Mock Draft Roundup: Cowboys Expected To Focus On Defense In First Round

FRISCO, Texas – If there's one thing I'd impress upon you, it's that the vision isn't going to get any clearer between now and April 27.

For two months, we've been tossing around various names of pass rushers, defensive backs and the occasional wild card. Those names have been fairly accurate for the most part, but we've been able to narrow the focus just a little bit – the NFL Combine and the Cowboys' official visits have helped with that.

But at the end of the day, it's hard to ask for a ton of clarity when you hold the No. 28 pick in the draft. The Cowboys are at the mercy of most of the rest of the NFL with their first-round draft pick, and all we can hope to do is paint some sort of picture of what to expect.

That picture is pretty clear, to hear it from the draft experts. It's certainly not a consensus, considering that the 14 mock drafts listed below have nine different selections – but the trend remains pretty obvious.

The Cowboys need defense, and most people seem to think they'll get it on April 27. Of those nine different names, eight of them play defense. And of those eight different defenders, all of them are either a defensive end or a defensive back.

That seems to be a theme for the Cowboys in 2016 – don't overthink the obvious. We'll see if they stick to that strategy when they're on the clock.

Here's the mock draft rundown:

Date of Mock:April 12
Pick:Florida CB Quincy Wilson
Comment:"Wilson has some of the best ball skills of any defensive back in this class, totaling 14 pass breakups and six interceptions. The Cowboys need more big and physical corners like Wilson (6-11/2, 211) after seeing Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne depart in free agency."

Date of Mock:April 12
Pick:Missouri DE Charles Harris
Comment:"The Cowboys still need to find a legitimate pass rusher to feature off the edge. Harris is a blue-collar worker with a rugged game and non-stop motor that fits the Cowboys' profile.

Date of Mock:April 12
Pick:UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley
Comment:"While most think McKinley plays linebacker in the NFL, he can stick at end and Dallas its best pure pass rusher since DeMarcus Ware."

Date of Mock:April 12
Pick:McKinley
Comment: "They have to upgrade their pass rush, no matter what. This is a kid with a ton of explosive edge ability."

Date of Mock:April 11
Pick:USC CB Adoree Jackson
Comment:"After losing Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr in free agency, the Cowboys need to restock the shelf at cornerback. Jackson's an explosive playmaker with the confidence necessary to start early in his career, and, as an added bonus, he could feature on special teams after returning four punts and four kick returns for touchdowns in his college career. Hell, the Cowboys could even try him on offense. As a two-way player for USC, he caught 39 passes for 628 yards and six touchdowns as a receiver and ran the ball 15 times for 92 yards. Jackson plays bigger than his size (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) would suggest."

Date of Mock:April 6
Pick:Harris
Comment:"Dallas almost needs to draft defense given how the offseason has gone so far, and the Cowboys definitely need to find some pass rush help."

Date of Mock:April 6
Pick:Jackson
Comment:"One of the Cowboys top-30 visits, Jackson is the type of athlete that NFL teams covet at the cornerback position. He is still unrefined in several areas, but his ceiling has a good chance of getting him in the late first round."

Date of Mock:April 6
Pick:Michigan S/LB Jabrill Peppers
Comment:"The Cowboys don't have a reliable pass-rusher, but they lost two starters at the safety position in free agency. Byron Jones will take over at one position; Jeff Heath is slated to step into the other. Peppers is a much more palatable option, which allows Heath to stay in a nickel role."

Date of Mock:April 7
Pick:Harris
Comment:"The Cowboys have to add talent both in the defensive backfield and along the defensive line. Harris could be next in the line of Missouri pass-rushers to hit big in the NFL if Rod Marinelli gets his hands on him."

Date of Mock:April 7
Pick:Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
Comment:"On the surface, this might seem like a ridiculous pick. Even digging deeper it might be laughable. But Engram could end up being the best tight end in this class and just as we saw with Tony Romo, Jason Witten won?t play forever. Why not give Dak Prescott all the weapons available while this offensive line is still intact, Ezekiel Elliott is still young and Dez Bryant is still one of the league's best wide receivers? Yes, there are glaring needs on defense but will it matter if Dallas scores 40 points a game?

Date of Mock:April 7
Pick:Houston EDGE Tyus Bowser
Comment:"The Cowboys need a lot on defense, but Tyus Bowser is the best value here. He has the chance to develop into quite the pass rusher."

Date of Mock:April 6
Pick:Harris
Comment: "The Cowboys' gambles on recent character concerns at pass rusher have not paid off and adding a playmaker to this unit should be a top priority. Harris possesses the burst, bend and lethal spin move to wreak havoc off the edge and, after only joining the sport as a junior in high school, he possesses the upside for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to develop."

Date of Mock:April 5
Pick:UConn S Obi Melifonwu
Comment:"Fellow UConn product Byron Jones has worked out pretty well, so why not? Like Jones, Melifonwu could offer some hybrid cornerback/safety possibilities, and the Cowboys need a little new blood after several off-season losses in the secondary."

Date of Mock:April 6
Pick:Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Comment:"Randy Gregory has yet to prove he can be counted on. Charlton is a skilled pass-rusher who features the size and versatility to have an impact right away."

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