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Haynie’s 40-Player Cowboys 2017 Draft Board

Jess Haynie

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Draft Draft Blog - 25 Year History Of Dallas Draft Picks Under Jerry Jones

The big night is upon us!

Here is the final draft board that I’m taking into this weekend’s festivities. My hope is that the Cowboys will come away from the first two rounds with two of these 40 players. I wouldn’t even be opposed if they traded away that second pick to snag some of the top names on the list.

Yesterday I posted my final rankings for the Cowboys biggest draft needs. This is really the foundation for my logic behind this board and how I’m prioritizing players. Referencing it would help you understand some of my decisions.

It’s important to know that I have narrowed the focus of this board by leaving off certain positions. Based on their current talent, there’s no way I see the Cowboys drafting any quarterbacks, running backs, or interior offensive linemen with their first two picks.

Of course, that means we hope that other teams will. We want those guys to go early and often to push some players to us.

Myles Garrett

DE Myles Garrett

1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

The best DE and pass-rushing prospect in this class and one of the most exciting in this decade. If he doesn’t go first overall to Cleveland then the Browns have just written the next chapter in “Brown Town: A History of Shitty Decisions.” I only wish Dallas had the ammo pull off some kind of trade.

2. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

Despite the likelihood that he goes in the top three picks, Thomas feels like a major afterthought compared to Garrett. He would be the best DE prospect in just about any other draft class and whoever gets him will be very happy.

3. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.

About as good as CB prospects get. Lattimore can fit into any scheme and will likely walk into his new team as their top corner. Nobody comes close in this class.

4. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.

Injuries and a lack of college experience may keep Hooker below Jamal Adams tonight. However, Hooker’s upside is tremendous and would make more sense for the Cowboys with Jeff Heath also a potential starter.

5. Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Many expect Adams to hear his name in the first three picks. Guys like Eric Berry and Kam Chancellor have made safety trendy again, as has the ongoing evolution of the NFL into a passing league. Great safeties used to seem like a luxury, but they are now becoming a necessity.

Charles Harris

DE Charles Harris (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

6. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Some would balk about putting Harris above Barnett and other pass rushers but I think he fits the Cowboys needs perfectly. He has a polished, complete pass rush skill set that will allow him to be an immediate contributor. Any concerns about run defense aren’t a problem in Dallas because they have so many other options for the rotation. Harris attacks quarterbacks, plain and simple, and that’s what the Cowboys need.

7. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

Barnett’s college production is undeniable but I worry about his ability to attack NFL left tackles He’s not a superior athlete and has some technical issues for pure, professional pass rushing. Still, he could be dynamic as the left end and likely better than anyone Dallas currently has.

8. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

The opposite of Barnett, McKinley’s raw skills are exciting but the rawness is a concern. He may need a season to really develop body and technique for playing 4-3 RDE, but the potential is tremendous.

9. Haason Reddick, LB/DE, Temple

Not quite as dynamic as Von Miller but a similar type of player, Reddick should be a major contributor for any defense. His versatility to play in space or as a blitzing LB could give the Cowboys a new edge and unpredictability.

10. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Jason Witten’s retirement could come as soon as next year and none of James Hanna, Geoff Swaim, or Rico Gathers have proven much, if anything. While there’s little chance of it, Howard falling to the 28th pick would be too good for Dallas to ignore. He would bring immediate juice to the offense and settle the question of Witten’s eventual replacement.

T.J. Watt

DE T.J. Watt (MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM)

11. T.J. Watt, LB/DE, Wisconsin

Some would put Watt above the pass rushers I’ve already listed, but I have my concerns. I think he can be productive but perhaps not a catalyst that makes everyone better. I also wonder where he’d be rated with a different last name. Still, he’s clearly talented and will

12. Tyus Bowser, LB/DE, Houston

Bowser reminds you of the things Dallas liked in Randy Gregory two years ago. He has explosive physical ability but needs to work on his body and technique to become a consistent pass-rushing threat. The raw talent is there, though, and worth the 28th pick.

13. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas St.

Like Bowser, Williams is a great athlete who needs to get coached up to really blossom as a pass rusher. He’s the kind of physical specimen that a coach like Rod Marinelli would just love to get his hands on.

14. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

While he has more name value than some of the guys I just listed, Taco doesn’t seem like much of a pass rusher. He could be a strong-side DE for the next decade but the Cowboys already have that in David Irving or DeMarcus Lawrence. I’d rather they get a true edge rusher, but can see why Charlton would appeal with Lawrence potentially on the way out.

15. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

The consensus #2 corner after Lattimore, Humphrey has nice size and athleticism. There are concerns about his man play but he is expected to be great in zone, which the Cowboys use a lot of. He should have more value to Dallas than other teams.

16. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

While a Top-5 player in this class, Allen just doesn’t fit the Cowboys biggest needs. Still, if he dropped to 28, they would have to strongly consider him on sheer talent. Allen and Maliek Collins could form a DT duo for the next decade.

Adoree Jackson

CB Adoree Jackson

17. Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

The picture above shows a major reason why Dallas may want Jackson over other corners. He is a dangerous return man and could even be used on some offensive plays. While the Cowboys really need more size from their next cornerback, Jackson’s ability and versatility could be too good of a package to pass on.

18. Kevin King, CB, Washington

Speaking of size, King is 6’3″ and the most physically intriguing corner in the class. He may have trouble early on in tight man coverage but could be dangerous eating up space in zone, which suits the Cowboys well.

19. Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU

The opposite of King, White is on the small side but is a great man defender. He could be a great replacement in the slot for Orlando Scandrick, who is potentially a cap casualty in the next season or two. In 2017 he could easily contend to be one of the team’s top three corners.

20. Jordan Ross, WR, Washington

The new King of the 40-Yard-Dash, this speedster can be used in any offense. Ross would have more value than Mike Williams or Corey Davis for Dallas as he could be immediately used for his unique athletic gifts, plus what he could offer in the return game. With so many top defensive guys off the board, it wouldn’t be wrong to use the pick on receiver.

21. David Njoku, TE, Miami

While not quite as dynamic as O.J. Howard, Njoku is an exceptional TE prospect and would be tough to pass up at #28. Athletic and already a solid blocker, he could be immediately useful as a second TE and has the potential to start for many years to come.

Mike Williams

WR Mike Williams

22. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Williams and Corey Davis would be much higher if the Cowboys hadn’t brought back Terrance Williams, but that move negated much of the need at WR.  Still, Dallas wasn’t really in a big need for a receiver when they drafted Dez Bryant in 2008. Sometimes you just can’t pass on talent and Williams has that in spades. He could push for the WR2 job now and eventually replace Bryant in the top spot.

23. Corey Davis, WR, W. Michigan

See everything I just said about Williams. The only reason I like Williams a little more is that he’s a little taller and more of an endzone threat, which is big for a Dallas team that relies on the run to move up and down the field. Still, Davis’ route-running is superior and he could easily wind up the better player of the two.

24. Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan St.

McDowell has the size to play inside and the athleticism to be a big strong-side end like a Julius Peppers or Mario Williams. The questions about him are motor and locker room impact; he’s apparently not the most likable fellow. Still, the physical gifts are obvious.

25. Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA

I like Moreau way more than some. He has great physical tools and plenty of room to develop. He may be a reach to some but I’d rather have his upside at #28 than any of the remaining players.

26. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

A potentially elite LB talent, Foster could provide immediate insurance to Jaylon Smith’s health and an eventual replacement for Sean Lee. He can rotate with both of them in the nickel scheme and would likely walk in with better coverage talent than Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, or any of the Cowboys’ other linebackers.

Gareon Conley

CB Gareon Conley

27. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.

The current issue with a rape accusation may push Conley out of the first few rounds completely, but you know NFL teams are doing their homework. As long as they feel good about his legal future, Conley could easily be drafted tonight.

28. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida

Big, physical corner who fits the mold of what you’ve seen from the Seahawks in recent years. Wilson might wind up at safety before long if he doesn’t improve some of his man coverage techniques. Plenty of talent, though, regardless of which position he plays.

29. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

A good athlete and coverage guy but has some major concerns with his tackling. That’s not good in Cover 2 and is why he’s at the bottom of all the corners on my board.

30. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut

Dallas could form an all-Huskies duo with former college teammates Melifonwu and Byron Jones. Listed at 6’4″ and over 220 lbs while running a 4.4, Obi is a textbook “physical specimen.” I’ve longed for one of these tall safeties since the days of Pat Watkins and maybe my dream will finally come true.

31. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

Our first offensive lineman, Robinson stands out to me because he could be an elite guard or right tackle. He may be lacking some of the quickness and technique needed to take on to pass rusher on the left side, but Robinson would more than replace Doug Free as a superior run blocker. You could also consider playing him at guard and using La’el Collins at right tackle; whoever fits the positions best.

Jarrad Davis

LB Jarrad Davis (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

32. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Davis could be an immediate upgrade as the SAM linebacker and has the coverage skills to play nickel. As already mentioned with Reuben Foster, Dallas can feel okay about adding a LB with the concerns on Jaylon Smith and the eventual need to replace Sean Lee.

33. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

A true coverage LB, Cunningham would be a lesser version of Foster but still a great talent to add to the group. He would immediately be the primary backup for Sean Lee on the weak side.

34. Garret Bolles, OT, Utah
35. Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin

You can really flip a coin between these two. What you like more about one over the other comes down to specific team preferences and I can’t really say is clearly better. Either should be a long-time starter at offensive tackle.

36. Jabril Peppers, LB/S, Michigan

If Peppers falls to the 60th pick then I’m not sure what I’d want Dallas to do. He’s a playmaker and I don’t mind his position uncertainty all that much. I’d love him as a box safety and a coverage LB in passing downs. Where I’m worried is the other times when he needs to be a true cover safety. If he can’t do that, is a utility player really worth a 2nd-round pick?

Derek Rivers

DE Derek Rivers

37. Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown St.

The next tier of pass rushers would be decent but ultimately disappointing in the second round. Rivers has the potential to become a good rotation pass rusher but would need work.

38. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn

Lawson reminds me of a poor man’s Anthony Spencer. He could become a solid pass rusher on the left side as long as there’s an attention-grabber playing on the other end. Unfortunately, Dallas is still looking for that catalytic guy in this draft.

39. Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio St.

Offering much of the same explosive potential as John Ross, Samuel would be a useful offensive weapon worthy of a 2nd-round pick. He also has return man potential and that gives him the value bump to appear on this list.

40. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

While part of me loathes the idea of another 2nd-round pick going to the TE position, Shaheen is physical freak who would have a year, at least, to develop and learn from one of the best to ever play the position. He’s the only remaining TE prospect who think Dallas should consider. After Shaeen, I’d just stick with the current roster and see what happens.

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

NFL Draft

Sean’s Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller a Needed Weapon for Cowboys

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller A Needed Weapon For Cowboys
AP Photo / Jessica Hill

Slotted to pick 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in position to add a first-round talent to a team that fell just short of the playoffs at 9-7 in 2017. Faltering entirely on offense without RB Ezekiel Elliott too many times this season, it’s hard to argue this asset is not best spent on new talent at WR.

The Cowboys haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the first round since 2010, trading up for Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant. Frequent injuries and the inability to develop with QB Dak Prescott have diminished Bryant’s status as a star receiver in Dallas, and it may be time to overhaul the position entirely.

After scouting Memphis WR Anthony Miller, he may be just what the Dallas Cowboys need. Let’s take a closer look at his fit in the Cowboys’ offense in the first draft-season edition of Sean’s Scout.

WR Anthony Miller 2 – Streamable

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With 96 receptions for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final season at Memphis, Senior WR Anthony Miller is one of the top players at his position in the 2018 NFL Draft. These inflated numbers in the Tigers’ pass-happy offense do little to highlight Miller as a next level prospect…

This film clip and quote from my full scouting report on Miller shows the pure play-making ability Miller has. Miller wouldn’t fill the Cowboys need for an over-the-top burner at WR, but he has no problem tracking the ball with ease and adjusting in the air to make big plays down the field.

…Miller is as tough of a cover as you’ll find thanks to his explosive and concise release off the line.

Anthony Miller is certainly a “Dak-friendly” pass catcher, as he possesses the catch radius to snag passes away from his frame using his exceptionally strong hands. Even when he is covered, Miller is open vertically.

With that said, Miller has more than enough ability to separate with good initial quickness and elite balance through his routes.

WR Anthony Miller 4 – Streamable

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

…he wastes no time accelerating through the secondary, and running with a powerful stride that makes it difficult to bring him down.

There may be better technical route runners in this draft class, but few set up defenders as consistently well as Miller — who has the production to match these NFL traits.

A willing run blocker too, Miller could walk into Dallas and immediately earn snaps as an X, Z, or Y receiver. Miller’s best fit to start his career is likely as a Z receiver, drawing less attention in coverage while being allowed to run a full route tree.

…Miller gets on cornerbacks in a hurry, setting them up with his fluidity and size to track the football through contact.

A potential replacement for Terrance Williams with the Cowboys, Miller is somewhat of a similar player in the way he wins with mostly size.

The Memphis product would still be an upgrade over Williams though, as it is much easier to get the ball in Miller’s hands. Add in the red-zone ability that Anthony Miller has to box out defenders, and the run-after-catch burst as an inside target, and Miller is a weapon the Cowboys could desperately use.

WR Anthony Miller 1 – Streamable

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

…I found myself constantly impressed with the speed at which Miller gets up the field when taking the ball underneath.

Miller will have nothing but opportunities to raise his draft stock over the coming months. He will be at this month’s Senior Bowl, receiving NFL-level coaching to refine his game. The Scouting Combine will also be critical for Miller’s testing numbers to confirm the athlete seen on tape dominating at Memphis will take the next step.

Earning a second round grade on my 2018 NFL Draft Board, there is a chance the Cowboys have to use their first round pick if they truly want Anthony Miller in Silver and Blue. A very complete player that fills a need, Miller as the Cowboys first pick could make plenty of sense in April.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: Memphis WR Anthony Miller a Needed Weapon for Cowboys” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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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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