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2017 Mock Draft Tracker: Mel Kiper Explains Strength Of 2017 NFL Draft Class

A look at 12 of the latest mocks published over the last five days, including mocks from CBSSports, NFL.com, SB Nation and many others.

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Kalyn Kahler of The MMQB published an interview with Mel Kiper today. The interview covers a wide range of topics, but the one that I found most interesting is when Kiper started talking about where he sees the depth is in the 2017 draft class.

KAHLER: How would you compare this year’s draft class to years past?

KIPER: I don’t really judge draft classes, because they are all about the first round normally and they are not really getting into the mid and later rounds enough because you are speculating there and your opinions will be different than what teams have and what different analysts have. I don’t really evaluate those types of things, but I think we have to do it.

I think this draft has some depth at a variety of positions. Running back depth is decent, wide receivers, not great.

I’ll tell you where it is a great year: It is a great year for tight ends. Good year for interior offensive linemen, terrible year for tackles, decent year for interior linemen, really good year for defensive linemen, and I think a good year for cornerbacks and safeties. I think there are some good combo guys, some of those defensive end/outside linebacker types that can rush the passer. Quarterbacks, very average. Running backs, O.K. Wide receiver, just average.

But tight end is spectacular, the tight end depth is the best that it has been in awhile.

Great year for tight ends and a really good year for defensive linemen. If your team needs happened to line with the strengths of this draft class, wouldn't that be a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel?

With that in mind, let's look at the positions that were mocked the Cowboys' way this week. In today's mock draft round-up, we have 12 of the freshest and juiciest mocks handpicked for your mock draft pleasure. All 12 mocks are from this week, and the mock draft goodness is summarized below.

DEFENSIVE ENDS

Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
CBS (Dubin), Feb 22 The Cowboys are a real pass rush away from being one of the Super Bowl favorites if they?re not there already. Charlton can move around the defensive front and wreak havoc in the backfield. Let Rod Marinelli get his hooks into this kid and turn him loose.
Football's Future (Davis), Feb 22 Charlton started to come into his own as a senior, and his best football may lie ahead. He has a great blend of size, athleticism, and strength and could be an all around force at defensive end.
CBS (Wilson), Feb 22 For as good as the Cowboys were a season ago -- mostly due to the emergence of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott -- the defensive was average and the defensive line was only slightly better. Charlton racked up 14 sacks the last two seasons, and his ability to get after the passer could be what gets Dallas over the hump and into the Super Bowl.
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
SB Nation (Kadar), Feb 22 This is a pick I’ve locked in on if Barnett is available at No. 28. If a team doesn’t jump Dallas to get him, his fit on the Cowboys is natural.  where finding a pass rusher this offseason is perhaps the team’s biggest need.
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
CBS (Brugler), Feb 20 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.
Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Sporting News (Iyer), Feb 23 Harris also fits a 3-4, but Dallas with its 4-3 isn't about to ignore an explosive edge rusher who falls into its lap. The Cowboys have taken too many chances with the position. Harris brings good energy with his quickness and agility, and he can be productive from multiple spots.
Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
Chatsports (Downey), Feb 21 Corner or edge rusher, where do the Cowboys go? An edge rusher remains a massive need, despite several young players. McKinley is a quick-twitch type of player, meaning he should fit in well with the Cowboys. He could even go before this.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Drafttek, Feb 22
IThe 2 positions of need with the highest priority are EDGE and CB . . . and when the 3rd-ranked CB falls to #28, it creates a BPA decision-making scenario between position groups. Quincy started all 13 games in 2016 as a Junior, finishing 2nd on the team in passes defended (9) and interceptions (3) to earn 2nd-Team All-SEC honors. And never forget (drum roll, please) . . . CB's are like closets in a house . . . you can never have enough of them!
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
CBS (Brinson), Feb23 Teez Tabor, CB, Florida: Dallas is in really good shape for 2017 on offense but it desperately needs help on the backside from a defensive perspective. Adding a talented corner late in the first round helps in a big way.

OFFENSE

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Sports Bank, Feb 23 
Tight ends are like centers these days, not often receiving a first round valuation, but this guy is too valuable to pass up.
David Njoku, TE, Miami
NFL.com (Zierlein), Feb 22
Njoku is insanely athletic with tremendous upside. He’s still learning to block and has a lot of room for growth, but he would also give Dallas yet another high-end skill position player.
John Ross, WR, Washington
Draftwire (Easterling), Feb 21 Dez Bryant needs a running mate across the field who can take advantage when teams pay him too much attention. Ross is undersized but extremely explosive, and can be a big-play machine from Day 1 in Dallas.