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Three-round 2019 NFL mock draft 2.0: Round 3 TE for Cowboys

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Each year, I find myself reaching an irrational level of excitement about the arrival of the NFL Scouting Combine (March 1-4 on NFL Network).

While some complain that the event takes a measure of athletic ability that doesn't always translate once the pads are on, I view it as a chance to get as many of the top prospects as possible in one place at the same time. Now, teams can't afford to use draft picks on unproductive players lacking competitive spirit and physicality, even if they test well in Indy -- their film and recommendations from coaches are still the keys to their evaluation. However, seeing the physical tools for each player in direct comparison to their peers is also part of the projection process -- one that should not be overlooked.

General managers, scouts and coaches also get a chance to talk to prospects during combine interviews and watch them interact with coaches on the field. The combine is a non-contact event, but league personnel will take away something about the competitiveness of each player based on his willingness to listen attentively and give full effort in the drills.

This mock draft is only one possible scenario for how things will play out once picks are being made in April, using the information we have heading into the combine. The 102 selections listed here take into account team needs at this very moment, as well as the talent of the prospects. Free agency, which begins on March 13, will obviously alter the outlook for each organization.

Round 3

PICK

65

Kaleb McGary - OT

School: Washington | Year: Senior (RS)
McGary can start for the Cardinals at right tackle in 2019.

PICK

66

Bobby Okereke - LB

School: Stanford | Year: Senior (RS)
If Okereke is still available here, the Raiders can acquire the intelligent and athletic second-level defender they need to lead their defense.

PICK

67

Anthony Nelson - Edge

School: Iowa | Year: Junior (RS)
The Niners need depth on the edge and Nelson will provide hustle and strength off the bench as a rookie, growing into a bigger role in time.

PICK

68

Dre'Mont Jones - DT

School: Ohio State | Year: Junior (RS)
Jones' best NFL position could be 5-technique, a position at which the Jets may need more bodies if they lose players in free agency.

PICK

69

Damien Harris - RB

School: Alabama | Year: Senior
Leonard Fournette's had his issues, Carlos Hyde seems to be in decline and T.J. Yeldon's contract is expiring, so the Jags may need to find depth at the running back position.

PICK

70

Tre Lamar - LB

School: Clemson | Year: Junior
Lamar will help patrol in the middle of the Tampa Bay defense.

PICK

71

Mecole Hardman - WR

School: Georgia | Year: Junior
The Broncos' return game was one of the worst in the league in 2018. Hardman, a likely combine star, will bring explosiveness on special teams initially and then could become a big-time receiving threat.

PICK

72

Isaac Nauta - TE

School: Georgia | Year: Junior
Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, and C.J. Uzomah are all free agents. It's unclear if any of them will return, so it's Nauta stretch to think this underutilized receiver at Georgia could be a nice target for Andy Dalton in 2019.

PICK

73

Chase Winovich - Edge

School: Michigan | Year: Senior (RS)
OK, I admit to placing Winovich here because his last name is similar to Rob Ninkovich, the former Patriots edge player. But hey -- the Patriots could use another versatile outside defender, so why not?

PICK

74

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - WR

School: Stanford | Year: Junior (RS)
Arcega-Whiteside could significantly improve his draft status by testing well at the combine. If he doesn't, a team will still understand that his ability to fight for the ball in traffic will help him succeed at the next level.

PICK

75

Darnell Savage Jr. - S

School: Maryland | Year: Senior
Savage is a very good coverage safety who can tackle in space and create turnovers. I won't be shocked if he goes anywhere from the mid-second round to the mid-third round.

PICK

76

Juan Thornhill - S

School: Virginia | Year: Senior
Thornhill is an experienced and versatile player who could step into a starting free safety role for Washington.

PICK

77

Ugo Amadi - CB

School: Oregon | Year: Senior
The release of nickelback Captain Munnerlyn leaves a spot open in the Panthers' secondary. Amadi has the skills to excel in that role.

PICK

78

Charles Omenihu - Edge

School: Texas | Year: Senior
Omenihu could become a strong two-way end for the Dolphins, possessing the strength to play the run and motor to attack quarterbacks.

PICK

79

David Montgomery - RB

School: Iowa State | Year: Junior
The Falcons could use a powerful back if Tevin Coleman does not return. Montgomery fits the bill.

PICK

80

Tyler Roemer - OT

School: San Diego State | Year: Sophomore (RS)
Signing Greg Robinson to a one-year deal to play left tackle made sense. However, finding a future starter like Roemer ( albeit with some baggage) in the mid-third may be too much value for GM John Dorsey to pass up.

PICK

81

Michael Deiter - OG

School: Wisconsin | Year: Senior (RS)
Minnesota's interior offensive line struggled last season. Deiter will protect quarterback Kirk Cousins and create holes for running back Dalvin Cook.

PICK

82

B.J. Autry - OG

School: Jacksonville State | Year: Senior (RS)
The Titans add a potential starter at left guard who can replace Quinton Spain if he departs in free agency.

PICK

83

Terrill Hanks - LB

School: New Mexico State | Year: Senior
Hanks did not get much pub playing in Las Cruces, but he nonetheless will upgrade the Steelers' interior defense.

PICK

84

L.J. Collier - Edge

School: TCU | Year: Senior (RS)
Even if the Seahawks do retain impending free agent Frank Clark, they will likely seek additional pass-rush help in this draft. Collier's power on the outside was largely unheralded during the season, but teams are starting to notice his prowess.

PICK

85

Deionte Thompson - S

School: Alabama | Year: Junior (RS)
Thompson will not be working out at the combine due to a wrist injury. If he is available in the third round, like former teammate Ronnie Harrison was in 2018, the Ravens have found themselves a bargain replacement for Eric Weddle (if the team parts with him this offseason).

PICK

86

Amani Hooker - S

School: Iowa | Year: Junior
If Tyrann Mathieu does not re-sign with the Texans, Hooker could take over those playmaking responsibilities in the box and in coverage.

PICK

87

Joejuan Williams - CB

School: Vanderbilt | Year: Junior
The Bears add another corner here if they do not re-sign nickel Bryce Callahan, who is coming off a broken foot suffered late in the year.

PICK

88

Miles Sanders - RB

School: Penn State | Year: Junior
Kerryon Johnson missed six games due to injury last season and LeGarrette Blount is due to become a free agent. Sanders was a bit underrated after following Saquon Barkley at PSU -- a big showing at the combine will bring him into the forefront.

PICK

89

Anthony Johnson - WR

School: Buffalo | Year: Senior (RS)
Andrew Luck needs more reliable receivers when teams bracket T.Y. Hilton. Johnson should become just that for the Colts, as he is one of the more pro-ready pass catchers in the class.

PICK

90

Foster Moreau - TE

School: LSU | Year: Senior
Dak Prescott missed former third-round pick Jason Witten during 2018. Another former SEC tight end, Moreau has the athleticism and blocking ability necessary to be a starter in the league for a long time.

PICK

91

Greg Gaines - DT

School: Washington | Year: Senior (RS)
The Chargers don't have many bodies on the defensive line. Gaines possesses the ability to hold up against double teams as well as collapse the pocket with foot quickness and strong hands.

PICK

92

Corey Ballentine - CB

School: Washburn | Year: Senior (RS)
A team has doubled up on cornerbacks in the first three rounds in 15 of the last 20 drafts. The Chiefs need to bolster their depth at the position, and Ballentine brings athleticism and tenacity in coverage.

PICK

93

Tytus Howard - OT

School: Alabama State | Year: Senior (RS)
Howard proved at the Senior Bowl that he is worthy of a Day 2 pick.

PICK

94

Lonnie Johnson - CB

School: Kentucky | Year: Senior
The Rams' secondary struggled at times during 2018. Plus, Sam Shields is due to become a free agent, while Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib are a year away from the open market.

PICK

95

Justin Layne - CB

School: Michigan State | Year: Junior
Layne has intriguing size. Displaying agility and speed at the combine will push him up draft boards.

PICK

96

Ben Powers - OG

School: Oklahoma | Year: Senior
Powers could step into the left guard spot if multiple veteran free-agent linemen go elsewhere in the spring.

PICK

97

Terry McLaurin - WR

School: Ohio State | Year: Senior (RS)
McLaurin's speed, improving hands and special teams prowess will earn him fans in Foxborough.

PICK

98

Khalen Saunders - DT

School: Western Illinois | Year: Senior (RS)
Saunders may be asked to contribute immediately, depending on how Jacksonville manages its roster this offseason.

PICK

99

Malik Gant - S

School: Marshall | Year: Junior (RS)
Lamarcus Joyner is due to become a free agent, so the Rams might need to address the safety position alongside 2017 third-round pick John Johnson III. Gant is a physical player who pops off the tape.

PICK

100

Oshane Ximines - Edge

School: Old Dominion | Year: Senior (RS)
The retirement of Julius Peppers means the Panthers need to find young pass-rush talent in this draft. Ximines is a promising rush end who presents power and quickness off the edge.

PICK

101

Yodny Cajuste - OT

School: West Virginia | Year: Senior (RS)
If Cajuste tests well in Indy, he could go higher. He is a good value as a swing tackle prospect at this point in the draft.

PICK

102

Jalen Jelks - Edge

School: Oregon | Year: Senior (RS)
Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith are impending free agents. Adding Jelks to a mix that includes another third-round pick, Tim Williams, could set the team up well for the future.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.

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