Things aren’t sweet in North Texas. Not even a little bit. There’s a sour taste surrounding the Dallas Cowboys and the stench emanating from a series of bad decisions keeps getting stronger. After two straight years of missing the playoffs, the cold reality of how much work needs to be done is hitting harder than the winter storm that’s eclipsed the area over the last week.
So what needs to be done to break out of the doldrums? Not losing the franchise quarterback to free agency is a starter, but even if Dak Prescott is signed long term, he will need more help than what he’s given. In our latest mock draft exercise, run on The Draft Network’s simulator, we go about doing just that.
While the mock starts with getting help on offense and that might ruffle a few feathers, this player might just be a generational talent and he’ll be on the field from Day 1 and forever. If the teams ahead of Dallas let this player fall like in this sim, the Cowboys will clean the plate, then clean opposing defense’s clocks. We circle back around to the offense at the end of Round 4, for a skill position player who can change a game on any play.
In between? The defense gets much better, and quickly. We don’t know where the Cowboys will go for their free agency, but this haul will help solidify the three problem areas.
No. 10 - Oregon OL Penei Sewell
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Height: 6-foot-5 Weight: 325 pounds Class: Junior Grabbing Sewell if he's available at this point seems like a no-brainer. The Cowboys do not know how much longer they will have Tyron Smith, who is under contract for the next three seasons. Even if he stays that long, Sewell has All-Pro written all over him at any position on the line. Plug him in at left guard and roll. Connor Williams and Connor McGovern backing up along with Brandon Knight and Terence Steeler allows Dallas to trot out the best-five front in any combination, with supreme depth on the practice squad too. Dallas lost .6 yards a carry in 2020 based on the OL injuries. Their adjusted sack rate dropped from 2nd in 2019 to 14th. Fix the line, fix the team.
No. 42 - Central Florida Safety Richie Grant
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Height: 6-foot-0 Weight: 194 pounds Class: Redshirt Senior Now we aren't going to pretend that the defense doesn't have major needs. Grant is the free safety the Cowboys desperately need. Playing single-high in Dan Quinn's defense, Grant has the instincts and the IQ to flourish in the NFL. Dallas will need to get some help up front in free agency, but the draft is where they need to find long-term solutions. Grant's Senior Bowl week was amazing and pairing him with Donovan Wilson is the start of something special.
TRADE: Send 3.74, 3.99. 4.139. 7.234 to New York Jets for 3.66, 3.86
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No. 66 - Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu
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Height: 6-foot-2 Weight: 212 pounds Class: Redshirt Junior Melifonwu is certainly worth using additional picks to secure. Dallas needs a long, Cover 3 cornerback to eventually play opposite the aggressive Trevon Diggs and Melifonwu fits the bill perfectly. He's long and athletic and is great in run support while showing a lot of promise playing press-man coverage.
No. 86 - Florida State DT Marvin Wilson
(AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Height: 6-foot-3 Weight: 319 pounds Class: Senior Wilson had what many would consider a down year in 2020, but his 2019 film had him being considered a first-round pick. His performance in Senior Bowl week reminded people of where his ceiling is. Adding Wilson to a rotation of Trysten Hill and Neville Gallimore, along with a stout veteran starting nose tackle has the makings of an impressive interior front for the Cowboys.
No. 114 - North Texas WR Jaelon Darden
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Height: 5-foot-9 Weight: 170 pounds Class: Senior The one thing missing from the Dallas offense is a game-breaker at wide receiver. Grab that kind of player to compliment the big 3 in Michael Gallup's (likely) final season with the Cowboys and then let Darden go to work while teams spend the next three years trying to stop the exquisite route running of CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. Darden has trailblazing speed and is absolutely going to kill Dallas opponents on bubble screens, jet sweeps and downfield routes as they have to double-team the outside threats and know that Ezekiel Elliott is getting the rock consistently behind a stout offensive line.