Peter King is the latest to project USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith to the Cowboys with the ninth pick in the NFL draft. King projects Cam Newton first to Carolina, Blaine Gabbert fourth to Cincy, and Patrick Peterson seventh to Houston, leaving the LSU corner tantalizingly close to Dallas’ pick. His mock draft makes Robert Quinn, Prince Amukamara, Da’Quan Bowers and J.J. Watt available at the Cowboys’ spot.
King also offers his opinion on who each team should take. For the Cowboys, he suggests Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo. He also suggests Castonzo at three for Buffalo.
Dallas can take the long-term replacement for right tackle Marc Colombo here, and the choice is between the raw but athletically gifted 20-year-old (Smith) or the proven commodity who is the most versatile lineman in the draft (Castonzo). Smith’s not a bad pick, but with a roaming QB in Tony Romo, who’s subjected to lots of hits and coming off a season-ending injury, give me the surer thing, please.
The notion that Castonzo and Smith are fairly interchangeable options fits with Matt Mosley’s suggestion Monday that the Cowboys grade those two and Nate Solder similarly.
Another theme in the draft is that King sees TCU QB Andy Dalton as a good candidate in the middle of the first round. He suggests Dalton as the pick that should be made at Nos. 8, 11 and 12, before he projects him to be taken by the Dolphins at 15.