Mel Kiper Mock Draft 4.0: Dallas Cowboys Land Combine Phenom


With the 2015 NFL Draft less than three weeks away, buzz surrounding Valley Ranch is electric as prospects from around the country visited the home of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, all this week. One of those former college players was even predicted to land in Dallas during the draft by the league’s top evaluator.

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ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. released his fourth mock draft of the offseason this week. And in it, he has the Cowboys taking a draft board riser who used the NFL Scouting Combine to catapult himself into the first round.

With the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select…

Feb 23, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Connecticut Huskies defensive back Byron Jones catches a pass in a workout drill during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Byron Jones, Cornerback, Connecticut

Here’s Kiper’s explanation of the selection:

"“The Cowboys are clearly in win-now mode, and their ability to run the ball effectively and create points on offense really isn’t a question mark for me. While the defensive line is an area they can improve, I think the secondary is a bigger concern, and I love the versatility that Jones can offer them as a corner who can be moved around and also play safety if that’s where they need him. This is one of the best athletes in the draft, but with Jones, it’s not just about the workouts, because everything you see at the NFL combine is also evident on tape. He has great football instincts and star upside. There are going to be pass-rushers available in Round 2, and running back help is there well into the later rounds, especially with the offensive line the Cowboys have in place.”"

This selection certainly make sense for the Cowboys as Jones visited Valley Ranch this week as Dallas has a need at the position. Depending upon the future of current starter Brandon Carr, the cornerback position could end up being the Cowboys’ biggest need going into the draft.

But is Jones worth a first round pick? Many seem to believe so. The 6-1, 199 pound cornerback was a team captain as a senior, a trait Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett covets. Jones recorded 24 total tackles, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown in seven games before a shoulder injury cut his final season at Connecticut short.

During his junior year, his first at the cornerback position, Jones recorded 60 total tackles, eight passes defended and three interceptions.

The 22-year old set a world record in the broad jump with a 12-feet, 3 inches effort during February’s Scouting Combine. And that feat, more than anything else, illustrates what he currently is as a prospect.

Although his technique needs a lot of work due to him being a former safety who switched to cornerback in 2013, Jones’ extraordinary athleticism covers up a multitude of those technical sins.

With veteran corners Carr and Morris Claiborne‘s future in Dallas unknown, cornerback seems to be the early favorite for the Cowboys’ first round pick. With Michigan State’s Trae Waynes, Wake Forest’s Kevin Johnson and Washington’s Marcus Peters already off the board, Jones makes perfect sense as Dallas’ top pick in this mock draft.

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