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Final 2017 NFL Draft Predictions For The First Three Rounds For The Dallas Cowboys

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Will defense dominate this year? Can Dallas secure a few more first-round talents this year?

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft begins today and the Dallas Cowboys have a few gaps that they must address. Given how strong the defensive backs and defensive linemen are in this draft, the Cowboys chose not to re-sign many former starters, highlighted by losing much of their secondary. The Cowboys have made a concerted effort in recent years to strengthen their defense but they have been unable to. While Cowboys fans fondly remember recently picking Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line, the front office has struck out a series of times on defense. Will this year be different? Will the Cowboys focus on player character more this time around? Will the Cowboys take a gamble on an injured player?

Round One: Defensive Line

The Cowboys have been linked to the likes of Derek Barnett, Charles Harris, Takkarist McKinley, Taco Charlton and T.J. Watt. Most expect Derek Barnett to be a top 15 pick and therefore will not be available at 28. Takkarist McKinley is an explosive pass rusher who has great first-step quickness. Taco Charlton brings length, size and power to the defense after balling out at Michigan during his senior year. T.J. Watt clearly has great pedigree but I worry about his tackling ability. If Charles Harris happens to be available with the 28th pick, expect the Cowboys to take him. Otherwise, look for the Dallas Cowboys to select UCLA Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA. For extra kicks, the last Bruin turned Cowboy is Hall of Famer Troy Aikman.

Round Two: Defensive Back

The Dallas Cowboys will land their prized defensive lineman in the first round and therefore will look to improve their secondary in the second round. By the time the Cowboys select late in the second round, the top-tier talents will be long gone. With the departures of their former starting cornerbacks and safety, the Cowboys should focus on drafting the best defensive back available at this pick. Jerry Jones and Co. may be tempted to take the best player available but as they attempt to widen their championship window, they should focus on filling needs. If Tre’Davious White falls as low as 60, the Dallas Cowboys must select this former captain and playmaker from LSU. Same goes from Fabian Moreau, which would bring a pair of UCLA Bruins to Dallas. Other targets the Cowboys could select if they slide are Adoree’ Jackson from USC, Chidobe Awuzie from Colorado or Desmond King from Iowa. When push comes to shove, expect Jackson and Awuzie to already be taken. Desmond King, a former two-time First Team All Big Ten and Jim Thorpe winner, balled out for four years and showed off his ball skills, durability and versatility at both the cornerback and safety positions. He reminds me a lot of Byron Jones.

Round Three: Defense

The last time the Cowboys selected a defensive player with their top three picks was in 2012 when they selected Morris Claiborne, Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber. Before that, it was in 2005 when they selected DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears and Kevin Burnett. Both of those drafts brought a trove of defensive starters and I expect this 2017 draft to be no different. Selecting which one of nearly 350 players the Cowboys will select in the third round is a bit impossible given the potential for trades and who lands with the prior 28th and 60th picks. Nonetheless, look for Dallas to continue improving the secondary with cornerback Akhello Witherspoon out of Colorado for his length and speed or Teez Tabor out of Florida. While Tabor did very poorly on his 40 time at the Combine, he is a two time First Team All-SEC member for good reason.

Summary

Round 1: Takkarist McKinley, DE
Round 2: Desmond King, CB
Round 3: Teez Tabor, CB

Who you got at 1, 2 and 3? Hit the comments below!