Friday will mark the very first day of April, a huge month for sports. Major League Baseball will hold its Opening Day, The Masters will grace our TVs, and the NFL will close out the month with an event with no actual sports in it, the Draft.
But perhaps what I love the most about April, is how Mock Draft production and consumption exponentially grow with speculation and hot takes at their highest peak.
The one rule I had was to make the picks as I would if I was in charge of the whole operation. So if you see a pick in there that makes you think “there’s no way the Cowboys would do that,” that’s the explanation. I believe that thought could cross your mind in the second round.
Here are the results!
24th overall: OC Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
Noteworthy players off the board: IOL Zion Johnson, IDL Jordan Davis, WR Garrett Wilson, LB Devin Lloyd
Noteworthy players on the board: EDGE George Karlaftis, IOL Kenyon Green, WR Chris Olave, WR Treylon Burks, DS Daxton Hill
Although I’d be intrigued about several prospects here (like Daxton Hill given how he’d fit Dan Quinn’s defense) this one came down to the offensive line. The Dallas Cowboys have a clear need at left guard, which they could address with OL Kenyon Green and forget about it.
But the Draft is all about the best player available and not about filling needs.
Despite the fact the Cowboys can certainly operate with Tyler Biadasz under center, Linderbaum would be a significant upgrade. Concerns about his arm length exist but they shouldn’t keep him from performing at a high level at the next level. Especially since he’ll play inside where everything is more compact and messy.
56th overall: DL Travis Jones, Connecticut
Noteworthy players off the board: WR Skyy Moore, EDGE David Ojabo, LB Nakobe Dean, EDGE Boye Mafe
Noteworthy players on the board: OT Nicholas Petit-Frere, IOL Dylan Parham, WR David Bell
It would undoubtedly be a surprise if the Dallas Cowboys draft a one-tech/nose defensive tackle this early. But Jones is so good that it also wouldn’t be a shock to break their tradition of undervaluing the position.
Jones could be an instant boost for the Cowboys’ run defense as a big-bodied run stuffer that projects to be a good pass rusher as well. Having a nose tackle like the Senior Bowl standout would provide Quinn with a lot of fun options to play around with odd fronts and two-gap schemes.
With athletic linebackers like Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox in the second level of the second defense, fielding a space-eater like Jones could go a long way.
88th overall: TE Greg Dulcich, UCLA
Noteworthy players off the board: EDGE Josh Pascal, WR Calvin Austin III, WR John Metchie, IOL Jamaree Salyer
Noteworthy players on the board: TE Isaiah Likely, TE Jeremy Ruckert, TE Cale Otton, LB Troy Andersen
With plenty of wideouts off the board in this spot, I opted for a tight end. Even with Dalton Schultz secured for 2022 under the franchise tag, the Cowboys have no long-term answer at the position. A contract extension for Schultz is certainly not guaranteed.
With so many tight ends on the board, I will defer to The Athletic’s Bob Sturm’s judgment on this one. This is what he had to say about Dulcich:
“He runs a full route tree and is a willing blocker — he checks all of the boxes for a dual-threat player with a pretty high floor.”
Say no more.
Featured image via Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports