"It is now the post-Witten era in Dallas and unless a tight end on the roster emerges this season, the position could be high on the wish list next offseason. His athleticism makes Fant an appealing up-and-coming prospect."
The final mock draft is the one that counts. It is Football Christmas Eve, as the 2017 NFL Draft begins tomorrow night from Philadelphia. The end of this process is always a bittersweet moment for the analysts and fans that have been studying these prospects endlessly, as it signals the time to put all of this hard work to test against 32 NFL team's draft boards - while also adding work in the all-important mock draft of integrity.
Here is my last attempt at mocking the first round of this 2017 NFL Draft, along with all eight of the Dallas Cowboys' selections.
R1/1 - CLE: Myles Garrett, EDGE, Texas A&M
This is easy. You need a quarterback and a pass rush to win in the NFL. The Browns don't have either, and they don't have a QB on the board worth taking over the best player in this draft - edge rusher Myles Garrett.
R1/2 - SF: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State
The 2nd overall pick has never been used on a safety, but in my evaluation there are two legitimate difference makers on the defensive side of the ball in this draft. With one of them already off the board, the 49ers land a rangy safety that can turn the ball over and get it back into the hands of Kyle Shanahan's new offense.
R1/3 - CHI: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
With no quarterbacks drafted through the first two picks for the first time since 2014 here, the Bears land the most pro-ready QB in this class surrounding reports that they're interested in the North Carolina product despite signing Mike Glennon in free agency.
R1/4 - JAC: Solomon Thomas, DT, Stanford
With a lot of money spent in the secondary this offseason, the Jaguars should be thrilled at the opportunity to draft Stanford's Solomon Thomas - arguably the second best player in this class. A ready-made pro, Thomas' elite strength translates to the edge as well as inside where he is a force for guards to deal with.
R1/5 - TEN: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU
Jamal Adams has one of the highest floors of any prospect on either side of the ball in this draft, making him the perfect pick to fill a clear need on a Titans team that picks again at 18th overall.
R1/6 - NYJ: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
The Jets roster is one of the thinnest in the entire league, with clear needs at nearly every position. Resisting the urge to add another young quarterback to struggle through a long rebuild, the Jets add this year's top CB in Marshon Lattimore - who is immensely hard to separate from with the ball skills to create turnovers.
R1/7 - LAC: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
Once thought to be a pipe dream for any team picking outside of the top five, some shoulder concerns for Alabama's freak-of-nature in Jonathan Allen could see him slide to the Chargers at seven. Allen can wreck any offense's game plan with his combination of size and speed inside, with the ability to play with these traits just as well on the edge too.
R1/8 - CAR: Christian McCaffery, RB/WR, Stanford
Christian McCaffery's top-ten pick buzz has honed in on the Carolina Panthers at eighth overall. In need of another weapon for Cam Newton, the Panthers can use McCaffery out of the backfield as an elusive runner that effortlessly catches passes at both RB or WR.
R1/9 - CIN: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Bengals could use some young talent to add to their solid defensive line, and drafting Tennessee's all-time leader in sacks is a good start. Barnett can immediately win on the edge at the next level in a variety of ways, and will only benefit from not having to be "the guy" in Cincinnati.
R1/10 - BUF: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Stop me if you've heard this before - the Buffalo Bills are going through a transition. The one player this team seems to be committed to (for now) is QB Tyrod Taylor, so adding another legitimate weapon for him to throw to is a good idea with this 10th overall pick. Williams simply does not lose at the catch point and can create separation downfield with quickness at the line of scrimmage.
R1/11 - NO: Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
With two picks in the first round of this defensive-heavy draft, the Saints need to come away with immediate starters to add to a defense that was dead last in points allowed per game a season ago. Quincy Wilson fits this mold as a lengthy CB out of Florida, a fluid athlete that mirrors receivers exceptionally well with textbook technique.
R1/12 - CLE: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
With their desired QB in Trubisky off the board, and no must-have defenders sliding to the Browns second pick of the round, Cleveland gets a quarterback that can grow into any offense with Pat Mahomes - who possesses all of the intangibles to start in this league should he improve his decision making.
R1/13 - ARI: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Many have mocked Carson Palmer's replacement to the Cardinals with this pick, but I still feel that the veteran quarterback has a window to contend for a Super Bowl in Arizona - or at least that the Cardinals feel that way. If this is the case there's no way the Cardinals pass on a dynamic play maker like Corey Davis to inject some youth into an offense he'll fit perfectly with.
R1/14 - PHI: Marlon Humphrey, CB/S, Alabama
An absolute nightmare for WRs coming downhill towards the football, Marlon Humphrey can greatly upgrade the Eagles' secondary with his length and tenacity - using his strong arms better than most CBs in this entire draft. Regardless of if he plays at cornerback or safety, the Eagles will get a good player for Jim Schwartz to use in Alabama's Marlon Humphrey.
R1/15 - IND: Haason Reddick, DE/LB, Temple
The Colts have added some nice pieces to their defense in free agency, most notably DT Jonathan Hankins. Come week 1 of 2017 though, Haason Reddick could be their most visible front seven defender. An absolute blur on tape, Reddick shows range and closing speed at SAM LB with the ability to hold up at DE in the NFL.
R1/16 - BAL: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
The Ravens lack an identity with their running game on offense, going through a transition at the WR position as well. Fournette is a steal with the 16th overall pick, and will not only greatly help Joe Flacco but the entirety of this Baltimore team in setting the tone each game.
R1/17 - WAS: John Ross, WR, Washington
Committed to Kirk Cousins for at least another season, the Redskins can continue to have one of the strongest offenses in the NFL should they find an ideal replacement for DeSean Jackson. Washington's John Ross, who broke the Scouting Combine's record for the 40-yard dash, is exactly that as a burner with the shiftiness to win underneath.
R1/18 - TEN: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
The Titans offense under Marcus Mariota is truly unique, as their spread concept still plays to the strengths of two downhill running backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. O.J. Howard would be an absolute perfect fit to this passing offense with his ability to block and run routes as an inline TE as well as split out wide and be a big target that consistently wins downfield with strong, reliable hands.
R1/19 - TB: Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
Tampa Bay's top priority moving forward should be giving QB Jameis Winston a clean pocket, and drafting my top OL prospect would go a long way in doing that. While Lamp played LT at Western Kentucky, his fine tuned technique and size projects him best as a dominant guard at the NFL level.
R1/20 - DEN: David Njoku, TE, Miami
Offensive tackle might arguably be the bigger need in Denver, to protect whoever is playing QB, but with no tackles jumping off the board as "must-have" players here, David Njoku becomes the better pick at a position of need. The true definition of a modern-NFL tight end, Njoku will help the Broncos speedy WRs win on the outside by wearing out the middle of the field and showing off his athleticism blocking on the edge as well.
R1/21 - DET: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
It is no secret that the Lions value above-average athleticism across their defensive line, and Charles Harris has a chance to be their most athletic rusher at RDE on day one. Teams will love the Missouri product's ability to win on the edge with his spin, inside counter, and consistent bend.
R1/22 - MIA: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Original pick: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
With Conley's recent sexual assault allegations, the Dolphins change their focus at CB to a player that will be at the draft - with speculation that he'll be one of the inevitable players that doesn't hear his name called in day one. Here, Awuzie gets his shot as an instinctive cornerback that fights for every ball like it's his.
R1/23 - NYG: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
I'm sorry, fans of other NFC East teams. It is finally time for the Giants to replace the failed pick at LT that was Ereck Flowers. A disaster in protecting Eli Manning, the Giants have reportedly considered using this pick on Manning's predecessor at QB - instead opting for a much more reliable option at tackle in Wisconsin's Ramcyzk.
R1/24 - OAK: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
The Raiders' current roster makes them one of the most up-and-coming teams in the NFL, with a young star at DE in Khalil Mack. A natural SAM LB, Zach Cunningham can play behind Mack and add even more physicality to the Raiders defensive front with his tackling ability and play recognition skills.
R1/25 - HOU: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Also following the, "our QB is gone so let's get a guy to protect whoever has to throw passes for us" draft strategy, the Texans see Pat Mahomes long gone and instead opt for an athletic LT with tons of upside in Alabama's Cam Robinson.
R1/26 - SEA: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Knocked by many for his speed at both the Combine and his Pro Day, Teez Tabor still displays elite zone coverage skills and awareness with an instinct for the football that Seattle can't ignore in replenishing a secondary that can still protect a young player like Tabor. With plenty of veterans continuing to fly around and make plays for them, Tabor should fit in nicely with the Seahawks.
R1/27 - KC: Kevin King, CB, Washington
The thought of Kevin King joining Marcus Peters and Eric Berry in the same secondary is a terrifying one for any offenses facing the Chiefs this season. King may not get his hands on as many passes as the other two players listed here, but his massive frame and strong hands make him a tough CB to gain a step on.
R1/28 - DAL: Tyus Bowser, DE, Houston
Coming on late here in this draft process, Tyus Bowser is a hidden gem at this point in the first round when it comes to this year's DEs. Asked to drop into coverage far too much at Houston, Bowser can be the feared defensive end Dallas is desperately lacking once he is asked to rush every play and display his burst and elite change of direction skill.
R1/29 - GB: T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin
A Wisconsin kid and brother to Texans' star J.J. Watt, the Packers ignore their glaring need at CB - with starters available there well into this draft - and grab another flexible player with a high ceiling to their front seven. Playing just one full year defensively in college, Watt shined consistently as a pass rusher and hunting LB with a nose for the ball.
R1/30 - PIT: Takk McKinley, DE, UCLA
The Steelers have pass rushers that they feel comfortable starting the season with, which puts them in a great position to potentially deal with Takk McKinley having to miss time through training camp. When he at his best coming off the edge, McKinley is one of the most explosive players in this class with the speed to set up tackles up field combined with the bend and upper body strength to finish.
R1/31 - ATL: Malik McDowell, DE, Michigan State
With Dan Quinn modeling the Falcons defense after his Super Bowl winning defense in Seattle, Atlanta rolls the dice on getting Malik McDowell to play with a consistent motor. If he does, the reigning NFC Champions' rotation of pass rushers would become much more lethal, as McDowell has top-five talent in this draft class with the ability to also play at DT.
R1/32 - NO: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
A Combine star that has the tape to match it, Florida LB Jarrad Davis deserves to go late in the first round. Capable of playing at all three spots, Davis stops running backs in their tracks and does not stay blocked for long all across the field. Landing his Gators teammate in Quincy Wilson at 12th overall, the Saints add two ready-made SEC defenders at positions of need.
Depending on how you quantify a "starter" in the Cowboys offensive or defensive scheme, I think this full Dallas mock brings them five new starters in total.
Tyus Bowser is more than ready to develop into the feared pass rusher this team needs, while Tarell Basham is the perfect rotational piece for Rod Marinelli to use early in his career.
In the secondary, there's a clear role for Marcus Williams to make a massive day one impact at safety, and the same can be said at cornerback with either Kazee or Decoud starting alongside Anthony Brown, Nolan Carroll, and Orlando Scandrick.
Both of the Cowboys' offensive picks here would be players to keep a close eye on through training camp and the preseason, as Fred Ross would be hard to take off the field should Dak Prescott find his chemistry with him once again. At running back, snaps are available for Aaron Jones - with the question being if they come ahead or behind Darren McFadden.
Getting younger at key positions is never a bad idea in the NFL, and that is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys continue to do in this mock draft.
It is far from over, but I would like to thank everyone that took the time to learn about this draft through my work and that of my peers here at Inside The Star this offseason. The NFL Draft has quickly grown into one of my deepest passions, with the potential to be much more than just a hobby sometime soon.
Let's all get ready to welcome some exciting new players to Cowboys Nation!
Looking Ahead to 2019 NFL Mock Drafts, a Pass Catching Theme Persists
The Dallas Cowboys haven't played the 2018 NFL season yet, but that shouldn't stop us from looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft and seeing what players the team will have their eye on this fall.
With the NFL season fast approaching, that means the college football season is as well, and as we look through these mocks, perhaps you get an idea of whom to watch with a Cowboys perspective this fall.
I scoured the internet looking for the best and brightest minds and their "way too early 2019 mocks." As I perused the mocks, one thing was clear. Many of the national writers see the Dallas Cowboys going with an offensive pass catcher in the 2019 NFL Draft. Namely a TE.
TE Noah Fant, Iowa
Noah Fant, from the University of Iowa, will be a junior in his 2019 season and as a sophomore caught 30 passes for 494 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 11 touchdowns. The receptions and yardage may not look all that impressive, but if we think about Iowa's offense in the Big 10, we can understand that he's not going to get many opportunities to catch the ball when the team is running it as often as they do.
In fact, the Hawkeyes ran the ball 10 more times per game than they threw it and their quarterback only completed - on average - 15 passes a game.
Fant accounted for 21% of the receiving yards on the season and 42% of the passing touchdowns. He was only 36 yards away from leading the team in receiving despite catching 21 fewer passes than leader Nick Easley. No other pass catcher for Iowa had more than four receiving touchdowns.
If there's something not to like at the moment about Fant, it's his size.
At the moment, College Football Reference has him listed at 232 pounds. There are running backs that weigh more than Fant does and he'll probably need to add about 10-20 pounds in the NFL to be an effective in-line blocker.
Mocked to the Dallas Cowboys by Dane Brugler of The Draft Show on DallasCowboys.com. In a mock draft he did for Sports Day DFW and the Dallas Morning News, he had this to say.
Dane Brugler - Sports Day DFW, Dallas Morning News
Eric Galko of The Sporting News selected the Iowa tight end to the Cowboys as well, seeing him as a special prospect that has the chance to fill the shoes of Jason Witten.
Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington also had Noah Fant to the Cowboys, thinking they are in need of a Jason Witten replacement.
DE Austin Bryant, Clemson
Depending on what Dallas can get out of Right Defensive Ends Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Dorance Armstrong, and Charles Tapper, it could have the Cowboys taking a defensive end in the first round for the second time in three years.
Will Brinson's mock doesn't offer much analysis on Bryant, mostly saying that Clemson is going to be good. But here's what Draftek.com's Brett Clancy, who covers the 49ers, had to say about Bryant:
"Clemson's Austin Bryant is the 4th EDGE off the board in this mock and 2nd from his school, but he's still well worth a mid-round pick. Bryant broke out with 8.5 sacks as a junior last year and many thought he'd go pro. I like Bryant's move to stay in school and refine his game, specifically growing a repertoire of pass rush moves to complement his strong edge-setting ability."
Brett Clancy - Draftek.com
Bryant was amazingly disruptive for the Clemson Tigers as a junior, racking up 50 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. At 6-5 265, he could come in and play right defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys on day one.
DT Raekwon Davis, Alabama
We know that the Dallas Cowboys have an affinity for Power 5 prospects and Jason Garrett goes back with Nick Saban.
Despite that relationship, it hasn't led to many Alabama players being selected by the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, that should tell us something.
One other factor that could be in play with Davis is dependent upon who the defensive coordinator is in 2019. We all know that Rod Marinelli doesn't place premium draft value on defensive tackles, but prefers to find diamonds in the rough to develop.
If Kris Richard takes over as the defensive coordinator in 2019, the story could be a bit different. Seattle, with Richard at the defensive helm, selected defensive tackles in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts.
If the Dallas Cowboys are going to spend a first on a defensive tackle, this is the guy to do it on.
He was highly productive as a sophomore for the Crimson Tide, racking up 69 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also had one interception that was returned for 19 yards. At 6-7 306 pounds, he has the size and frame to be an immediate impact player on the Dallas Cowboys interior.
If the Dallas Cowboys choose not to resign David Irving in the 2018 offseason and Maliek Collins doesn't take a step forward, then Davis becomes a real possibility.
Here's what Draftek's Cowboys analyst had to say about Raekwon Davis.
"Alabama's Raekwon Davis has played both DT and DE in the Crimson Tide's 3-man line. He can maintain his gaps against the run when needed, but his primary skill set is using his long arms and strong lower body to use a variety of pass rush moves to win with power and speed.
"One red flag on Davis happened 8/27/17: he was struck in the leg by a stray bullet during the wee hours of Sunday morning at a Tuscaloosa bar (Bar 17) where several shootings have occurred over the past few years. Despite HC Jason Garrett's affinity for Nick Saban coached players, this incident might remove him from the Dallas board."
Long Ball - Dratek.com
Interestingly, Draftek did a second round in this mock and they sent Boston College Safety Lukas Denis to the Dallas Cowboys.
S Jaquan Johnson, Miami
Speaking of safeties, Dan Kadar over at SBNation sent one to the Dallas Cowboys in the form of Jaquan Johnson.
Johnson, from the University of Miami, was very productive in his junior season for the Hurricanes, racking up 96 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and four interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown.
Here are Kadar's thoughts on the second team All-ACC player:
"There was a lot of talk during the draft that the Cowboys were in talks to trade for Earl Thomas. If they want to address safety next draft, Johnson was a second-team all-conference player who some thought would go pro."
Dan Kadar - SB Nation
Obviously, this pick will depend on what happens with Earl Thomas over the next nine months and the development of Xavier Woods, but Johnson will be a name to watch for teams that need a safety.
WR Ahmmon Richards, Miami
Another Hurricane to have on your NFL Draft radars is Wide Receiver Ahmmon Richard, who is going into his junior season at Miami.
The Dallas Cowboys have begun the process of overhauling their wide receiver corp with the departures of Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the 2018 offseason. In 2019, it's likely that Terrance Williams (contract) and Cole Beasley (age) could be next to go.
That would leave them with Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, Noah Brown, and Cedric Wilson as their WR depth chart. It's certainly a solid group, but adding a talent like Richards could help.
The Draft Wire's Luke Easterling believes, "Richards would be another great addition with impressive size and speed."
In two seasons at Miami, Richards has averaged 18.8 yards per reception, and 68.65 yards per game. He's got deep-threat ability which would combine well with Gallup and Hurns.
WR Collin Johnson, Texas
If Richards doesn't do it for you, then lets head a couple of hours south of Dallas to the University of Texas and Wide Receiver Collin Johnson.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has the Dallas Cowboys going with the junior wide receiver and had this to say:
"The Dallas Cowboys made interesting moves at wide receiver in the 2018 draft—trading Ryan Switzer to Oakland, acquiring Tavon Austin from Los Angeles, not selecting a receiver early—and will head into the upcoming season with a need for a playmaker down the field. Texas' Collin Johnson at 6'6" can be the downfield weapon and red-zone nightmare the Cowboys so badly want.
"Johnson does need to improve upon his production from the last two seasons and prove to scouts he can run well enough to separate from NFL defenders, but his size and hands are already getting buzzed about as teams prepare for the upcoming college season."
Matt Miller - Bleacher Report
I'll agree with Miller that Johnson will need to increase upon his production. Some believe that the quarterback limitations in Austin have been a factor, but at the moment, I'm leery of taking a wide receiver from the Big 12 that doesn't have excellent production in the first round of the draft.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
It's obvious from these mock drafts that analysts see the Dallas Cowboys continuing to invest in pass catchers for their offense and that is a reasonable thought.
Obviously, a lot will change between now and next April when the Dallas Cowboys go on the clock, but this gives us a bit of insight on who to watch in this upcoming college football season.
What names will you be watching in college football this season?
Does Marquez White Assault Charge Alter Cowboys Plan in Supplemental Draft?
Last night, it was reported that Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Marquez White has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The incident comes from a traffic confrontation that took place back in October, where White -- according to his camp -- was justified in drawing his weapon for self-defense.
A promising young player that stuck on the Cowboys practice squad in his rookie season, the sixth round pick doesn't need this case hanging over his head as training camp approaches. When considering the timing up against this week's supplemental draft, and the rare crop of defensive back talent available in it, White could soon be fighting for relevance on the Cowboys roster.
Becoming complacent in building one of the best young secondaries in the league won't be an issue for the Cowboys under new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard. The Cowboys were relying on White to be a depth option behind projected starters Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis.
White's spot on the depth chart may very well hold up, but by the end of the week he could also have added competition in Adonis Alexander or Sam Beal.
Respectively, the former Virginia Tech and Western Michigan cornerbacks are two of the most talented supplemental prospects to enter the draft in years -- both likely to be the first players drafted since 2015.
Alexander and Beal are also joined by Mississippi State Safety Brandon Bryant as another backup option for Dallas.
A lengthy cornerback with the toughness to play on the boundary, Alexander is a similar player to White, and one that Richard should love for his physical traits. Whether or not this natural skill outweighs some maturity issues that saw Alexander fall from freshman starter to suspended at VT will determine if the Cowboys feel comfortable sending away a 2019 draft pick for his services.
Where Alexander's career leaves his arrow trending downward on the eve of the supplemental draft, Beal is a rising prospect that some are calling the best to ever enter this draft.
An all-conference cornerback as a Junior out of Western Michigan, Beal improved with each passing college season, determined to finish out his degree along the way. However, once Beal's eligibility for his Senior season was called into question, the feisty 6'1" CB decided to turn towards the NFL.
Beal's professional football faith is now in the hands of any team that's done their homework on him. Projected to be taken as early as the third round, teams impressed by Beal's tape could be giving away a premium pick in next year's draft to add him just before training camp.
Should this team be the Cowboys, Beal's presence would put more than just White on notice. The Cowboys are also expecting corners like Duke Thomas and Kam Kelly to fight for roster spots. In a perfect world, say the one the Cowboys were living in yesterday before this White news broke, Thomas or Kelly could replace White on the practice squad as the Florida State product took another jump in Oxnard.
As I've written before though, teams must be relentless in their search for talent. The Cowboys have drafted well, but passed on big name free agents in recent years. The result is a young roster full of potential and ready to compete.
If either Adonis Alexander, Sam Beal, or even Brandon Bryant help them do so this year, we could be right here talking about a new Cowboys rookie in the middle of July. Marquez White would be happy to see this talk overshadow his legal situation for the moment.
This won't be the case when he's competing against another player that will likely cost the Cowboys more than the sixth round pick they invested in him two years ago.
Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?
You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.
I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.
Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.
Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:
2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano
You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.
The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.
DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.
The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.
I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?
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