Cowboys may take Chance Warmack in draft
Many will suggest that the Cowboys' biggest need in this year's draft is to improve their offensive line. The group was one of the worst in the NFL this season and almost every position can be upgraded. Others will point to adding some youth to an aging defensive front. Starting defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher are all at least 30-years-old.
And what about a future successor to Tony Romo? Romo turns 33 in April, so don't be surprised if some experts predict a quarterback selection for the Cowboys. Jerry Jones could probably also afford to add a safety and another pass rusher, especially if Anthony Spencer departs via free agency.
Mock drafts will change several times between now and the end of the scouting combine in February, and they'll change some more before the first round of the draft gets underway on April 25.
But why not take an early look at what some experts are projecting the Cowboys to do with the 18th overall pick? It's never too early for a mock draft roundup, right?
CBSSports.com's Rob Rang
Pick: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State.
Comment: "Tony Romo is not the Cowboys' biggest problem but after another ‘playoff' failure, owner Jerry Jones will have to begin looking seriously at other options. The 6-5, 232-pound Glennon offers a high upside and has enjoyed plenty of success already in his young career, throwing for 30-plus touchdowns in each of his two seasons as NC State's starter — a plateau previous standout Wolfpack quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers never accomplished."
NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler
Pick: Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama.
Comment: "The interior of the Cowboys' offensive line has been an issue for a few seasons now and the band-aids at center and guard are wearing thin. Chance Warmack is one of the better guard prospects in recent memory and has Pro Bowl potential."
WalterFootball.com's Walter Cherepinsky
Pick: John Jenkins, NT, Georgia.
Comment: "The Cowboys had the option of picking J.J. Watt at No. 9 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. They went with Tyron Smith, who was great in his rookie campaign, but they were hurting at the defensive end position as a consequence. In this scenario, they'd be able to move Jay Ratliff outside. It's something they were thinking about when they were seriously considering taking Dontari Poe in April.
"I moved Johnathan Jenkins to the second round of last week's update, but after doing some due diligence, I'd like to correct that mistake and slot Jenkins around the No. 18 area again. Though he has character issues, he's too talented to drop into the middle of Round 2. The Cowboys have taken someone with baggage before, and I'd say Dez Bryant has worked out pretty well."
WalterFootball.com's Charlie Campbell
Comment: "The Cowboys could use a difference-maker on their defensive line. They flirted with drafting J.J. Watt and Dontari Poe the last two years, so maybe Dallas will upgrade its defensive front in the 2013 NFL Draft.
"The junior-college product Jenkins (6-3, 351) showed off massive size with some surprising athleticism in his debut for the Bulldogs in 2011. The junior had 28 tackles, six tackles for a loss and three sacks. Jenkins had 50 tackles, one blocked kick, one pass batted, two tackles for a loss and one sack this season. The sack came against Alabama guard Chance Warmack.
"Jenkins is a massive load at the line of scrimmage. The senior is a natural fit as a zero-technique nose tackle for an NFL 3-4 defense. It helps that he already plays that position for Georgia."
FOXSports.com's Peter Schrager
Comment: "Another Cowboys season, another season finished on a disappointing Week 17 loss. Though you won't read about it this week, Tony Romo just had his best year as a pro, playing behind a subpar offensive line and without a quality running game behind him. Doug Free hasn't been the player the Cowboys thought he'd be when they rewarded him with a big contract and Tyron Smith seemed to be called for a false start on every other play from scrimmage this season. Injuries stung, but there needs to be more good, young linemen protecting Romo. Warmack can play guard or center and he can play them in the big leagues right now. Not as sexy as some of Jerry's usual picks, but a solid one."
SportingNews.com's Vinnie Iyer
Pick: Johnathan Hankins, DE, Ohio State.
Comment: "The Cowboys' front seven was beaten up by the end of the season, and they need to make an upgrade at end in their 3-4 scheme. Hankins' stock has dropped a bit, but he's a solid fit for Dallas' scheme."
SBNation's Dan Kadar
Pick: Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama.
Comment: "Nose tackle Jay Ratliff played in just six games this season and may be due for a more rotational role for the Cowboys. With Josh Brent's playing future looking bleak, Williams could be a great two-down player for the Cowboys, while Ratliff plays inside on third down passing situations."
Rotoworld.com's Josh Norris
Comment: "Cowboys fans rejoice, this is who you want. Warmack may end up being my top grade among senior prospects, so I wouldn't be surprised if he is selected before this, but it is a great fit. Not only can he consistently win one on one matchups, Warmack can move to the second level and maul smaller players."
DraftCountdown.com's Scott Wright
Pick: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas.
Comment: "The safety position has been a big problem area in Dallas for many years now. Gerald Sensabaugh is a serviceable starter but the spot opposite him is a mess and must be upgraded. … Dallas could also stand to upgrade on the interior of their offensive line so if Alabama OG Chance Warmack was still available that would almost be a no-brainer."
Pick: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M.
Comment: "Doug Free (4 years/$32MM) had to be motivated by rotating with an UDFA who played basketball (Jeremy Parnell). Jake comes from good genes in the Matthews clan and has the footwork and athleticism to play the blindside. Sign him up, cut Free's pay and see if he can play guard!"
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