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Inside The Star Staff Predictions for the Dallas Cowboys First Round Pick

Aside from the first two picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, the direction of the draft could go in a million different directions. It’s pretty clear now that Joe Burrow will go to the Cincinnati Bengals, and Chase Young from Ohio State will go second overall, likely to the Washington Redskins, but a team could trade up to add the dynamic edge rusher.

And that’s what makes the NFL Draft so fun and exciting. The NFL Draft is like a game in and of itself. Teams may be trying to improve their roster, but they’re certainly competing against the rest of the NFL in trying to get their guys.

The Dallas Cowboys are no different. They have players that they’d love to walk away within each round and have top targets for the 17th overall pick. However, the teams in front of them and directly behind them could complicate matters.

The Atlanta Falcons, who pick just before the Cowboys, have been rumored to be in on the defensive names that could go in the middle of the first round. In particular, C.J. Henderson, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Xavier McKinney are each targets for the Cowboys that the Falcons could select just before the Cowboys go on the clock.

Here at, we wanted to give you our predictions for what the Dallas Cowboys will do in the first round, attempting to sift through the many variables and rumors.

Zack Baun, LB, EDGE, Wisconsin

Brian Martin, Staff Writer, Inside The Star

Zack Baun should be an immediate and productive Swiss Army Knife type of chess piece for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. I don’t think you can say the same for other prospects in play here at number 17. Plus, he’s a good insurance policy at both LB and DE with the concerns at both positions because of the unknown reinstatements of Aldon Smith/Randy Gregory and Leighton Vander Esch’s long-term health (neck injury).

Team Trade Back

Jess Haynie, Inside The Star, Senior Writer

I predict that Dallas will end up trading down. I don’t think C.J. Henderson will get there, and there are too many other players the Cowboys could pick from at that point. They will move down the board and select one of the other corners, such as Trevon Diggs or Jeff Gladney, or perhaps go safety with Xavier McKinney.

I do not buy the recent hype about Dallas’ interest in K’Lavon Chaisson. I think that is a smokescreen to try and manipulate the middle of the draft. The Cowboys didn’t sign Aldon Smith or hang on to Randy Gregory for nothing.

John Williams, Inside The Star, Staff Writer

I get the feeling that both C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson will be gone by the time the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock at number 17, and I don’t imagine the Cowboys will make a move up the draft board to go after one of these two guys. Yes, they’re great players, but in the last decade of the draft, they’ve had more success going back (Travis Frederick) than they have moving up (Morris Claiborne).

Trading back to the early to mid-20s in the first, they could garner another third-round pick. Trading back to the late 20s, they could get another second-round pick. With now and future needs on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys could use another pick to add a player to both sides of the ball.

A trade back makes the most sense if Chaisson and Henderson aren’t available, and if they do that, they’ll take Zack Baun the Linebacker, edge rusher out of Wisconsin. The Cowboys have made no secret about their interest in adding another linebacker in the draft with rumors of interest in Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen.

The Cowboys have already met with Baun, and he could help them play versatile fronts as an edge rusher that could also line up as an off-ball linebacker as well.

Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

Matthew Lenix, Staff Writer, Inside The Star

McKinney has the versatility to play in any defensive scheme. He has good anticipation skills and is a physical open-field tackler. He would instantly challenge Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Xavier Woods for a starting role.

K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE, LSU

Mauricio Rodriguez, Junior Writer, Inside The Star

I don’t see CJ Henderson being available at 17. It feels like his floor might just be the Atlanta Falcons one pick earlier. The same could be true for Chaisson, but I see him dropping to the 17th pick. Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith are high-reward bets, but the Cowboys shouldn’t be counting on them for the future. Chaisson is an explosive rusher that has a lot to work on, but pairing him up with DeMarcus Lawrence should do wonders for the Cowboys’ defensive line.

Shane Carter, Contributor, Inside The Star

The Cowboys have an obvious need in their secondary with Byron Jones leaving in free agency, The lack of a clear number one corner and the lack of safety play opposite of Xavier Woods require the Dallas Cowboys to address these spots in the draft.

However, the Cowboys could probably afford to wait for the second round to address cornerback or safety. This year’s draft is deeper at safety and cornerback than edge rusher. With the second-best one available at 17 in Chaisson, the value combined with the need is too great to pass up. His athleticism to put pressure on the quarterback and ability to dissect and take out the running game is among the best in this year’s class and one that would help the Cowboys tremendously on defense.


The Dallas Cowboys will have some interesting options for them at number 17 overall. Whatever they do in the first will greatly affect their draft the rest of the way. The 2020 NFL Draft kicks of tomorrow and then we get to stop guessing and we’ll begin to see where the Dallas Cowboys are heading in the NFL”s annual selection meeting.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. I don’t understand the love for Xavier McKinney. How does a safety that runs a 4.63 at the combine get so much hype? Contrast him to Grant Delpit who ran a 4.39 at 6’2″ and 213 pounds. Also, Delpit was a team leader at LSU, was selected as a team captain, was awarded the coveted #7 jersey number at LSU, was a 2 time All American pick and won the Jim Thorpe trophy for the nation’s best DB. Also, Delpit did all this while plying through an injury plagued season, including the dreaded high ankle sprain, and yet he never missed a game as his team needed his leadership. Give me Delpit in a slight trade down in round 1 and I will be very happy!

      • Agreed…. The only way I’d get Delpit is if we traded down to the top of the 2nd round!! I’d rather take Xavier Mckinney in the 1st round!! He can play all over the secondary and he can blitz the QB, and he don’t have tackling issues!! That’s my choice in the 1st round!!

  2. Now for the people that chose Xavier Mckinney in the 1st round…. Nice choice!! As I’ve said before…. That’s my choice in the 1st round too!! For the people that chose Chaisson in the 1st round…. That’s a terrible choice!! We don’t need any edge rushers, we have plenty on the team already!! And the ones who chose Zack Baun, that’s the same as edge rusher, even if he plays LB…. that’s still a position we don’t need!! We have plenty of them on the team already too!! We need safety and corner an slot receiver!! Those should be our positions of choice in the first 3 rounds!! Not edge rusher or LB!!

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