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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: My Take On Our Projected Draft Board

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Cowboys Headlines - My Crack at our Draft Board 1

Take this with a grain of salt, but I thought I’d take a shot at what I think the Cowboys’ board looks like with just over 2 weeks left until the draft. There is bound to be a surprise or two in here, but I can’t imagine there’s too much shakeup.

Instead of just doing the top 4, which I was going to do initially, I’m going to do the top 15 in the event that we end up trading down. So without further ado:

1.

DB – Jalen Ramsey

9.

DE – Joey Bosa

2.

RB – Ezekiel Elliott

10.

DE – DeForest Buckner

3.

QB – Carson Wentz

11.

CB – William Jackson III

4.

QB – Paxton Lynch

12.

DE – Shaq Lawson

5.

LB – Myles Jack

13.

DT – Sheldon Rankins

6.

QB – Jared Goff

14.

CB – Vernon Hargreaves

7.

OT – Laremy Tunsil

15.

WR – Laquon Treadwell

8.

DE – Noah Spence

 

There are more than a few things about this chart to argue with. The first is that we have Jalen Ramsey as our number one player. If you’ll recall, a few months back, someone created a rumor that the Cowboys had Ramsey as their #1 player. While I don’t think that was true back then, given that we didn’t have our board set, I truly believe that when all is said and done, he’ll be sitting atop our chart. To me, with the vibes that I get from the fan base and media, anyone else would be a surprise.

Another thing to note is that we have three quarterbacks in the top six. Jerry has gone on record by saying that we will absolutely not draft a quarterback with the 4th overall pick. Anything that these executives say prior to the draft should be taken with a grain of salt, let alone a proclamation about a particular selection. The fact of the matter is, you set up your board and stick to it 99% of the time. If Jalen Ramsey and Zeke Elliott are off the board in the first three picks, you better believe the Cowboys entertain the idea of concreting their quarterback position for the next 15 years.

Speaking of quarterbacks, yes, I put Paxton Lynch fourth on our board. I don’t think the Cowboys have shown any hesitancy in their evaluation for the Memphis product. If you’ll recall, Paxton Lynch was an overwhelming top 5 projection last fall.

This is a guy with raw talent, and would have to sit behind Romo for a year or two, but as would Wentz or Goff. They’ve visited with Lynch 2-3 times already, and have another visit planned right before the draft. Buckle your seat belts because if things play out perfectly (depending on your point of view), we may be looking at a situation where Lynch is the pick at four.

“Wait, you’re telling me Laremy Tunsil is 7th in our board?” No. Well, yes. But also no.

I think the Cowboys see Tunsil as one of the top 2-3 players in this draft. But, we just drafted Chaz Green in the third round last year, and have Doug Free still under contract. This doesn’t mean we wouldn’t consider drafting Tunsil at all. I just think we may value other players more in the top 6 when you factor in need and the over-valuation of quarterbacks nowadays. Having said that, if we traded back to 8-10 and Tunsil were somehow still available, you’ve got to pull the trigger, or trade farther back.

To me, Myles Jack is rated too low. In fact, on my personal board, Jack is the number one player. The versatility he brings to the field, in combination with his instincts and athleticism, is second to none. If his medical re-check comes back with no issues, he could see a jump on many boards, including ours.

Ah, the polarizing status of Joey Bosa. Cowboys fans have been stressing out for a couple months now about the thought that Joey Bosa could be the pick at 4. Yet, I’ve seen a ton of experts go on record as saying Bosa is certainly a top 4 player in this draft. Whether or not he is is, obviously, yet to be seen, but I truly believe the Cowboys don’t have a ton of interest in him at 4. Don’t get me wrong, they like him. A lot. But I think, at pick 4, they’re looking for a sack leader, and not a run defender, which I think most people see Bosa as.

Thus, I think that they likely have him a little farther down their board. You’ll notice I believe they have him ranked just behind Noah Spence, who will be more of a sack producer at the next level.

Another thing people may find surprising is how far down DeForest Buckner is. This is a simple explanation: scheme. Do I think Buckner would excel in a 43 defense? Absolutely. BUT, that’s not what he played in college. Thus, any projections about his production in our scheme would be just that: guesses. He’s a physical freak and has traits defensive coordinators love. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we took him at four based on that. But, I would think they may want a little bit more of a sure thing (if there’s such a thing) in the top 5.

Lastly, you may be surprised by the ordering of my cornerbacks.

Do you remember the Cowboys releasing Tyler Patmon and rolling with Terrance Mitchell/Deji Olatoye? When they did this, the Cowboys went on record saying they were looking for players with a little more girth, who could get more physical with guys at the line in press coverage. This isn’t how Florida used Vernon Hargreaves. He was mostly used as an off Cover 1 and 3 guy because of his lack of top-end speed.

Enter William Jackson. He’s not a guy who gets his hands on you at the line as much as we may want, but he’s over six feet tall, and runs in the mid 4.3s.

This is a guy who can keep up with any receiver in the NFL, and is the best in the draft with his back to the ball. Hargreaves is an excellent player, but I feel that our front office may like Jackson’s traits a little more for this defense. Having said that, the Cowboys brought in Hargreaves as one of their 30 visits, and refrained from bringing in Jackson, so I could have missed the mark here.

Per Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, the top of the Cowboys’ board looks a lot like the one described in this post:

rabblerousr on Twitter

From the great @TonyPauline:

Now for the bottom line. I don’t think Jalen Ramsey is going to be available at pick #4.

I think all of the top 3 picks have needs in the secondary, and it would be very difficult to pass up on Ramsey’s elite talent. Thus, I think Cowboys fans will still be happy to hear that I believe there’s a very good chance Ezekiel Elliott will be taking the field with a star on his helmet this September.

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Dallas Cowboys fan since the Drew Bledsoe “era.” I love Tony AND Dak. I like to think that I’m the most objective that a fan can get, while still being a diehard, which I truly believe is the 8th wonder of the world. Go Cowboys!!

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6 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Interesting how you can get in the head of the Cowboys front office. I'll take it with a full shaker of salt.

    • Ian Koplowitz

      This was more of a post based on rumblings and rumors I've heard from news outlets and social media. I tried to throw all of that together for fans and breakdown some surprises.

  • Sean Martin

    Interesting board philosophy for sure. This is why we love the draft though! A lot of teams will just stick Tunsil at the top of their board, even if they have no shot at him. Then just go down with BPA from there. I hope they have Buckner ahead of Bosa and think they might, but I don't think either is the pick at 4. As for the corners, I do personally like Jackson more than Hargreaves. How they fall on the board depends on how Dallas evaluates his value to other teams. For a while there he was in play for #34, but that is no longer the case. If they think he will be available in the 20s though, that changes a lot. Looking forward to more great stuff like this leading up to draft night, Ian!

    • Ian Koplowitz

      The Jackson projection was a fun one. You can't help but to get excited about the athleticism he brings. I may well have missed the mark there, but I think they really like his traits. Since boards rarely ever come to public view, people are surprised when they see boards that don't mimic CBS and ESPN ones. Fact of the matter is, we draft a "3rd round center" in the first round. Charlie Casserly just mocked Kenny Lawler (a third-fourth round grade to most) as the top WR in the first round. It's all about who these teams like.

  • Ethan

    In a nutshell, I don't understand or like this board at all. I think a NFL team's board should reflect BPA "AND" players fitting a top NEED. That said, why list multiple QBs unless you are almost completely confident the Team will go QB in Round 1 which there are two camps strongly opposed/in favor of, AND…why have Tunsil at all? I think Jack that high is a big caveat that you "assume" his knee is healed which I have not heard is confirmed. We need a DE and Bosa is the closest option to a 'safe" bet to have an immediate impact.

    • Ian Koplowitz

      Totally agree with you. I listed 3 quarterbacks for a couple reasons. 1) the rumors that we have Wentz as our #1 QB, 2) all of the meetings with Lynch our front office has had, and 3) Goff being widely regarded as the best QB. Tunsil is arguably the BPA, but he's lower because of his worth to this team. And I absolutely agree that Bosa can have an immediate impact, but I'd rather spend the 4th pick on someone I have more confidence in to get higher sack totals. Lastly, I believe Jack is the best player in this draft. Regardless of the knee, I haven't heard of any long term damage, meaning when he recovers, if he hasn't already, he'll be fine moving forward.

NFL Draft

Luxury or Need for Cowboys to Draft Another 1st-Round OL?

Brian Martin

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Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Travis Frederick, offensive line

Due to growing concerns about Tyron Smith‘s availability and future health, due to reoccurring back injuries, there seems to be a growing consensus among Dallas Cowboys fans that there’s a need to draft an offensive lineman with the first-round pick. But, is it actually a need, or would it be more of a luxury?

There is legitimate concern about Tyron Smith and his future health.

Back injuries have a way of flaring up at the most inopportune times. It’s also not an injury that’s going away anytime soon, if ever. This is the unknown the Cowboys are faced with heading into the off-season, and it could end up having a major impact on the direction they go in the 2018 NFL Draft.

There seems to be a growing consensus around Cowboys Nation that the Dallas Cowboys should seriously consider selecting the best available offensive tackle with the 19th overall pick.

There are probably two reasons for this:

  1. Tyron Smith’s health concerns, and
  2. the need to upgrade the swing tackle position after watching Byron Bell and Chaz Green play in 2017.

But, the question remains: is drafting yet another offensive lineman in the first-round a luxury or need for the Dallas Cowboys?

Personally, I can see both sides of this argument. So, let’s break it down a little and examine each.

Luxury

Zack Martin

Dallas Cowboys RG Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys have already invested an enormous amount of resources to build arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.

They’ve spent three first-round draft picks to acquire Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin, two of which have already received long-term extensions with Martin waiting in the wings.

That’s a lot of money devoted to one position, which ultimately means the Cowboys have to go cheaper in other areas in order to fit under the salary cap. This is the money that would be used in free agency to acquire some of those higher-priced free agents fans are always hankering for.

It also can be used to re-sign some of the Cowboys players at other positions, such as DeMarcus Lawrence.

But, it’s not only the money that makes drafting a first-round OL a luxury.

Four out of five of the Cowboys OL are already pretty much set in stone. The left guard position is really the only unoccupied position right now, but that could be filled rather easily. This, of course, is assuming Tyron Smith stays healthy, but regardless, he is the starting left tackle when the 2018 season begins.

Need

Byron Bell

Dallas Cowboys OL Byron Bell

There’s no reason to believe Tyron Smith will be able to play an entire 16-game season going forward. The last two seasons he has had to sit out several games due to injuries, and unfortunately his back issues aren’t going away anytime soon.

To make matters worse, Dallas doesn’t have an adequate backup, which was proven on more than one occasion in 2017. Hence the need.

With the exception of the quarterback, the left tackle position is arguably the most important on offense. They protect the QB’s blindside and are largely responsible for keeping him healthy and upright.

There’s a reason they are drafted so highly and paid so handsomely: they are that important to a team’s success.

There was also a reason the Dallas Cowboys offense started to sputter once Tyron Smith started missing time. Opposing defenses no longer respected the Cowboys LT, and started putting their best pass rusher on that side to get after Dak Prescott.

Prescott ended up having happy feet and it had a ripple effect throughout the entire offense, and not in a good way.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Quite honestly, I think it would be a luxury to draft any kind of offensive lineman with the Cowboys’ first-round selection, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if that’s the direction they went. There are positives and negatives to both sides of the argument.

But, if they stick to the draft board and an OL is their highest rated player there, I say go for it.

The only thing we can do is have faith that the Dallas Cowboys know more about Tyron Smith’s health and his availability to play then we do as fans. If they decide to draft an offensive lineman early, I think we should all take that as an indication that they are worried about Smith, at least a little bit.

Luxury or Need: Do the Cowboys draft a first-round OL?

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NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition
James D. Smith / Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys football team has a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. Sure, that’s pretty sad to say as a die-hard Cowboys fan, but it should make for a very interesting offseason. This front office needs to find a way to add talent in the draft, and probably in free agency as well, all while finding ways to keep Anthony Hitchens, DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, and extending Zack Martin.

Maybe they’re not able to achieve everything, but as long as they don’t lose all of these guys, they should be fine. We may even see a surprising release or trade. It sure would be interesting to see this team release Dez Bryant, for example.

Last year, Dallas lost Barry Church, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Ronald Leary… among others. But what do these four guys have in common? They all resulted in compensatory picks for the Dallas Cowboys’ 2018 NFL Draft.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Including the expected Compensatory Picks that the Cowboys will receive for their Free Agents that signed with other teams in 2017, the Cowboys should have the following picks in the 2018 Draft:

The Cowboys got two additional fourths and two fifths. After trading up to get Xavier Woods in 2017, Dallas had no original fifth rounders for this year’s draft.

This is a front office that avoids making “big splashes” in free agency and in the draft lately, but I wonder if they’ll at least explore trading possibilities this time.

With three fourth-round picks and two fifths, they should have more than enough ammunition.

Will McClay Discusses 2016 Cowboys Draft Class, Looks Ahead to 2017

Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, Will McClay

This team has done a nice job in the last few drafts, and with Will McClay staying for at least one more year, they might as well try to get everything they can out of their draft picks. After all, Dak Prescott himself was a fourth-round compensatory pick.

Even still, I would like to see this team do something out of the ordinary.

Whether it’s trading up to get a well-fitting player who might otherwise go before their pick, or if it’s to get another team’s player, it would be interesting to see this front office pull the trigger on an interesting trade.

Sometimes it’s surprising what NFL teams can get with late round picks.

The Buffalo Bills traded away Marcell Dareus for only a sixth-round pick less than a year ago. I mean, how would you have felt if Dallas had gotten Dareus for just a sixth rounder? I would’ve been completely fine with it, to be honest.

The Cowboys have enough ammunition to consider pulling a trade-off in free agency or the NFL Draft.

We may not like the coaching, but in the past few years, this front office has done a good job when it comes to team-building.

We were all frightened when we saw the defensive players that were leaving in the secondary, and a season later, the young defensive backs are one of the reasons why we’re very optimistic about this team’s future.

So if they decide to keep their picks to themselves, I’d say it’ll be worth it, too.

After a sad season, at least we have an intriguing offseason ahead of us to keep us entertained.

Tell me what you think about “The Dallas Cowboys Will Have More Than Enough Trade Ammunition” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Target: Louisiana State WR D.J. Chark

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Draft Target: LSU WR D.J. Chark
AP Photo/John Raoux

It’s a little bit hard to believe, but draft season is already upon us. The Dallas Cowboys seem to have several needs to fill through the draft, and right now there is no clear-cut answer as to which position they should target in the first round. But, one of their top needs could be an upgrade at wide receiver.

There’s no way of knowing when the Cowboys will draft a receiver, or if they view it as a position of need. But regardless, so far my film study shows this 2018 WR draft class shapes up to be a pretty solid one.

The majority of Cowboys Nation is already familiar with the WRs the Cowboys could possibly draft in the first round, such as Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton. So, I’ve been looking at some of the more under the radar WRs and one of them particularly caught my eye for Dallas .

Louisiana State WR D.J. Chark

I’m honestly a little surprised D.J. Chark isn’t talked about more when referring to some of the top wide receivers in the 2018 draft class, but I think that will change once we get further into the process.

D.J. Chark

LSU WR D.J. Chark

I’m pretty sure he’s still under the radar because the 21-year-old senior only caught 40 passes for 874 receiving yards and three touchdowns with the LSU Tigers in 2017.

Those aren’t exactly eye-popping numbers, but he did finish as one of the top receivers in the nation at yards per reception, averaging 21.9 yards.

D.J. Chark (6’3″, 200) possesses an impressive skill set that would really fit in with what the Dallas Cowboys like to do offensively. In fact, some of his strengths as a prospect are currently missing from the offense, which is why I think he makes an intriguing target.

Chark has strong, reliable hands and a large catch radius. He’s a solid route runner, but could stand to improve in this area once he’s in the NFL. He has the speed to take the top off of defenses and also used that speed on jet sweeps and reverses. He also wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work in the blocking game, showing pretty good technique.

Let’s take a look at how and why I believe he would make a good addition to the Cowboys offense.

DJ Chark toetapping TD catch – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This particular play was from his junior season, but it was one of his more impressive plays during his career at LSU.

What you probably first noticed is his speed to get past the defender. It’s an aspect of the Cowboys’ offense that’s currently missing.

Chark is excellent at tracking the ball through the air, but it was his spatial awareness that made this particular catch so impressive.

LSU’s QB threw the ball where only Chark could catch it, but unfortunately didn’t leave him much room to get his feet down and secure the catch. Chark knew exactly where he was at on the field and was able to do a little toe tapping to get not one, but two feet down for the TD.

Here’s another example from his senior season.

DJ Chark deep threat – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Again, D.J. Chark’s best quality right now is his speed, which is proven once again on this play.

From the snap of the ball, Chark puts the BYU defensive back in a tough position because of his speed. Even with the cushion the DB gave him, Chark is on top of him before he can react, creating separation on his way to the end zone.

Unfortunately, the QB under throws the ball on this play, or it would have been an easy six points. But, Chark does an excellent job of tracking the ball and securing the catch for a big gain.

So, you can see for yourself how D.J. Chark can stretch the field vertically, but he can also help the Cowboys offense by stretching the field horizontally.

DJ Chark jet sweep – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Remember the jet sweep? It was an underrated play for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. It wasn’t that successful, but it prevented the opposing defense from crushing the defensive ends down in the running game, and kept them from pinning their ears back in the passing game.

This is another area where D.J. Chark’s speed comes in handy, and something he did quite well during his time at LSU.

Like Dallas, LSU also has a run-first mentality, which is why they incorporated the jet sweep and the reverse into their offense. These kind of plays may not be very successful, and it wasn’t in this particular clip, but they help set up things in the running game to keep opposing defenses on their heels, instead of in attack mode.

Lastly, I want to show you what Chark can do on special teams as a returner.

DJ Chark punt return – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The Dallas Cowboys don’t necessarily need a punt returner after adding Ryan Switzer last year, but it never hurts to have another option just in case. D.J. Chark is dangerous with the ball in his hands because of his speed. If he can get into the open field, there’s not much chance of anyone catching him from behind.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s in the passing game or as a punt returner.

Overall, D.J. Chark has all the intangibles to find success with the Dallas Cowboys, and already knows what it feels like to play in a run-first offense.

His straight-line speed is really intriguing, but he has some quick-twitch ability to his game as well.

He has immense upside, but he’s nowhere near a polished prospect. Chark was somewhat inconsistent at LSU, but that has a lot to do with the quarterback play during his career. He also needs to become a better route runner at the next level, but that should come with better coaching.

What do you think of D.J. Chark’s as a Dallas Cowboys draft prospect?

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