There is a challenge ahead for the COWBOYS for 2017. They need to prove that the 2016 regular season was not a mirage, and the team is back on track to being a perennial participant in the Play-Offs. They have lots of work to do in the 2017 Draft so here is my attempt to help them out.
Round1 Pick28 JABRILL PEPPERS/SS MICHIGAN 5’11/213. PPR#28
Given that this pick and player rating match up I have a feeling that JERRY JONES the showman just won’t be able to resist the chance to add a big name star to his team. The toughest part of handling PEPPERS is likely to be finding a specific position for him to play. But in today’s “flex” NFL they just might use him in multiple roles not unlike HC JIM HARBAUGH did in college. It would be convenient if he developed into an instant star at a S slot where the team needs an upgrade after the loss of S/BARRY CHURCH. His 4.47/40 at the Combine is a solid statement of his speed. And take a look at his defensive stats alone from the 2016 season: 71T- 15TFL- 3.5S-7QBH- 1FF- 1INT. Some would tell you that he’s best as a return man which is highly desirable. Enjoy the pub fans and his versatility.
Round2Pick60 BUCKY HODGES/TE VIRGINIA TECH 6’6/257 PPR#63 JASON WITTEN is in a wind down mode, and the team gave up on GAVIN ESCOBAR as his eventual successor. Hodges is an overgrown WR who may have huge upside. And if he will absorb all that WITTEN can teach him he may be a star in the future. He’s not much of a blocker yet, but certainly has the size to handle that job. His 4.56/40 is pretty impressive at his size. So are his 10 1/8″ hands. He is a good hands catcher and can really stretch out that frame. Expect him to be an immediate hit as a Red Zone weapon. Of his 48 catches last season for the Hokies, 7 of them went for TD. I don’t see a replacement for WITTEN among the current TE listed on the Dallas roster. Let the development of HODGES begin.
Round3 Pick92 JERMAINE ELUEMUNOR/OG/T TEXAS A&M 6’4/333. PPR#93
These bull of a young man was one of the fastest risers as a pro prospect coming out of the 2016 college season. The COWBOYS spent a lot of time and effort rebuilding their OL earlier this decade. But they lost 2 starters this off-season in DOUG FREE (RETIRED) and RONALD LEARY (VFA). ELUEMUNOR looks best suited for OG with average arm length (33 1/4″) and height of just under 6’4. But it would be premature to state that they would not give him a shot at replacing FREE at RT. He’s very agile for his bulk, and is relatively inexperienced right now. He’s aggressive with a lot of upside. His family moved to the States in time for him to take up American Football in high school. Just might be too good to pass up at this Pick.
Round4 Pick133 ELIJAH LEE/OLB KANSAS STATE 6’3/229. PPR#129
I’m not sure why this excellent athlete and productive player has not gotten more luv on prospect lists. He was one of the few juniors to not be invited to the Combine, which made no sense at all to me. He started for two seasons and led the Wildcats in tackles both of those years. Has the athleticism and feet to drop nicely into pass coverage and could stand a bit more beef on his bones. But look at his on-field resume’ for the 2016 season: 110T- 6.5TFL- 5PBU- 2INT. He ran a 4.69/40 at his campus Pro Day. He looks to have starting potential to my eyes.
Round6 Pick211. CHAD WILLIAMS/WR GRABLING 6’0/207. PPR#216
I know we should be grabbing more defensive help but I just couldn’t pass on adding this guy to the Dallas WR group. He has a nice size/speed ratio to his game having posted a 4.43/40 at his pro Day workout. Another guy who strangely was passed over for the Combine. He looked really solid at the Senior Bowl venue with good route running, solid hands catching and an edge to his competitive attitude. He should make a very good Special Teams player while he works to see the grass from scrimmage.
Round7 Pick228 D.J. JONES/DT OLE MISS 6’1/320. PR#226
A very productive DL rotation guy, who was overshadowed by all those pass rushing Land Sharks on the Oxford campus. Is immovable against the run up the middle. Can also push the pocket a bit with his strength and bulk. His 5.03/40 was an eye opener at the Combine. If he can worked into better condition, without losing his brute strength he could be a key anchor in short yardage defensive fronts. Needs to be rested often right now, but will give you a very active 6-10 plays per possession for your opponent. Has quick feet and good balance in a short area of play.
Round7 Pick246 TREVOR KNIGHT/QB/? TEXAS A&M 61/219. PPRT#255
So your first thought is where’s the Defense? Do we really need another QB? I am not too excited that KELLEN MOORE is their back-up QB right now. And KNIGHT has been knocking out numbers that rock the boat. He was by far the most athletic athlete in the QB group at the Combine. His Wonderlic score was a 30, 3rd highest for QB prospects. He ran a 4.54/40 at the Combine. But because of his sturdy, athletic build he may also get a long look as a SS. He can likely play a “mean” Special Teams role or two. He is just too interesting and athletically gifted to ignore. I watched him run and work out in Orlando at the Coach TOM SHAW Performance Camp, without knowing exactly who he was, back in January. He was impressive, before he packed his bag to head over to the GRUDEN QB Camp for the afternoon session. Don’t sleep on this guy. This could be a steal pick, in more ways than one!
As often happens in the drafting process, quality at the Pick will often overrule picks for need. That is exactly what happened here, where my initial intent was nothing but Defense. Sorry ROD MARINELLI, DC, but I got you some help! Hopefully, your scouts have found more help to be signed in the URFA segment of the 2017 Draft process.