The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys walked away with nine shiny new players. Seven of them were on defense, with two wide receivers coming on offense. So what does this all mean for the team? Let’s take a look at some winners and losers from the draft for Dallas.
Rod Marinelli - The Cowboys defensive coordinator got a boatload of new help to fix up a defense that has been suspect over the last few years. Marinelli has done a wonderful job of holding the Cowboys defense together, but he just never had the resources to make it really work. Now, the organization has given him players to work with, and completely overhauled a shaky secondary.
Jaylon Smith - Dallas broke with tradition and didn’t draft a linebacker. This indicates they have full confidence in Jaylon Smith not only being healthy, but being able to make plays as the MIKE linebacker.
Dak Prescott - Even though the Cowboys stayed away from offense for the most part, they did seem to have Prescott’s game in mind. Unlike Tony Romo, who liked the deep ball, Prescott is content to throw shorter and between the numbers. And that is exactly where Ryan Switzer could help. Plus, he can be a terror on bubble screens, jet-sweeps, short passes in the flats, etc. Switzer, along with Cole Beasley, seem tailor-made for Prescott’s game.
Rico Gathers - The Cowboys didn’t draft a tight end. Of course they still have Jason Witten, and solid backups in James Hanna and Geoff Swaim if they are healthy. But the Cowboys didn’t look to the future for a dynamic, play-making tight end to follow Witten after he retires. Maybe they believe that Gathers has real potential and decided to wait another year before expending a resource.
Power 5 Schools - Eight of the Cowboys nine draft picks played at Power 5 schools. Only safety Xavier Woods kept it from being unanimous. Will McClay loves the big schools.
Offensive Tackles - The Cowboys appear to have confidence in the duo of Chaz Green and Byron Bell out at right tackle. They decided to pass on that option in the draft, leaving the job to the in-house guys.
Orlando Scandrick - His name came up in trade rumors from several journalists, never a good sign. Jerry Jones came out and denied it, but there must have been something there to get those rumors started. Plus, the Cowboys are turning over their whole secondary in a youth movement and Scandrick is now 30. Scandrick’s specialty is the slot, and that happens to be the specialty of Jourdan Lewis. It may not mean anything this year, but down the road it could spell trouble for the veteran.
Lucky Whitehead - The Ryan Switzer pick could spell the end of the road for Whitehead. His return abilities never lived up to their billing, and he never contributed much as a receiver. Switzer seems like a guy who could do everything Whitehead was doing, only do it better. Bonus: Could this affect Cole Beasley’s future? We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we need to see if Switzer can actually play. But Beasley’s contract is up after 2018 and he’ll be 30 going into the 2019 season. Was Dallas thinking a couple of years ahead with the Switzer pick?
Jeff Heath/Kavon Frazier - The Cowboys wanted Xavier Woods and had him highly-rated. They showed a lot of patience when he slid, but then they expended some draft capital to trade into the sixth round to get him. The way they talk about him, he’ll be given every opportunity to grab a majority of safety snaps opposite Byron Jones.
Stupid Draft Memes About Dallas/Jerry Jones - It goes without saying that some journalists/web sites just can’t let go of the idea that the Cowboys are impulsive and circus-like when it comes to the draft. The recent past with Jason Garrett and Will McClay should have slayed that, and once again in 2017 the Cowboys were methodical and precise in executing their plan. Still, some knucklehead somewhere will continue the stupid memes that should have been retired.