With the 2017 NFL Draft just about a month away, I thought it would be a good time to identify some of the prospects that the Dallas Cowboys could target in the first round when they are on the clock at 28th overall. I decided to share with all of you five Cowboys draft targets that could immediately come in and upgrade the roster for 2017 and beyond.
The Cowboys likely need to add another safety, cornerback, and defensive end through the draft, but don’t be surprised if they go a completely different direction in the first round. Below are five prospects I think could be on the Cowboys radar at the back end of the first round.
Obi Melifonwu, Safety, UConn
Much like his former teammate Byron Jones, Obi Melifonwu has been shooting up draft boards ever since his performance at the Senior Bowl and has only improved his draft stock after the show he put on at the NFL combine. So, it’s not a reach to think that he won’t be a first-round selection come April.
It’s certainly not out of the question that the Cowboys draft a safety early, especially with the position looking a little thin after the departures of Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. Melifonwu makes a lot of sense because of his size and athletic ability. His addition would arguably give the Cowboys two of the most athletically gifted safeties in the entire NFL and would allow defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to get really creative with his coverages.
Carl Lawson, Defensive end, Auburn
It’s no secret that the Cowboys want to improve their pass rush this off-season, but drafting at the back in the first round isn’t the ideal spot to find a difference maker. That’s not to say it can’t be done, because I think defensive end Carl Lawson could come in as a rookie and have 6-8 sack season in his first year in the NFL.
Lawson is one of the more pro-ready DEs in the entire 2017 draft class. He already possesses a diverse repertoire of pass rush moves and knows how to use his hands to keep opposing offensive lineman at bay. The only real concern about Lawson is his injury history while at Auburn. If not for that injury history, he likely would have been a top 15 draft pick and not available when the Cowboys are on the clock it 28.
Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama
Marlon Humphrey might just be the most physically gifted CB in the entire 2017 draft class, but could very well still be on the board at the back end of the first round when the Cowboys are the clock at 28. Humphrey has relied too much on his natural physical ability during his time at Alabama, but he’s going to need more than that if he’s going to be successful at the NFL level.
Humphrey has the size/speed that NFL teams look for in their outside CBs, but he really needs to improve his footwork and technique if he wants to be a starter in the league. The Cowboys coaching staff was able to cleanup Anthony Brown’s technique and footwork last season and we all saw how that turned out. They could do the same for Humphrey, which would likely turn him into the best CB in this draft class.
Corey Davis, Wide receiver, Western Michigan
I know what your thinking, why would the Dallas Cowboys draft a wide receiver after they re-signed Terrance Williams and Brice Butler? To that, I would answer Davis would be an upgrade over both players and could eventually become Dez Bryant‘s replacement as the Cowboys top WR.
I have Corey Davis ranked as my top wide receiver in the 2017 NFL draft class. But, he has had to miss the Senior Bowl with a shoulder injury and missed both the NFL combine and his Pro Day because of ankle surgery. That could cause him to slide a little bit on draft day.
Although I don’t expect him to reach 28, if he is in the 20-25 range the Cowboys could trade up, much like they did with Dez Bryant years ago. This would definitely be a luxury pick, but it’s not often you can come away with one of the best players that late in the first round.
Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State
Malik Hooker is another player that the Cowboys could decide to move up for in the 2017 NFL Draft. Hooker missed the 2017 NFL combine after having surgery on his labrum and a hernia. Much like what I mentioned previously about Corey Davis, this could cause him to slide down a little bit in the first round.
It’s unlikely he will reach the Cowboys at 28, but again if the slides into the 20-25 range, I don’t think they would hesitate to trade up in order to acquire one of the best ball hawking safeties in the entire 2017 draft class. This is especially true since the Cowboys have a need to upgrade the safety position and add depth.