The Dallas Cowboys hold the 27th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Cowboys will be in position for certain players, but at 27, the likelihood of getting a blue-chip prospect is slim. Those that are hoping to see names like Randy Gregory or Malcom Brown will likely be disappointed. Instead, the Cowboys will be picking from a crop of players, a majority of which will hold a second-round grade. Here are five options for the Cowboys to mull over, I've attached highlights tape on each of them just as a reminder of what they bring on gameday.
1. Select Pass-Rusher Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA
The Cowboys need to treat the building of their defensive line as they did with their offensive line. Maybe not as drastic as spending three first-round picks on it, but something along those lines. So the Cowboys have signed Greg Hardy, he's on a short-term lease and Dallas could be outbid come next March. There is also his suspension to take into consideration. The Cowboys do have an emerging star in Tyrone Crawford at three-tech, and a second-year breakout candidate in defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Taking another pass-rushing defensive end could alleviate a lot of what-ifs for the time being and start a solid rotation.
2. Select Cornerback Byron Jones, Connecticut
Despite the early connections to Marcus Peters and Kevin Johnson, Byron Jones is quickly climbing up the cornerback ladder in many pundit's eyes. He's physical, strong, and has a little bit of nastiness to him. Jones also has cover skills and can catch the ball at it's highest point much like a wide receiver. He made quite a few plays in his time under Paul Pasqualoni, and fits the exact mold of a Marinelli-type corner. He reminds me of a young Charles Tillman, and would be a great addition to a secondary that needs a face-lift. Like Eric Rowe, Jones even has some versatility to play free-safety and impeccable skills as an athlete. If the Cowboys are looking for a more physical secondary, Byron Jones is the guy to go get at 27.
3. Select Running Back Todd Gurley, Georgia
If his knee checks out, which I'm fairly certain it will, he's a top ten no-brainer type of talent. Gurley was electric at Georgia, and in my mind the only back worthy of a first-round pick. The Cowboys could very well nurse Gurley along with the backs they have on the roster. Gurley is a dynamic player and putting him behind this ever-so-dominant offensive line would be catastrophic to defend every Sunday. Todd Gurley has the right combination of size, speed and skills to become the best back since perhaps Adrian Peterson. If all this rings true than Gurley should not fall that far in the first round, however if the NFL truly undervalues the position, I'm running his card up to the podium.
4. Trade Back In Order To Stack Picks
The New England Patriots way has brought forth four championships. Though this method is a tricky one as the Cowboys tried in 2009 and failed miserably. Dallas would need to find a trade partner that would allow them to grab a pick in the first ten selections of the second round. That would likely have to be a team that grabbed a flashy defender in the early portion of the first round and are content with their quarterback situation. Teams like Tennessee, Jacksonville or Chicago perhaps. With that said, the Cowboys should never trade away from a player that they really like. However, if the pot were sweetened by a club desperate to compete, stacking picks in rounds 2-5 could really bode well for the Cowboys chances to build a championship team.
5. Select Cornerback Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest
If another franchise swoops in and gets on the Byron Jones train early, than the Wake Forest product makes the most sense. There are just too many questions surrounding the Cowboys cornerback situation. Brandon Carr may or may not be asked to play on a reduced-salary. Corey White played for a secondary that truly struggled in 2014 and Tyler Patmon is still developing. Morris Claiborne is shaky as ever. The Cowboys need another big-bodied corner that isn't afraid to mix things up and get physical. Johnson has playmaking ability in a class of corners that is hard to separate from. Many Draftniks have Johnson ranked as high as second corner on their boards. Johnson, like Jones, could really help the Cowboys solidify their secondary for the near future.
Of course these aren't' the only options that the Cowboys could think about, but these are the ones that make some sense. We'll look into options in the second round in the coming days and so forth until we've covered it all.