have done so well in the league.
Pair his coaching with Warmack's ability to creating rushing lanes as well as protect the passer, and this is who Dallas needs to draft first.
It might take some finagling to get him considering the Cowboys will be 18th in this draft, but that's an area owner Jerry Jones excels at.
Round 2: SS Matt Elam, Florida
One of the Cowboys' biggest areas of need on defense last year was the safety position. This fact was why many thought Dallas would take Mark Barron in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Instead, Jerry Jones moved up to take cornerback Morris Claiborne, but that move was not followed up by fixing the strong safety position later on.
Guys like Barry Church and Danny McCray are decent role players and have shown flashes of brilliance from time to time. However, Matt Elam is a household name around Florida and would be a huge addition to the Cowboys' rejuvenated secondary.
The Gator has shown great speed and ability to close in on receivers, which is why he's easily one of the best at his position in this draft class.
The 5'10" height is a drawback but Elam's talent more than makes up for his lack of height. He'd be a great addition to defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's unit.
Round 3: OT Brian Winters, Kent State
Brian Winters might not come from a big-time football school but the Cowboys have had success with those types of players.
From Tony Romo to DeMarcus Ware, Dallas' starting lineup is filled with small-school alumni and Winters should be welcomed into that club.
This pick is based specifically on the downright awful play of right tackle Doug Free for the Cowboys this season. That makes two straight years of regression for the high-priced player, which means it's time to cut him lose.
Winters would be just the man to take Free's place, considering his 300-plus pound frame as well as his 6'5" height.
Part of the reason the Cowboys had such success in the 1990s was due to loading the offensive line with tall, large men. That strategy can still work in today's NFL and Winters fits that description perfectly.
Round 4: RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Wisconsin's Montee Ball likely won't be as dominant a rusher in the NFL as he has been in college, but the Cowboys don't need a starter here.
Felix Jones' contract is up heading into the 2013 season and he has shown little to warrant a new deal from Jerry Jones. It would be smart of Dallas to let him walk and grab Ball to be its No. 2 running back behind DeMarco Murray.
Ball is the kind of back who would be great for converting in short yardage and goal line situations. He'd also be a player Dallas could count on to spell Murray and produce in that role when needed.
Dallas doesn't need Ball to translate to a superstar level when drafting him. They just need the Badger to offer decent production given his limited role in the offensive game plan.
Round 5: QB Colby Cameron, Lousiana Tech
The Cowboys are not going to give up on Tony Romo at quarterback but it is important to keep in mind he is going to be 33 years old next year.
The 2013 quarterback class does not look anywhere near as fruitful as last year's, but taking a shot on Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron this late is worth it.
If the Cowboys don't acquire a seventh-round pick, this would be the team's second-to-last pick of the draft. Considering Cameron threw for more than 4,100 yards, 31 touchdowns and just five picks this year, why not grab him and see what he can do.
From the fifth round on, every team is trying to find the next Tom Brady, the diamond in the rough so to speak. Cameron has raw talent and deserves a chance to showcase those abilities with the 'Boys through training camp and the preseason.
With Stephen McGee cut earlier, there's room on this roster for a young quarterback to develop behind Romo and Kyle Orton.
Round 6: OLB Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State
Sticking with this unintentional small-school mock draft, Cameron Lawrence out of Mississippi State is an interesting late-round name.
Lawrence finished third in the SEC this season with 111 tackles, thanks in part to his ability to read plays. He's got some quickness to him at 230 pounds, and his 6'2" height comes together to create a solid linebacker frame.
It's important to keep in mind Anthony Spencer is currently franchise tagged, which means Dallas needs to figure out what to do with the veteran.
If the team lets him go, targeting an outside linebacker becomes a much greater need. Even if they keep him, the 2012 season goes to show just how many players you can lose to injuries.
Picking this late in the draft is the equivalent of taking an educated guess on where a dart thrown blindfolded might land. If the Cowboys are going to take a stab in the dark on anyone, Lawrence and the outside linebacker position would be a good place to aim.