The Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL are now just 46 days away from the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, Nevada and as the days tick by on the calendar, more clarity will come the Cowboys way. The Cowboys and other teams will have roughly five weeks to solidify their rosters in free agency before the Cinninnati Bengals go on the clock with the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Areas that appear to be needs now for Dallas could become afterthoughts when free agency opens on March 18th.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Wide receiver has become a popular selection for the Dallas Cowboys over the last month or so as more and more analysts and fans have bought into the idea of trying to outscore everyone and worrying about defense later in the draft. There’s a strong possibility that the best player available to the Cowboys when they go on the clock is a wide receiver and in this year’s draft, perhaps the most dynamic is Henry Ruggs III.
Adding Henry Ruggs III to the mix with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup would make the Dallas Cowboys passing game an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses. His God-given speed and talent is a game changer, much like Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill. With so much work to do on the defensive side of the ball, the Cowboys are probably going to have to field a high-scoring offense to have any kind of success in 2020. Ruggs’ addition would help accomplish just that.
Brian Martin, Inside The Star
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
In last week’s mock draft, Brian Martin sent Ruggs to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. In this week’s 3 round complete NFL mock draft, the Cowboys take another premier Alabama wide receiver in Jerry Jeudy.
Cee Dee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
Former InsideTheStar.com contributor and now with Blogging The Boys, Connor Livesay also went with a wide receiver in the first round of his three round mock draft.
Cowboys fans, you can thank the offensive lines combine performances for this one. While half of the fanbase likely hates this picks, because they want them to draft for need and target defensive tackle or cornerback, the other half of the fan base understands you can’t pass up a talent like CeeDee Lamb to draft for need. Lamb is dynamic after the catch, has elite ball skills, and has a good-feel for how to create separation in all three levels of the field. Lamb would be an excellent addition to a Cowboys’ offense that struggled at receiver down the stretch, in the red-zone, and finishing drives in 2019.
Connor Livesay, Blogging The Boys
And Livesay wasn’t alone as NFL.com Draft Analyst Daniel Jeremiah sent the University of Oklahoma product the Cowboys way.
Assuming veteran receiver Amari Cooper departs in free agency, Lamb would be a great fit for Dallas.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com
Cee Dee Lamb is one of the most complete players in this draft class. He does everything well. Has excellent hands, run after the catch ability, good speed, good size, super athletic, breaks tackles, and brings an edge with his blocking in the running game.
There’s a sizable contingent that would like to see the Cowboys draft a receiver in the first whether they hold on to Amari Cooper or not. If they allow Cooper to walk, then wide receiver shoots to the top of the list of priorities in the NFL Draft.
C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
Easily the most popular selection to the Cowboys since the NFL Scouting Combine has been Cornerback C.J. Henderson. With reports that the Dallas Cowboys and Byron Jones mutually agreed for the Pro Bowl cornerback to hit the free agent market, cornerback, which was already a pretty sizeable need for the Cowboys, becomes a gigantic hole in the secondary.
It’s all but certain that Jones will receive more money than the Cowboys are willing to pay on the open market, Anthony Brown is expected to join him in a weak free agent cornerback class, and presumed starters Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie are both set to be free agents in the 2021 offseason leaving the Cowboys with no viable starters beyond this season at corner.
The Cowboys have to draft at least one cornerback in this class and much like the 2017 class, they could conceivably double up at the position.
Henderson had an excellent combine, showing off speed and athleticism increasing his draft stock to the point that there’s a possibility he might not even be available when the Dallas Cowboys pick at 17.
Henderson has a chance to be drafted in the top 10 so this might be the latest he comes off the board. With Byron Jones destined to reach free agency, cornerback shoots near the top of Dallas’ draft needs. Henderson needs to be a better playmaker at the catch point, but he is a plus athlete with the size to blanket receivers.
Dane Brugler, The Athletic
CJ Henderson has ideal size and very good instincts to play in a man coverage defense. The main questions are his penchant for playing too far off in coverage while trying to bait quarterbacks into mistakes and his lack of prowess as a tackler. Both can be fixed at the next level.
With Byron Jones looking like the odd man out in the Cowboys’ free-agent Rubik’s Cube, I see Dallas taking a swing at cornerback in Round 1. After checking all the Combine boxes (4.39 forty, 127-inch broad jump), the ball-hawking Henderson would be a splashy pick for Big D at No. 17.
Jesse Pantuosco, Radio.com
Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
Another cornerback who’s been consistently available in mock drafts and often linked to the Dallas Cowboys is LSU corner Kristian Fulton. He’s not as fast as the above mentioned Henderson, but he’s a strong athlete in his own right who was a big part of the Tigers championship defense from 2019.
With a 4.46 40-yard dash and a sub-7 three-cone, Fulton put any concerns about his athleticism to rest at the Combine. While safety has been the popular fit for Dallas here, corner may offer more value with the impending departure of Byron Jones.
Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
In a trade down, the Dallas Cowboys moved back to the Buffalo Bills pick at number 22 and acquired the Bills’ third-rounder (86th overall) and the first of Buffalo’s picks in the fifth round. Here they take a player who’s been widely mocked to the Dallas Cowboys, Grant Delpit of LSU.
In the trade back the Dallas Cowboys net a gain of 19.4 points according to the trade value chart. There’s a strong possibility that the Cowboys do find themselves in an excellent opportunity to trade down. In the trade down, the Cowboys passed on taking K’Lavon Chaisson the edge rusher from LSU.
Over the past five seasons, the Cowboys are tied with the 49ers for the fewest passes intercepted (43). Expected to lose cornerback Byron Jones in free agency this offseason, the Cowboys may go corner here like in my previous iteration of this mock (C.J. Henderson, off the board in this version). Both corner and safety are needs, however, and Delpit is a rangy playmaker with eight interceptions and 24 passes defended in his three seasons at LSU.
Kevin Hanson, SI.com
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
If the Cowboys were going to draft a safety in the first round at pick 17, Alabama’s Xavier McKinney would make much more sense to me than Grant Delpit. McKinney is every bit the playmaker that Delpit is and a far more consistent tackler.
Like current Dallas Cowboys’ Safety Xavier Woods, McKinney is a defensive chess piece that can line up in multiple roles across the defense. Having the ability to use Woods and McKinney in variable roles on your defense would create a level of unpredictability that’s been missing for sometime with the Cowboys’ defense.
Dallas hasn’t had a high-impact safety like McKinney, who had 95 tackles and pulled in three interceptions last season, in years. His 4.63 40 time was a bit disappointing, but McKinney does have some range to his game, and he is super instinctive.
Todd McShay, ESPN
Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
Barring an unforeseen drop in the NFL Draft for Auburn Defensive Tackle Derrick Brown, the most likely interior defensive lineman that could be available for the Cowboys is South Carolina Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw. Kinlaw is a powerful player that brings a pass rush ability that the Cowboys have been missing on the inside of their defensive line.
Kinlaw is a player that often isn’t available for the Cowboys to draft in the first round, so if he makes it to 17, it’s going to be very difficult for the Dallas Cowboys to pass on him. Even with 2019 second round pick Trysten Hill on the roster.
Don’t freak, Cowboys fans. The draft is longer than one round, and the cornerback group has plenty of solid options in that range. Kinlaw is simply too disruptive to pass on here.
Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports
There’s no reason a guy this big, with this kind of athleticism and versatility, should still be on the board this late. Kinlaw not only has the physical tools to be a dominant defender at the next level, but he’s also got the killer instinct that the game’s greatest defensive players have always possessed. If he’s still available at this pick, the Cowboys should waste no time running the card up to the podium.
Luke Easterling, The Draft Wire via USA Today
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There’s an excellent chance for the Dallas Cowboys to find a day-one impact player with their first pick in 2020 NFL Draft. How they choose to allocate that selection will be anyone’s guess until we get closer to the end of April and the draft is upon us. The importance of this exercise is to become familiar with the names that could be available to the Cowboys when they make their selection.
As I mentioned before, though there are a lot of needs on the defensive side of the football at the moment, that could all look very different after a few weeks of free agency. Though the Cowboys have been consistently passive in free agency, there is an opportunity to add significant pieces at areas of need on the defensive side of the football specifically. Knowing them, they’ll make some additions that fill holes with less than spectacular players just to give them the freedom to follow their board come draft time.
However they spend pick 17, and the rest of their picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, one thing is certain, they can’t afford to have many misses this year. To return to the playoffs and hopefully further, they need to find several impact players out of this crop of rookies.