The Draft is nigh, so it’s time to take a detailed look at each team’s acquisitions and losses and gauge a plan of attack for how they should approach the first three rounds. We’ll start with the lowly Cleveland Browns and work our way all the way up to the Super Bowl Champs in New England. The Cowboys are up as we sit just one week away from the Draft.
Team Needs: DE, S, CB, OLB, WR, TE, RT
Free Agent Losses: QB Tony Romo (retired), CB Brandon Carr, CB Morris Claiborne, S Barry Church, LB Ryan Davis, RB Lance Dunbar, G Ronald Leary, DT Terrell McClain, S JJ Wilcox,
Free Agent Acquisitions: G Jon Cooper (resigned), QB Kellen Moore (resigned), WR Terrence Williams (resigned), CB Nolan Carroll
Potential Round 1 Targets: S Obi Melifonwu, CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Gareon Conley, CB Kevin King, DE Taco Charlton, DE Charles Harris, TE David Njoku, OT Cam Robinson, S/LB Jabrill Peppers
Potential Round 2 Targets: S Budda Baker, S Desmond King, S Marcus Maye, CB Teez Tabor, CB Fabian Moreau, CB Quincy Wilson, CB Chidobe Awuzie, WR Zay Jones, WR Curtis Samuel, WR Cooper Kupp, TE Evan Engram, TE Gerald Everett, OT Roderick Johnson, OT Dion Dawkins, DE Carl Lawson, DE Demarcus Walker, DE Jordan Willis
Potential Round 3 Targets: CB Jourdan Lewis, CB Corn Elder, CB Rasul Douglas, S Marcus Williams, S Marcus Maye, S Justin Evans, S Eddie Jackson, WR Malachi Dupre, WR Amara Darboh, TE Bucky Hodges, TE Adam Shaheen, TE Jake Butt, DE Tarell Basham, DE Tanoh Kpassagnon, OT Adam Bisnowaty, OT Zach Banner
Plan of Attack:
The Cowboys had a historically good Draft a season ago and while it will be difficult to duplicate that, they can try their damndest. There are a few ways the team can go with their first round pick. They need to bring in another pass rusher, and could look at a couple guys here. The first would be Michigan’s Taco Charlton. He’s got a nice long, lean frame and is a powerful and athletically gifted pass rusher. The biggest questions surrounding him are his lack of consistent production during his time as a Wolverine. Another player they could consider, would be Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. Harris doesn’t have Charlton’s size and is more of a DE/OLB tweener. He does have an explosive burst off the ball and is extremely quick laterally. He could definitely make a positive impact on the Cowboys pass rush as a rookie. The Cowboys were hit hard in free agency in the secondary. They lost cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. They also lost safety Barry Church. So they could look to bring in a corner or safety here with the 28th pick. They’d be hoping a corner like Marlon Humphrey or Gareon Conley is still around. A safety they could consider, is my personal favorite, UCONN’s Obi Melifonwu. Obi has a rare blend of size, speed, power, and overall athletic ability. He could potentially start for the team as a rookie. One other player the Cowboys could be interested in here would be Michigan’s S/LB Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is one of the best athletes in the Draft, the biggest concern is where will he ultimately end up playing in the NFL. While the team is figuring that out, they can unleash him on special teams and improve that entire aspect of their team.
In round 2, the Cowboys will address the need they didn’t get in the first round. So if they still need secondary help, they could look at some cornerbacks. Florida’s Teez Tabor or Quincy Wilson, UCLA’s Fabian Moreau, and Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie could all be options. Moreau would only be available due to some injury concerns. He was a fast rising prospect, but suffered a chest injury during his Pro Day workout. He’s a former running back so he’s thickly built with good height at 6’0 flat. He moves well and is a solid tackler. Moreau is still learning the position and has a very high ceiling. He’d be a great value late in round 2. At safety the Cowboys could be looking at Florida’s Marcus Maye. Maye is crazy athletic and can cover a ton of ground. He is a bit of an inconsistent tackler but makes up for it with his solid coverage skills. The Cowboys could also address needs on the offensive side of the ball. They could use another wide receiver. Dez Bryant is one of the best, but Terrence Williams is inconsistent production wise week to week. Cole Beasley is solid in the slot, but things get real thin after that real quick. So in round 2, they could look at Ohio St.’s Curtis Samuel, Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp, or USC’s JuJu Smith Schuster. They could also look for the heir apparent to TE Jason Witten. Witten is one of the all time greats at the position, but his time is coming to an end. The only player really worth taking here would be Ole Miss’ Evan Engram. Engram won’t give you much in the blocking department, but is a talented receiving tight end.
Speaking of tight ends, Round 3 could be a good place for the Cowboys to land a young one. A few guys to keep an eye on would be Bucky Hodges, Adam Shaheen, and Jake Butt. Butt is coming of an injury but the Cowboys have shown they aren’t afraid to take an injured player and wait for them to get healthy (looking at you Jaylon Smith). Butt is a dual threat tight end who is a good blocker as well as receiver. He could learn the ins and outs of the NFL game from Witten, before taking over in year two. As good as the Cowboys offensive line is, they do have some issues at right tackle. Chaz Green is penciled in as the starter but he is unproven. They could look to bring in some insurance in round 3. They’d like for FSU’s Roderick Johnson to fall to them. He has nice long arms, though his overall strength and power could be improved. If he’s gone, they could look at Pitt’s Adam Bisnowaty or USC’s Zach Banner. If they go secondary here, corners that could be around would be Corn Elder, Damontae Kazee, or another injured red shirt player in Washington’s Sidney Jones. If they take a safety here, Justin Evans, Marcus Williams, or Eddie Jackson may be available. If the Cowboys still need a pass rusher they could be looking at Tanoh Kpassagnon or Tarrell Basham, giving them the depth they so deeply need.