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Todd McShay mock shows Cowboys' first-round quandary

IRVING, Texas -- For his second straight mock draft, ESPN Insider Todd McShay has the Dallas Cowboys sticking with Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon in the first round.

It is a perfectly sound pick if the Cowboys lose DeMarco Murray to free agency. While a running back has not been picked in the first round the last two years, Gordon would give the Cowboys the ability to continue their run-first, run-often mentality that worked so well in 2014.

But it's not the ideal pick for a team that needs an influx of defensive help.

What McShay's mock draft does indicate is the possibility that the Cowboys are in a never-never land when it comes to landing a pass-rusher or cornerback. Eight defensive ends and three cornerbacks were among McShay's first 26 picks.

Even the offensive tackle position was well picked over.

While you can never ignore the Cowboys trading up to make sure they land a valued pass rusher or cornerback, which I can't name just yet because it is early in the process to know who the Cowboys love, like or loathe, giving up early round picks does not help build the base of a team.

As much as the Cowboys needed to land DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round last year, giving up their third rounder to get him was costly.

If the projections continue down the same path, the Cowboys' best hope is to find a team willing to trade up to No. 27 so they can acquire multiple picks in the top three rounds.

With a deep running back field, you might feel better getting one in the second or third rounds than in the first.