FRISCO, Texas – Free agency isn’t even a week old but the shopping is slowing to a crawl and the draft will soon take center stage.
ESPN Insider Todd McShay offered up his third mock draft so far and once again he has picked a defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, with Michigan’s Taco Charlton the choice at No. 28 overall. In his first mock draft, he had Stanford’s Solomon Thomas, a Coppell, Texas, native, coming to the Cowboys, but Thomas is now the No. 2 overall pick in his mock. In his second mock, he had Alabama’s Tim Williams coming to the Cowboys, but Williams was not in the first round this time around.
That any prognosticator would have the Cowboys selecting a defensive end is not surprising. They need pass-rush help. And a lot of it.
But given how free agency has worked thus far, I’m not sure that’s where the Cowboys would go, especially with how McShay’s most-recent mock draft played out.
If the Cowboys had to play a game today, they would have enough bodies to line up at defensive end. You can argue with the quality, but they would have the bodies with Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Charles Tapper and Damontre Moore.
They need cornerback help even with the addition of Nolan Carroll in free agency. They need more than just Carroll, Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown, unless you want to bank on Leon McFadden in a big role. McShay has five cornerbacks going in the first round and three before the Cowboys pick. He has Ohio State’s Gareon Conley and Florida’s Quincy Wilson going after No. 28. The injury suffered by Sidney Jones is devastating for him because he was a lock first-rounder and it takes a corner out of the first-round pool for the Cowboys.
Doug Free's impending retirement will factor into the Cowboys’ draft plans. While they agreed to a deal with guard Jonathan Cooper on Tuesday, they would rather keep La'el Collins at guard than move him to right tackle. They have Chaz Green, who was projected to be the tackle of the future when the Cowboys took him in the third round in 2015, but he has been hit by injuries in his first two years and played in four games.
That’s where Cam Robinson comes into play. McShay had him going No. 31 to the Atlanta Falcons, but I can see the Cowboys making another first-round play on an offensive lineman the way they did Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.
At the start of the draft process, Robinson wasn’t expected to be around this long. He was a three-year starter at Alabama. He has all the prerequisites to be a top-flight tackle.
The Cowboys like to say they want to keep their strengths strong. The offensive line is a strength, and they could make it stronger with Robinson.