NFL Mock Draft: Defensive-needy Cowboys find a pass rusher in Auburn's Carl Lawson

The Dallas Cowboys had one of the top offenses in the NFL last season, but the defense is a different story. Dallas has needs in the secondary at both cornerback and safety, but priority No. 1 for the front office this offseason is to find more pass rush help.

And Auburn's Carl Lawson is a player who could be high on the Cowboys' wish list.

A Brandon Graham-type of rusher, Lawson has the initial burst and active style to get blockers off balance, using his lower-body quickness and upper-body power in unison to be disruptive. Lawson, who Laremy Tunsil (Miami Dolphins 2016 first-round pick) called the toughest rusher he ever faced, would be a natural fit at right defensive end in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's four-man front, giving Dallas what it hopes could be one of the building blocks to a Super Bowl run in 2017.

1. Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett , DE/OLB, Texas A&M: The Browns have needs all over the roster and unless they fall in love with a quarterback, this pick needs to be the best talent in the draft, which is Garrett.

Myles Garrett is the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. USATSI

2. San Francisco 49ers

Mitch Trubisky , QB, North Carolina Tar Heels : San Francisco desperately needs life at the quarterback position, regardless of the front office and coaching situations. Despite only one season of starting experience, Trubisky, who will skip his senior season, has all the traits to be a successful NFL starter.

Mitch Trubisky is leaving North Carolina a year early for the NFL. USATSI

3. Chicago Bears

DeShone Kizer , QB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish : The Bears have some intriguing talent on the roster, but the quarterback depth chart is disheartening. Although his tape shows youthful mistakes, Kizer also shows the veteran poise and ideal physical traits to play the position at a high level.

DeShone Kizer could be staying close to South Bend, Ind., with the QB-needy Bears. USATSI

4. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jonathan Allen , DL, Alabama Crimson Tide : Jacksonville has invested heavily in the defensive line, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Jaguars do so again if a talent like Allen is available for them.

Jonathan Allen would be another talented player on the Jacksonville defensive line. USATSI

5. Tennessee Titans (from Los Angeles)

Jamal Adams , SS, LSU Tigers : With a top-five pick, the Titans need to first and foremost add a difference-maker and Adams has that type of ability patrolling the secondary.

Jamal Adams could be the latest high NFL selection out of the LSU defensive backfield. USATSI

6. New York Jets

Marshon Lattimore , CB, Ohio State: The Jets have no choice but to address the secondary this offseason with question marks at both cornerback and safety. Lattimore is a very gifted athlete for his size with sticky coverage skills.

Marshon Lattimore helps the Jets upgrade a declining secondary. USATSI

7. San Diego Chargers

Malik Hooker , FS, Ohio State Buckeyes : The Chargers are feeling the void left by Eric Weddle a season ago in the secondary and while Hooker is raw in areas, he has the range and ball-hawking instincts to be an impact player quickly in his NFL career.

Ohio State's Malik Hooker made a name for himself as a ball hawk this season. USATSI

8. Carolina Panthers

Solomon Thomas , DE, Stanford Cardinal : After investing several premium draft picks at defensive tackle, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman will be shopping for pass rushers in this year's class. Thomas has the powerful hands and initial burst to beat blockers from various spots on the defensive line.

Stanford's Solomon Thomas is rising up draft boards. USATSI

9. Cincinnati Bengals

Reuben Foster , LB, Alabama: Linebacker Rey Maualuga is a serviceable player, but Foster would be an instant upgrade with his combination of play speed, instincts and violence.

Reuben Foster could step in and make an impact right away. USATSI

10. Buffalo Bills

Deshaun Watson , QB, Clemson Tigers : The Tyrod Taylor situation in Buffalo will continue to play itself out the next few weeks, but if he's out of the picture then Watson becomes an intriguing option with this pick. Not sure this would be the right move, but it is definitely plausible.

Would Deshaun Watson be an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor? USATSI

11. New Orleans Saints

Derek Barnett , DE, Tennessee Volunteers : New Orleans ranked in the bottom half of the league in team sacks and pressures this season, lacking a true edge threat. Barnett isn't naturally explosive, but he understands how to affect the pocket with his rush.

Tennessee's Derek Barnett is already polished as a defender. USATSI

12. Cleveland Browns (from Philadelphia)

Teez Tabor , CB, Florida Gators : The Browns' secondary was routinely torched this season and needs upgrades across the board. Tabor has the size, aggressiveness and cover instincts to disrupt the catch point and create turnovers.

Teez Tabor leaves Florida with some NFL-ready skills. USATSI

13. Arizona Cardinals

Mike Williams , WR, Clemson: While wide receiver was a strength of Arizona not too long ago, Larry Fitzgerald is considering retirement and Michael Floyd is now in New England. Williams could develop into the new No. 1 pass catcher for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals might need a new No. 1 receiver like Clemson's Mike Williams. USATSI

14. *Indianapolis Indianapolis Colts

Leonard Fournette , RB, LSU: Is running back the top need for the Colts this offseason? No. But with a talent like Fournette still available for them in this scenario, it would be easy to see new general manager Chris Ballard drafting the uber-talented ball carrier.

Would the Colts use a first-round pick on a running back like Leonard Fournette? USATSI

15. *Philadelphia Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota)

Marlon Humphrey , CB, Alabama: The Eagles are desperate for help at cornerback and there should be several options for the franchise in the mid-first round. Humphrey has given up several big plays this season, but NFL coaches will be salivating at his size and skill set.

Marlon Humphrey's dad was drafted by the Broncos in 1989 out of Alabama. USATSI

16. Baltimore Ravens

Dalvin Cook , RB, Florida State Seminoles : The Ravens have a stable of average backs on the roster, which is one of the reasons they ranked near last in the NFL in rushing. Cook would help change that and open up the offense.

Dalvin Cook would give the Ravens an immediate upgrade in the backfield. USATSI

17. Washington Redskins

Malik McDowell , DL, Michigan State Spartans : McDowell has an impressive blend of size, athleticism and power to be effective from multiple positions along the defensive line.

Malik McDowell can make an impact from anywhere on the defensive line. USATSI

18. Tennessee Titans

Corey Davis , WR, Western Michigan Broncos : The Titans have plenty of bodies on the wide receiver depth chart, but no true difference-maker. Davis is one of the most prolific wideouts in college football history and is the complete package as a receiver.

Corey Davis became a star playing at Western Michigan. USATSI

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

John Ross , WR, Washington Huskies : Mike Evans is the top target of Jameis Winston , but he needs help. Ross is dwarfed by Evans in size, but his explosive athleticism and savvy route-running will only improve the Tampa offensive attack.

John Ross would fit perfectly next to Mike Evans in the Buccaneers offense. USATSI

20. Denver Broncos

Ryan Ramczyk , OT, Wisconsin Badgers : One of the priorities for John Elway and the Broncos this offseason is to address a leaky offensive line. As long as he is healthy, Ramcyzk is the top offensive tackle prospect in this draft class.

The Broncos begin their offensive line rebuild with Ryan Ramczyk. USATSI

21. Detroit Lions

Tim Williams , DE, Alabama: Detroit needs to address the issues at cornerback, but adding an impact rusher like Williams would help everyone on the defense.

Adding pass rush with Tim Williams is the next-best thing to a CB. USATSI

22. Miami Dolphins

O.J. Howard , TE, Alabama: There are glaring needs on defense for the Dolphins, but an athletic tight end like Howard would do wonders for the Miami offense.

O.J. Howard has a high ceiling despite his lack of production. USATSI

23. New York Giants

Taco Charlton , DE, Michigan Wolverines : With Jason Pierre-Paul on a one-year deal, defensive end is a possible need this offseason. Charlton, who has some traits reminiscent of Justin Tuck out of Notre Dame, has all the ingredients of an NFL starter.

Taco Charlton might remind Giants fans of Super Bowl hero Justin Tuck. USATSI

24. Oakland Raiders

Zach Cunningham , LB, Vanderbilt Commodores : The Raiders have invested several high picks in the front seven and should again if Oakland has a chance to draft an impact middle linebacker. Cunningham's Vandy tape is a clinic for how to play the position.

Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham plays a textbook middle linebacker. USATSI

25. Houston Texans

Jabrill Peppers , LB/S, Michigan: Lack of a natural position could push him down draft boards, but Peppers is an explosive athlete who could blossom in a hybrid role once he focuses on that one position.

Jabrill Peppers is great chess piece for any defensive coordinator. USATSI

26. Seattle Seahawks

Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky: The Seahawks are getting by with the bodies they have on the offensive line, but that doesn't mean Seattle shouldn't be looking for upgrades. Lamp can probably survive at tackle in the NFL, but he might be a Pro Bowl guard with his square-blocking skill set and stubborn mentality.

Forrest Lamp looks like a future fixture at guard in the NFL. USATSI

27. Kansas City Chiefs

Jarrad Davis , MLB, Florida: With Derrick Johnson 's career in question due to injuries, inside linebacker is a position the Chiefs will look to address this offseason. Davis has some injury issues of his own, but when healthy, he is a thumper downfield with the skills to diagnose plays and the toughness that fits the NFL game.

Jarrad Davis is a thumper in the run game. USATSI

28. Dallas Cowboys

Carl Lawson , DE/OLB, Auburn Tigers : The Cowboys have defensive needs at every level, but especially at pass rusher. Lawson does an outstanding job using his upper-body strength and lower-body quickness in unison to beat blockers.

Carl Lawson is a good place to start for a Cowboys defense in need of upgrades. USATSI

29. Green Bay Packers

Sidney Jones , CB, Washington: The Packers need help on the cornerback depth chart and Jones is well-versed in multiple coverages with the athleticism and ball skills to make plays.

Sidney Jones fills a major need for Green Bay. USATSI

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

Takkarist McKinley , DE/OLB, UCLA Bruins : The Steelers have several question marks at pass rusher heading into next season and could look to address that need through the draft. McKinley is a tick undersized, but his athleticism and active hands allows him to penetrate the backfield.

Takkarist McKinley is the kind of pass rusher the Steelers need. Getty Images

31. Atlanta Falcons

Charles Harris , DE, Missouri Tigers : The Falcons' pass rush has been sporadic this season and hasn't lived up to the vision of head coach Dan Quinn. Harris has the edge quickness and burst to capture the edge and give blockers trouble.

Another pass rusher out of Mizzou, Charles Harris looks like a fit with the Falcons. USATSI

32. New England Patriots

Haason Reddick, LB, Temple: With some question marks at linebacker and edge rusher, Reddick offers the versatility and athleticism to play various roles in the Patriots' hybrid scheme.

Haason Reddick shows off his athleticism making a diving tackle. USATSI
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