Who Will The Cowboys Draft In The First Round?
With the NFL Draft just weeks away, teams are finalizing those 'Big Boards' in hopes of finding that franchise-changing player to bring into the fold.
The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a very interesting situation with this year's draft. They have stockpiled draft picks across all rounds, but their most interesting pick sits at #4 overall. The type of first-round pick that can change a franchise, for better or for worse.
There has been a lot of chatter about the team looking to find the future replacement for Tony Romo. The Cowboys QB will be 36-years-old when the 2016 season kicks off, and after a few injury-plagued seasons, it's becoming apparent they need to look at their future. However that #4 pick might be too rich to spend on any of the quarterbacks in this year's draft class. The QBs at the top of this year's prospect pile come from schools like Memphis (Paxton Lynch) and North Dakota State (Carson Wentz) or from middle-of-the-pack careers at big schools, like Connor Cook from Michigan State.
Perhaps the 'small school' aspect shouldn't scare the Cowboys away, since Romo attended Eastern Illinois University...but then again they didn't draft him #4 overall either. Players like Cook or Jared Goff from California played against high-level competition, but could still use a year or two to sit and learn the NFL game and lifestyle. So again, probably not a project you want to spend a #4 overall pick on.
I honestly don't see the team pulling the QB trigger here. Probably a 2nd or 3rd round pick would make more sense for this project.
Does defense make sense?
In my humble opinion, defense is where it should be for the Cowboys at #4. I'm confident that the team feels the same way. The team has already made some free agent moves to help the D-line, but they haven'd added the kind of player that will act as the chaotic game-changer they need blowing up backfields. Good news for them, there are plenty of those in this draft class.
Starting with a player some view as the best player in the draft, Joey Bosa from Ohio State. Bosa is a 6-5, 269 lbs edge-rusher with a lot of similarities to J.J. Watt. I know Cowboys fans hear that, and say "THAT'S OUR GUY! WE WANT HIM!". But it may not be that easy. Bosa is so much like Watt (even playing in the Big Ten) that the other three teams ahead of the Cowboys are looking hard at him as well.
Another interesting player is 6-7 MONSTER DeForest Buckner. However he appears to be more of a 3-4 DL instead what the Cowboys need with their 4-3 defense. He would have to play an edge position, which might be difficult with his tall-frame. He sounds like a fantastic prospect, but I'm not sure he fits the needs of he Cowboys.
The secondary could always use help in Dallas, and there are some blue-chip prospects that could slide into the Cowboys defensive backfield as well. If Florida State's Jalen Ramsey is somehow still on the board at #4, the Cowboys will have a hard time not pulling the trigger. He's in the mix on most boards as the highest rated player in the draft, and can be a day 1 game-changer.
Vernon Hargreaves from Florida is another option, but might be a reach at #4 overall, so this one is probably unlikely.
My best bets would sit on Bosa or Ramesy if they are there.
Wild cards could cause chaos...
Could the Cowboys end up with top-rated running back Ezekiel Elliott from Ohio State? 10% they could.
The wild-cards in play for the Cowboys are ALL OVER the board. From possible trades, to watching what teams ahead of them do, there's really no true certainty with the Cowboys top pick.
It is my belief that the team would like to trade the pick. I seriously believe they would like to find a dance partner like San Francisco at #7 or Tampa Bay at #9. The 49ers will have interest if their top choice at QB is still at #4, we don't know who that is, but with a shallow QB class, they may jump if they have the chance before they get undercut. The Bucs may want to flip into the #4 spot based on what happens #1-#3, if Jalen Ramsey is still there, and the Cowboys would prefer to take some extra picks, that deal gets done quick.
Now if the Cowboys slide back to #7 or #9, the idea of taking a RB like Ezekiel Elliott becomes a much more exciting option. I'm not a fan of taking RBs in the first round, but when you have the kind of offensive line that Dallas has, you could see INSTANT return on that first round investment.
When you drop back, even as little as three spots to #7, taking a project QB is an easier pill to swallow. Knowing that you gain a pick (even if it's next year) AND you get the future QB sounds a lot better than just popping the pick off at #4. So trading back a few slots, then taking Wentz or Lynch, makes way more sense than sitting tight at #4 and making the move.
There's always the chance that the team shocks everyone, carries their bluff all the way to the end of the clock, and fire off a pick for Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell. Creating one of the most fearsome WR combos in the league for the next 3-4 years, no matter who the QB is.
So what do the Cowboys do?
That's a really good question, actually, it's the question that set up with entire story.
So who will Jerry Jones and company take? I will say right now, if they sit on the #4 pick without trading, they're NOT taking a QB. That to me is as close to a fact as you can get one month out from the draft.
If everything goes according to plan, the Cowboys will be positioned to get the defensive lineman they need to cap of the rebuild of that line. The team would love for it to be Joey Bosa, but I don't know if he's there. This is where a name we haven't mentioned yet comes into play...Myles Jack. See, Jack is a middle linebacker from UCLA who could be a blue chip talent at the NFL level, but he doesn't fill one of the biggest needs on the Cowboys board.
He would be a BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE pick. Since I see Laremy Tunsil, tackle, Ole Miss off the board to Tennessee at #1, Cal QB Jared Goff going to Cleveland and #2, and the San Diego Chargers taking up Joey Bosa at #3, the Cowboys are left with three options, so here they are:
- Take Myles Jack as the Best Player Available
- Select Jalen Ramsey to bolster the secondary
- Trade out to a QB hungry team
That's my pick, they end up taking Myles Jack at #4. They would love to get Bosa, but I think he's too good to slide to #4.