Cowboys Draft: What Positions are “Off-Limits” in 1st Round?

    week has finally arrived, and with it will come the end to another NFL season. As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to watch the rival Eagles play for their first Lombardi trophy against the Patriots, their preparations continue with the 2018 Senior Bowl already in the books.

    Keeping the core of their staff in place, the Cowboys are moving forward as a deep team with few glaring needs — at least in the eyes of the Cowboys' front office.

    Slated to pick 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cowboys will look to fill any holes in the roster through the fringes of before entering the draft with ten total selections. As of right now, here are the positions that can confidently say the team will avoid at the start of the draft.

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    The latest Dak Prescott narrative will have to wait until another day. The only reality that matters here is that Prescott is firmly in place as Dallas' starter in 2018. The third-year quarterback could see plenty of changes — hopefully for the better — elsewhere in the this offseason.

    The Cowboys could even be in the market for another QB late in the draft or in free agency. Seeing as many as five quarterbacks come off the board before their first round pick will only help the Cowboys though, who are not players for one of this year's top passers.

    Finding a franchise quarterback in the fourth round just two years ago, the Cowboys may not draft a QB with their first pick for a very long time.

    Running Back

    This is another obvious position of strength for the Cowboys, as well as a reason for optimism with putting his suspension behind him. The Cowboys will expect a full 16 games out of their workhorse back, and feel good about backing him up as well.

    Similar to their situation at QB, the Cowboys may get great value out of a late-round running back to keep this backfield an overall team strength.

    The best runner in this class — Penn State's — will be drafted before the Cowboys come on the clock, as Dallas will happily let other first-round talents like USC's Ronald Jones II slide further down the board.


    Drafting an offensive lineman is not out of the question for the Cowboys at 19, especially one with the versatility to play both guard and . A guard with flexibility to play center, or worse yet a true center, would not be worthwhile picks for the Cowboys, however.

    has been nothing but consistent at center for the Cowboys since 2013, named to his fourth this season. Frederick will remain the anchor for an that has inserted new starters alongside him at with similar results — the Wisconsin product doing his job.

    This won't change in 2018, or for the foreseeable future, with Frederick starting at center for the Cowboys.

    Tight End

    If interviewing former lineman Marc Colombo for their vacant TE coach position wasn't enough of an indicator of how the Cowboys evaluate the position, this draft class itself at TE will deter most teams from taking one in the first round.

    The Cowboys certainly don't have overwhelming depth at tight end, with near the finish line of a Hall of Fame career. Behind Witten, there is fan-favorite , , , and .

    Valuing the blocking ability of these TEs over the impact they provide in the passing game, the Cowboys are set up well enough to target plenty of other positions at 19th overall.

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    Dallas Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis,  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)


    Drafting two cornerbacks last year to replace Morris Claiborne and , one of the biggest positives from the Cowboys' otherwise disappointing season was the play of rookies and Jourdan Lewis.

    Toward the end of the season, the Cowboys even found a way to break Anthony Brown out of his “sophomore slump,” kicking him inside to play the slot.

    The results the Cowboys saw in turning over their shouldn't steer them away from continuing to build this back-end into one of the league's best — now being led by Kris Richard. First-round picks should be immediate starters in most cases, though, and a CB at 19th overall may have a hard time seeing the field in 2018.

    Even Xavier Woods — drafted in the as a — saw time at cornerback to start his Cowboys career, with fellow safety Byron Jones a popular candidate to play CB once again under Richard. This leaves the safety position as one to be evaluated closely prior to the draft, with far less uncertainty surrounding this group of cornerbacks.

    ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

    this list to my previous list of positions where the Cowboys could actually use new starters and the offseason approach for this team becomes pretty focused. With the talent already in place on offense, the Cowboys must add depth on this side of the ball to keep another season from inexcusably unraveling following a few injuries.

    Defensively, the right picks early in the draft could elevate Rod Marinelli's unit to do things that have not been seen from a Dallas in quite some time.

    The 19th-overall pick sits right on the of where teams generally still have prospects graded in the first round available. It presents the Cowboys a great opportunity to land another key starter, one that could make the difference in returning to the playoffs in 2018.

    Sean Martin
    Sean Martin
    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 every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.


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    Travis Diggs

    If you were willing to take Taco last year in the first round. Not too many positions are off limits. A lot of holes means a lot of needs

    Sean Martin

    They spent the whole offseason talking about fixing the pass rush last year, and addressed DE in the first round. Not seeing the comparison here – or a “lot of holes” on this current roster?

    Travis Diggs

    They spent the whole off-season fixing the pass rush, was that accomplished?? Or did D Law’s year made it look that way. DE was picked last year first even though better players at different positions were available. My point was simply, Alot of holes means you really can’t focus in on just one position like last year and settle for who’s there when you pick, it’s easy to argue they could upgrade or use depth at multiple positions including TE, OL, WR, DE, DT, S


    If we are talking “off limits” then let’s add DE. In fact, there are only 4 positions, based on availability that Dallas should consider: 1) WR, but only if Calvin Ridley is available 2) DT if Vita Vea or DaRon Payne are still there, 3) S – if Derwin James is there and 4) LB – if Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan smith is available. Folks may ask about G or OT, but I think if the Cowboys go in that direction, then they need to move back.

    Sean Martin

    Who’s playing RDE for you next year? I also wouldn’t trade away from OL talent like Hernandez if he’s there and the Cowboys are set on going that direction in the first round. Stay in and don’t bust on the pick.


    Watching Hernandez I felt he wasn’t set in his blocks. I’d prefer Isiah Wynn over him. From a value perspective, I’d attempt to trade back for either of them. As far as RDE, you have Tapper coming back from IR. There is also the reinstatement of Gregory, as a possible option. If you had Vita at DT1, Crawford and Irving could rotate to the outside. At 19, I don’t see the Cowboys grabbing a 1st round DE talent. DE isn’t as strong in this draft. Do you see an instant impact DE that far down in this draft?


    To answer your query – I believe T. Crawford will be at RDE. His contract is to stifling to let him go this year.(IMHO) Tapper will be coming off IR and he can rotate. Hope he can stay healthy. Gregory might also be an option, depending on his reinstatement and behavior. I actually like Wynn over Hernandez and see them both as high 2nd round picks, therefore my comment about trading back if Guard is the direction they want to go. The thing is, I believe, you use a 1st round pick for an immediately plug-n-play impact player. OT pick is a back-up unless the plan is for Collins to return to Guard. For myself, even that applies to LB, although you could rationalize that Tremaine could play in dime packages. That leaves DT. Vita would be a definite plug-n-play. Will he or another DT be there at #19? Possibly, if not Vea, then Hurst or Payne could fill the bill.

    John Williams

    They will gain $6 mil in cap relief if they designate Tyrone Crawford a post-June 1st cut with only $3 mil in dead money on the 2018 cap. I think Crawford will be around because they like his flexibility, but I agree that they still need to find a speed rusher to complete the DL.


    Will it matter? I mean really. They have so many holes to fill and they lack the ability to really develop talent so again what difference does it make? Unless they draft a player that is NFL ready they will flounder with this team for the term of their rookie contract then leave……

    John Williams

    I agree with these. I’d argue that Tackle is probably not a spot that they’ll look at in the first, unless it’s a guy like McGlinchey who they think will be a LG.

    WR is a possibility but with them looking to contend now, it’s unlikely a WR sees the field much in their first season with TWill and Bease taking up valuable snaps.

    Aside from Vea, I’d rather not see them go DT in the first, since it would be a 3T, and I think that David Irving will be back on the roster and Maliek, Tyrone, and Taco can all take snaps inside if necessary.

    Everything else is fair game. Keep building the Defense.

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