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2015 NFL mock draft: Kevin Johnson to Dallas Cowboys at No. 27

The Cowboys are probably going to replace DeMarco Murray in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, right? Well, not necessarily.

The Dallas Cowboys and head coach Jason Garrett needed a breakthrough in 2014 following three consecutive 8-8 finishes, and it came in the form of a 12-4 record, an NFC East title and a home playoff win over Detroit. It nearly included an upset road playoff win over Green Bay, as well.

Update: Read our 2015 NFL Draft rankings by position.

But things have changed a bit for Dallas this offseason, most notably at running back, where DeMarco Murray left for division rival Philadelphia in free agency. Right now, his replacement would be oft-injured free agent signing Darren McFadden, but the conventional wisdom is that the Cowboys will draft a running back to cary the ball behind their world-class offensive line.

David Halprin of Blogging the Boys is not, however, abiding by conventional wisdom in our 2015 NFL mock draft.

27. Cowboys: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

Halprin: There's a rush to give the Cowboys a running back in mock drafts because of the departure of Murray. Dallas certainly needs another running back, but our belief is that it can wait until the second and third rounds to pull the trigger, as this draft is loaded with running back talent. We also were leaning toward selecting a linebacker, possibly Eric Kendricks, but the Cowboys re-signed Rolando McClain, Sean Lee returns and they have some solid options and depth with other free agent signings and last year's fourth-round selection, Anthony Hitchens.

One position where the Cowboys really need help is at corner. Orlando Scandrick is good, but Brandon Carr is overpaid and the Cowboys will ask him to take a pay cut soon. Morris Claiborne is recovering from injury and hasn't played well anyway, so out of their top three corners, only one is solid for the 2015 season. They can't go into next year with that situation. They need help, and Kevin Johnson should be the answer. He's fluid in man coverage, and he shows solid footwork, backpedal and good hips. His lanky frame is a concern in run support, and he can be overly aggressive on occasion, but his pure cover skills are too good to pass up. He also had a great combine, putting up excellent numbers, including amazing quickness is the short shuttle and three-cone drill.

Dan Kadar, The reasoning behind taking a cornerback is sound. The same reasoning can be applied to a defensive lineman. Johnson is a good player, but I prefer players like Jalen Collins of LSU, P.J. Williams of Florida State and Quinten Rollins of Miami (OH). Johnson, while good in man coverage, needs to play with a higher level of physicality. That’s the chief reason he’s behind those three for me.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 13. Eddie Goldman, DT, Florida State
  • 17. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
  • 19. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
  • 20. Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon
  • 26. Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington

All picks from this mock draft

Cowboys picks

  • 1-27: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
  • 2-60: (coming April 17)

Twenty-seven picks in the first round down, five more to go -- and three of them, from the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers, are coming your way tomorrow.

SB Nation presents: Ranking the best 5 cornerbacks in the 2015 NFL Draft