clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016 NFL Draft: Who Are The Cowboys' Top Three First-Round Targets?

I asked my fellow BTB writers for their assessment: Who are their top three picks, in order of preference, for the Cowboys at No. 4?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

As Cowboys fans, we're grown accustomed to finding fault with every single first-round target over the years, largely because in the drafts over the last two decades or so, there were always players who would be just out of reach of wherever the Cowboys would pick in the first round. More importantly, those players would inevitably be considered even better than the players who were within reach.

Drafting 27th last year, most Cowboys fans were happy to see Byron Jones fall their way, but wouldn't it have been a lot nicer if Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper or most of the other top picks would have fallen to the 27th pick?

This year, the Cowboys are picking at the top of the draft. And perhaps out of habit, we continue to try to find fault with each prospect, even though our frame of reference is gone: There really aren't any players that we can confidently say our "out of reach" or players who are better than the players the Cowboys can draft.

The Cowboys will be able to select from the very best players this draft class has to offer. Who those players could be obviously on what happens to the first three picks, but I asked fellow BTB writers for their assessment anyway: Who are their top three picks, in order of preference, for the Cowboys at No. 4?

You'll find the top three picks for each BTB writer below, followed by each writer's comments, and because I asked the initial question, you'll have to labor through my take first.


1. Myles Jack
2. Jalen Ramsey
3. Joey Bosa

OCC: The idea of a quarterback here is intriguing, but if Jerry Jones wants to give Tony Romo a chance at a title, he'll need to add some serious talent on defense. Fortunately, the Cowboys have options.

My top pick is Myles Jack, who would do wonders for this defense. Assuming Jack's health checks out, he might provide the most bang for the buck of any defender in the draft. He may be this draft's best athlete and at 245 pounds has the bulk to play inside or outside linebacker. He has the speed, agility and coverage skills that could make him the perfect middle linebacker for today's pass-happy offenses. He has the pass coverage skills to play strong safety, and the Cowboys could easily play him as an extra safety in a heavy nickel set.

Ramsey is another exceptional athlete and play-maker who is one of the true premium talents in this draft class.

Bosa would be an ideal fit at left end in Marinelli's scheme and gives the Cowboys arguably the best pass rusher at the college level of the last two years. Plus he's only 20 years old.

David Halprin
1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Ezekiel Elliott 3. Joey Bosa

Dave: The Cowboys need new, talented blood in the secondary. Ramsey has the talent, the physical traits, the production and the versatility to be a star.

Usually I wouldn't advocate for a running back this high, but the Cowboys are fighting the Romo window, and Elliott is an explosive talent. Put him with the offensive line and  opposing teams will have a heck of a time choosing to stop the run or the pass.

I don't think Bosa will ever be the feared pass rusher you'd like to have, but as a left defensive end he can both put pressure on the passer and lock down the run game to that side. He's also versatile enough to move around.

Tom Ryle
1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Ezekiel Elliott
3. Myles Jack

Tom: Ramsey is one of the most likely prospects in the draft to be worth a top 5 pick, perhaps number 1. Alongside Byron Jones, he could give the Cowboys one of the best safety tandems in the league for the next decade.

Elliott is right there with Ramsey as far as talent carrying into the NFL. Only his position argues against Dallas taking him.

Jack is still recovering from his injury and there are some rumbles about teams not being sure about that, based on their exams at the Combine. If Dallas' medical staff signs off on him, he could vault past Zeke into a dead heat with Ramsey.

Ryan Ratty
1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Ezekiel Elliott
3. Joey Bosa

Ryan: In terms of safest pick, Ramsey is definitely the option. He's a physical freak with the ability to cover on the outside and cover in range as a box safety. He's an extremely intelligent playmaker that can impact a defense in a variety of ways. The Cowboys need to add more athleticism to their defense and Ramsey not only does this, but he basically fits two positions of need.

In terms of the biggest immediate impact, Elliott is by far and away the option. Drafting a running back in the top 5 has proved to be extremely volatile. However, Elliott is the best running back I've scouted since Adrian Peterson. He's a natural runner who can cut inside and get outside the tackle. He's adept in both a zone-blocking scheme and a man-blocking scheme. With Dallas' offensive line, I truly believe that Elliott can run for 1,600 yards from the get-go.

I don't believe Bosa will become a perennial 20-sack guy, but I think he can be a consistent 10-12 sack guy each year. Bosa dominated college competition. However, I'm not entirely sure how he would win interior/exterior battles at the line of scrimmage in the NFL. Bosa has been rumored by a ton of people to go to the Cowboys and with their current void at the position across from Randy Gregory, Bosa may end up being the pick after all.

Danny Phantom
1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Ezekiel Elliott
3. Carson Wentz

Danny: The only absolute when it comes to my draft rankings is who the top player is - and that is Ramsey. I heard our good friend, rabblerousr mention the term "planet player" in regards to a player where there are just a few players on the planet with a particular skill set. For me, Ramsey is that player. He's got a great combination of size and athleticism and those are just things that cannot be taken away. All these college players have flaws and you can coach them certain things, but you can't coach a 4.41 corner to be 6'1" and 209 pounds.

I'm tapping the brakes and playing it safe with Zeke next on my board. He may not be the second best player in this draft, but I feel real strongly that he's in the top five and I cannot confidently say that about anyone else. Sometimes those safe picks may seem boring. Rest assure, he's not boring.

I'm on the fence with Wentz. It's all going to come down to whether the team sees him as having the skills to be a franchise quarterback. If so, I have no problem with it, but I have no desire to just take one out of necessity.

Michael Sisemore
1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Myles Jack
3. Ezekiel Elliott

Michael: What else can I say about this kid. He's got length, speed, and is about as intelligent as any player in this draft. He can turn and run with receivers and almost appears to know what the quarterback is thinking before he does. He's got versatility and is one special piece to put into any secondary. He's just so aware and explosive.

Jack has instincts that are unmatched in this class. People knock him for his size but just watch his tape and you'll see he's an outstanding specimen. He can cover a lot of ground and in today's NFL, coverage linebackers are where it's at. Jack also has versatility that make him an asset. Just plug him wherever you want and watch him light it up.

A dynamic back, Elliott immediately comes to mind as a terrific player for the Cowboys to consider. He just doesn't have any holes and is about as well-rounded as we've seen. I have no problem taking a back at four if it's Elliott. We've all seen what a tremendous and special back can do for this offense and especially Tony Romo. Move over McFadden, Elliott is an immediate upgrade.

Jim Scott
1. Jared Goff
2. Jalen Ramsey
3. Laquon Treadwell

Jim: Apart from Romo and Witten, this is a young team with a ton of future ahead. Getting the next franchise QB, and he is, prevents this team from being the St. Louis Rams for the next decade.

Ramsey/Jones safety tandem. 'Nuff said.

And finally, the best defense is a good offense. Romo's final years would be legendary with Laquon Treadwell as his other receiver.

1. Jalen Ramsey
2. Joey Bosa
3. Ezekiel Elliott

The Duckman is more the strong, silent type and wishes to let the names speak for themselves.


So there you have it folks. Six of the eight writers like Jalen Ramsey as their top pick, the other two writers have him as their second choice, which pretty much makes him our consensus top target for the Cowboys.

Ezekiel Elliott is the No. 2 option for four of the eight writers and shows up on six of the eight ballots, with only two brave souls remaining immune to RB-fever.

Myles Jack and Joey Bosa get some further consideration, and there are only two QB votes in this lot, which means the QB@4 discussion has been effectively replaced by the Zeke@4 discussion, at least on this front page.

Over to you: Who are your top three picks, in order of preference, for the Cowboys at No. 4?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys