Mock Roundup 7.0: New Name Creeps Into The Discussion

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IRVING, Texas – It might sound strange to say, but thank goodness for Todd McShay – otherwise we wouldn't have anything interesting to talk about.

All the usual suspects have updated their mock drafts as we inch closer and closer to the NFL draft. The only problem is that, as we've seen, the focus for the Cowboys' No. 16 pick has narrowed considerably. The two popular defensive tackles, Aaron Donald and Timmy Jernigan, are widely represented – as expected. Other popular picks like Kony Ealy, Zack Martin and Anthony Barr are also featured by draft experts.

Enter ESPN's McShay, who took a different approach with his latest mock draft on Thursday. Rather than try to predict what 32 different NFL teams will do on draft night, McShay went with his own evaluations and took the player he liked most at each spot.

The result was a name we haven't seen as often as others – Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Several receivers have been linked to the Cowboys at No. 16, but it's usually Mike Evans or Odell Beckham Jr. McShay went with Cooks, and he selected the speedy wideout ahead of a still-available Johnny Manziel.

It might not be accurate, but it raises some interesting "What If?" scenarios. If the Cowboys added a playmaker like Cooks to a passing game that already features Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams, it'd certainly spark some discussion.

See all 10 experts' opinions below.

Date of Mock:April 24

Pick:Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks


Comment:I'd be looking to trade back or up if I were put in this situation -- but remember, one of the rules of this exercise is that there are no trades. Louisville safety Calvin Pryor isn't the fit I'm looking for here, as the Cowboys need a safety with more range, and while Twitter might explode if the Cowboys took Johnny Manziel at No. 16, I'm not going to do that. Receiver is certainly down the line in terms of need, but I think Cooks could be a big-time playmaker alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams because of his route-running ability and top-end speed. It's all about allowing Tony Romo to succeed for Dallas, and drafting Cooks would serve that purpose.

Date of Mock:April 22

Pick:Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan

Comment:The Cowboys have looked locked in on first-round defensive tackles for obvious reasons, but with Aaron Donald long gone, you wonder if the presence of Michigan's Taylor Lewan or Notre Dame's Zack Martin could prompt Dallas to address its weakness at right offensive tackle. The Cowboys love to move around in the first round, but for now, we're sticking with Jernigan at No. 16 given the need for bodies on the defensive line. The addition of ex-Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton didn't solve all the problems up front.

Date of Mock:April 24, 2014

Pick:Jernigan

Comment:The Cowboys need to strengthen the trenches. Jernigan has violent hands and can help plug holes to free up the linebackers behind him.

WalterFootball.com's Walter Cherepinsky

Date of Mock:April 24

Pick:Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

Comment:This pick may not make much sense on the surface, but hear me out. Doug Free is coming off a solid season, but he has just one year left on his contract. He was also tried at the guard position before the 2013 campaign began, so perhaps Jerry Jones will want him to shore up a huge hole at one of those slots. Free would be able to move there with this selection. 

Taylor Lewan has the talent to be the sixth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but character issues could drop him some. Jones has proven recently that he's willing to take chances on players with concerns, provided they're not too egregious. 

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco

Date of Mock:April 23 [embedded_ad]

Pick:Alabama S Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix

Comment:He has a chance to be nice, rangy free safety, which they need.

Date of Mock:April 21

Pick: (via trade with Detroit) Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
*Cowboys send picks 16, 47, 158 to Detroit for picks 10 and 111

Comment:Another top-10 move, this time so the Cowboys can cut in front of a few teams with D-line needs. Donald may fit a similar mold to recent Dallas addition Henry Melton, a slightly undersized three-tech. Part of the appeal of Donald, though, is that he can and has played just about everywhere on the line. He could rotate in for Melton at the three-tech or slide over to a one-tech spot and do just fine. This is a case of taking the top player available, then worrying about exactly how to employ him later

DraftTek.com Consensus

Date of Mock: April 23

Pick:Notre Dame OT Zack Martin

Comment:The title of this comment is "I don't think!" Based on the draft prospect invitations the Cowboys have issued and their value on the Big Board, "I don't think" their top 2 DL prospects (DT Aaron Donald and DE Anthony Barr) will be available at #16 (sure enough, Barr went to Atlanta at #6 and Donald went to Chicago at #14 in this simulation). The next 2 DL prospects (DT Timmy Jernigan and DE Kony Ealy) are potential "trade-down" targets and (are you ready for it) "I don't think" Dallas will reach for them. While most of this draft should concentrate on defensive needs, "Romo Friendly" is still pertinent and 1 more stud on the OL would benefit that cause. Zack Martin can learn the NFL game inside at OG in 2014 and become a potential replacement for Doug Free (who is a Free Agent in 2015) at ROT. Not your typical "Notre Dame OL"; footwork is extremely good, keeps his feet under him, plays with his butt low to accentuate his power on blocking technique, as illustrated against Stanford.

CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler

Date of Mock:April 21

Pick:Martin

Comment:Defensive line or bust here, right? If the Cowboys top targets (namely Aaron Donald) are gone here and they are unable to trade back, Martin would be an excellent consolation prize and give the offensive line some stability.

CBSSports.com's Rob Rang

Date of Mock:April 22

Pick:Jernigan

Comment:The signing of defensive tackle Henry Melton helps fill the gaping hole in the middle of Dallas' defensive line but the Cowboys may want insurance that his surgically-repaired knee will hold up. Jernigan, athletic, powerful and just scratching the surface of his potential would give Dallas the interior duo needed for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme to be successful.

SBNation's Matthew Fairburn

Date of Mock:April 21

Pick:Missouri DE Kony Ealy

Comment:Kony Ealy and the Dallas Cowboys seem like a perfect match. Dallas has expressed interest in Ealy throughout the pre-draft process, and there is an obvious need at defensive end after letting go of DeMarcus Ware this offseason. Ealy can play a few different spots on the defensive line and gets after the quarterback in a variety of ways. He should come off the board within the first 20 picks of the first round.

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