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What Cowboys Can Expect To Get From Their Seven Draft Picks In 2017

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A quick look at four year's worth of players selected with the draft picks the Cowboys currently hold in the 2017 NFL draft.

Chris Chambers/Getty Images

The NFL finalized the full order for the 2017 Draft last week. The Cowboys will have seven selections in the draft in total and won't have any compensatory picks this year.

To get a better feel for what type of player could be waiting for the Cowboys in each round, here's an overview of the players selected in the past four years with the picks the Cowboys hold this year, along with a few selected metrics:

(On mobile devices, switch to landscape mode to better view the table)

Year Player
Pro Bowls Starter
Seasons
Games
1st Round, No. 28 overall
2016 Joshua Garnett, G, SFO 0 1 15
2015 Laken Tomlinson, G, DET 0 2 32
2014 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR 0 2 32
2013 Sylvester Williams, DT, DEN 0 3 60
2nd Round, No. 60 overall
2016 Cyrus Jones, CB, NWE 0 0 10
2015 Randy Gregory, OLB, DAL 0 0 14
2014 Kony Ealy, DE, CAR 0 1 47
2013 Robert Alford, DB, ATL 0 3 57
3rd Round, No. 92 overall
2016 Brandon Williams, CB, ARI 0 0 13
2015 Jeff Heuerman, TE, DEN 0 0 12
2014 Trai Turner, OL, CAR 2 3 45
2013 Stedman Bailey, WR, STL 0 0 38
4th Round, No. 133 overall
2016 Rashard Robinson, CB, SFO 0 0 14
2015 Max Garcia, C, DEN 0 1 31
2014 Nevin Lawson, DB, DET 0 2 32
2013 Levine Toilolo, TE, ATL 0 3 64
6th Round, No. 211 overall
2016 Kelvin Taylor, RB, SFO 0 0 0
2015 Reshard Cliett, OLB, HOU 0 0 0
2014 Jay Prosch, FB, HOU 0 0 47
2013 Michael Williams, TE, DET 0 0 15
7th Round, No. 228 overall
2016 Riley Dixon, P, DEN 0 0 16
2015 Austin Shepherd, T, MIN 0 0 14
2014 Zach Hocker, K, WAS 0 0 8
2013 Jawan Jamison, RB, WAS 0 0 0
7th Round, No. 246 overall
2016 Tyler Matakevich, OLB, PIT 0 0 16
2015 Geoff Swaim, TE, DAL 0 0 13
2014 Charles Leno, T, CHI 0 2 38
2013 Carter Bykowski, OL, SFO 0 0 0

When I first set out to compile the data above, I thought it would show how there was a good chance the Cowboys would be able to put together another quality draft. And while they may still be able to do that regardless, the last four years detailed above don't provide a lot of reasons for optimism.

The Cowboys have done a good job of drafting future Pro Bowlers recently. In fact, the Cowboys have drafted more future Pro Bowlers than any other team in the league over the last ten years. Since 2007, the Cowboys have selected 81 players in the draft, 13 of which went on to make at least one Pro Bowl. Here's how that compares across the league over the last 10 years.

MOST PRO BOWLERS DRAFTED SINCE 2007
Team Draft Picks Pro Bowlers in %
Dallas 81 13 16.0%
Kansas City 83 12 14.5%
Carolina 70 10 14.3%
Minnesota 83 11 13.3%
New Orleans 59 7 11.9%
Seattle 88 10 11.4%
NFL average 2,552 219 8.6%

Granted, Martellus Bennett and Dwayne Harris are both included in those 13 players and both made the Pro Bowl after they left Dallas, but they were drafted by the Cowboys so they count against the Cowboys' tally.

But when you look at the 28 players drafted over the last four years with the Cowboys' 2017 draft picks, there's only one Pro Bowler to be found, a success rate of just 3.5%. That's disappointing, but not every drafted player can be a Pro Bowler anyway.

It's a commonly repeated phrase that the top 100 picks are where you get your future starters in the draft. Except that hasn't worked out too well for the teams drafting in the spots the Cowboys hold this year. The 12 prospects drafted here between pick 28 and pick 92 have combined for just 15 starter seasons out of a possible 30.

And it doesn't get much better beyond the top 100, even when considering that pickings have always been slim beyond the third round. Over the last four drafts, only 19% of the prospects drafted on the third day of the draft became starters for at least one season. Of the 20 players drafted with the Cowboys' final four picks, just four (20%) have managed to play at least one season as a starter.

Picking where they are at the bottom of every round, the 2017 Cowboys don't have a lot of draft capital to begin with. You can calculate the draft capital of each draft class by simply adding up the value of each team's picks on the Trade Value Chart to arrive at a total value of each draft class.

Using that approach, I calculated how the Cowboys' 2017 draft capital compares to the draft capital in each draft since 1992. The 2017 draft ranks 21st out of those 26 drafts:

Year Draft Capital - Year Draft Capital - Year Draft Capital
1992 3,477 1994 1,901 2015 1,192
2016 2,779 2014 1,655 2010 1,188
2005 2,717 1995 1,635 2017 1,143
2003 2,597 2013 1,555 2007 1,142
2002 2,527 1997 1,549 2004 1,131
2011 2,221 2006 1,517 2001 962
1998 2,124 1996 1,505 2009 796
2012 1,945 1999 1,482 2000 545
2008 1,902 1993 1,268

Historically, the Cowboys have not done particularly well in drafts where they haven't had a lot of draft capital, but then again, nobody said you weren't allowed to pick multiple future Pro Bowlers and multi-season starters when you're drafting at the bottom of each round.

How the 2017 draft class ultimately turns out is anybody's guess right now, but if the Cowboys have done their homework, then they have a chance of having a good draft, as Jason Garrett summarized after the 2013 draft:

"We use the expression, ‘If we,’" Garrett said. "If we evaluated these guys the right way and saw them the right way, we feel good about their potential to compete as starters, compete for roles or be special teams guys.

"If they are who we think they are, you have a great chance of having a good draft."