NFL Mock Drafts: SB Nation Takes An Early Look At 2012

Jason Garrett will finally be sitting at the head of the table in this year's draft war room. How will he improve the Cowboys in the draft this year?

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Mel Kiper, Todd McShay Still Project Tyron Smith To Cowboys At No. 9

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both updated their Insider mock drafts Wednesday and continue to see USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith as the right fit for the Cowboys, who pick ninth. Kiper notes that Smith has moved up to No. 9 on his “big board” and calls it a need pick but one that could help soon.

Both mocksters project Patrick Peterson to fall to the seven slot despite his high ranking, a tough pill to swallow for some Cowboys fans who saw their team fall from six to nine in the draft order with a meaningless win against the Eagles on the last day of the season. Kiper and McShaw also agree on spots for both of the elite QBs in the draft, with Cam Newton projected as the top pick and Blaine Gabbert tabbed to go fifth to the Cardinals.

In fact, their top fives match entirely, as both have Alabama DT Marcell Dareus second, Texas A&M’s Von Miller third and Alabama WR A.J. Green fourth. The second corner in the draft, Prince Amukamara of Nebraska, is slotted at No. 13 on each draft.

These are three-round mock drafts, and both guys see Dallas loading up with defensive backs in the second and third rounds. Kiper projects Miami corner Brandon Harris, who has been in some first round projections, and North Carolina safety Da’Norris Searcy. McShay goes with Texas corner-safety Aaron Williams and WVa corner Brandon Hogan. Williams would be an interesting fit, since he looks to be able to play both corner and free safety, both positions where Dallas could get him on the field.


2011 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Projects Robert Quinn To Cowboys

The newest NFL mock draft from SB Nation is in, and the Cowboys are once again projected to select DE/LB Robert Quinn. After a few weeks of seeing Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara fall to Dallas, we see him go at No. 7. This is notable not only because of Amukamara, but some mock drafts have Patrick Peterson sliding into the middle of the top ten (poor Wonderlic?). Rather than being a possible trade partner for the Cowboys, the 49ers appear to be competition for the best corner on the board.

As for Quinn:

9. Dallas Cowboys: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. Dallas is a prime spot to entertain the idea of a trade, because their needs don’t match up with the talent likely available to them. A BPA route may be in order if they stand pat, and Quinn is arguably that here.

For those of us who bemoaned the Week 17 victory over the Eagles that dropped the Cowboys from six to nine in the draft, this is not welcome commentary. Instead of being almost certain of having one of the two elite corners available – and possibly both – and one of the top front seven talents, such as a Nick Fairley or Von Miller, Dallas is likely to be tempted to trade down. And I can guarantee that that would be received with audible groans from the fan base, particularly given all of the recent rumblings that Jerry Jones is looking to save money.

Among other picks of interest in the mock draft, Cam Newton is projected to be taken No. 1 overall by the Panthers, and Blaine Gabbert is projected at No. 4 to the Bengals. A.J. Green, whose stock has been slipping a bit as Julio Jones catches him on draft boards, falls past Dallas to the Redskins at No. 10. With Nate Solder’s weak showing at the combine (particularly on the bench press), Tyron Smith is now the top offensive tackle on the board. He’s projected at No. 13 here, well within distance of the Cowboys, with a month of movement still remaining.

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