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2017 NFL Draft Second-Day Grades: Cowboys Get "Two First-Round Talents."

Media observers come away impressed with the Cowboys' day two draft haul.

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CBS counts the Cowboys and Packers as the two winners to emerge from the first two days of the draft. Here's what they're saying about the Cowboys:

After spending an offseason watching their defense hemorrhage players and leaving many people wondering if the Dallas D could keep up its end of the bargain, the draft has been a firm answer for the Cowboys. The second round was particularly impressive for Dallas in beefing up a secondary that badly needs talent. The Cowboys stole Chidobe Awuze with the 60th overall pick, and could see him on the field very early.The do-it-all Colorado DB was the fourth-ranked cornerback according to NFLDraftScout, and was projected as a first-round pick by a lot of people. The Cowboys got him without trading up. Jourdan Lewis is facing criminal charges but claimed Friday he believes those will be dropped.

If he's cleared, the Cowboys will have come away with a pair of high-value cornerbacks on the second day of the draft to pair with Taco Charlton, their first-round pick. Dallas hasn't moved around much but the board has come to them and it has worked out well.

On to our quick look at some of the media grades that have come in so far for the Cowboys picks yesterday.

Second-Day Draft Grades
Chad Reuter, NFL.com:

A

The Cowboys found another corner/safety combo in Chidobe Awuzie, and got great value in doing so. They again helped the secondary with a tough-minded slot starter in Jourdan Lewis; this makes sense given the team's interest in trading Orlando Scandrick.
Dieter Kurtenbach, Fox Sports

A

Any round-appropriate defensive back selected by the Cowboys gets an A.

- -

Lewis is a fine value pick here, but he's facing a domestic violence charge.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation

B+

I love the pick of Awuzie. He was easily the top cornerback available at No. 60 and can do a little of everything really well. The Cowboys need some toughness in their secondary and he provides it. He can blitz the edge, play the slot and will get physical at the line of scrimmage.

Lewis was a productive player at Michigan, but because of his off-field stuff, some teams didn’t have him on their draft boards. Lewis doesn’t have amazing athleticism or size, but his instincts are great for a cornerback and he can make plays. Dallas had to fix its secondary and took steps to do so.
Chris Burke, SI.com

A-

Awuzie is a very good football player. He belonged in the second round—despite a little Round 1 hype—and he doesn’t bring the natural gifts of others in this class, but he gets the job done. The Cowboys absolutely had to have an upgrade at the cornerback spot, and Awuzie gives them a player they can count on without hesitation. He’ll be helpful outside and in the slot.

- -

Lewis is undersized and doesn’t have great speed, but he still might have been a top-50 pick were it not for his pending trial on a domestic violence charge. Like Awuzie, the Cowboys’ pick at 60, Lewis can handle himself outside but might be a better fit in the slot—those two together might be interchangeable. It’s an "A" range pick with a dark cloud hanging over it.
Pete Prisco, CBS

A

Getting a player this talented in this spot is a big time steal for the Cowboys.

B+

He was a productive corner, but there are some size concerns. Fits a need.
Drafttek

A

Chidobe Awuzie (as Mike Mayock just said) was the highest ranked CB remaining on his board, as well as the Drafttek Big Board. He made an immediate impact as a freshman, starting 7 games, making 59 tackles, 5 for loss, and breaking up 4 passes. Awuzie was leading Colorado in tackles with 64 through 9 games in 2014 (along with 2 interceptions and 8 pass breakups), but missed the end of the year with a lacerated kidney suffered in practice. Healthy again in 2015, he was a second-team All-Pac 12 pick starting mostly at the nickel spot (90 tackles, 9 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 INT, 10 pass breakups) which will make him an immediate contributor, allowing Orlando Scandrick to play outside. Awuzie was second-team all-conference again as a senior (65 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 INT, 12 PBU), joining two other members of the Buffaloes' secondary on that squad.

A

Back-to-back CB selections and another battler who relishes competition and will be able to spell Scandrick in the slot. Despite missing the first three games of his Senior season due to injury, Jourdan's play over the final 10 games earned him 1st Team All-American notice from multiple outlets. Lewis was also a Jim Thorpe Award finalist and the Big Ten Conference Defensive Back of the Year (25 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, and allowed only 7 receptions for a 23.3% opposition completion average). He was a 13-game starter as a Junior, making 52 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2 interceptions, and 20 breakups, which ranked 3rd in the FBS. He also averaged 25.2 yards on kick returns in 2015. Jourdan earned a starting corner job 3 games into his Sophomore year (39 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 INT, 6 PBU), and contributed as a true Freshman in 2012 (17 tackles, 2 PBU). The Cowboys defensive backfield just got well in a hurry!
Walter Football

B

There are definitely mixed reviews about Chidobe Awuzie. One team thought he was good enough to be chosen in the top 20, but they had a better player fall into their laps. Two other teams had Awuzie marked as a fourth-round prospect. There are questions about Awuzie's deep speed, but he did run a 4.44 at the combine. He has great athleticism, which the Cowboys like, and he fills a big need.

A-

The Cowboys have taken lots of chances on troubled players, so it's no surprise that they've decided to take a shot on Jourdan Lewis. The Michigan product was charged with domestic violence a month ago. He's a terrific talent who would've gone much earlier had he been clean off the field, but he's worth the risk toward the end of the third round.
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

A-

Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon gave the Buffaloes a pair of king-sized starting cornerbacks. Witherspoon is the 6’3" athletic outlier who tackled like he was afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings. Awuzie is shorter (6’0") but far more physical. He’s also much more effective when reading patterns in front of him and breaking on the ball. So he can help break up his share of those short passes.

In fact, Awuzie looks like a future All-Pro until he loses his receiver in the open field on a double move. He fits best as a zone-coverage defender. Awuzie also has special teams experience and blocked 10 kicks in high school, giving him added value if the Cowboys start him out as a nickel or dime defender.

A

Lewis is a classic Cover 2-style cornerback: smooth, quick-footed, smart and competitive. He has the hands and suddenness to turn a pass in front of him into an interception and is a darting, determined return man.

The Chidobe Awuzie-Lewis 1-2 punch significantly upgrades the Cowboys cornerback corps, giving them two first-round talents who can match up with different kinds of receivers.
Pro Football Weekly

A-

Fabulous pick by the defense-starved Cowboys, who found a unique talent yesterday in Taco Charlton, and a smart, versatile likely Day 1 starter in Awuzie. His ability to play nickel or safety, star on special teams and come up and stop the run is a huge boon to Rod Marinelli's undermanned group. Marinelli will know what to do with Swiss Army Knife, considered by many to be a fringe first-rounder — making him a steal at No. 60 overall.

B+

Lewis was arrested on a domestic violence charge this postseason and likely dropped a round, but the Cowboys get an instinctive and versatile defender whose ideally suited for the slot. Off-field issues notwithstanding, he's a better player than tester who'll be a welcome addition into Dallas' brand new secondary.
Eric Edholm, Shutdown Corner

A-

Love the value of Awuzie falling here, and he’s an excellent blitzer, which could be a hidden benefit that most defensive backs don’t offer. He can play in multiple spots and could be a safety, outside corner or nickel for the Cowboys. Scouts fell in love with his football IQ and toughness when they watched him. The Cowboys landed a bargain.

C+

The Cowboys were gutted in the secondary, so it’s no surprise they would double up in the second and third rounds to aid that. Lewis’ stock fell for his size, his lack of great speed and he faces a domestic violence charge (he pleaded not guilty). If Lewis is cleared, this could be a steal. He has good ball skills, can play the slot and will be an impact player on special teams, potentially in a variety of roles. Good value, but the charges are concerning.
Pro Football Focus

- -

Chidobe Awuzie is one of the more versatile defenders in this draft class. Awuzie can play outside cornerback, slot cornerback, or safety. He’s a physical player who excels at blitzing and has collected eight sacks, six QB hits, and 17 QB hurries over the last two seasons.

- -

The cornerback class is so loaded that picking up two of them seems like a smart draft strategy. Lewis is one of the better coverage cornerbacks in the class, and PFF’s No. 3 CB, so he represents a tremendous value for the Cowboys in the third round. Lewis recorded six interceptions and 28 pass breakups over the past three season at Michigan. Opposing quarterbacks only had a 46.0 passer rating when throwing into Lewis’s coverage in 2016.

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