Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Fresh Predictions After the Super Bowl

Jason Henry@thenprojectCorrespondent IFebruary 4, 2013

Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Fresh Predictions After the Super Bowl

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    They say the saddest day of the year always comes on the third Monday in January. It’s supposedly due to prolonged winter darkness, Christmas bills and travel issues.

    Guess the people behind this study failed to talk to any football fan on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Once the fourth quarter ends and the confetti starts to fall, fans begin realize that the next NFL game isn’t for another seven months.

    So, while Ravens fans are celebrating Sunday night’s victory, Cowboys fans have already turned their attention toward April’s NFL draft.

    Last week I released a short two-round mock draft for the Cowboys. They are deficient on the offensive and defensive line as well as the secondary, so should Dallas go after a guard or defensive tackle in the first round?

    Here is my latest mock draft for the Dallas Cowboys.

Round 1, 18th Pick: Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC

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    I’m sticking with Cooper in the first round for the Cowboys. There are issues on the other side of the ball with Jay Ratliff and Josh Brent possibly playing elsewhere in 2013, or even at all, but the Cowboys need to do everything in their power to protect Tony Romo.

    When pressure was brought up the middle and directly in Romo’s face, he folded like a suit from K-Mart.

    Drafting Cooper to bring stability and strength to the middle of the line will pay dividends for Dallas immediately and in the future.

    Cooper, and current left tackle Tyron Smith, will be with the Cowboys long after Romo is gone. Why not draft a guy who has the potential to become a pretty good NFL guard right now?

Round 2, 15th Pick: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

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    I’ve switched my position on this pick a few times, but I’ve landed with former Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson for the moment.

    I like Eric Reid out of LSU, yet his coverage skills still leave a lot to be desired. I picked Bacarri Rambo out of Georgia in my last mock, but that was due to Kenny Vaccaro and Reid possibly being off the board.

    Because I’ve changed my mind a few times here, this is to change again after the combine and before draft day.

    According to Bleacher Report’s draft guru Matt Miller, Jefferson has the range and cover skills to “shut down the spread.” I’m not as sold on Jefferson’s ability to do that, but I believe he has the potential.

    He is one of the top free safeties available and has better motion than Rambo.

    I like Jefferson, and the Cowboys would be well served to keep him high on their list.

Round 3, 18th Pick: Jordan Hill, DT, Penn State

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    In watching video of Hill and seeing what he’s capable of in playing the three-technique for the Cowboys in the NFL, I think he would fit well for Dallas.

    Hill is a little undersized at 6’0” and 295 pounds, but if we compare him to one of Kiffin’s former three-technique defensive tackles, he would seem to have potential.

    Warren Sapp is a little bigger, weighing 303 pounds while standing at 6’2.” Not saying that Hill will make it this far, but Sapp was just named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    He isn’t as versatile or quick as Sapp at the point of attack, and he needs to add strength and at least another pass rush move to become effective.

    In the end, I like him better than Jesse Williams, and the rest of the tackles will be long gone by the time the Cowboys come to pick in the third round.

Round 4, 17th Pick: Kyle Long, OT, Oregon

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    Long comes from a nice pedigree of football players. His dad is Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, and his brother is Pro Bowl defensive end of the St. Louis Rams, Chris Long.

    It seems that Long will follow in the greatness of his dad and brother once he makes it to the NFL.

    The problem with Long and his ability is that he's green and raw. He has the size, 6'7," 311 pounds, to be a great guard or tackle in the league; he'll just need some time to develop.

    Long is a great run blocker and opened his share of holes for running lanes for the Ducks backfield.

    It's my thought that Long will end up playing right tackle for the Cowboys. He can compete with Doug Free for the position, and if he doesn't win out or grades high at guard, move him or Free inside.

    Long seems to have a lot of potential, and seeing how successful his dad and brother have been in the NFL, it's worth a chance to draft him in the fourth round.

Round 5, 18th Pick: Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh

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    Graham’s injury history may keep the Cowboys away from him. Though the team selected two linebackers in consecutive years with knee issues, it doesn’t mean the Cowboys will do the same for a running back.

    Graham suffered a torn ACL in his right knee back in 2011 that ended his season after the team’s eighth game. In 2010, he sprained his left knee and missed one game due to the injury.

    But even with that type of news about his injury history, the Cowboys should take a chance on him. Backup running back Felix Jones is likely headed out the door, and the Cowboys aren’t fully sold on Phillip Tanner as a relief hitter, so Dallas will need another running back to give starter DeMarco Murray a break.

    Graham’s vision doesn’t seem to be as good as Murray’s, but he has excellent patience and agility at the line.

    Overall, Graham is small, as he’s 5’9” but only weighs 186 pounds. He’ll need to bulk up some, just not too much to where he loses his quickness.

    Cowboys would be smart to pick Graham in the middle of the fifth.

Round 6, 17th Pick: Brandon McGee, CB, Miami

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    The Cowboys do not hold a pick in the seventh round, so their sixth-round pick is the last.

    Dallas had injuries problems and issues with depth in the secondary in 2012, so adding another cornerback would seem to be smart.

    McGee can be aggressive on the corner blitz and when attacking the ball, but I did see a few instances where he shied away from contact. He played a lot of "soft" corner against FSU, but that was probably due to the team's defensive scheme.

    Overall, he is a good cover corner with decent ball skills. He seems to have a lot of potential at the next level and would be a nice addition to a light defensive backfield for the Cowboys.