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The Top Options For The Dallas Cowboys On Day 3 Of The 2017 NFL Draft

A look at some of the best remaining options in Rounds 4 through 7 for the Cowboys.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft now in the books, let’s turn our attention to some of the options available to the Cowboys through Rounds 4-7 on Day 3. Keep in mind that just because the team drafted a certain position already (defensive end) doesn’t mean they should ignore value at those positions if it’s available when they’re on the clock. With that said, I’m going to rule out cornerback until round 7 just because I can’t see the team taking a cornerback with three of their first five or six picks.

Note: The Cowboys do not own a pick in round 5, although for the sake of simplicity I included options in rounds 5 and 6 because that is the general range where I feel these particular players would provide value.

Top 5 Round 4 Options

Defensive End Carl Lawson (6-2, 261), Auburn: Explosive presence off the edge who may have been a first-round pick if not for a long history of injuries at Auburn. Played a full 2016 and posted 14 TFL and 9.5 sacks.

Cornerback/Safety Desmond King (5-10, 201), Iowa: Will likely transition from college cornerback to safety due to limited speed and explosiveness. Very physical tackler with excellent ball skills (33 PBU’s and 14 interceptions over four seasons), could potentially play as a slot corner in some matchups.

Defensive Tackle Carlos Watkins (6-3, 309), Clemson: Flashes impressive athleticism/burst off the snap for his size with extremely long arms (34+ inches). Would be a nice pick as a rotational interior lineman who could develop into a starter if he can become more consistent.

Defensive Tackle Jaleel Johnson (6-3, 316), Iowa: Another defensive tackle in the mold of Watkins with good quickness/up field ability for his size, although he will have to become more consistent, especially against the run. Rotational interior lineman who could develop into a starter down the road.

Safety Xavier Woods (5-11, 197), Louisiana Tech: Undersized but ferocious player with excellent ball skills (18 PBU’s and 14 interceptions over four seasons). Relishes the opportunity to lay out receivers over the middle.

Other Strong Round 4 Options

Linebacker Blair Brown (5-11, 238), Ohio: Extremely aggressive, instinctive player, but lacks ideal size. Tested well at the Combine (4.65 40, 37 inch vertical) and dominated as a senior with over 100 tackles, 15 TFL, and 4.5 sacks. Could develop into a starter at weak-side linebacker in time, but should be a wrecking ball on special teams in the meantime.

Tight End Jake Butt (6-5, 246), Michigan: Probably would have went in round 2 if not for a torn ACL suffered in his final collegiate game. Well-rounded, throwback tight end who has reliable hands, decent enough athleticism, and is an effective blocker. May not be ready to play right away.

Guard Isaac Asiata (6-3, 323), Utah: Massive mauler on the interior, was voted as the top PAC-12 offensive lineman as voted on by the players (Morris trophy). Could be the BPA at the end of round 4 and would provide nice depth on the interior of the line, if La’el Collins is moved to right tackle he could potentially start.

Tight End George Kittle (6-4, 247), Iowa: Tested well at the Combine, running a 4.52, and despite being underutilized as a receiver (Iowa’s passing game in general is underutilized) he averaged over 15 YPC for his career and had 10 touchdowns. Solid blocker coming from a pro style offense.

Safety Tedric Thompson (6-0, 204), Colorado: Terrific instincts, range and ball skills, piling up 26 PBU’s and 13 interceptions over his last three seasons, although pure speed is limited. Could contribute in nickel/dime packages as a rookie and develop into a potential starter in year two or three.

Safety Eddie Jackson (6-0, 201), Alabama: Ballhawk who is excellent in coverage but is an average at best tackler, also has experience playing corner. Had 9 career interceptions (6 in 2015), three of which he returned for touchdowns. Brings added value as a punt returner with two touchdowns in only 8 games in 2016. Broken leg cut short his senior season, but that was nearly 6 months ago and it sounds as if he will be ready to go almost immediately.

Running Back Jeremy McNichols (5-9, 214), Boise St.: Outstanding production over the past two seasons with over 3,000 rushing yards, more than 900 receiving yards, 80+ catches, and 53 total touchdowns. Probably the most dynamic of the running backs listed here.

Wide Receiver Josh Reynolds (6-3, 194), Texas A&M: Long, lean receiver who is excellent in jump ball situations with a huge catch radius. Over three seasons had 30 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 career yards, averaging 17 YPC. Would be an upgrade over Brice Butler as the third “outside” receiver, and could be a Terrance Williams replacement a few years down the line.

Running Back Brian Hill (6-1, 219), Wyoming: Similar to Kareem Hunt with a well-rounded skillset, although Hill is taller/leaner, a bit faster, and not quite as good as a receiver. Just under 3,500 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

Wide Receiver Shelton Gibson (5-11, 191), West Virginia: Big-time deep threat who plays faster than his average timed speed (4.5 40). Averaged over 22 YPC in three seasons, although he is a bit of a one trick pony as far as stretching the field and not doing much else. The offense could use more speed and Gibson would fit the bill.

Wide Receiver Isaiah Ford (6-1, 194), Virginia Tech: Polished possession type of receiver with decent size but below average speed (4.61 40). Very productive with nearly 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns over three seasons. Only three years removed from high school so he could have more upside than other prospects who redshirted or spent extra years in college.

Round 5/6 Options

Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (6-0, 230), Tennessee: Former safety who shifted to linebacker, excellent in coverage with impressive athleticism. Put up over 200 tackles, 25 TFL, and 8 sacks during his sophomore and junior seasons but played in only four games as a senior due to a significant shoulder injury. Will likely start off his career rotating in on nickel/dime units and playing special teams but he could develop into a starter down the road if he can stay healthy. Likely would’ve went in the first three rounds if not for the shoulder injury.

Defensive End Avery Moss (6-3, 264), Youngstown St.: Formerly played at Nebraska but was kicked off the team for exposing himself at an on-campus convenience store. Transferred to Youngstown St. and played opposite Derek Rivers. Ideal size (6-3, 264) and length (34+ inch arms), and had an impressive 2016 with 17.5 TFL and 10.5 sacks. Raw but just scratching the surface of his athletic potential.

Linebacker Jayon Brown (6-0, 231), UCLA: Another undersized but very instinctive player who flies around and seems to find himself around the ball. Only played full-time over his last two seasons but put up over 200 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 12 PBU’s. Similar to Brown and Reeves-Maybin he will likely be a special teamer to start his career, but could develop into a starter on the weak-side in time.

Edge Keion Adams (6-2, 245), Western Michigan: Explosive and athletic pass-rusher, but undersized. Very productive with 28 TFL, 13 sacks and 4 forced fumbles over his last two seasons. Intriguing option who could develop into a SAM linebacker who brings edge rush ability in nickel/dime packages.

Defensive End Samson Ebukam (6-2, 240), Eastern Washington: Similar to Adams, undersized but extremely athletic with explosiveness off the edge. Could find a spot as a rotational rusher as a rookie. 38 TFL and 24 sacks over four seasons.

Defensive Tackle Tanzel Smart (6-1, 296), Tulane: Prototypical undersized, low center of gravity, athletic, high effort sort of interior lineman that Rod Marinelli covets. Very productive with 33 TFL and 7.5 sacks over his last two seasons. Easy projection to the 3-technique position.

Edge Jimme Gilbert (6-5, 235), Colorado: Long and lean with extensive starting experience. Put up 27 TFL and 19.5 sacks over four seasons, including 14 TFL, 11 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles as a senior. Ran a 4.68 at his Pro Day. Needs to add significant bulk and strength in order to ever play DE in the NFL but he looks like an intriguing potential SAM LB who could grow into a DE after a few years.

Edge Carroll Phillips (6-3, 242), Illinois: Played with his hand down opposite Smoot at Illinois but his best position in Dallas could be as a strong-side LB who puts his hand down in certain packages due to a lack of size and power. Only one year of high level production with 19 TFL and 9 sacks in 2016.

Linebacker Ben Boulware (6-0, 238), Clemson: Limited athlete with below average speed and length. Average size but plays with fantastic instincts, desire, toughness, and competitiveness. Extremely productive with over 200 tackles, 19 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 6 forced fumbles over the last two seasons. Prototypical “limited athlete, work hard, team captain/leader” type. May never amount to anything in the NFL but I wouldn’t write him off, would be well worth the risk with a late round pick.

Linebacker Harvey Langi (6-2, 251), BYU: Very athletic and extremely versatile, played mainly on the edge but is likely a better fit as a linebacker. Could provide interesting value as a SAM LB in base packages who moves around in pass-rushing situations.

Wide Receiver Trent Taylor (5-8, 181), Louisiana Tech: Could be your next Cole Beasley. Extremely productive with nearly 300 catches, more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns over the last three seasons. Brings some marginal punt return ability.

Wide Receiver Ryan Switzer (5-8, 181), North Carolina: Another Cole Beasley-type out of the slot. Over 90 catches and 1,100+ yards as a senior, also brings added value as a punt returner with 7 career touchdown returns.

Wide Receiver Fred Ross (6-1, 213), Mississippi St.: Decent size, speed (4.51 40), and production with nearly 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Nothing special stands out about him but he could develop into a good possession receiver a few years down the line.

Round 7/UDFA Options

Cornerback William Likely (5-7, 180), Maryland: Severely undersized but extremely quick with a knack for finding the ball (7 career interceptions and 29 PBU’s despite missing half of 2016 with a torn ACL). Not afraid to support the run either with 16.5 TFL, along with 5 forced fumbles. Electric return ability with 6 career return touchdowns (4 punt, 2 kick), averaging over 25 yards per kick return and 13 per punt return. Could develop into a very good slot corner.

Cornerback Brian Allen (6-3, 215), Utah: Unbelievable size/length with 34 inch arms but he is very raw with limited experience. Potential could be through the roof due to his physical traits but you will likely have to wait a few years for it.

Cornerback Treston DeCoud (6-2, 206), Oregon St.: Excellent size and length (33 inch arms), but limited athleticism, ball skills, and speed. Bounced around at a few different places before ending up at Oregon St. where he played two seasons, had a solid senior year with 10 PBU’s and 2 interceptions.

Wide Receiver Isaiah McKenzie (5-7, 173), Georgia: Excellent return ability with 6 career touchdown returns, 5 of which were punts. Averaged nearly 12 yards per punt return over his career. Very undersized but he has excellent speed (4.42 40) and could end up developing into a niche slot/gadget type of player who primarily contributes on special teams.

Defensive End Ejuan Price (5-11, 241), Pittsburgh: Severely undersized with an extensive injury history, but very explosive with excellent production (42.5 TFL, 24 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles over the last two seasons). Roll the dice here and maybe you end up with an Elvis Dumervil-type edge rusher.

Safety David Jones (6-3, 210), Richmond: Missed most of 2016 and has suffered several injuries throughout his time at Richmond, but he has good size and has shown good ball skills with 12 career interceptions, including 9 in 2015. Ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day.

Defensive Tackle Charles Walker (6-2, 310), Oklahoma: Only played one full season (2015) and quit the team during the 2016 season after missing several games with a concussion. Flashes impressive athleticism and quickness but overall he is very inconsistent and it’s anybody’s guess as to whether he actually wants to play football or not. Managed 10 TFL and 6 sacks in 2015 but barely did anything otherwise.

Wide Receiver Jehu Chesson (6-3, 204), Michigan: Height/weight/speed prospect (4.47 40) but never really put it together on the field. Had his best season in 2015 with 764 yards and 9 touchdowns but over the other three seasons he combined for less than 900 yards and only 3 touchdowns. Has upside thanks to his physical traits but has a long way to go before he can expect to see offensive snaps in the league.

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