Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Updated 7-Round Projections After Senior Bowl
The 2013 Senior Bowl is now complete, and it represented another job audition for NFL prospects. These college postseason events are not only critical to the evaluation process. but they also give teams one last chance to see game reps heading into the combine.
There was a lot of talent on display for both squads, and Florida State's E.J. Manuel stole the show. But I also liked what I saw along the defensive fronts on both squads, and that represents good news for the Cowboys. This draft happens to be a deep defensive line class, and the Cowboys must capitalize on it as they switch to a 4-3.
As far as mock drafts are concerned, the pace of the draft process will start to intensify with the combine looming and the positional rankings will continue to develop daily and weekly.
So what did the results of the Senior Bowl mean for the Cowboys? They should mean a lot, and hopefully the Cowboys' brass feels the same way. But for now, let's look at an updated mock draft for the Cowboys and incorporate all of the postseason variables to date.
The Cowboys still don't have a seventh-round pick, so as a result, this represents a six-round mock. Let's get mocking.
Round 1, Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
In my previous mock, I had the Cowboys selecting Sheldon Richardson of Missouri. I liked a lot of talent at the Senior Bowl for this pick, but switching gears to Jordan makes sense for a lot of reasons. First, he fills a need in Monte Kiffin's 4-3 alignment, and more importantly, he's an explosive edge rusher, which is vital to this type of defense.
Kiffin should be very familiar with him from his time at USC, and that represents another good reason. So while Kiffin is familiar with this player, Jordan could make the Cowboys a little more familiar with Chip Kelly's arrival to the NFC East.
With DeMarcus Ware recovering from surgery and the uncertainty surrounding Anthony Spencer, the Cowboys need to address defensive end. And that's the most important reason. Another option here would be Sam Montgomery or Ezekiel Ansah as of right now.
Round 2, Kawann Short, DT, Purdue
The Cowboys solidify the middle of their defensive line by selecting Short in the second-round. His performance in the Senior Bowl was outstanding. He was great against the run, he attacked gaps well and showed his ability to fight off blocks and never give up on plays.
By getting Short, the Cowboys are in a position to really, really solidify this defensive line with versatility, athleticism and youth. No matter who is running this defense, not being able to defend the run will result in another 8-8 season and a lot of running to the unemployment line.
The Cowboys must take addressing the defensive line very serious if they are going to successfully transition into Kiffin's 4-3.
Round 3, Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International University
The more I watched Cyprien practice during the week, watching his cover skills and his tackling and closing ability, the more I grew attached to this player. He's got a solid build at 6'0" and 205 pounds, and his explosiveness just jumps right out at you, along with his aggressiveness.
During the Senior Bowl, he reacted, closed quickly and blew up a smoke screen by forcing the receiver out of bounds for no gain. It was refreshing to see that type of play from the safety position. He's got outstanding tackling ability, but he also knows how to effectively deliver the lumber.
I'm not suggesting he could be the John Lynch to Kiffin's 4-3, but for this defense to create more turnovers, it needs to address the safety position separate from the current roster. Cyprien posted 93 tackles and four interceptions during his senior year while also being a model of durability.
Round 4, Justin Pugh, OL, Syracuse
Pugh also received much-deserved attention at the Senior Bowl, and his versatility would serve the Cowboys well. It looks like Pugh would be best-suited for guard, but he did also play left tackle at Syracuse. Tyron Smith has that position nailed down pretty well, but the Cowboys will have to address the offensive line.
Pugh would give the Cowboys that nice midround prospect who can come into the mix and compete. He's a solid prospect at this point.
Round 5, Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
The Cowboys need to select a running back in this draft and add another in free agency. This is the point in the draft (mid-fourth round or later) where Franklin, Stepfan Taylor, Christine Michael, Le'veon Bell, Joseph Randle, Kerwynn Williams and Marcus Lattimore are all in play for selection.
Franklin is a tough, inside-outside runner who uses his vision and balance to generate yardage. He's a very efficient runner; he runs and finishes hard and would complement DeMarco Murray well in this offense. Should his stock start to rise, the Cowboys might have to select a different player from this group.
This year's running back class isn't overly impressive, so positional rankings will continue to fluctuate.
Round 6, Sio Moore, OLB, UConn
Moore has continued his success in college postseason events with a solid Senior Bowl outing. The Cowboys are going to need additional speed at outside linebacker in Kiffin's new 4-3 alignment, as well as a sideline-to-sideline tackler. Moore is a nice prospect who would fit in really well.
He's fast, he closes well and he seems to play bigger than he looks. He recorded one sack and seven tackles at the Senior Bowl, which is not bad for a midweek replacement. Getting him this late in the draft would be an absolute steal.
The Dallas Cowboys have only six picks in this draft, not enough to fill every area of need. But neither is delivering back-to-back eight-win seasons to a frustrated fan base. The Cowboys need a starting point in turning things around, and it starts with the 2013 draft.
The fan base will be monitoring everything, one mock at a time. Stay tuned.