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Markus Golden Is The Most Interesting Prospect In The NFL Draft

When I do research on prospects heading into the NFL draft, every once in a while a player just jumps out at me. Sometimes it’s their game film, sometimes their measurables, but there are clear instances when a player just grabs my attention for no readily apparent reason. Call it a hunch, or subconscious pattern recognition, but every person who spends time year after year evaluating prospects in any sport likely has had the same experience.

Markus Golden is not one of those players.

Instead, Golden represents something else entirely, something rarely seen in this most imperfect of universes: a near-perfect test case for a theory.

Cowboys Mock Draft, Version 2.0

This is my second crack at a mock draft for the Cowboys using Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator (the first mock can be seen here). The big change since my first mock was Greg Hardy’s signing, which helps alleviate the need for a defensive end. It doesn’t eliminate it entirely though, given the possibility of Hardy getting hit with a suspension to begin the season. A running back to replace DeMarco Murray remains a big priority but fortunately for the ‘Boys, this draft class is very deep at running back. If Melvin Gordon isn’t available at the tail end of the first round, there are plenty of nice consolation prizes available later on. Other needs include the secondary (corner and safety), linebacker depth, and a tackle to understudy Tyron Smith and Doug Free and possibly serve as Free’s replacement in 2016.

All that said, here’s my second kick at the mock draft can:

Cowboys Mock Draft, Version 1.0

With the NFL draft inching closer, it felt like time to mosey on over to Fanspeak’s On the Clock simulator to crank out a mock draft or seven for the team I cover for Rotowire: the Cowboys. Doing mock drafts may be an exercise in futility when it comes to actually predicting who might go in any particular draft slot, but it’s a great way to force yourself to become familiar with the draft class beyond the obvious big names. For instance, last year when doing mocks, I kept running into the name Dezmen Southward (an unheralded safety out of Wisconsin) as available in the late rounds. When I actually looked him up, however, I discovered that he’d torn up the track with a 4.38 40-time at his pro day, and so when he got popped in the third round by the Falcons it was no surprise to me.

This year, the obvious glaring need for the Cowboys is a running back to replace DeMarco Murray. Fortunately for them, this draft class is very deep at running back. If Melvin Gordon isn’t available at the tail end of the first round, someone like Jay Ajayi could be a nice consolation prize later on. Their other glaring need, a pass rushing defensive end, could be harder to find, however, both due to draft position and due to the fact that this doesn’t look like a great year for them.

That said, here’s the first kick at the mock draft can:

Are the Jets a Playoff Team?

I know, they have missed four straight postseasons (going 26-38 during that time), run the franchise beyond poorly for years and have a rookie HC in Todd Bowles. But it seems obvious [to me, at least] no team has improved more in 2015 than the New York Football Jets. The real question, however, is whether Gang Green has improved enough to contend for a playoff spot. Given their defense, running game and conference affiliation, my answer is a resounding yes.