Welcome to draft day! The excitement of adding new players to the greatest football team in the universe is filling the air with its presence, as this 2017 NFL Draft class presents plenty of options for the Dallas Cowboys at positions of need like DE, S, or CB.
Coming on the clock tonight with the 28th overall pick, the Cowboys decision for most seems to be down to a ready-to-play cornerback or premier edge rusher. I ranked Dallas' pre-draft visits at defense end here, and now it is time to end this series by looking at the cornerbacks they've taken the time to know just a little bit better.
It wouldn't be the morning of the draft unless you were reading some rankings pertaining to the Cowboys, so away we go!
Note: The Cowboys did meet with Ohio State's Gareon Conley, but his recent sexual assault allegation will leave him off of this ranking as his stock with the Cowboys - or with any teams in this draft - remains an unknown.
1. Kevin King, Washington
If the Cowboys are looking for a starter that can make an impact at CB with the 28th overall pick, it will be hard to look past Washington's Kevin King - literally. At 6'3", King uses his massive frame incredibly well in coverage and is an absolute nightmare for opposing WRs to gain separation on.
In this deep class of cornerbacks, King has a real chance of lasting until late in the first round, where the Cowboys will also love his knack for getting his hands on the ball and creating turnovers.
Out of the 11 cornerbacks the Cowboys met with, and 10 we'll rank here, I expect Kevin King to top the board.
2. Adoree Jackson, USC
The Cowboys interest in Adoree Jackson is reportedly high, which worries me personally due to his floor as a cornerback prospect. Still new to the CB position, Jackson uses his elite speed and acceleration to his advantage in coverage, but lacks the refined technical skills to hold up snap-to-snap in the NFL.
Should Kevin King be off the board, I can still see the Cowboys liking Jackson as their second best option at cornerback in the first round, especially once you factor in his ability to contribute on offense and special teams. With some intense coaching, Jackson can become a steal on the defensive side of the ball with a ready-made set of skills to translate into kick and punt return opportunities along with offensive touches currently being taken by Lucky Whitehead.
Adoree Jackson is most definitely a name to know for Dallas in this draft.
3. Quincy Wilson, Florida
Getting back to cornerback prospects with high floors to start on day one, which is something the Cowboys desperately need, Quincy Wilson is exactly that out of a talented Florida Gators secondary featuring multiple NFL talents.
While Wilson may not "wow" anybody with one clear-cut strength, he is an all-around solid athlete that diagnoses plays quickly and stays a step ahead in coverage thanks to his strong arms that allow Quincy to reroute his targets.
Wilson was exposed to a lot of different coverages as a Gator, reacting to all of them with the competitive spirit that could see him come off the board well before the 28th overall pick. Should he be available, the decision between him and Adoree Jackson would be simple for me but probably quite difficult at The Star.
4. Fabian Moreau, UCLA
Once thought of as a perfect fit for the Cowboys in the first round, Fabian Moreau's draft stock has become more of an unknown entering this draft. Injured at his pro day, Moreau will have a chance to fully recover and showcase his absolutely effortless coverage abilities in the NFL this season, but long-term questions about his durability remain.
A smaller, lighter frame, Moreau may be a guy the Cowboys end up in a tough spot to grab as he'll be hard to pull the trigger on at 28th overall but may not last until the 60th overall pick in the second round.
With that said, coming in just behind Quincy Wilson is not a bad spot to be for Fabian Moreau on this list.
5. Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
A member of the Clemson Tigers' National Championship team, the Cowboys have also shown interest in Tankersley. From my evaluations of the cornerbacks in this draft, Tankersley marks a firm cutoff on this list to the cornerbacks the Cowboys will look for after the first round.
If scouting just a cutup of Cordrea playing in press-man coverage, you would call me crazy for labeling him as a second round talent, but a closer look at his abilities fails to hide a player that looks entirely lost when he can't bully the WR at the line.
The Cowboys aren't known to play a ton of press coverage, but could be shifting that way with a new-look secondary, and would love to see Tankersley remain on the board at pick #60.
6. Teez Tabor, Florida
Here is where the NFL Draft gets frustrating from an analyst/fan perspective. Florida's Teez Tabor is one of my favorite players in this draft, and would be an easy consideration for me as high as the 28th pick for the Cowboys.
Since I don't work at The Star and instead at a dorm room from Montclair State University, I think Tabor's well below average speed and physical limitations will greatly affect his stock in Dallas.
Whether or not he lasts through most of the second round will depend on how many other teams share the Cowboys mindset in projecting Tabor physically at the next level, where we can find out just how interested Dallas is in his services as a terrific cover corner that isn't afraid to throw his body around.
7. Chidobie Awuzie, Colorado
I already mentioned that Gareon Conley will not be ranked in this list, and in my final mock draft before tonight I actually substituted Awuzie in his spot for the Miami Dolphins.
For the Cowboys, I can't see Chidobie Awuzie ranking any higher than seventh on their stack of cornerbacks due to his relatively high ceiling but low floor. A gambler on too many routes, Awuzie can play with sloppy technique at times and lacks awareness with his back turned to the ball.
He'll likely also be in a tough spot for the Cowboys to grab, and I think they're fine with that.
8. Shaqil Griffin, UCF
Moving into later round cornerbacks for the Cowboys to target in this deep class, UCF's Shaqil Griffin is another all-around player that contests passes at the catch point using his long arms and range with quick feet to mirror receivers.
Griffin is comfortable in nearly any coverage, but does lack the top-end speed to get back into plays once receivers gain a step against him. With plenty of upside, Griffin could be a great add to Dallas' secondary in the third or fourth round.
9. Damontae Kazee, San Diego State
Another late-round target with upside and traits for the Cowboys to take advantage of, Kazee (like Treston Decoud who comes in next on this list) ended up with Dallas in my final seven round projection.
Not nearly as consistent as the players above him here at reading routes and reacting in time to break up passes, Kazee does show off the quick footwork to turn and run with bigger receivers along with the balance to stay on top of quicker, underneath routes against smaller targets.
10. Treston Decoud, Oregon State
There comes a point in every draft where teams begin to select players simply because they have some of the traits needed to develop in the NFL. For Oregon State's Treston Decoud, this trait is his speed as he's been mocked by myself to the Cowboys twice.
Decoud looks the part of a starting NFL cornerback with 33" inch arms and the fluent speed to go with it, but will fall for far too many fakes at the line of scrimmage with limited recovery skills.
As a boundary defender, Decoud will get pushed around for his size and struggles to generate any power in driving back to the football in off coverage.
If the Cowboys follow this ranking though, and land a CB as early as we all expect them to, Decoud would not have to start early in his NFL career - helping him develop his game into a body that is fit for a starting cornerback in this league.
Cornerback is going to be one of the positions to keep the closest eye on for the Dallas Cowboys in this draft, as will defensive end and safety. Hopefully these rankings of players the Cowboys have already committed some time to helps in understanding their mindset of who can be targeted in what round.
When it comes to these cornerbacks, there is no doubt that they've visited with some prospects that will have their name called tonight. Will that call come from America's Team?
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class
The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.
You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.
The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.
Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:
- DT, Trysten Hill
- RB, Tony Pollard
- RB, Mike Weber
- WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
- CB, Chris Westry
If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.
The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.
I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.
After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.
This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.
It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.
Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
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