The Dallas Cowboys’ season ended in the NFC divisional round at the hand of the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas is accustomed to offseasons of soul-searching. Is Dak Prescott capable of leading the team successfully through the playoffs? Is head coach Mike McCarthy going to get another year? Will defensive coordinator Dan Quinn return to the sidelines or take a head coaching gig elsewhere? There are a lot of unanswered questions around this franchise.
There are clear positions of need on the roster, so those were addressed in a mock draft scenario:
No. 27 overall: Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas
Quinn has been creative in his usage of Micah Parsons. He has maximized Parsons’ versatility rather than painting him into the corner as a traditional off-ball linebacker. The vision is similar with Sanders. The Alabama transfer has been used primarily in an off-ball role with the Razorbacks but has also proven to be an effective pass rusher. The diverse skill sets of Sanders and Parsons would allow Dallas to mask its intentions pre-snap.
Anthony Barr and Leighton Vander Esch are playing out one-year contracts so there is an opportunity for Sanders to play early. Although not the reason for the selection, it does not hurt that Jerry Jones has Arkansas roots.
Round 2: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
Dallas played the ninth-highest percentage (27.2%) of man coverage this season, according to TruMedia. Trevon Diggs played well this season and rookie DaRon Bland gave the team productive repetitions. However, the Cowboys need to upgrade that room, which would also improve the depth.
Turner is a patient cornerback who can carry routes vertically or across the field. Play strength, however, could stand to improve as he competes with NFL wide receivers on a snap-by-snap basis.
Round 3: Moro Ojomo, DL, Texas
The Cowboys’ pursuit of defensive tackles has been more of a scatterplot on Day Three of the NFL Draft. He becomes the third consecutive defensive selection to start the draft class as the team looks to become more stingy up the middle. Ojomo is on the lighter side for a defensive tackle but does a good job of shooting gaps and impacting the quarterback.
Round 4: Parker Washington, WR Penn State
Michael Gallup missed the first three games of the season. Free agent signing James Washington was waived in the final week of the season. T.Y. Hilton was signed late in the year to give the Cowboys a dynamic that they had been lacking. Moving forward, they are likely still in search of a complement to CeeDee Lamb.
Washington has good top-end speed and averaged 13.3 yards per catch. He is originally from Sugar Land, Texas.
Round 5: Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati
Dalton Schultz played on the franchise tag this season and did not exactly end on a high note. It is a strong tight end class so teams should be able to get quality players into Day Three.
Round 7: Mark Evans II, OG, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
A seventh-round pick is a shot in the dark. They are not picked with the expectation that they will start but the hope is that he provides Dallas with quality depth at the very least.