It’s nearly draft time for the Dallas Cowboys so a few of us at Sport DFW took some time to address some final pre-draft questions
We posed some Cowboys questions to some members of the Sport DFW staff to get their pre-draft take of the situation.
In Part 1 of 3 we address our ideal scenarios…
Question: What is your somewhat realistic ideal scenario in the first round? Who’s available, who are your picking, and why?
Dink Kearney: The most realistic ideal scenario in the first round is the Cowboys selecting a defensive back. I say that because no “war daddy” will be available when the Cowboys select at 28. The Cowboys will have several DBs to choose from: Adoree’ Jackson/USC, Kevin King /Washington, Marlon Humphrey/Alabama, Jabrill Peppers/Michigan, Obi Melifonwu/Connecticut, and Gareon Conley/Ohio State. I could go on and on, but I believe most of these players will be available when the Cowboys select at 28. The only one that might not be around is Humphrey.
Dallas will either select Jackson, King, or Humphrey. But if I had to chose one, it’ll be Jackson. I say Jackson because of his pure athleticism (eight career return touchdowns), he can play in a different coverage techniques, has closing speed, has excellent ball skills (five ints,11 PBU’s), very aggressive going after the ball, runs a 4.42 40 time, and he’s a lethal kick/punt return specialist. Jackson can play the slot corner and has the ability to play against Pro Bowler Odell Beckham, Jr. Dallas is in need of defensive play maker. Dallas needs Jackson and Jerry Jones loves a dual threat that’s a playmaker.
Stephen Francis: The problem with picking so late in the first round is that there are literally hundreds of ways this thing could unfold before Dallas picks at number 28. Obviously, there’s the possibility that they trade down and maybe try to get a few extra picks for the price of one. But, with less cap room this go-around, I believe the ideal scenario for the Cowboys involves taking either the best defensive back or pass rusher they can get their hands on at that slot.
For me, that’s going to be Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA. A lot of analysts had him marked as a sleeper pick heading into last season. However, he put together such a massive season that it shot him up most draft boards, earning an All-Pac-12 selection with 18 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and six broken passes.
He followed that up with a great combine where he ran a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash, which was third among all defensive lineman. He’s quick with raw athleticism. Most scouting reports say he has all the stuff that is tough to coach and his weaknesses are coachable, like his handwork and footwork on the pass rush. He also has a versatility that could put him on the edge of the pass rush as a lineman or on the outside as a linebacker.
McKinley would step in very quickly on this Cowboys defense and Rod Marinelli could plug him in virtually anywhere and get big plays. He’s a great “see ball, get ball” kind of guy that this defense is craving.
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Reid Hanson: Ideally the Cowboys would select an edge rusher. Adding all the talent in the world to the secondary would not have changed the outcome to Dallas’ season-ending losses to the Packers in 2016 or in 2014.
Some mock drafts have Derek Barnett falling to Dallas at 28. That’s ideal, I just don’t see it as realistic. The highest pass-rushers on my board are T.J. Watt, Takkarist McKinley, and Charles Harris. I’d be happy to add any of the three.
If none are available I’d like to find a way to trade down to the top of the second. It should be easy to do and garner an extra top-100 pick in return.
Then I’d be good picking next tier guys like Tyus Bowser, Carl Lawson, or even Jordan Willis. Plenty of options for cornerback at the bottom of the second and third rounds.
In Part 2 we’ll look at what we each believe is the Cowboys third greatest need. Interesting note, we all see things differently.