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NFL Draft

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys Address Pass Rush, NFC East Rivals Strengthen Offense

Sean Martin

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2017 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys Address Pass Rush, NFC East Rivals Strengthen Offense 1

My first mock draft of the 2017 NFL Draft season is here, and with it came some realizations about what the Cowboys could realistically be looking at when the 28th overall pick comes around. This pre-Combine mock draft was done (mostly) using my own draft board and evaluations on these players, and for that reason showcases plenty of the defensive talent available throughout this draft.

The Cowboys needs on defense are obvious, while the rest of the NFC East also came away with some high-value picks in this mock draft.

Charles Harris

28th Overall: Dallas Cowboys, Charles Harris - EDGE Missouri

Getting other premier pass rushers like Carl Lawson and Takk McKinley down to the bottom of the first round for the Cowboys proved to be more difficult than I expected, but Charles Harris certainly has a case to be in among this group as well.

Not nearly the most polished and complete rusher in this class, the Dallas Cowboys have a clear role for Harris to come in as a rookie and play to his strengths. A true RDE rusher, Harris flashes his speed and array of pass rush moves to get into the backfield.

2017 NFL Draft: Could This DE Be The Perfect Fit In Dallas?

Rod Marinelli can point Charles Harris to the quarterback all season long and expect the young Missouri prospect to improve week by week.

23rd Overall: New York Giants, Leonard Fournette - RB LSU

2017 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys Address Pass Rush, NFC East Rivals Strengthen Offense

I'm not as high on Leonard Fournette as a NFL running back prospect compared to where other mock drafts have him coming off the board, but the Giants' recent draft history paired with their need at running back landed them Fournette here at 23rd overall.

Eli Manning is towards the end of his run in New York, but the results have been there for him and the Giants offense as a whole under Head Coach Ben McAdoo. The missing element has been a reliable running game, and with Rashad Jennings recently released by the team, the need for a workhorse in the backfield is more evident than ever.

This could be yet another reach in the first round by the Giants, but I do firmly believe that Fournette will have a chance to succeed in the NFL if he is drafted into an offense that doesn't force him to be "the guy". With the Giants passing game being their focal point offensively, Fournette could carve out a nice role.

17th Overall: Washington Redskins, John Ross - WR Washington

With DeSean Jackson set to hit free agency and the Redskins not fully committed to Kirk Cousins at quarterback yet, drafting him another weapon like Ross in the passing game could work wonders in Washington.

Capable of easily taking the tops off of defenses while comfortably running underneath and intermediate routes, Ross will be a match up nightmare for a long time at the next level.

There are a lot of directions that the Redskins could go with this pick, but Ross should be near the top of their board at this point in the first round, and is capable of making one of the biggest day one impacts with his effortless speed and catching ability.

15th Overall: Philadelphia Eagles, Corey Davis - WR Western Michigan

The NFC East is going to be a wild race to the finish if all of these picks become reality. With John Ross going to Washington two picks later, I have the Eagles getting my top WR in this draft at 15 in Corey Davis.

Carson Wentz has a long way to go to prove he can be a star at quarterback in the NFL, but to his credit there are very few QBs in the league right now that could succeed with the Eagles core of receivers.

Passing up needs on defense, the Eagles add the dynamic Corey Davis to their passing game, cementing the fact that points will be scored in these divisional rivalry games.

Davis' completeness as a route runner, hands catcher, and physical but dynamic target in the air with terrific run after the catch ability separates him from the other receivers in this draft.

Tell us what you think about "2017 NFL Mock Draft: Cowboys Address Pass Rush, NFC East Rivals Strengthen Offense" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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NFL Draft

Which Top 10 EDGE Defenders Could Slide to the Dallas Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Top 10 EDGE Defenders: Which Prospects Could Fall to the Dallas Cowboys?

Regardless of what happens with Robert Quinn, the Dallas Cowboys should still be in the market for an EDGE defender in the 2019 NFL Draft. Like quarterback and left tackle, pass rushers are held at a premium in the NFL for a reason. They are hard to come by and expensive to keep, as we all know.

There's a lot of unknown surrounding the future of the Dallas Cowboys defensive end position. Tyrone Crawford is entering the last year of his contract, Dorance Armstrong is pretty much an unknown, and no one knows what to make of Randy Gregory's future. Then there's this whole contract situation with DeMarcus Lawrence. I think you would agree there's a lot of uncertainty at the DE position.

Keeping all of that in mind, it certainly makes sense the Dallas Cowboys could be in play to draft one of the EDGE defenders with their first selection in the second-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That's why today I decided to share with you my Top 10 rankings in the hopes that one of them will slide right into the lap of the Cowboys at 58.

Here's my Top 10 EDGE rankings:

  1. Nick Bosa, Ohio State
  2. Brian Burns, Florida State
  3. Josh Allen, Kentucky
  4. Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
  5. Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
  6. Chase Winovich, Michigan
  7. Jachai Polite, Florida
  8. Christian Miller, Alabama
  9. Ben Banogu, TCU
  10. L.J. Collier, TCU

You may or may not have noticed, but Rashan Gary and Charles Omenihu didn't make the cut for my Top 10 EDGE defenders. That's because I project them as defensive tackles in the NFL, although they could play a hybrid DE/DT role similar to what Tyrone Crawford plays with the Dallas Cowboys. You of course may disagree, but that's my take away after watching their film.

Now that we've settled why some of the names may have been omitted in my Top 10 EDGE rankings, we can get back to which of these prospects could slide to the Dallas Cowboys when they are on the clock in the second-round with the 58th overall selection.

I think we can all agree that the Top 5 will all be drafted well before the Cowboys have a chance at them. But, starting with Chase Winovich, I think each one of the next five could slide all the way to 58 with a little luck.

Of the next group of five, Winovich is probably the safest pick of the bunch. He is someone the Cowboys could plug and play as a rookie and pretty much know exactly what they're going to get. Because of that though, he's also the most likely to be gone before Dallas has a chance at him.

Jachai Polite unfortunately completely bombed at the NFL Combine, which is why he could still be in play for the Cowboys. He doesn't exactly fit the criteria (size/length) Dallas typically looks for in their DEs, but his talent is undeniable. He falls into that category of risk/reward, much like Randy Gregory in 2015.

If you've read any of my previous work, you know that I may big a fan of Christian Miller. He is one of my "pet cats" in this year's draft class and would be a great fit with the Cowboys. Unlike Polite, he fits Dallas' DE type to a "T". The only concern with him is his injury history, but I'd be ecstatic if he's the selection at 58.

That brings us to the two TCU EDGE defenders. A lot of people have L.J. Collier ahead of Ben Banogu, but I personally like the latter better. Regardless of how I have them ranked though, either one of them would be a good fit with the Cowboys. Fortunately, Dallas should know all about them since they played right down the road in college.

Which of these EDGE defenders would you like to see the Dallas Cowboys?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Virginia Safety Juan Thornhill

NAME: Juan Thornhill

POSITION: Safety

SCHOOL: Virginia

CONFERENCE: ACC

CLASS: Senior

JERSEY: No. 21

RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star

HT: 6'1"

WT: 195

D.O.B.: N/A

Tackles Tackles Tackles Tackles Tackles Def Int Def Int Def Int Def Int Def Int Fumbles Fumbles Fumbles Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
2015 Virginia ACC FR S 2 2 0 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 Virginia ACC SO S 11 30 15 45 3.0 1.0 3 32 10.7 0 7 0 1
*2017 Virginia ACC JR S 12 47 16 63 4.5 0.5 4 4 1.0 0 12 0 0
*2018 Virginia ACC SR S 13 62 36 98 4.5 0.0 6 141 23.5 0 7 0 0
Career Virginia 141 67 208 12.0 1.5 13 177 13.6 0 26 0 1

Highlights:

Juan Thornhill Highlights || Draft Sleeper 🤫 Virginia Cavaliers Safety ᴴᴰ

Welcome to HIGHLIGHT CREATOR! If you love College Football and Basketball, make sure you hit the SUBSCRIBE button! ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬­▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ Want to watch more highlights? Gotcha covered https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fx3SsbCG5M&list=PLQgqd2iV_cWdraEMrjyF1jgpsavuo83V- 2019 NFL PROSPECTS https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQgqd2iV_cWdkLyfO6gXsscPTJdntKW2i BASKETBALL VIDEOS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3EUXeU9z7E&list=PLQgqd2iV_cWdxRGSMOjJmjNRwTugjg0B6 VIDEOS I'VE FILMED https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQgqd2iV_cWfRZqFzkuypzSzoTNdWJNa6 Hey everybody - name's Luke.

Pros:

Juan Thornhill possesses an intriguing skill set that should get him on the field early as a rookie. He projects best as a free safety in the NFL, but his background as a cornerback could cause teams to give him a look there as well. He is a capable of starting at either position, which should only add to his value.

Thornhill shows good range on film and seems to always be in the hip pocket of receivers on vertical shots down the field. Does well in coverage underneath as well. Gets into position to take away lanes. At his best in zone coverage. Has really good instincts and understanding of route concepts. Ball hawk. Has the mentality that he's the one being targeted on throws and out fights the receiver for the ball.

Possesses good athleticism to make open field tackles. Takes good angles in pursuit and is well-balanced when arriving at the ballcarrier. Has some pop through his pads, but is more of a cut down tackler. Can quickly close the distance and will drive through a runner's legs to finish. Will fight through contact in the box and shows a good stout anchor at the top of route stems.

Cons:

Juan Thornhill has good, but not elite range and his lack of burst could limit the system he plays in. Because of this he might not be suited to play the single high/deep safety position on a team that plays a lot of Cover-1. This could make him more of a scheme reliant free safety in the NFL.

Shows a little tightness through his hips. This makes him a little slow when opening up and transitioning to deep throws. His ball hawking mentality can sometimes get him in trouble. Needs to show a better understanding of when that is acceptable, because he can hang himself out to dry sometimes. Can be fooled with play-action and bait routes. Needs to show more discipline.

Inconsistent as a tackler. Has a tendency to drop his head and go to low when trying to make a tackle. Needs to improve his aiming point and technique. Needs to also improve attacking blocks near the line of scrimmage. Doesn't necessarily have a slight frame, but could stand to add some more strength/muscle. It could help him when working in the box.

Cowboys Fit:

Juan Thornhill's skill set and versatility to fill several roles in the Dallas Cowboys secondary could be too intriguing to pass up, especially if you add in his ball-hawking ability. In Kris Richard's defense, he could probably start at either safety or cornerback as a rookie. He has the desired height, length, and athleticism Richard desires in his defensive backs, and has played both positions during his time at Virginia. He could continue to do so with the Cowboys.

As a pure safety prospect, he would pair nicely with Xavier Woods, giving Dallas two athletic and rangy safeties on the backend of their defense. He can play deep or in the slot against mismatch tight ends. He's solid around the line of scrimmage as well, but needs to clean up his attack point as a tackler in order to become more consistent. No matter how you slice it though, he's an upgrade over Jeff Heath. For the Cowboys to secure his services, they would likely have to take him 58 overall with their second-round draft pick.



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: Nebraska RB Divine Ozigbo

NAME: Devine Ozigbo

POSITION: Running Back

SCHOOL: Nebraska

CONFERENCE: Big Ten

CLASS: Senior

JERSEY: No. 22

RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star

HT: 6'0"

WT: 220

D.O.B.: 10/2/1996

Rushing Rushing Rushing Rushing Receiving Receiving Receiving Receiving Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2015 Nebraska Big Ten FR RB 8 38 209 5.5 1 5 62 12.4 0 43 271 6.3 1
*2016 Nebraska Big Ten SO RB 9 97 412 4.2 5 5 100 20.0 0 102 512 5.0 5
2017 Nebraska Big Ten JR RB 10 129 493 3.8 3 16 123 7.7 0 145 616 4.2 3
2018 Nebraska Big Ten SR RB 12 155 1082 7.0 12 23 203 8.8 0 178 1285 7.2 12
Career Nebraska 419 2196 5.2 21 49 488 10.0 0 468 2684 5.7 21

Highlights:

Devine Ozigbo 2018 ULTIMATE Highlights!!

By the end of the season, Ozigbo had rushed for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games. He became Nebraska's first 1,000-yard rusher since Ameer Abdullah in 2014. He also ended with an average of 6.98 yards per carry, which put him at fourth in the Big Ten among players with at least 100 carries.

Pros:

Devine Ozigbo looks the part of a prototypical NFL running back. He has a well muscled/thick frame, with a strong lower half. He is a physical runner capable of playing in a power/gap or zone blocking scheme, but probably projects best as a zone runner. Has the skill set to be a three-down player, with starting potential. Low tread on the tires, only 419 career carries at Nebraska.

Ozigbo runs with good patients on film, "slow to, fast through", which gives his lineman time to secure their blocks. Runs with good power and leg drive, but also has nimble feet with the elite ankle flexion that allows him to make quick lateral cuts to evade defenders. Finisher in short yardage situations. Shows good vision. Waits for defenders to commit to their run fits before hitting the cutback lane. Has surprising burst and elusiveness for a RB his size.

Can be a threat in the passing game both out of the backfield and split out wide. Has shown the ability to run basic route stems when split out wide. Is a solid hands catcher and has shown he can catch passes thrown outside his frame. Quickly goes from receiver to runner and is surprisingly elusive in the open field. His size helps him in pass protection. He has a strong punch and long arms to keep defenders at bay, but also understands how to absorb contact.

Cons:

One-year wonder? The lack of production at Nebraska might be the biggest concern about Devine Ozigbo as a running back prospect. He had to finally transform his body in 2018 to get on the field, but found success once that happened. Can he maintain that kind of discipline in the NFL? There are also concerns about his long speed.

As a runner, Ozigbo may be only a zone runner in the NFL. Might be scheme dependent. There are times on film where he struggles with his vision, especially when there are multiple offensive lineman pulling. Will also struggle with his reads at time. Better when his reads are clearly defined pre-snap. Takes time to hit top speed and it looks lackadaisical at times. Might take time to adjust to the speed of the game at the next level.

In the passing game he has struggled with passes thrown at a high velocity. Has double caught, bubbled, and dropped a number of high velocity passes. This could be an issue, because he doesn't have the softest hands to begin with. Needs to clean up his technique in pass protection. Will telegraph cut blocks, allowing defenders to easily avoid and pressure the quarterback. Could stand to become a better route runner to be more of a factor when split out wide as a receiver.

Cowboys Fit:

Devine Ozigbo is reportedly one of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors, suggesting the former Cornhuskers running back is already on their radar. He would immediately become the RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott as a rookie and give the Cowboys a formidable one-two punch to wear down opposing defenses. He possesses an intriguing skill set, but isn't the change of pace/got back many have wanted to complement Zeke in the running game.

Ozigbo is a physical runner with a surprisingly nimble feet and flexibility for a RB his size. At Nebraska, he was at his best one running inside zone plays, which just so happens to be a staple in the Cowboys zone blocking scheme. He is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield and a solid pass protector. Overall, he has a three-down back and someone who could help lighten the load on Zeke's shoulders. He could be a steal for the Cowboys on Day 3, which is where he's projected to be drafted.



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