Mock Draft Roundup 4.0: Does Hardy Suspension Affect The First Round?

IRVING, Texas – Let's start this week's mock roundup with a bit of disclosure: the vast majority of these mock drafts don't account for the 10-game suspension of Greg Hardy, handed down by the NFL on Wednesday afternoon.

The good news for us draftniks is that I'm honestly not sure that's an important detail. Yes, the Cowboys need pass rushers and yes the loss of Hardy for 10 games is going to hurt their ability to get to the quarterback.

If you've been following this draft process, though, you're probably aware of an unfortunate fact for this team. The Cowboys, picking 27th overall in the first round, are not ideally placed for pass rushing talent. They're far too far down the draft board to be considered realistic destinations for the big names – Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler, Vic Beasley, etc.

There are possibilities, and some of them are mentioned among the mocks below. For the most part, however, the draft experts are sticking to the same line of thinking that's been evident for a month or so: the Cowboys' best bet for value is at other spots. Of the 12 mocks listed here, seven have the Cowboys selecting a defensive back, three focus on a pass rusher and two have them taking a running back.

For the full breakdown, see below:

Date of Mock:April 22
Pick:Connecticut CB Byron Jones
Comment:"Gordon is an option for the Cowboys if he drops this far, but they can also look to add a running back later in the draft. Cornerback is their second-biggest need, and Marcus Peters is a possibility here, but I'll have them take Jones. His recognition skills in coverage can improve, but he's an exceptional athlete with good size and great intangibles who could really help upgrade the corner position for Dallas."

Date of Mock:April 22
Pick: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon
Comment: "DeMarco Murray's production worked wonders for Tony Romo and the Dallas offense. Gordon allows Dallas to continue along that same path."

Date of Mock:April 21
Pick:Washington CB Marcus Peters
Comment: "The signing of defensive end Greg Hardy only reinforces that Jerry Jones is willing to take chances on players with character concerns if the talent is great enough. Peters is the most gifted cornerback in this class and would provide an immediate upgrade over disappointing veterans Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne."

Date of Mock:April 20
Pick: LSU CB Jalen Collins
Comment:"Apparently the opinion that Dallas needs a cornerback is popular. I went with Gurley in my last mock draft, so it was a little strange being the only person to make that pick. In Collins, another stab would be made at a high-upside LSU cornerback. Maybe he could succeed where Morris Claiborne has struggled."

Date of Mock:April 20
Pick:Collins
Comment: "After Morris Claiborne, it's tough to see the Cowboys drafting another LSU cornerback in the first round, but Collins has the size/speed combination that has scouts and coaches salivating."

Date of Mock:April 20
Pick: Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson
Comment:"After missing out on the top two runners, the Cowboys land some help at cornerback."

Date of Mock:April 22
Pick:Alabama S Landon Collins
Comment:"The Cowboys have major issues in their secondary, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if they spend multiple picks on upgrades. I've had them addressing the cornerback position, but safety is definitely in play if Landon Collins falls to them, which is what I have happening in this update. Collins is arguably the top player available and would give Dallas a big upgrade on the back end."

Date of Mock:April 21
Pick:Jones
Comment:"I have taken a look at the "guest list" of prospects invited to Valley Ranch, not an absolute but normally a good indicator, and have narrowed my focus. I don't believe the Cowboys will invest a 1st round pick on a RB (unless Gurley falls), the top pass-rushers are gone, and CB still appears to be the best value at 27. I shifted gears this week to the athletic Huskie, whose Combine numbers jump off the page and match his production."

Date of Mock:April 22
Pick:UCLA DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa
Comment:"Before you start throwing stones at me in the comment section, let me explain. One of my favorite sleeper picks in this draft is Owamagbe Odighizuwa. I have him ranked as the top 4-3 defensive end in this class if you don't count Leonard Williams as a defensive end. Zuwa ranks as the fifth most physically gifted prospect in this draft class, which he uses to convert speed to power like few can. In addition to having all the traits needed to dominate as an edge-rusher, he sets an edge, anchors against the run and is a reliable tackler. He would have gone higher, but there are some medical concerns regarding his hips."

Date of Mock:April 15
Pick:Gordon
Comment:"The Cowboys need more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball if they truly want to compete for a championship. However, U-T Sports Editor Todd Adams sums up Jerry Jones perfectly: "He loves his skill players." I worry about Gordon's usage at Wisconsin. His total touches were approaching 700, and you'd like to draft a running back below 500. It's really hard to argue with 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns though. Top needs: CB, DL, RB"

Date of Mock:April 14
Pick:Kentucky DE Bud Dupree
Comment:"This is lower than where I think Dupree should go, but quality players slip in the draft every year. There is a line of thought that the Cowboys will use this pick to draft a running back, and maybe they will. But they can also add a really solid defensive end in Dupree here while still having the opportunity to land a quality running back in round two."

Date of Mock:April 14
Pick:Oklahoma DT Jordan Phillips
Comment:"A power player who fits a need. They have to get stronger in the middle."

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