clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2017 NFL Draft Grades: Cowboys Rebuilt Defense With Immediate Impact Players

New, comments

A look at the first draft grades published over the last few hours, and how the NFC East teams graded out.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Before we embark on a review of the draft grades the Cowboys and the rest of the NFC East received for their efforts over the last three days, some sound advice from the Twitterverse:

Keep that in mind as the experts below try to do in a few hours what usually takes a few years: grade a draft class.


Cowboys Draft Grades 2017
Dieter Kurtenbach, Fox Sports NYG PHI WAS


The Cowboys are rebuilding their defense. Taco Charlton, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Marquez White are going to be immediate impact players. Could have hit the defensive line more — particularly with great talent falling — but I love the Noah Brown and Ryan Switzer picks (even if they reached for the latter). C+
B+ B+
Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News NYG PHI WAS


The goal all along was to land a pass rusher in the first round and follow up with defensive backs in the next two rounds. Not only did the Cowboys execute their plan, they got quality players with all three. Charlton, Awuzie and Lewis are all expected to compete for starting spots. Woods, one of Dallas' 29 predraft visitors, also has a chance to be a starter when the Cowboys open the season against the Giants. The sixth-round pick was someone Dallas seriously considered in the fourth round. Switzer gives the offense another option in the passing game as well as a standout punt returner. Of the Cowboys' final four choices, White probably has the best chance of making the roster and contributing as a rookie. B- B+ B
Tom Downey, Chat Sports NYG PHI WAS


So Dallas need defensive help, huh? Charlton was great value and he could start right away. Taking Chidobe Awuzie and then Jourdan Lewis was an interesting move, as both might start in the nickel role. And with Orlando Scandrick there, it could spell the end of Scandrick's time in Dallas. Don't be surprised if Awuzie plays some safety early as well. Switzer is one of my favorite players this year and he has some Cole Beasley in him. Don't be surprised if he's the No. 5 WR this year and handles return duties. Woods was really good value, as were Noah Brown and Marquez White. Outside of maybe Joey Ivie and Jordan Carrell, the Cowboys got value with each pick. Of course, that assumes Jourdan Lewis' domestic violence case is cleared up. It's a he-said, she-said, so the Cowboys seem to think Lewis will be fine. The Cowboys nailed this draft and they should get impacts in the short-term and long-term from several guys.
D+ B+ B
Chad Reuter, NYG PHI WAS


Dallas had a choice between Charlton and T.J. Watt. Either could have fit their bill, and the need was certainly there. I had Watt with a higher grade, but Charlton's length and agility are impressive. He'll be a very good player for Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett. 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. Dallas picked up Cole Beasley 2.0 in Ryan Switzer. B+ A- B+
Chris Burke, NYG PHI WAS


The first pick, DE Taco Charlton (No. 28 overall), was about finding a player to help fix the Cowboys’ need off the edge. The next four selections increased their overall team flexibility, both on offense and defense. CBs Chidobe Awuzie (No. 60) and Jourdan Lewis (No. 92) are scrappy defenders capable of holding their own outside or in the slot. (Using a pick on Lewis will come with scrutiny, because he’s awaiting a July trial on a domestic abuse allegation.) S Xavier Woods (No. 191) is another interchangeable piece, which will help take pressure off Byron Jones. WR Ryan Switzer (No. 133) can pair in the slot with Cole Beasley or handle return duties while playing behind the Cowboys’ proven receiver. A solid group, pending Lewis’s availability. B- B+ A-


The Cowboys' draft wasn't as flashy as their collection of 2016 picks, but the value and assets they accumulated should keep Big D as one of the top contenders again this season in the NFC. Charlton will jump into the rotation and help an already decent defensive line put quarterbacks under more pressure, while Awuzie and Lewis give Jason Garrett's team even more young talent in the secondary. Switzer and Brown were shrewd selections, as they will provide young quarterback Dak Prescott an instant upgrade to a receiving corps that desperately needed it. C C+ B+
Charean Williams, Fort Worth Star Telegram NYG PHI WAS


The Cowboys didn’t get their "war daddy" pass rusher, but they filled needs on the defensive side. They used their first three choices on defenders for the first time since 1983, ending up with three DLs and four DBs, including a possible steal in Xavier Woods. C- C+ B
Nate Davis, USA Today NYG PHI WAS


This could be a very productive rookie class – and may have to be after free agency’s defensive exodus. First-round DE Taco Charlton, second-round CB Chidobe Awuzie and third-round CB Jourdan Lewis – assuming legal issues are resolved in his favor – should all see extensive playing time if they don't start. Fourth-round WR Ryan Switzer gives QB Dak Prescott a second weapon in the slot along with Cole Beasley C- C+ A-
Mark Maske, Washington Post NYG PHI WAS


The Cowboys simply had to address their pass rush and their depleted secondary. And they did so. First-round DE Taco Charlton should be able to help the Dallas defense get to opposing QBs. The Cowboys added cornerbacks in second-rounder Chidobe Awuzie and third-rounder Jourdan Lewis, and got a safety in sixth-rounder Xavier Woods. They’d better be ready to play. The Cowboys might need all of them at some point this season. Lewis has been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and faces a trial scheduled for July. B B- B+
Dan Kadar, SB Nation NYG PHI WAS


The Cowboys had to come out of this draft with a pass rusher and some help in the secondary. They mostly filled those needs. In the first round, Dallas went with end Taco Charlton. While he may not have had a first-round grade by Dallas, he fills a premium position and fits perfectly in the system.

Dallas followed that up with cornerbacks in their next two picks: Chidobe Awuzie at No. 60 and Jourdan Lewis at No. 92. The pick of Awuzie was a great one. He can do everything. He can press, he can play off, he can stuff the run and he can blitz. Lewis has some off-field issues, but on the field, he was incredibly productive at Michigan. Dallas then took slot receiver Ryan Switzer in the fourth round. He’s a solid player, but I’m not sure how many targets he’ll see in that offense. This team needed to pick a safety and waited until the sixth round to get one in Xavier Woods. He could be their new Barry Church.
B- B- A-
Pete Prisco, CBSSports NYG PHI WAS


They needed help up front, so taking Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton makes sense, but I think there were better options at that point. I think they bounced back and got two good corners in the next two rounds in Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie and Michigan's Jourdan Lewis, which help a position of need. Taking Ryan Switzer in the fourth round could mean Cole Beasley may be out next year when his contract is up. C B+ B

Agree, disagree? Tell us in the poll and the comments below what you think of the Cowboys' 2017 draft.

And for some additional fun, you can check out the comments and hot takes under the same post from last year, the 2016 draft grades post.