C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Ah, the evil empire. Call me a masochist, but there's something appealing about putting on my Darth Vader mask, walking onto the Cowboys' Death Star and taking aim at a nearby planet (or draft board. Whatever, nerd.)
It could also be this:
@BrandonGowton I don't know anything about the Draft - can I have Dallas?— Patrick Wall (@PatrickWall_NFL) April 8, 2014
For this exercise, I will be pretending Jerry Jones was real, real busy and couldn't make it to the Draft, and instead asked me to fill in. So as much fun as it is to watch Jerry pick a center in the first round, I went into this mock draft determined to take the best player available. After all, trying to predict what might be going through Jerry Jones' head during the Draft is futile exercise. Besides, when the real thing is as good as it is, why even try to imitate?
Drafting for Dallas is interesting because, like the Eagles, they could use help just about everywhere on defense. Fortunately for the Cowboys, they get to pick seven spots ahead of Philly. Unfortunately, they need a whole lot more help. Sure, the Eagles could use a new safety and maybe even a new linebacker. The Cowboys need just about everything. In case you'd forgotten, Dallas' defense in 2013 was, well, a tire fire. Like, bad on a level that could only be achieved by starting 11 clones of Brandon Weeden on defense. Check it out:
|Yards Per Game||415.3||32|
|Points Per Game||27||26|
|Total Points Allowed||432||26|
As the draft unfolded, I really only had eyes for safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor. But thanks to a mini-run on safeties by Chicago and St. Louis, who are clearly looking for their own NEXT DAWKINS, I found myself looking for a consolation prize.
So imagine my surprise when one CJ Mosley fell into my lap at 16th overall.
On the surface, picking Mosley for the Cowboys doesn't make a ton of sense. After jettisoning DeMarcus Ware in an absolutely beautiful cost-cutting move, the Cowboys' best defensive player is middle linebacker Sean Lee.
But with his injury history (he has never played a full season in his pro career,) the Penn State product's full name may as well be "Sean Lee Is Listed As Doubtful For Sunday." On top of that, there has been talk of moving Lee from the middle of the action over to the weak side, where his body could potentially take less of a pounding. After all, the Cowboys are trying to actually beat their division rivals in Week 17 (I know, I'm just as surprised as you) so having Lee just might help.
By drafting Mosley, the Cowboys can build on one of their only defensive strengths. He is probably the best middle linebacker in the draft, and arguably the best linebacker in this class, period. The coaches' pick for SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, Mosley capped an impressive college career with a team-leading 108 tackles to go along with nine sacks.
Not only that, scouts have been raving about his leadership skills, something Dallas could always use, but will need even more with Ware out of the picture.
As our own Mike Kaye pointed out, Mosley is a rangy player who can get off blocks and cause disruption in the backfield. He's always around the ball, and while bulking up might do him some good, playing alongside Lee would mean he wouldn't need to do all of the dirty work himself.
Also under consideration at 16 were offensive skill players like Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks, and a wealth of second-and-third-tier defenders. But for a cash-strapped team in need of help anywhere it can find it, especially on defense, it's best for Emperor Jerreh to not overthink this one. Use the Force, Jerry - take the best player on the board and find a way to make him succeed.
Actually, scratch that. Draft another center.
1 Houston Texans (Imp) - Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville - [Explanation]
2 St. Louis Rams (starship 007) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson - [Explanation]
3 Jacksonville Jaguars (sports00fan00) - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, SC - [Explanation]
4 Cleveland Browns (InHinkieWeTrust) - Johnny Manziel, QB, TAMU - [Explanation]
5 Oakland Raiders (SleepingDuck) - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo - [Explanation]
6 Atlanta Falcons (jimmyrustler) - Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn - [Explanation]
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (AnthroEagle) - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF - [Explanation]
8 Minnesota Vikings (pot) - Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA - [Explanation]
9 Buffalo Bills (wow4444) - Jake Matthews, OT, TAMU - [Explanation]
10 Detroit Lions (kamjam) - Mike Evans, WR, TAMU - [Explanation]
11 Tennessee Titans (NowWhat?) - Justin Gilbert, CB, OK State - [Explanation]
12 New York Giants (Anthony DiBona) - Eric Ebron, TE, UNC - [Explanation]
13 St. Louis Rams (ILL Eagle) - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama - [Explanation]
14 Chicago Bears (JerkyBoy) - Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville - [Explanation]
15 Pittsburgh Steelers (KJ Brophy) - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan - [Explanation]
16 Dallas Cowboys (Patrick Wall) - C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama - [Explanation]
17 Baltimore Ravens (rohan915) -
18 New York Jets (del.champion) -
19 Miami Dolphins (HD) -
20 Arizona Cardinals (NCeagle) -
21 Green Bay Packers (ablesser88) -
22 Philadelphia Eagles (jhn) -
23 Kansas City Chiefs (PeaceVT) -
24 Cincinnati Bengals (deg0ey) -
25 San Diego Chargers (StoneColeKiller58) -
26 Cleveland Browns (P_Roach17) -
27 New Orleans Saints (bebin) -
28 Carolina Panthers (MikeKafka) -
29 New England Patriots (Amateur_Hour) -
30 San Francisco 49ers (AndyMcNabb) -
31 Denver Broncos (dceagles) -
32 Seattle Seahawks (eagles0132) -