Dallas Cowboys

2018 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Can defense-needy Cowboys afford to pass on Calvin Ridley?

Pro days are in the books and now teams are bringing in possible draft picks on visits in their final preparations for the NFL Draft later this month.

A lot has changed since our first mock draft, and a lot will change after this 2.0 version.

But the Dallas Cowboys’ top needs have remained the same even with a handful of signings in the second wave of free agency.

They still need help on all three levels of defense; they still could use wide receiver help; and they still could upgrade positions such as left guard.

With that being said, this mock draft has the Cowboys staying put at No. 19. And they could luck out with a player such as Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley falling to them.

Hey, the Cowboys are doing their homework on wide receivers.

Coach Jason Garrett and wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal both worked out Ridley during Alabama’s pro day, and then SMU’s Courtland Sutton.

With that being said, here’s the Star-Telegram’s Mock Draft 2.0.

1. Cleveland Browns. Sam Darnold, QB, USC. Same as 1.0. Browns general manager John Dorsey can’t afford to risk taking a non-quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick. The Browns need a franchise QB and Darnold is the favorite at this point.

2. New York Giants. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State. Same as 1.0. The Giants need a quarterback of the future, but Barkley is simply too intriguing to pass up.

3. New York Jets. Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The Jets paid a hefty price to acquire this pick from Indianapolis. They’re going to take a quarterback and Rosen seems to make the most sense here.

4. Cleveland Browns. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State. The Browns benefit by the Colts trading out of the No. 3 spot. Chubb is the best pass rusher in this draft and would form a dream tandem with Myles Garrett.

5. Denver Broncos. Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. Case Keenum is the starter for the immediate future. But John Elway and the Broncos still need a long-term option and Allen has all the physical traits to become a franchise QB.

6. Indianapolis Colts. Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame. Arguably the best player in the draft, the Colts get Andrew Luck more protection inside.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama. A Day 1 starter at safety will help a secondary that ranked last in pass defense, allowing 260.6 yards a game.

8. Chicago Bears. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State. Shutdown corners don’t grow on trees and Ward has the makings of being just that at the next level.

9. San Francisco 49ers. Derwin James, S, Florida State. He’s drawn comparisons to Sean Taylor and Ed Reed. Oh, and 49ers general manager John Lynch knows a thing or two about safety play.

10. Oakland Raiders. Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech. At just 19, Edmunds is going to be the youngest player in the NFL. But he’s an elite athlete and should become a staple at the start of the Jon Gruden era.

11. Miami Dolphins. Vita Vea, DT, Washington. Ndamukong Suh is gone. Enter Vea, a massive run-stuffing DT.

12. Buffalo Bills. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma. The Bills may trade up once more on draft day to ensure they get their quarterback. For now, we’re going with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who has an official visit set up with the Bills.

13. Washington Redskins. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia. Smith is a top-10 talent the Redskins would love to see him fall to them. This would be an easy pick.

14. Green Bay Packers. Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida. The Packers need cornerback help, and Hughes has upside. He had four interceptions and 11 passes defended last season for the undefeated Golden Knights.

15. Arizona Cardinals. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. The Cardinals need to find a future quarterback and Jackson has upside. New coach Steve Wilks came from Carolina and could see Jackson in a similar light as Cam Newton.

16. Baltimore Ravens. Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA. Terrell Suggs had 11 sacks last season, but he isn’t going to play forever. Davenport gives the Ravens a top pass rushing talent.

17. Los Angeles Chargers. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State. Rudolph has worked out with Philip Rivers this off-season and would love to study under him. Why not make it happen with Rivers turning 37 this season?

18. Seattle Seahawks. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa. The “Legion of Boom” appears to be a thing of the past, but Jackson could be part of the next era. He had 27 passes defended and eight interceptions for the Hawkeyes last season.

19. Dallas Cowboys. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The Cowboys have added a couple receivers in free agency, but there is still work to be done. Ridley is on the Cowboys’ radar and would be a key piece in trying to get the passing game back on track.

20. Detroit Lions. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama. Payne is the best player on the board at this point and is a talent in the trenches that will help every level of the defense. He also has flexibility if Matt Patricia is running a 3-4 or 4-3.

21. Cincinnati Bengals. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame. The Bengals bolster their offensive line with a player, McGlinchey, who can start at right or left tackle. New line coach Frank Pollack gets a talented player to work with from the start.

22. Buffalo Bills. Taven Bryan, DT, Florida. Bryan is a raw prospect, but has the physical tools that project well to him becoming an elite three-technique tackle.

23. New England Patriots. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. The Patriots sent Brandin Cooks to the Rams and use this pick on a cornerback who has speed and ball skills. Alexander is a suitable replacement for Malcolm Butler, who departed to the Titans in free agency.

24. Carolina Panthers. Justin Reid, S, Stanford. The Panthers released Kurt Coleman, and Reid would step in as a Day 1 starter. He is a versatile player who had five interceptions last season for the Cardinal.

25. Tennessee Titans. Harold Landry, DE/ OLB, Boston College. After piling up 16.5 sacks as a junior, Landry didn’t have the senior season most expected. Still, he’s a guy who will help the Titans’ pass rush.

26. Atlanta Falcons. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan. There is concern about a heart condition that forced him to leave the Combine, but Hurst is a promising three-technique lineman. The Falcons need to address their defensive line, too, with the departures of Dontari Poe (Carolina) and Adrian Clayborn (New England).

27. New Orleans Saints. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State. Drew Brees gets another weapon in hopes of making another push for a championship. Gesicki is a big target at 6-foot-5, 247 pounds, and tied for first in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds) among tight ends at the Combine.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama. A physical linebacker with power and speed who had 13 tackles for loss last season. Evans makes sense for the Steelers, particularly after the scary spinal injury Ryan Shazier sustained last year.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M. The Jaguars didn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver and the leader in TD receptions was veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis with five. They need more play-makers for Blake Bortles.

30. Minnesota Vikings. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. Hernandez is a monster of a man and the Vikings need to protect their No. 1 asset – quarterback Kirk Cousins. Hernandez is also a power blocker who will be a force in the running game.

31. New England Patriots. Connor Williams, OT, Texas. Nate Solder bolted in free agency and the Patriots have to address the offensive line. Williams is a versatile player who could be an option at tackle or guard, and plays with a mean streak.

32. Philadelphia Eagles. Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA. Miller had a standout Combine, which could push him into the first round. The Eagles are a pretty complete team, but Miller could become the heir apparent to Jason Peters, the 36-year-old All-Pro who played in just seven games because of injury last season.

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