Way-too-early Cowboys 2019 mock draft roundup: Jason Witten replacements, Earl Thomas alternative, and big WRs

By Joshua Friemel , Staff Writer Contact Joshua Friemelon Twitter:@Josh_Friemel

We compiled and tracked 70 mock drafts for the 2018 NFL draft. How many got Dallas' first-round selection of Leighton Vander Esch correct? Ten. That's a little more than 14 percent.

But, there is no rest for the weary. Even with the 2018 draft ending not too long ago, there are already mock drafts for 2019.

Here's whom experts have the Dallas Cowboys taking.

Some notes:

-- We've listed the players in order from the earliest experts have Dallas drafting to the latest. Obviously, the later the pick, the more successful the season for the Cowboys.

-- All mock drafts are speculation, but these are stretching it even further with the mock drafters predicting where teams will finish, what prospects will and won't enter the draft. Most noted that in their prefaces so we'd figure we'd note here.

-- One brave soul did a two-round mock draft. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see the Round 2 selection.

[Last update: May 21]

Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
WalterFootball.com, with the 8th pick [May 15]: "David Irving has off-the-field problems and will be a free agent entering the 2019 offseason. Considering Dallas' salary-cap woes, it could be difficult for the team to retain him.

"Christian Wilkins has superior speed and athleticism as an interior disruptor."

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Draft Blaster, with the 11th pick [May 18]: "The Cowboys have got to get some young talent at WR and TE, and need to find true balance with their offense instead of leaning heavily one way or another game to game. Their HOF TE [Jason Witten] retired, so that will be the top need going into the draft."

Sporting News' Eric Galko, with the 18th pick [May 4]: "The Cowboys seemed surprised by the Jason Witten retirement reports and will need a tight end next year. Fant has a chance to be a special prospect at the position."

NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler, with the 26th pick [May 8]: "It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."

Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
WalterFootball.com's Charlie Campbell, with the 18th pick [May 21]: "The Cowboys could use a No. 1 corner to go with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.

"Mullen is a physical freak who has a ton of athletic upside. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder had a solid 2017 season, totaling 42 tackles with three interceptions and seven passes broken up."

Campbell's previous selection: Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown.

Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Eddie Brown, with the 18th pick [April 30]: "The Irish's defensive line could be as strong as their offensive line was last season. Top needs: DT, S, WR."

Collin Johnson, WR, Texas
Texas Longhorns wide receiver Collin Johnson (9) runs for yardage after a pass catch during the University of Maryland Terrapins vs. the University of Texas Longhorns NCAA football game at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on Saturday, September 2, 2017. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)
Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

Texas Longhorns wide receiver Collin Johnson (9) runs for yardage after a pass catch during the University of Maryland Terrapins vs. the University of Texas Longhorns NCAA football game at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas on Saturday, September 2, 2017. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, with the 19th pick [April 30]: "The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft--trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early--and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.

"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."

Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami
Draft Wire's Luke Easterling, with the 19th pick [April 30]: "Michael Gallup was a strong pick in this year's third round, but Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."

Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami
SBNation's Dan Kadar, with the 20th pick [April 30]: "There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."

A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
CBS Sports' R.J. White, with the 21st pick [April 29]: "The Cowboys drafted a nice receiver in Michael Gallup but should still be looking for impact players at the position. The 2019 draft could be a good place to find starting-caliber receivers in Round 1. Samuel missed most of his junior year with a broken leg but still managed six combined TDs (three receiving, one rushing, two as a return man) in three games."

Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
CBS Sports' Will Brinson, with the 21st pick [May 7]: "You start to really think about this Clemson line and it's fair to wonder who is going to beat them and just how high all four of these guys can be drafted next year."

Brinson had Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence going 4th to the Bears, Christian Wilkins 12th to the Colts, and Clelin Ferrell 16th to the Titans.

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso, with the 21st pick [May 14]: "In two seasons at Florida State, Burns has accumulated 13 sacks and 23 tackles for loss. He's long with impressive burst off the snap. The future of DeMarcus Lawrence will have a major impact on Dallas' need on the edge."

Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
ESPN's Todd McShay, with the 23rd pick [May 3]: "The redshirt junior should have a chance to thrive on a talented Ohio State defense, lining up alongside Nick Bosa."

Juwan Johnson, WR, Penn State
The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre, with the 29th pick [April 30]: "I loved the Cowboys' 2018 draft, and there's good depth at WR, but the 6-foot-4 Johnson would be the perfect big target for Dak Prescott."

Round 2
Tyrie Cleveland, WR, Florida [with pick No. 40] -- WalterFootball.com [May 15]