Ezekiel Elliot
Ezekiel Elliot was drafted 4th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys capped off a successful 2016 season with an NFC East crown and a 13-3 record. While the Cowboys didn’t have the postseason wins to follow, Dallas has a bright future with Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliot, and the rest of the young core. With limited cap space, Dallas suffered some hits via free agency losing Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, J.J. Wilcox, Barry Church, Jack Crawford, and Ronald Leary. What can we expect from the Dallas Cowboys heading into the 2017 NFL Draft?

The Cowboys might spend all 7 picks on the defensive side of the ball. With the 28th overall pick, I expect the Cowboys to either go with a pass rusher or someone in the secondary. Losing your entire starting secondary in one offseason is a scary thought. Realistically Dallas could take 4 defensive backs and are a prime candidate to trade down to collect more picks. The perfect fit for Dallas could be Jabrill Peppers of Michigan in round 1. In Rod Marinelli’s Tampa 2 defense, Peppers could be a logical fit as a linebacker or an in the box safety. Owner Jerry Jones also loves those big names prospects and could be too tempting to pass on if he is available. If Peppers does play safety, he would be the perfect sidekick for the rangy Byron Jones.

Dallas could also go cornerback. UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau is the perfect fit for Dallas. Marinelli loves corners who have great closing speed in zone coverage. Moreau is just one of many corners expected to be available at 28. Adoree Jackson from USC could be another option. His athleticism is something to marvel at but can struggle with his technique especially in the press.  Rod Marinelli’s Tampa 2 defense could be his ideal fit and may really thrive in the zone.

If Dallas goes pass rusher, expect Charles Harris to be a popular choice. Harris is the latest Missouri pass rusher who wins with explosiveness. Harris would play defensive end in the 4-3 as an undersized wrecking machine on the edge. Harris in my opinion projects favorably to Kony Ealy with a lot more upside. If the Cowboys look for edge rushers later in the draft keep an eye on these 3 names – Tyus Bowser, Trey Hendrickson, Tanoh Kpassagnon.

In the second or 3rd round, I anticipate the Cowboys to go offensive line. Yes, I know the Cowboys have the best line in football but the organization has shown a sense of urgency to make it a priority in the past. With the departure of Ronald Leary and retirement of Doug Free, expect Dallas to pick a guard and or tackle at some point. The return of La’el Collins from injury likely means he will fill in one of the spots. Selecting Taylor Moton from Western Michigan with the 60th overall pick makes a ton of sense to me. Moton, a right tackle, was one of the best performers at the Senior Bowl and really wowed me with his movement skills at the Combine. The addition of Moton could give the Cowboys 5 lights out options across the board.

Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Picks:
  • 1st round: 28th overall
  • 2nd round: 60th overall
  • 3rd round: 92nd overall
  • 4th round: 133rd overall
  • 6th round: 211th overall
  • 7th round: 228th overall (from Buffalo)
  • 7th round: 246th overall