2017 NFL Draft Recap – How Bout them Cowboys?
The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and outside of Drew Pearson’s stellar performance, there wasn’t a whole bunch to get excited about when it came to the Dallas Cowboys draft class. While their draft haul wasn’t a failure it also didn’t leave many draft analysts inspired.
Going into the draft the Cowboys top three needs were cornerback, defensive end, and safety. Dallas drafted one defensive end, three cornerbacks and a safety. While they did their best to address their needs there were some opportunities lost throughout their draft to add some truly special talent.
Best Pick: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado - The Cowboys lost three defensive backs in free agency but three of their first five picks in the draft were in the defensive backfield. Awuzie is the best of them and a potential day one starter.
Worst Pick: Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina - I like Switzer but Dallas already has Cole Beasley and only drafted one defensive end when there was a higher need at pass rusher compared to wideout.
Here’s a break down of who the Cowboys selected and where they could have gone instead.
1st round: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan – Charlton is solid prospect with length and agility but he reminds me of another good but not great defensive end the Cowboys selected, Greg Ellis. There was better value at cornerback with Kevin King and at safety with Budda Baker, both of whom played at Washington.
My Pick: Rueben Foster, LB, Alabama – Hear me out, in 2007 the Minnesota Vikings selected Adrian Peterson out of Oklahoma. It wasn’t a need as the team already had Chester Taylor who had rushed for 12-hundred yards the prior year but you don’t pass up great talent. Foster would have been a great value at the 26th pick and Sean Lee seems like he is just another injury away from creating a huge hole in the middle of the defense. Foster was a top 10 talent.
2nd round: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado – Awuzie is a fluid corner, with hips plus the size and speed to become a solid corner in the NFL. He’ll need to improve his tackling and learn to play without grabbing at the next level.
My Pick: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado – same.
3rd round: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan – Lewis’ draft stock took a hit as he is currently battling a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Lewis is a quick corner with great feet but as a follower of the Big 10, I felt his play was overrated.
My Pick: Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson – Tankersley is a bigger option at corner, with above-average height, weight and as much speed at the position as Lewis. He could also slide inside to safety and finished his collegiate career at Clemson with eight interceptions. He can press at the point of attack and turn and run with speedy receivers.
4th round: Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina – I’ve been following this kid since high school. He is the new-style slot receiver we see in the NFL. He is a Wes Welker type of prospect who has the ability to get to his top-end speed effortlessly. Switzer sets up defenders well and gets into and out of his route patterns quickly. Was very productive when thrown to during his final year at North Carolina.
My Pick: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan – I like Switzer but the Cowboys already have Cole Beasley. Jason Witten isn’t going to play forever and to have a player on the board in the late 4th that some thought could go in the late first pre-injury, Butt would have been a great pick looking towards the future. Dak will need weapons to continue developing into the quarterback the Cowboys envision.
6th round: Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech – Great balls skills and instincts make Woods a sleeper pick that could really develop in the NFL. He really understands how to position himself when the ball is in the air and brings a ton of on-field experience as he enters the NFL. Had 14 interceptions and five forced fumbles during the past three seasons. Like most collegiate defensive backs, he must improve his tackling technique
My Pick: Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech – same.
6th round: Marquez White, CB, Florida State – A good-sized corner who played better in 2015 than 2016. White is thin but long armed with nice big hands. He has a nice jam at the line of scrimmage and does well in route recognition. He only allowed one touchdown the past two seasons but plays with finesse and regressed his play in 2016.
My Pick: Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern – Odenigbo is a raw but talented pass rush specialist who out produced Charlton in the BIG 10 when it came to sacks last year, this while playing fewer snaps. He is your typical late round athletic prospect who is starting to understand the game and could be a steal if he figures it all out. The Cowboys needed more than one defensive end in this draft.
7th round: Joey Ivie, DT, Florida – Ivie is a short-armed one gap penetrator who hopes to get into the mix as a rotational player. A great effort prospect that lacks the physical tools to become a full-time starter.
My Pick: Josh Harvey-Clemons, S, Louisville – A poor-mans Kam Chancellor with the same kind of elite size and length. Harvey-Clemons is a former 5-star prospect coming out of high school but tested positive for marijuana twice while at Georgia before transferring to Louisville. On talent alone he is a solid pick and potential starter but his issues with failed drug tests could derail him. The Cowboys are used to this kind of player and should know how to help him.
7th round: Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State – A big wideout who never got the chance to truly develop at Ohio State due to injuries and better talent around him. Brown has good size but could be better suited to be an h-back at the next level. He had a highlight reel catch and game against Oklahoma this year. Has strong hands and is not afraid to go over the middle. Is an unfinished product.
My Pick: Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State – same.
7th round: Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado – Carrel is a project who has the size and speed and has shown flashes as an inside gap penetrator.
My Pick: Jarron Jones, DT, Notre Dame – If you’re going to take a flyer on a player, why not go with one that has first round athletic talents. Jones has long arms, elite size and athleticism. He is a head case and has never played up to his potential, but maybe Rod Marinelli could have gotten the best out of him.
Robert Garcia @TexasTrinity