ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper has released his first mock draft, and he has the Dallas Cowboys landing a guard with the 14th overall pick.
Kiper has Stanford’s David DeCastro, who in Kiper’s estimation is the best guard in the draft, going to Dallas in the first round. If Kiper is correct, 2012 will mark the second consecutive year that Dallas has drafted an offensive lineman in the first round.
Of course, they took USC tackle Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick in 2011--and this worked out well, with Smith performing well enough as a 20-year-old rookie to make coaches consider moving him to Tony Romo’s blindside in 2012, and earning a spot on Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie team.
More on DeCastro from Scouts Inc., via ESPN Dallas:
"Takes pride in craft and works to finish assignment. Flashes a mean streak but would like to see it with more consistency. Will chase play downfield and looks to clean up piles. Plays with the grinders mentality necessary for an interior offensive lineman."
Both of Dallas’s starting guards in 2011 were veterans, in Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland, and each suffered an injury toward the end of the season--Kosier a sprained MCL and Holland a biceps injury. 2011 rookies Bill Nagy and David Arkin will also be competing for a spot next year.
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