Thanks to the deal that sent their 2019 first-rounder to the Raiders in order to land Amari Cooper, the Cowboys are one of four teams without a first-round pick. I'm sure it's a trade they'd make again, since Cooper made an immediate difference in the Dallas passing game and helped spark the team's run to the postseason, but the lack of a first-round pick won't preclude adding some serious talent in this draft, and in Round 2, the Cowboys should be well-positioned to address one of their key needs based upon the projected prospects available.
Check out which picks the Cowboys currently have below, along with our projection of their top positional needs. I'll then build a war-room big board based upon players I think have some kind of chance of making it to their first pick before sharing multiple draft classes that make sense for the team from myself, Chris Trapasso and Ryan Wilson.
As for the actual draft, you'll be able to stream our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend.
Current draft picks
The CBS Sports NFL writing staff to identify needs for each team heading into the draft. A helpful guide: any position group that had an average ranking worse than 16.0 (on a scale of 1 to 32) was considered a "need," while any that ranked worse than 23.0 (bottom-third of the league) was considered a "pressing need."
Needs: INT DL, DB
Pressing: INT DL
The Cowboys resumed having their highly-ranked offensive line with the news earlier this offseason that Travis Frederick's recovery from Guillain-Barre Syndrome was going well. They could perhaps use some depth there and maybe a long-term replacement for La'el Collins, but as long as Frederick, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith are around, that's not going to be a major area of need. The other side of the ball is a stickier issue. The interior of the defensive line took a hit with David Irving's suspension and retirement, and even with Tyrone Crawford likely moving inside after the acquisition of Robert Quinn, the Cowboys still need more help in that area. Similarly, the signing of George Iloka does not solve the team's safety issues. They need another starter next to Xavier Woods in order to fortify their strong group of corners.
War room big board
I agree with the needs listed above, as I have safety and defensive tackle as the team's top two priorities. But I think the talent available at the safety position is going to be much better than what's out there at defensive tackle. Here's how I'd project the Cowboys' draft board for their first pick, considering only players I feel have some chance of making it in range:
- DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
- S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
- DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
- S Juan Thornhill, Virginia
- S Taylor Rapp, Washington
- WR Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
- S Nasir Adderley, Delaware
- DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
- DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
- DE Chase Winovich, Michigan
Seven-round mock drafts
|2||58||SS Taylor Rapp, Washington|| |
|3||90||DT Trysten Hill, Central Florida|| |
|4||128||TE Dax Raymond, Utah State|| |
|4||136||DE Austin Bryant, Clemson|| |
|5||165||WR Jalen Hurd, Baylor|| |
|7||241||RB Tony Pollard, Memphis|| |
No moving around in this mock for the Cowboys, who should be looking to trade back if the right prospects aren't available on Day 2. Fortunately for them, an awful showing at Taylor Rapp's pro day allows the star safety prospect to slide down to them at No. 58. He should shine as a down safety for the Cowboys but can also bring some versatility to the position, much like free-agent acquisition George Iloka. In Round 3, the team addresses perhaps its biggest weakness by selecting Hill, who has the ability to be a quality starter at defensive tackle if he matures. It wouldn't be the first time the Cowboys took a chance on a prospect in that mold.
The Cowboys start Day 3 by improving the depth chart behind the returning Jason Witten with Raymond, an older prospect but one who should have a role in the NFL, then come back and grab Bryant to add more depth on the edge and someone who can work into the rotation immediately while trying to develop into a starter. Hurd is still learning the receiver position but offers a high ceiling as a downfield target who can even play some running back, giving the offense the versatility it sought with the Tavon Austin acquisition last year. Pollard is a more traditional backup for Zeke Elliott but one that could also offer some versatility in the offense.
More seven-round mocks:
(*) indicates pick acquired via trade
Check out more first-round mocks from CBS Sports.