The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock for day 26 of Draftmas.
The Cowboys had a better year than anyone could’ve expected, given that they started a rookie quarterback and running back. Dallas finished 13-3 and were a favorite to go on to the Super Bowl. They ended up losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
Although Tony Romo has been released from the team, there is a lot of hope in the future of the team with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and a great offensive line. Left guard Ronald Leary left in free agency, but he only started last season because La’el Collins was injured. The real loss on the offensive line that is going to hurt them is right tackle Doug Free retiring. Chaz Green will get his shot to step up and fill in at that role.
Terrance Williams was brought back to be a solid number two to Dez Bryant, while Cole Beasley holds down the slot. Tight end Jason Witten was given an extension to provide a great security blanket for Prescott.
The defense lost a lot of players that need to be replaced. Barry Church, Morris Claiborne, J.J. Wilcox and Brandon Carr all left in free agency out of the secondary. Young players like Byron Jones and Anthony Brown will need to continue to play well. Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll and Jeff Heath will be expected to elevate their level of play and be leaders in the secondary.
Sean Lee is one of the best linebackers in the game and is joined by Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson in the starting lineup. The Cowboys are excited about the progress of Jaylon Smith, who was drafted in last year’s draft, but had a drop foot injury and nerve damage, so had to sit out last season. If he can get healthy, he would be a great addition to the linebackers.
Defensive line is perennially a problem for Dallas. Randy Gregory getting suspended for one season really exacerbated the problem. Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence will hold down the defensive end positions, but the rest of the line could be a turnstile of tackles. The defensive line was able to be the best rush defense in football last season, but that was in large part due to the offense controlling the clock and getting leads, forcing opponents to pass.
Picks and Needs
The Cowboys have seven picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. With some solid picks, these players can help Dallas win a Super Bowl in the near future.
First round: (1) No. 28
Second round: (1) No. 60
Third round: (1) No. 92
Fourth round: (1) No. 133
Fifth round: (0)
Sixth round: (1) No. 211
Seventh round: (2) No. 228, No. 246
These needs are in no particular order.
Wide Receiver- Terrance Williams isn’t a great number two receiver, but he is cheap.
Defensive Line- Any defensive linemen would be welcomed by Dallas. An edge rusher would be nice to cope with the loss of Gregory, though defensive tackle is the weaker of the positions on the line.
Cornerback- Nolan Carroll was signed, but with the losses of Carr and Claiborne, they need more.
Safety- Jeff Heath played well last season, but he is not a long term solution.
Targets and Thoughts
The picks here are who the Cowboys could realistically get where they are drafting. There will be no trades.
Pick #28: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB/CB, Michigan
Peppers will likely fill in at strong safety, even though he can play multiple positions. He provides good value at pick number 28. With Byron Jones next to him, the Cowboys could have a great safety pairing for years. The downside to Peppers is that he lacks elite ball skills and he could be a “Tweener” who never finds a real position.
Pick #60: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE/DT, Villanova
Dallas needs to get some defensive linemen in this draft. Kpassagnon is seen as raw because he comes from the FCS level, but Kpassagnon has the size that the Cowboys will love. They can use him in multiple formations at different positions on the defensive line. He will help cope with the loss of Gregory for the year.
Pick #92: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor has great tape, but has run terrible 40 times in preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cowboys need to get some corners in this draft class and could take a risk on Tabor in the third round. If his playing speed is faster than his workout speed, Dallas will get a steal.
If the Cowboys can address the defensive side of the ball properly in this draft, they could build a team that is great for years to come.
You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas here!
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