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Cooper, Fluker Have Early Lead In Wide Variety Of Mock Drafts


A new month brings new projections with it, and with April arriving, the 2013 NFL Draft is starting to take shape. As the draft draws closer, you're starting to see the same names in the same spaces as mock drafts become more informed.

Unless the team in question is the Cowboys, that is.

A quick perusal of various mock drafts does a great job highlighting Dallas' needs at No. 18. The common consensus is what you'd expect – the Cowboys should look to draft a stalwart offensive lineman, an interior pass rusher or perhaps a safety.

But who exactly the team should take with that selection is still a matter of dissenting opinion.

Twelve different mocks to this point propose seven different players for the Cowboys' No. 18 pick.

Here's who (or what need) the draft experts think the Cowboys should choose.

* *'s Don Banks

Pick: Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina

Comment:"Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker or one of the remaining first-round defensive tackles all would make sense based on need. But Cooper is likely to be the highest rated player remaining on the board in this scenario, and the Dallas offensive line could use a stud about now."'s Lou Pickney

Pick: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Comment:"The Cowboys are shifting from a 3-4 defense to a "Tampa Two" style 4-3 defense, and success in that set is predicated on the front four bringing pressure on passing downs. Moreover, with 4-3 DT pass rushers more valuable than ever in the modern NFL, Richardson-to-Dallas would be a great setup on paper for all involved."'s Akbar Gbajabiamila

Pick: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

Comment:"Jerry Jones made a clear statement that the Cowboys believe in Tony Romo with a mega-bucks extension, so the next logical move is to protect their investment. Watson, a former basketball player, has great footwork to dance with pass rushers."

* *'s Russ Lande

Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Comment:The Cowboys have a number of needs, but to upgrade the back end of their defense is too much to pass up with Vaccaro still on the board. The rare safety that is equally productive in run support, in man coverage and patrolling the back end in deep coverage, Vaccaro could really upgrade the Dallas defense.

* *'s Peter Schrager

Pick: Cooper

Comment:"Tony Romo had a big statistical year despite playing behind a terrible offensive line. Doug Free hasn't been the player the Cowboys thought he'd be and Tyron Smith seemed to be called for a false start on every other play from scrimmage this season. Injuries stung, but there needs to be more good, young linemen protecting Romo. Cooper could be a great addition to the line. The 6-foot-2, 310-pounder pumped out 35 repetitions of 225 pounds and impressed in interviews. Not the flashiest of picks, but I like it. I'm also not sure if he'll still be available all the way at 18."

* *'s Rob Rang

Pick: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina

Comment:"After a long run with the 3-4 defense the Cowboys are making the switch to the 4-3 alignment with new coordinator Monte Kiffin. For Kiffin's famous Tampa-2 scheme to work the team will need to add a penetrating three-technique defensive tackle. Williams left scouts buzzing with his athleticism at the North Carolina Pro Day and would be a perfect schematic fit."

* *

* *'s Dane Brugler

Pick: Vaccaro

Comment:"Drafting a lineman, either offensive or defensive, with this pick makes the most sense, but with the top prospects off the board, Texas' Vaccaro is very much a possibility for Dallas who needs to make upgrades at safety."

* *'s Pat Kirwan

Pick: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama

Comment:"In the glory days of the Cowboys big Erik Williams was the right tackle. The 'Boys have a chance to go back to that kind of offensive line if they take Fluker. Put him on the right side, cut Doug Free and the team is better right away."

* *'s Pete Prisco

Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama

Comment: "They have to get better inside. Warmack is a mauler."

Pick: Fluker

Comment: "The interior of Dallas' offensive line is an abomination. The front office actually found two downgrades at guard last offseason, while center Phil Costa is a sieve.  D.J. Fluker would give the Cowboys some options. They could use him at guard, or they could put him at right tackle and move the struggling Doug Free inside."

[embedded_ad]'s Dan Kadar

Pick: Richardson

Comment:"A defensive lineman of Richardson's caliber would be difficult to pass up – particularly with Vaccaro off the board. The other option could be a guard like Jonathan Cooper or right tackle like D.J. Fluker, but Richardson grades out as the better player. He would also speed up the team's transition to Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defense."'s Mel Kiper

Pick: Warmack

Comment from Bleacher Report: "Chance Warmack is definitely a great fit for Dallas, but it would be surprising to see him drop this far. As arguably the best offensive line prospect in the 2013 class, Warmack has Top 5 potential. Although the previous offensive line picks by K.C., Arizona, San Diego and St. Louis are great, Warmack is arguably a better fit for each."

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