The Dallas Cowboys are one draft class away from potentially owning the NFL landscape for years to come, with their 2016 class not only serving as the foundation for this team right now – but a blueprint to what their goals in the 2017 Draft should be. Finding talent through all seven rounds will be essential once again, and towards the bottom of this draft a wide receiver they could target is Zay Jones out of East Carolina University.
Measuring in at the Senior Bowl at 6017, Zones checks off the height (barely) that the Cowboys will look for in adding depth at WR, along with the production. The FBS' all-time leader in receptions, Jones has some serious flaws to his game as a complete prospect, but catching the football is not one of them.
Zay Jones is a strong runner that, although stiff at times, utilizes his upper body strength incredibly well to high point any passes thrown his way.
This quote comes from my full scouting report on Zay Jones at Slant Sports, and when paired with the above highlight, you get a pretty good vision of the type of player that Jones is. While some Cowboys fans and draft followers are looking for a receiver to take the top off of a defense across from Dez Bryant, there would be nothing wrong with establishing Jones into this offense as a target that can line up both on the inside and out with the comfort to catch passes at either position.
Jones does show the ability to stretch the field on tape and track the ball exceptionally well…
Zay Jones currently holds a sixth round grade on my 2017 NFL Draft Board, so the expectation would not be for him to immediately become the Cowboys' WR2 as a rookie.
Instead, the developmental potential is huge for a player like Jones thanks to his collegiate production and pro-ready hands. When Scott Linehan wants to spread the field, a player like Jones running intermediate routes as a check down option for Dak Prescott could be huge (literally).
When asked to stretch the field and expand his route tree, Jones rarely shows the fluidity or strength to create consistent separation.
Over time, the hope for Jones would be to improve in Dallas as a route runner. With a NFL training camp under his belt, Zay Jones could become quietly become another late round steal for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2017 Draft after his rookie season.
With strong enough hands to make up for the tight coverage he'll most certainly see at the next level, the intrigue is there with Zay Jones to potentially continue making the WR position look easy with whatever team calls his name in the draft thanks to his traits – which is sometimes all you look for in the later rounds.
This last quote from my scouting report summarizes the intrigue when it comes to Jones joining America's Team. Wide receiver is definitely a position of need for the Cowboys, but not one that they necessarily need to invest a high draft pick into. While Zay Jones shouldn't be their only target, he could certainly be one of them – a big one with a ton of potential at that.
Oh, and Jones is the son of former Dallas Cowboys' first round pick LB Robert Jones. The ✭ may be in his destiny.