Dallas Cowboys: Pre-free agency 4 round mock draft
By Jesse Jones
Pick: Round 4,128th overall
Player: Khalen Saunders
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6-0, 324
School: Western Illinois
2018 stats: 72 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks
Khalen Saunders is exactly the type of player defensive line coach Rod Marinelli looks for and he can get the most out of him. He wasn’t playing against elite competition every week but his 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks are very good numbers for an interior defensive lineman at his size.
Saunders shows flashes of a player that can be productive in the league and a solid contributor with coaching and improved technique. We’ve seen first hand how Marinelli can take guys like Antwaun Woods and David Irving and turn them into surprisingly good players.
Saunders is not the ideal size but shows powerful hands and an uncanny willingness to get into the backfield. He wont wow you with pass rush moves or an elite first step but he’s shown flashes of what he could be using his limited amount of technique. He’s a solid run defender and you don’t see him get pushed around very much.
The Cowboys are always in need of defensive lineman and this is one I think Marinelli could work wonders with. Saunders was a main attraction in Mobile leading up to the Senior Bowl with his amazing ability to do back flip at 324 pounds and violent sack on quarterback Will Grier during the actual game.
Overall, Khalen Saunders could be another notch in Rod Marinelli’s belt in Dallas, going from unheard of prospect to productive NFL starter.