FRISCO, Texas -- The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away, and for the second time in the last three years, the Cowboys have a first-round pick near the bottom of the round.
Here at the start of April, the DallasCowboys.com staff is making their early individual predictions for all seven picks, including No. 28 overall. Below are the two-cent mocks and analysis from Bryan Broaddus, David Helman, Rob Phillips and Nick Eatman:
S, La. Tech
RB, S.D. State
WR, Miss. State
RB, N.C. A&T
Bryan Broaddus: King has outstanding size and reach. Fast riser up the board the more that teams study his tape and get to know him. Basham can play either end, so flexibility makes him an asset. Woods is always around the ball and can play is coverage. Physical player. Pumphrey is short but explosive. If club wants to have a back in that Lance Dunbar role, he's your man. Very good returner. Godchaux is a one technique that doesn't have much flex. Strong at the point but is limited as a pass rusher. Ross is a local kid (Tyler, Texas) and was a teammate of Dak Prescott at Mississippi State. Nothing flashy but very steady. Tevi, like Ross, is a local kid (Euless, Texas). Was a defensive player that switched to offense his final two seasons at Utah. Developmental type of a player that has the physical skills to get a late shot.
David Helman: I'd honestly prefer to draft a cornerback at No. 28 overall, but I think the value is going to be better for a pass rusher and Harris fits the bill as the all-important right end. I love big, physical corners and Chidobe Awuzie is that, checking in at 6-0, 202 pounds. He could push for early playing time either outside or in the slot. Defense is obviously the priority for this team, but I don't like the odds that the board will fall that way three-straight times. Davenport is a good player at a position that could use some extra depth, so I rolled with it. The rest of my picks are depth guys with intriguing upside. I hate the fact that I didn't draft a safety, but the value just didn't work out the right way. I like Yearby as a well-rounded insurance policy for Ezekiel Elliott, and I like Fields as a talented guy that Rod Marinelli might be able to work with. Chesson's got solid size and speed and could push for a roster spot.
Rob Phillips:McKinley is a tentative first-round mock pick for me given his March shoulder surgery and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones' statement in late March that the team would be less inclined to spend a high draft pick on a prospect who might need an injury redshirt-type season like Jaylon Smith did. McKinley, though isn't expected to miss his entire rookie year. On the early side of the 4-6 month timetable he gave at the Combine, McKinley could return sometime in training camp. When healthy, he's a terrific pass-rushing prospect. You'll notice a theme to the rest of my mock draft: defense. Arguably the Cowboys' three biggest needs (edge rusher, cornerback, safety) are addressed in the first three rounds, and running back is the only offensive position included here. The Cowboys should have plenty of options for defensive help early in this draft, as it's considered one of the deepest classes in recent memory.
Nick Eatman: I know Jerry Jones said he wasn't interested in taking guys who are banged up, but he's always interested in getting value. And when you're 28th overall, it's hard to find that. Add on the fact that their attempt at stealing a great player in Randy Gregory has not panned out at all. I think McKinley makes sense here, even though he might miss all of the offseason and perhaps some of camp. King reminds me of Byron Jones in his position flex. He could be playing one spot this year and a different one the next. Pocic might not be around but again, value in the third round of a versatile lineman. Remember, we're not just picking players for this year's depth chart, but down the road. Cannon has the speed I've been asking for and Cohen could be a Dunbar replacement. If he can play, this team could use another linebacker named Lee.