The Dallas Cowboys have been at the forefront of NFL royalty for decades and they are no stranger to success or struggle.
Since drafting perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott in 2016, Dallas has been up and down and are in need of consistency. Part of bringing that consistency is getting young talent that can fits the Cowboys’ culture. Players like standouts Micah Parsons and CeeDee Lamb are prime examples of how well Jerry Jones has been at finding such players.
Question is, can he do the same in this draft? I believe he can and here is who should be targeted:
Round 1, Pick 24: Jermaine Johnson II, Edge, Florida State
Dallas hit pay dirt in a major way last year with Micah Parsons, but the rest of the defense needs to be refreshed as well.
Parsons showed great skill rushing the passer last year but he is better commanding the defense from his natural middle linebacker spot.
Drafting Johnson here would not only allow Parsons to play his natural spot, but also give Dallas a starting caliber pass rusher to kick off their new era. Also, replacing the production loss from Randy Gregory is a must. Johnson is a powerful athlete with good speed to pursue mobile threats. He is also agile enough to play in space if needed, which is a wild card for offensive coordinators to have to gameplan against.
Jerry Jones could land another big time rookie for a second year in a row if he drafts Johnson.
Round 2, Pick 24: Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
Round 3, Pick 24: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
Jerry Jones has a weird tendency when it comes to day two of the NFL draft: he always seems to target a need and a “futures athlete” that needs time to develop. I don’t think he does anything different this year.
Two players fit that tendency perfectly. The first is the need player in Khalil Shakir. Shakir is a resourceful wideout who has a knack for the splash play. It’s rare that you find a guy that always seems to be open but Shakir is one of those guys and he would add an interesting third option to the Cowboys’ receiving corps. After losing former All-Pro starter Amari Cooper, they will need to find a complimentary pass catcher to Lamb and Shakir could he that guy.
Andersen is an interesting prospect. He is probably one of the top athletes in the draft and is a heady defender who finds the ball no matter where it is. He will need time to develop into a starter but as a sub linebacker or nickel package guy he is perfect. After releasing former top pick Jaylon Smith, finding a guy who has all the athletic qualities and none of the medical issues would be a major pickup for Jerry Jones and the Boys.
Round 4, Pick 24: Zion Nelson, OL, Miami
Round 5, Pick 12: Mykael Wright, CB, Oregon
Round 5, Pick 24: Demani Richardson, Safety, Texas A&M
Round 5, Pick 33: Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State
Round 5, Pick 35: Reggie Roberson Jr, WR, SMU
Round 6, Pick 14: Junior Fehoko, Edge, San Jose State
Day three will be strictly a day of getting quality depth players for Dallas.
They are pretty much set with all of their starters but as we saw last season, injuries can derail any team. Dallas should create a “disaster kit” with their day three picks.
The one player they could target and draft on day three worth a starting spot or significant playing time is Zion Nelson, but there are others that have a lot of good talent.
Players like Wright, Richardson and Roberson Jr. are all players with enough skills to contribute in spots as rookies. Wright is a solid corner that specializes in zone coverage. Richardson is a versatile safety that can play the big nickel spot and cover tight ends. Roberson Jr. is a speed demon that will be best stretching the defense in spread formations. Dallas could use all of these guys in ways that capitalize on their niche abilities now, while they develop into steady contributors over time.
Dallas has the talent to be a contender but should look to fill the holes in their roster with young talent. Jerry Jones has been doing this for a long time, so there is no question that he will get the right guys for America’s Team.