Mark Ronchetti’s 2017 Draft Predictions

Packers-Cowboys-Playoffs Football
FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 file photo, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is tackled by Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Neal (96) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Green Bay, Wis. The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers go way back _ as in the 1967 NFL Championship game played in such frigid conditions at Lambeau Field that it is known in league annals as the “Ice Bowl.” Cowboys. Packers. Fifty years of postseason history. While they may not be traditional rivals, their playoff meetings often leave an impression. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke, File)

The 2017 NFL draft will present an interesting decision for the Cowboys. They clearly need help on defense. Most urgently at cornerback and defensive end. However, what if an offensive player drops and is clearly higher rated on their draft board? The old best player versus best player at a position of need debate. The best teams in the league tend to go best player and the Cowboys have followed this trend recently. With this in mind here is a look at five possible picks for the Cowboys in the first two rounds.

Round 1 Picks:

  1. Takk McKinley/DE UCLA: Based purely on talent McKinley should not be there when the Cowboys pick at 28 but his recent shoulder surgery makes push him down. He’s a long-armed athlete with more than enough speed and bend to capture the corner and cause major problems for opposing quarterbacks. However, the Cowboys have too often in the past few years taken “redshirt” players who need time to get healthy before contributing (see Jaylon Smith). Can they really afford to do this again?
  2. Charles Harris/DE Missouri: Harris is another quick twitch athlete that relies on speed to create havoc. At 6’ 3” he’s a little taller than McKinley. Oh yeah, and he’s healthy.
  3. Kevin King/CB Washington: King may well be the best confluence of need and talent on the board when the Cowboys pick. He’s tall and lean with solid cover skills. He could be scooped up before #28 but if he’s not King would be a great choice.
  4. TJ Watt/DE Wisconsin: Obviously everyone knows TJ’s brother but can Watt 2.0 compare to the original? Probably not but he doesn’t have to. Watt is a technician when it comes to pass rush skills and his long lean frame can be bulked in an NFL conditioning program. One other interesting point about Watt, he’s only played DE for one year. He has much more to learn making what he already demonstrates all the more impressive.
  5. Gareon Conley/CB Ohio State: At 6’ and 195 pounds Conley has the size the Cowboys covet. He’s a good CB when it comes to outside coverage but questions surround change of direction and hip tightness.
  6. Corey Davis/WR Western Michigan: I threw Davis in to illustrate my offensive versus defensive point. Davis most likely will be long gone by pick 28. But thanks to ankle issues it’s not completely out of the question that he could be sitting there when Dallas picks. If he is it would be very tempting. Davis is big, fast and a great route runner. If Davis is on the board at 28 he would undoubtedly be their highest ranked player, but not a big need.

Round 2 Picks:

  1. Fabian Moreau/CB UCLA: Another injury guy. A torn pec muscle could well push him down to round two. Moreau is a big CB with a solid frame and great speed. He would be a great selection in round 2.
  2. Cordrea Tankersley/CB Clemson: Tankersley has the size and athleticism to be successful in the NFL. While he may lack top end speed if he can become more disciplined he could be a good addition.
  3. Teez Tabor/CB Florida: Tabor was thought of as a first-round pick when the draft started. So why might he be there at pick 60? Speed is the reason. Tabor appears to be accountant slow in the 40. He ran a 4.61 at the combine and followed that beauty up with a 4.77 at his pro day. Horrible numbers for an NFL cornerback. However, Tabor’s tape is pretty good. Always trust the tape first right? Well maybe….

For more on the 2017 draft, check out Van Tate’s draft predictions »

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