Cowboys 7-Round Mock: Here’s why drafting OL early makes sense again

The Dallas Cowboys have cornered the market on taking OL early. For decades, they ignored the position group, but then in 2011 things changed. As part of one of the best draft classes of the last 30 years, the Cowboys selected USC action figure Tyron Smith at No. 9 overall. That started their run of three first-round linemen in four years when Travis Frederick were selected in 2013 and 2014.

Now, the O-line is no longer doing what is required. Many point to other team’s offensive line constructions as signs a team doesn’t need to invest as mightily as Dallas did. However as someone not convinced Dallas hired the best OL coach candidate nor had a good one in recent years, starting with a baseline of talent that will allow Dak Prescott comfort seems the way to go.

Prescott struggled when he had no confidence in his offensive line, so if the circumstances in this mock draft iteration come to fruition, then hop on board.

Options at No. 26

Running a mock draft over at Fanspeak, we were presented with the following options at No. 26 when Dallas arrived on the clock.

No. 26: Ohio State OT Paris Johnson

Ohio State Football Spring Game


Why Johnson over Porter, Jr.

Opinions were split, but leaning to CB on the unofficial polling of Twitter followers. Here’s why I diverted.

As it stands now, the Cowboys have a ton of possibilities at tackle, so why go there? Well it’s a bit of a mirage. Tyron Smith could be a cap casualty and will always be an injury return. Tyler Smith could play both left tackle and left guard, at a minimum.

Of greater importance though, is the situation at right tackle. Terence Steele has improved greatly over his three years and is certainly a viable starter who is better than an average player. However he’s a restricted free agent and while Dallas will be able to tender him at a 2nd-round level and likely keep him, he was get paid well in 2024. Does Dallas want that to be them with Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb coming due?

Tender Steele then let him walk in 2024 leading to a third or fourth-round comp pick in 2025. Make Smith and Johnson the bookends for the next 8 years, or, if Matt Waletzko develops in Year 2 keep one of the two first rounders inside at guard.

As for the need at corner, I’m in the minority but a grouping of Diggs, Daron Bland, Jourdan Lewis and a savvy veteran signing, along with Israel Mukuamu, has me feeling just fine not investing a first rounder in the position and attacking it later in the draft.

No. 58: WR Josh Downs, UNC

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Read Downs scouting profile here

The Cowboys’ offense needs playmakers who can stretch the field and produce after the catch. That’s Downs.

No. 90: Edge Nick Herbig, Wisconsin

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The pass-rush rotation in Dallas is silly, and some might be opposed to strengthening a strength, but how confident should fans be? Dorance Armstrong lost all of his early-season steam with just 0.5 sacks over the final eight games including nothing in the playoffs. He also is entering the final season of a two-year deal.

Sam Williams looks promising but his rookie season is actually proof of the need to get another guy in the fold prior to Armstrong and DeMarcus Lawrence’s tenures coming to an end.

Herbig as a full-time edge rusher is enticing.

No. 129: RB Kenny McIntosh, Georgia

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

McIntosh has impressive size at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds who is versatile in being able to run inside or out, and behind various blocking schemes. McIntosh is pass-catching weapon out of the backfield, cover him with a linebacker at your own risk.

No. 163: CB Riley Moss, Iowa

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

One of the fastest of this draft’s top DBs, Moss would be a great addition to the current CB corps of Dallas. Moss had a lot of buzz coming into the week of Senior Bowl practice and has supported it with an outstanding couple of practices. He’s not only quick, but physical and just an outstanding all around athlete with plus ball skills.

No. 170: WR Rakim Jarrett, Maryland

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No. 176: QB Stetson Bennett, Georgia

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No. 212: Safety Rashad Torrence II, Florida

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No. 246: Punter Adam Korsak, Rutgers

Adam Korsak of Rutgers

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire