Breaking Down Mel Kiper Jr. & Todd McShay's Final Draft Projections for Cowboys

Alex HallCorrespondent IIIApril 24, 2013

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: Michael Via #67 of the Virginia Tech Hokies blocks Sylvester Williams #92 of the North Carolina Tar Heels at Lane Stadium on November 17, 2011 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft is just one day away and ESPN's top gurus have released their final mocks heading into April 25. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both agree on what position the Dallas Cowboys will take but not player.

Let's take a look at who those players are and break down why Dallas would pick either and how it would affect the team.


Mel Kiper Jr.: DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

In his write up for the pick, Kiper Jr. explains that the Cowboys would receive a "jolt of youth" on an aging interior line.

Jay Ratliff is 31 years old and the most notable player on the interior line so that reasoning is understandable. Others like DeMarcus Ware at age 30 aren't getting younger either. It would be smart for Dallas to have some young building blocks on defense.

Williams would be a great fit for the Cowboys on a defensive line that has struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks in recent seasons. Ware recorded his lowest season sack total since 2009 with 11.5 in 2012. Anthony Spencer was the only other Cowboy to finish with double-digit sacks with 11.

At 6'3", 310 pounds and an ability to maneuver past blockers, Williams could do wonders with a healthy Ratliff in the interior line.


Todd McShay: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

McShay didn't have a write-up for any of his last mock picks but perhaps his reasoning is along the same line as his colleague's. Richardson is another interesting name that could have the Cowboys attention on draft day and McShay believes more so than Williams for Dallas. He has Williams going No. 23 overall to Minnesota. 

Richardson is build a lot like Williams at 6'3", 294 pounds and wreaked havoc on SEC offensive lines for Mizzou last year.

He totaled 75 tackles, with 10.5 resulting in a loss of yards in 2012. Richardson has the ability to disrupt an offense and he showed that his last year with the Tigers. 

Like Williams, Richardson would give the Cowboys another young building block for seasons to come and one at every major area of defense. Morris Claiborne and Sean Lee are young cornerstones at secondary and linebacker while Richardson would be that for the line.

Having Dallas draft Richardson with Williams still on the board in his mock shows McShay values the former as a better prospect than the latter. It will be interesting to see if either analyst is correct about the player or position the Cowboys address at pick No. 18.

Ultimately though, the scenario that results in Big D drafting a defensive lineman will stem from if Kenny Vaccaro and Chance Warmack are gone.

In McShay's last mock he had both Vaccaro and Warmack off the board before Dallas' pick. Kiper Jr. had the Cowboys electing to go with Williams over Vaccaro after Warmack was selected at No. 13 by the Jets.

The Cowboys would be wise to address safety or offensive line before defensive line. Jerry Jones and company don't have a ton of picks to use to move up for Warmack.The Alabama product likely isn't moving to Dallas for that reason.

Vaccaro should be the pick if available simply due to a lack of talent and depth at the position. Safety was a need heading into the 2012 draft and is still a huge need, arguably the biggest heading into 2013.