2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: All Seven Rounds for the Dallas Cowboys
Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett - Senior Bowl
The last couple of days have seen the Dallas Cowboys make a bunch of internal changes to the coaching staff.
Changes, which Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones says head coach Jason Garrett made.
"Absolutely, we gave Jason that authority when the season ended," Jones said. "This was another disappointing ending, and you just have let your head coach have that latitude. It's not always going to be pretty, it's going to hurt some feelings, but you have to let Jason evaluate his staff and do what he believes is right. That's what we did."
Jones also recognized that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan wasn’t thrilled with the decision to add Scott Linehan, but explained that the Cowboys see Callahan contributing to the team’s success in 2014.
"Bill is not thrilled, but Jason didn't expect him to be thrilled," Jones said. "But, Bill is an outstanding coach, [and] he will be involved in game planning and overseeing our offensive line. There was no way we were going to let him walk and we kept our promise that nobody was getting fired; in fact, we added another pretty well-paid coach in Linehan.”
Jones also said that Garrett was very pleased with the moves and that he has both his and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones’ support.
In addition to adding Linehan, the Cowboys also promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator. In my opinion, it’s a move that needed to be made. In fact, I think that Marinelli should have been the defensive coordinator from the get-go last season, but I guess it is better late than never.
The Cowboys hope that Marinelli can replicate the success he had with the Chicago Bears as their defensive coordinator from 2010-2012. During that time the Bears were first in fumbles forced (59), first in defensive touchdowns (13), third in interceptions (65) and fourth in fewest cumulative points allowed (904).
However, if the Cowboys want Marinelli to truly resurrect the defense, the talent along the defensive front has to get better, and it starts with the 2014 NFL Draft.
So, without further ado I present to you my 2014 Cowboys Mock Draft 3.0.
Round 1, (17th overall) Aaron Donald
Heading into the Senior Bowl Donald had his doubters. At 6-feet, 288 pounds, Donald doesn’t look like the behemoths that one thinks of when the position of defensive tackle is brought up; that is, until you see him play.
At the Senior Bowl practices, Donald manhandled some of the country’s best interior offensive linemen prospects, including All-American guard Cyril Richardson, on his way to being named the Most Outstanding Overall Player, the top honor in the Alabama Power Practice Awards.
"Donald is a very explosive defensive tackle," Mike Smith, head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, who was also the coach of the North team, said. "I've been very impressed with him.”
Donald went into the Senior Bowl as the most decorated player in the country for the 2013 season after being awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, for the nation’s most outstanding defensive player, the Chuck Bednarik Award, for the defensive player of the year, the Outland Trophy, for the nations best offensive or defensive interior lineman, the Rotary Lombardi Award, for the nation’s most outstanding lineman or linebacker, All-American first team honors, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, and All-ACC first team honors.
Donald is by far the best three-technique defensive tackle prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft. Adding his speed, quickness, decisiveness and relentless pass rushing ability to the Cowboys defense, which desperately needs playmakers along the defensive front, could push them to a different level.
Round 2, (48th overall) Gabe Jackson
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Despite the improved play of the offensive line, I’m not sold on Ronald Leary or Mackenzy Bernadeau as long-term solutions at guard. Jackson is nasty at the point of attack; he has the power to move defenders out of the way in the run game, and despite his size is nimble on his feet in passing situations.
As many did with Larry Warford last season, Jackson has been tabbed as a “road-grader,” but I think he can be more than that from watching him play. Even so, if he can't be more, he’d definitely be a great downhill blocker as a right guard.
I’ve said it before, the Cowboys need to protect quarterback Tony Romo, now even more, following two back surgeries in less than eight months.
Round 3, (79th overall) Marcus Smith
Much like Donald, Smith is relentless when rushing the passer. Smith’s most obvious strengths are his speed and quickness, which could go a long way in Marinelli’s defensive scheme. Smith has also shown the ability to be an effective run defender, but will have to be more consistent doing it.
Round 4, (110th overall) Justin Ellis
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Ellis is a bull, who has impressive quickness for a man his size. Ellis projects to be a zero or 1-technique in either the 4-3 or 3-4 defense, but what separates Ellis from other nose tackle-type prospects is that he’s a disruptive force in the passing game; he isn’t just a run-stuffer. Ellis’ non-stop motor paired with his size and power could go a long way in freeing up other defenders for one-on-one matchups along the defensive front for the Cowboys.
Pairing him with Donald, could be just what the doctor ordered for the interior of the Cowboys defensive line. Both guys have proven that they can collapse the pocket, which means that the Cowboys’ defensive ends should benefit from quarterbacks not being able to step up into the pocket, something that has plagued the Cowboys for a long time now.
I know that the Cowboys have plans on using Tyrone Crawford and Ben Bass at defensive tackle, but neither guy has taken a snap in the 4-3 alignment, and after last season’s debacle, I don’t want to find out that they don’t fit the scheme or if they get hurt that the team has no depth at the position.
Round 5, (147th overall) Antonio Andrews
Andrews was impressive at the Senior Bowl, gaining recognition for his blitz pickup, but before that he was shredding teams on the ground on his way to being named the 2013 Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year, by tallying a school-record 1,764 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, which ranked fourth nationally.
He was the only semifinalist from a Non-Automatic Qualifying conference for the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s top running back, and also a two-time Paul Horung Award finalist for the Most Versatile Player, which speaks volumes about his pass-catching ability and his punt and kick returning ability.
Watching Andrews on tape, he is a very patient runner, who reads defenses well and hits the hole with authority. He won’t wow anyone with open field speed, and will have to prove that he is over his ball possession issues as he fumbled the ball six times in 2013.
Round 7 (207th overall) Max Bullough
Prior to the 2013 season, Bullough was compared to the likes of Luke Kuchely, unfortunately for Bullough that is no longer the case as he has seen his stock fall to the point where some believe he will be a seventh round pick or an undrafted free agent due to character concerns. However, character concerns or not, I think Bullough is simply too good of a prospect to pass up, especially if he's here in the seventh round.
He was suspended prior to the Rose Bowl and hadn’t been heard from since, until the East-West Shrine Game, where he showed up 20-pounds heavier than his listed playing weight. If he can shed the weight, and with proper coaching, I think he can return to the player he once was.
Bullough is instinctive and is consistently around the ball. He plays the run well and has shown some ability against the pass, but will undoubtedly have to prove he can be a three-down player to be successful at the next level. He plays aggressively, but takes the right angles to make the tackle and was rarely caught out of position.
Round 7 (210th overall) Jay Bromley
Bromley is a guy that I really like, and a guy that I think should be getting more attention than he is.
Bromley finished the 2013 season with nine sacks and three forced fumbles, and was one of the more disruptive interior linemen in college football despite consistent double teams. He is a solid 3-technique defensive tackle, who could come in and provide depth at the position.
Round 7, (215th overall) Larry Webster
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Webster is the son of former Super Bowl defensive end Larry Webster Jr. of the Baltimore Ravens, who played 11 seasons in the NFL.
He has a tall, long frame, and can stand to put on a few more pounds. He was a four-year starter on the Bloomsburg basketball team before using his last year of eligibility to play football. In his one season, however, Webster led Bloomsburg with 15 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He also added an interception and 39 tackles, and All-PSAC Division first team honors.
Webster is obviously a project, but the folks who know football better than we do say he reminds them of a guy named Jason Pierre-Paul.