Steered by CHQ.com's Joey Ickes, our seven Ideal Dallas Cowboys picks, round-by-round … (with just a little fudging) … and a reminder to click into our Dallas Cowboys First-Round Draft Primer and Live Thread Link here to stay in touch!
Rd 1: TJ Watt DE Wisconsin, or Gareon Conley CB Ohio State*
REASONING: On Watt, we've long though him a perfect fit at right defensive end for a team that desperately needs one. Didn't get to rush as much at Wisconsin as other prospects in this class, but still produced 11.5 sacks, and tested like an elite athlete. Massive athletic upside with intangibles that give supreme confidence that he'll reach that ceiling. But ...
FUDGING: We think the Cowboys scouting department might like Charles Harris from Missouri better than Watt, with some officials engaged in some last-minute questioning about whether Watt is a “pure’’ defensive end. Furthermore, sources tell us Dallas has “boots on the ground’’ regarding embattled cornerback Gareon Conley from Oho State. (See that scoop here.)
Get the right info and he vaulted into this conversation, maybe even ahead of Adoree’ Jackson and Kevin King.
*As you read in that above link, the Cowboys, as of this afternoon, had not gathered full “clarity’’ on Conley’s innocence … meaning you simply cannot take him today.
Rd 2: Quincy Wilson CB Florida, or Cordrea Tankersley
REASONING: On Wilson: tough press corner with good ball skills who had 16 combined Interceptions and Passes Defensed in the last two years. Instant starter outside in the NFL.
FUDGING: As much as you want to go “B.A.A.’’, what happens in the first round helps determine what happens in the second. Wilson can be plucked from a group of other solid corner prospects here, maybe including pal Teez Tabor and C. Tankersley. With the DE picked by Dallas at 28, they’ll lean away from edge-rusher here, skipping the likes of Basham (and Jordan Willis and Derek Rivers.) Wilson, Teez or Tankersley would fit the logic of Dallas' "Taco Combo Platter'' plan, as we detail here.
Rd 3: Eddie Jackson S Alabama or Xavier Woods S Louisiana Tech
REASONING: Jackon is a rangy FS with ball skills, 7 INTs and 4 passes defensed in the last two years despite playing only 8 games in 2016. Also has elite ability as a punt returner, averaging 23 yards per return and scoring twice in 11 chances in 2016.
FUDGING: The folks inside The Star have been “on’’ Woods for weeks. He’s in this mix. Get Utah's Marcus Williams in this convo, too.
Rd 4: Rasul Douglas CB West Virginia
REASONING: At 6'2", 209 lbs, with 32 3/8 inch arms, Douglas is the kind of tough long corner the Cowboys front office covets. He's likely a special teams player and injury fill in in his first year, but could be the teams second or third corner by year two or three.
FUDGING: Do you truly simply go straight off your board? If Dallas has already selected two DBs, do the Cowboys really draft a third DB this high?
Rd 6: Ishmael Zamora WR Baylor
REASONIING: There's quite a bit for teams to work through off the field for Zamora, but his overwhelming physical attributes make him a late round candidate worth targeting. His ceiling is unbelievable and with a 6th round pick, you can live with a low floor.
FUDGING: KD Cannon and Fred Ross are two other good late-draft names at WR.
Rd 7: Tarik Cohen RB North Carolina A&T
REASONIING: Even with a guy like Ezekiel Elliott as their lead running back. The Cowboys are enamored with the idea of having an explosive change of pace runner and pass catcher to use in the backfield on 3rd downs and in 2-minute situations. Cohen brings the type of big play ability they want from that spot, and will contribute day 1 i that role and potentially in the return game.
FUDGING: Dallas is very open about liking a "Lance Dunbar-type'' as a weapon. It's getting late to do so ... though we'll argue that there might be UDFAs who can help, too.
Rd 7: CJ Bretheard QB Iowa
REASONING: We've long argued that rolling the late-draft dice on a guard or a safety is nice, because what if they can play a little ... and that if you believe that, imagine the return on finding a QB who can play a little?
FUDGING: Hey, we're already admitting we're rolling late-draft dice here ... But as the pick gets closer, will try to pinpoint further.