Drafting Dallas 2017: 7-Round Mock Draft 4.0

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Welcome to my 4.0 and final installment of Drafting Dallas 2017, where I’m assuming front office duties to mock draft the full seven rounds for the Cowboys.

It’s been a long, winding road to this point, but since my 3.0 installment, it’s been a relatively quiet ride for America’s Team. Aside from picking up the fifth-year option for all-world guard Zack Martin as expected, the Cowboys have only made one additional move, signing veteran safety Robert Blanton. Neither transaction appears to have any further implications for the draft, meaning the front office remains as they were—eyes forward to Thursday night. Which brings us to this exercise.

For context, this isn’t a prediction or a projection of what the actual front office will do, nor is it a fantasy draft where the best players just happen to conveniently fall to the Cowboys. I will be using the big board I have personally compiled (and recompiled) of this year’s incoming draft class, to make my selections as realistically as I can given my current impression of team needs and players’ draft stock. I will also not be repeating any previous selections of the series, ensuring both a unique draft scenario and an original read.

That all being said, let’s go on the clock with Drafting Dallas 2017 4.0.


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Round 1, Pick 28

Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

Dallas simply does not have an impact pass rusher on the roster that they can rely on consistently to generate pressure and sack the quarterback. One of their 30 pre-draft visits, McKinley is a player that has been linked to the Cowboys since the beginning of the draft process, and after many twists and turns that saw him rise beyond their reach and then drift back down the board to within striking distance, he projects to be a strong candidate for their first-round selection, provided that they are comfortable with his medicals. While they will have to wait to get immediate returns, the physical talent and potential—not to mention the need—makes McKinley too good to pass up.


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Round 2, Pick 60

Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC

Another of the 30 pre-draft visits for Dallas and another player to whom they have been strongly linked, Jackson has been surging up draft boards in recent weeks, to the point where some draft analysts have mocked him into the first round. Personally, I think mid-to-late second round is his range, as his athleticism and explosiveness as a returner isn’t enough to offset his size and developing coverage skills to where I would be comfortable using a first-round pick to land him. That said, at the end of the second round? Absolutely. If he’s there for the taking, they could potentially use him in all three phases—as a slot corner to round out their cornerback depth chart, as a returner in the kicking game, and as a gadget player on offense—which would be excellent value for this selection.


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Round 3, Pick 92

Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech

Yet another of the 30 pre-draft visits, Woods is a player who wasn’t this high on most draft boards until recently because of his limited exposure coming from Louisiana Tech. But, he’s gained traction during the draft process and now finds himself knocking on the door of the day-two conversation. A hard hitter with ball skills, he’s not only equally capable of defending against the run and the pass, but also of playing both safety positions. Given the Cowboys current depth chart, it’s not out of the question for him to compete for a starting role as a rookie.


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Round 4, Pick 133

Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia

Gibson is a deep-ball threat the likes of which Dallas does not currently have on the roster. Averaging 22.6 yards per catch for his college career, he would add the vertical element to the offense that the Cowboys have been missing. Stretching the field and backing off opposing secondaries, he could help open up both the run game and the short and intermediate passing game—where the Cowboys do their most damage.


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Round 6, Pick 211

Elijah McGuire, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

A productive, all-purpose back, McGuire has the power and toughness to run between the tackles, and the speed and elusiveness to bounce the ball outside. But, he also shines as a receiver out of the backfield and has special teams value. It’s that kind of versatility that should intrigue the Cowboys as they look for a complement to All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott moving forward.


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Round 7, Pick 228

DJ Jones, DT, Ole Miss

An undersized interior lineman whose motor runs hot, Jones projects slightly higher, but could slide because of his lack of length and college production. That said, he has the power, athleticism, and quickness to push for not only a roster spot, but meaningful snaps as both a 1-technique and a penetrating 3-technique in Dallas’ defensive line rotation.


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Round 7, Pick 246

Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State

A plus athlete for the position with impressive size and physical tools, Ware is a small-school project player that Dallas will have to develop for a year or two. But, it could be a low-risk investment that pays major dividends in the long run if they are able to refine his physique and technique for the NFL level.


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Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments and check back soon for my 2017 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 and 2017 NFL Draft Super Mock!

Mock draft with my big board! Ringside to Sideline is now a selectable data option for the Fanspeak On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator. Visit fanspeak.com/ontheclock and start drafting!

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