The Dallas Cowboys have made solid moves in free agency in regards to their defense. On the interior defensive line, they added six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy and two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe. In the secondary, they signed veteran Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to lineup opposite Free Safety Xavier Woods.
When it comes to the NFL Draft, most people have the Cowboys going defense with their first selection, and rightfully so considering starters Byron Jones, Maliek Collins, and Jeff Heath all found new homes. With that being said, there are three defensive players heavily linked to the Cowboys as strong first-round options.
CJ Henderson, CB, Florida
Henderson enters the draft as the second-best cornerback in this class after Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. His physical measurables are prototypical for a cornerback in today’s NFL at 6’1 204 pounds. He can play in a variety of different packages which allows you to be more flexible defensively. Not only can he cover bigger receivers, but his speed (ran a 4.39 at the NFL Combine) allows him to cover smaller/quicker receivers down the field on deep routes. Excellent at reading the quarterback’s eyes and uses great anticipation to break up passes. He’s your CB1 if drafted.
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Probably the most popular name you’ll see pop up on mock drafts for the Cowboys is Xavier McKinney. Arguably the best safety in this class along with LSU’s Grant Delpit, McKinney can play in a variety of different coverages like the aforementioned Henderson. Very physical tackler. He can spot route combinations and adjust quickly. Has the ability to play down in the box vs the run and is a very good blitzer. His instincts and athleticism allow him to make plays on the ball. If drafted, he has a shot at being a starter opposite Xavier Woods.
K’Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU
Chaisson is regarded by most as the second-best pass rusher in this year’s draft class behind Ohio State’s Chase Young. He has incredible flexibility to bend coming off the edge with speed. Use his hands very well to keep linemen at bay and possesses an excellent inside-counter spin move. He can translate speed to power quickly. Wore the number 18 for LSU as a symbol of success on and off the field and a selfless attitude. Can play in a 4-3 or as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He’s your probable starter opposite All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence if drafted.
Either of these prospects would be an instant upgrade for the Cowboys that can provide immediate impact. The question now is which one will have his name called when the Cowboys pick in round one? Only time will tell.