This past season was a great one for the Cowboys – with rookies leading the ‘Boys to new heights offensively. Even after going 13-3 and clinching the number 1 seed in the NFC, they struggled defensively and were left at the tail end of each round of the NFL Draft. By the time the Cowboys were able to make their first pick, there were only 2 first-round grade picks left! This year’s draft picks still show some promising potential for next season. Introducing the Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 draft class!
Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
No. 28 Overall
The Cowboys were desperate for a pass rusher, and Charlton was the highest ranked DE left on the board at pick 28. A lot of Cowboys fans weren’t too excited about Charlton being the first-round pick, but if you watched his highlight-reel, you were probably freaking out that he’s joining the ‘Boys. Many were expecting the Cowboys to go with cornerback Kevin King from Washington or edge runner T.J. Watt from Wisconsin.
Dallas’ senior director of college and pro personnel, Will McClay, thinks Charlton is essential for the Cowboys’ defense. “He played right end, left end, can play inside, can mismatch guys on the inside. He had four different positions at Michigan. The right kind of kid. He’s got size, he’s got length – that helps us there.”
A lot of people were actually surprised by this pick because he doesn’t exactly fit the profile we’d expect the Cowboys to pursue. We have seen the Cowboys get their hands on RDEs who seem more like 3-4 outside linebackers, but Charlton is 6-foot-6 at 276 pounds. Charlton is one of the bigger pass rushers in this draft and has the length to be incredibly disruptive.
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
Awuzie is so versatile on the field, it’s no wonder he was the Cowboys’ second pick. Some would even argue that he was their best pick. He can play both sides at corner, safety, and plays well in the slot. He said the Cowboys have talked to him about playing outside corner, slot corner, and safety, so they’ve noticed he’s a very versatile player. He’s also more athletic than about 98% of the corners in the league.
He might not have the best hands to haul in interceptions, but he makes plays on the ball and the guy can tackle. He may have only had 3 interceptions in college, but he had 26 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and 35 pass deflections. The Cowboys need competitive, tough-minded players, and Awuzie fits the description perfectly.
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
For the first time since 1983, the Cowboys used their first, second, and third-round picks on defensive players. Since they lost four defensive backs to free agency, they need quality and depth for the empty coverage.
Lewis is a first-round talent who fell because of off-field accusations. Lewis is heading to trial for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from an incident that has several conflicting reports. The police haven’t had to arrest him at any point, and he has been very cooperative with them. Lewis said that he once tried to leave his girlfriend after an argument about a light being on. When he got dressed to leave, she grabbed him so he couldn’t leave. The situation is still being investigated, but Lewis has no prior character concerns, and the Cowboys trust him and his word.
Lewis is expected to be a perfect complement to Awuzie on the field. He’s listed as the best cornerback in Michigan’s history, and might just be the best slot corner in the draft. Lewis was also the Big 10 defensive back of the year. Although he is undersized, he can handle himself on the outside and fits in the slot.
Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
Some consider Switzer to be the top kick returner in this draft, and some say he’s another Cole Beasley. Switzer was North Carolina’s all-time leader in receptions and yards. He is known for being quick on his feet. He somehow always finds a way to get open and will pretty much catch anything thrown his way. He had over 100 punt returns in college. Cowboys’ wide receiver Lucky Whitehead should be nervous about getting overshadowed by this rookie.
Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
Woods started 4 years at Louisiana Tech with 14 interceptions. He was also a Cowboys pre-draft visitor, so it was meant to be. He’s a solid cover player, but he lacks in overall speed. Woods might be a good fit for the Cowboys free safety role. We’ll be sure to catch him playing on the field, but he most likely won’t be starting anytime soon.
Marquez White, CB, Florida State
White was a full-time starter for 2 seasons at Florida State. He’s a better playmaker in zone coverage than in man coverage, but the Cowboys believe he can be developed to be efficient at both. He is quick and has good foot work, arm length, and body frame for the position. Unfortunately, he needs more work securing the tackle and becoming a more consistent player.
Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
Ivie is a quick, high motor player who coaches love to work with. He may not be a playmaker on the field, but he knows how to push himself on and off the field – leaving room for improvement. For now, Ivie is more of a depth piece along the front line. We also can’t expect him to start anytime soon since he has great defensive tackles ahead of him. If we look at his stats, we can say he would probably fit well as a nose tackle with run-stopping responsibilities.
Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
Brown has size, athleticism, toughness, fluid movements, and great hands. Unfortunately, his route running still needs improvement. Brown is a big body receiver who can definitely be a great addition to the practice squad, but he’ll have to fight hard to earn a spot on the roster.
Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado
The Cowboys see a lot of potential in Carrell. Unfortunately, he won’t really stand out now that the Cowboys are going to have a very crowded defensive line locker room. We probably won’t see him on the field, but there are opportunities with the practice squad.