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2016 NFL mock draft: Dallas Cowboys steal Sheldon Rankins

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We have one of the biggest steals ever in the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft.

Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys made waves in the first round of the SB Nation NFL writers mock draft by selecting quarterback Carson Wentz. Although I didn't necessarily agree with the pick because he may not play the next two seasons. The same cannot be said for their move in the second round.

34. Cowboys: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Halprin: The Cowboys are absolutely stunned and thrilled to see Sheldon Rankins available at pick #34. A player widely projected to go somewhere in the teens of the first round has slid all the way to Dallas in the second round. Rankins will fit nicely in a rotation of interior linemen that includes Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton. The biggest knock on Rankins is his size which is not an issue in Dallas, where defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli prefers smaller, quicker and more athletic linemen. The Cowboys still need help with their edge pass rush, but with Rankins/Crawford/Thornton working the middle, expect Dallas to get a lot more pressure in the face of the quarterback, not allowing him to step up in the pocket and forcing him to roll outside toward the rushing ends.

There would be consideration for getting a defensive end at this pick like Emmanuel Ogbah, or maybe a WR like Will Fuller, or RB like Derrick Henry. But in our view, Rankins is just too much of a steal to pass up, easily the BPA at this point in the draft, and by a large margin.

Analysis: This is one of the real steals of this year's draft. I have Rankings ranked as the 15th best player in the draft, and it's hard to fathom why he fell this far. The only explanation is that people still have some sort of bias against undersized defensive tackles. Apparently Aaron Donald's play hasn't been noticed by everyone. The idea of Rankins in Marinelli's defense is scary. I'm not saying Marinelli would have another Warren Sapp in Rankins, but he could do many of the same things.

Dan's Top 5 players remaining

  • 20. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
  • 24. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
  • 33. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
  • 34. Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
  • 35. Joshua Perry, OLB, Ohio State

Cowboys picks

  • 1-4: Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
  • 2-34: Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Our next pick is coming up at noon ET courtesy of John Gennaro of Bolts from the Blue and the San Diego Chargers.

Complete draft results:

First round

1. Tennessee Titans - Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Link)
2. Cleveland Browns - Jared Goff, QB, Cal (Link)
3. San Diego Chargers - Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State (Link)
4. Dallas Cowboys - Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (Link)
5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (Link)
6. Baltimore Ravens - Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Link)
7. San Francisco 49ers - DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Link)
8. Philadelphia Eagles - Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Link)
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Link)
10. New York Giants - Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame (Link)
11. Chicago Bears - Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Link)
12. New Orleans Saints - A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama (Link)
13. Miami Dolphins - Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Link)
14. Oakland Raiders - Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Link)
15. Los Angeles Rams - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (Link)
16. Detroit Lions - Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Link)
17. Atlanta Falcons - Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Link)
18. Indianapolis Colts - Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (Link)
19. Buffalo Bills - Reggie Ragland, MLB, Alabama (Link)
20. New York Jets - Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Link)
21. Washington - Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor (Link)
22. Houston Texans - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (Link)
23. Minnesota Vikings - Josh Doctson, WR, TCU (Link)
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (Link)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers - William Jackson, CB, Houston (Link)
26. Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Bullard, DL, Florida (Link)
27. Green Bay Packers - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (Link)
28. Kansas City Chiefs - Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech (Link)
29. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss (Link)
30. Carolina Panthers - Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson (Link)
31. Denver Broncos - Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Link)

Second round

32. Cleveland Browns - Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Link)
33. Tennessee Titans - Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State