If you open a Mock Draft right now, chances are you’ll read about the Dallas Cowboys taking a safety in the first round with the 17th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. With prospects like LSU’s Grant Delpit or Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, it just makes a ton of sense. The Cowboys have had an important need at the position for a long time and it’s time for an upgrade over Jeff Heath, who’s bound to hit free agency this offseason.
However, it’s hard to be certain about the Cowboys drafting a safety in the first round in Las Vegas next April. America’s Team hasn’t addressed safety in the first round since they took Roy Williams in 2002. Since then, they haven’t drafted one in the second round, either.
Of course, how a completely new coaching staff values the position comes into question. Not only that but how much input will the coaches have on the scouts’ decisions in this regime? It’s hard to know what to expect.
But if we’re going to talk about how there will be great safety options at #17, we can’t stop talking about the cornerbacks that will be on the board as well. It’s just foolish to suggest the Cowboys have any shot at Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, but what about the other top prospects?
C.J. Henderson (Florida), Kriston Fulton (LSU), Trevon Diggs (Alabama) and Jeff Gladney (TCU) could all be options as soon as the first round. There’s also a realistic shot the Cowboys can have their pick at any of these players when they’re on the clock.
Right now, Byron Jones’ future is very uncertain. It all points toward him getting a shot to taste free agency and if he does, what are the chances he stays in Dallas? He’s been one of the league’s top cornerbacks in the past couple of seasons and he has a chance to become the highest-paid CB in the league.
If the proposed CBA is approved and the Cowboys can’t use two tags in 2020, it is even more probable that Jones will play elsewhere next season. If they can’t keep Byron around, how is cornerback not the team’s top need? Chidobe Awuzie has been inconsistent and despite being a promising young player, we haven’t seen enough from Jourdan Lewis to be confident about him starting in the outside.
Not to mention, they’ll both be free agents in 2021 and Anthony Brown will also be testing the market in March.
As you can see, even if the Cowboys pay Byron, cornerback would still be a need. And there will be top prospects available in 2020. I’m betting on them drafting a cornerback when they’re on the clock in April.