FRISCO, Texas – ESPN Insiders Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay are four mock drafts in – two apiece – and they have been consistent with their selections for the Dallas Cowboys.
McShay has had the Cowboys taking a pass-rusher in his first two mock drafts: Solomon Thomas and Tim Williams. Kiper’s second mock draft is out on Wednesday and he has the Cowboys sticking with a cornerback: Florida’s Teez Tabor. In his first mock draft he had Washington’s Sidney Jones as the Cowboys’ pick.
This time around Jones went No. 16 to the Baltimore Ravens.
The names may change but the positions are sound. Any Cowboy follower will know that.
But a quick Google of Williams and Tabor and some off-field flags come up. Williams, who had 19.5 sacks the last two seasons at Alabama, had a misdemeanor gun charge and there are other reported off-the-field concerns, too.
Tabor, who went No. 13 overall in Kiper’s first mock draft, was suspended a game in 2015 for reportedly refusing to take a drug test and missed a game in 2016 after a fight with a teammate.
At 6-feet, 201 pounds, Tabor has the size the Cowboys like for their corners. He had four interceptions and six pass breakups in 2016.
The Cowboys have shown a willingness to take chances over the years that other teams wouldn’t when it comes to the draft. Randy Gregory is an example. Dak Prescott had a DUI before last year’s draft, which may have played a part in his fall to the fourth round.
At No. 28 in the first round, there won’t be perfect candidates. Jerry Jones likes to say “you’re not dealing with an old maid’s portfolio” in taking risks. He likes to take chances. Sometimes they work (Prescott). Other times they don’t (Gregory).
The Cowboys spent a good portion of the 2016 season talking about the unity and camaraderie involved with their team. Their chemistry was beyond reproach in their 13-3 finish. You can’t help but think about Greg Hardy and the malaise that fell over the team in 2015.
This isn’t meant to be a knock on Tabor or Williams. The Cowboys will do their due diligence on every player in the draft and determine what is real and what is imagined. Entering last year’s draft, some teams had worries about Ezekiel Elliott’s affinity for the nightlife, but it didn’t drop him on draft boards. His talent carried the day.
Over the next few months the Cowboys will evaluate Tabor and Williams and dozens of other players with flags for off-field behavior.
If chemistry and camaraderie meant so much to the success of the 2016 Cowboys, it can’t be ignored in 2017.