Dallas Cowboys 2013 Mock Draft: Expect Jerry Jones to Improve O-Line
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, Jerry Jones is looking to bolster his Dallas Cowboys roster through this draft in anticipation of making a serious playoff run in 2013.
The Cowboys have switched to a 4-3 defense under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, so they figure to have a need for a couple of defensive players in the secondary and along the defensive line who fit that scheme in this draft.
In addition, the right side of the Cowboys offensive line remains an issue for the team.
Dallas only has total six picks in this draft, so they'll have to make each selection count.
As we sit two days before the start of the draft, should the Cowboys target the offensive line in Round 1 or should they opt for a safety? What should they do if one of the draft's top quarterback prospects slips into day three?
Join me as I take a fresh look at a full mock draft scenario for the Cowboys.
Round 1, Pick 18: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
In this hypothetical, the Rams do the Cowboys a favor and take Kenny Vaccaro at 16.
With the temptation to take Vaccaro removed, the Cowboys are able address their offensive line by selecting massive Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker.
Beyond being a fearsome run-blocker, Fluker is surprisingly athletic for his size.
A D.J. Fluker and Tyron Smith tandem at offensive tackle would give the Cowboys two of the best young offensive tackles in the entire NFL and provide the kind of protection that Tony Romo has been lacking up front.
Round 2, Pick 47: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon
After committing to addressing their offensive line in Round 1, the Cowboys come right back with another offensive lineman in Round 2.
The Cowboys have met with Kyle Long more than once during the pre-draft process, and besides his obvious pedigree, his size and athleticism make him an attractive option here for the Cowboys.
Yes, there is a risk with Long because he's inexperienced, but if the Cowboys use Long at right guard beside new right tackle D.J. Fluker he may not be quite as vulnerable.
If Long plays to his potential, Dallas could end up with two Pro Bowl-caliber offensive linemen in this draft class.
Even if Long doesn't reach his ceiling, he's probably still an upgrade over Mackenzy Bernadeau at right guard.
Round 3, Pick 80: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
The Cowboys choose add talented Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox to their crowded competition at safety in Round 3.
Wilcox, who has had a private workout with the Cowboys, is a late bloomer at safety after initially playing offense in college.
Wilcox has a compact frame, and he really packs a punch as a tackler. In addition, Wilcox jumps like he has springs in his legs and he does a tremendous job of going after the football at its highest point.
In addition to Barry Church and Will Allen, the Cowboys re-signed Danny McCray, and they get Matt Johnson back from injury in 2013.
However, Wilcox arguably has more upside than than any of those players, and in this case Dallas welcomes the opportunity to create more competition at the safety position.
Round 4, Pick 114: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Placing the quarterbacks in this draft isn't easy.
With so many quarterbacks carrying second- and third-round grades and so few teams that actually have an urgent need for a quarterback, one of the quarterbacks is bound to drop on draft weekend.
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is that player in this scenario.
Here, the Cowboys pull off a mild surprise in the fourth round by taking an advantage of the opportunity to select Wilson.
If this scenario did play out, this pick would be analogous to when the Patriots drafted Ryan Mallet in the third round in 2011.
In this case, Dallas wouldn't be drafting Wilson to compete for a starting job anytime soon, but instead they'd stash him behind Tony Romo and Kyle Orton for the next couple of seasons to develop as a potential long-term successor to Tony Romo.
Fifth Round, Pick 151: Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida State
The Cowboys go back to the defensive side of the ball in the fifth round and add some depth to their defensive line with Everett Dawkins.
Dawkins is a good fit in Monte Kiffin's defense because he's effective at shooting gaps and he runs very well for a big man. He is talented whether he's chasing a quarterback in the pocket or running after another ball-carrier in back-side pursuit.
Sixth Round, Pick 185: Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Dallas closes its draft by rolling the dice on former Arkansas running back Knile Davis. Davis missed most of last season with an injury, but he had an impressive performance at the NFL combine.
In reality, there isn't as much risk in taking Davis in the sixth round if he's on the board because Dallas could use some insurance at running back behind DeMarco Murray.
Davis was highly productive when he was healthy at Arkansas, and if he's able to regain his pre-injury form the Cowboys could have a steal.