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2017 NFL Draft: What If The Cowboys Draft Players You Weren't Expecting?

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Fans tend to be quite vocal about what they want their favorite team to do. But what if the team doesn't do what you wanted them to do?

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Over the course of this week and the next, the Cowboys will bring in up to 30 high-profile draft prospects for official pre-draft visits. We don't yet know the names of all the prospects that have been brought in, but we've gathered 25 names so far in our Pre-draft Visit Tracker. Here's how those 25 pre-draft visitors are split by position:

11 Cornerbacks
7 Defense Ends
5 Safeties
2 Wide receivers

Going by this invite list, the Cowboys will likely focus on a combination of CB, DE, and S with their top picks in the draft.

Over the last four months here on Blogging The Boys, we've looked at hundreds of mock drafts. You've seen mock drafts in front page posts and in FanPosts, you couldn't avoid seeing them in the signatures of some of the board members (unless you turned off signatures in your settings), you may have even created one yourself in the two mock draft challenges we've had here on BTB, or on the biggest source of spam during draft season, Fanspeak.com.

Most of those mocks had a combination of CB, DE, or S in the top three picks. In our most recent mock draft database covering 50 mock drafts,  82% of the players selected for the Cowboys were either DEs, CBs or safeties.

Most of those mocks also had a built-in causality between the first, second and third picks. Causality is the relationship between an event and a second event, where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first. In the case of our mock drafts, that causality usually looks something like this:

IF the Cowboys draft an cornerback in the first, THEN they'll draft a defensive end in the second and THEN grab a safety in the third.

  • A draft like that could possibly yield CB Gareon Conley - DE Tarell Basham - S Justin Evans.
  • Another option could be to start with a safety: S Obi Melifonwu - CB Adoree' Jackson - DE Tanoh Kpassagnon.
  • Perhaps a DE in the first? DE Taco Charlton - CB Quincy Wilson - S Marcus Williams.

Notice how how all of these mocks have a built-in causality whereby the Cowboys' first pick drives the next two picks, but in such a way that the Cowboys' three biggest needs are always addressed within the first three picks?

I polled some of my fellow front page writers to see which positions they thought the Cowboys should draft with their first three picks:

OCC Dave Danny Dawn Joseph Michael Landon
CB DE DE DE DE DE DE
DE CB CB CB S CB S
S S S S CB S CB

Here are Danny and Landon arguing why DE should be the first pick:

Danny: The Cowboys need to get the best defensive player available (BDPA) with pick 28. I think the meat of that talent lies at DE. I don't know how the Cowboys view each guy, but I see a player like Takk, Harris, or Taco being drafted and the team being very excited about him. He'll be one of the 15 or so "first-round grade" players they have on their board.

Landon: I think the critical thing is getting the Pass Rusher first because we don't need numbers at the position, we need talent. So getting a pass rusher after 28 doesn't interest me as much. We need numbers and talent at DB, and can get both all the way into the 4th I think.

We have collectively been obsessing over DE, CB and S for the last few months, almost to the exclusion of any other positions.

But what if the Cowboys don't draft those three positions with their top three picks, or not in the sequence that you were expecting?

You've been following this team for years, probably even decades, so you know that there's a good chance the team goes in an entirely different direction, especially in the early rounds, than many of us expect. You have exactly 20 more days to prepare for that eventuality.

This is almost certain to happen: At some point during the draft the Cowboys' selections will leave you scratching your head (Byron who? - Nobody drafts a center that high!!! - Did they just draft a tight end?!?) and it may even get pretty ugly in our little corner of the internet for a little while.

But there is one universal truth to your Cowboys fanhood: Eventually, you will learn to accept those picks, as you have done with so many in the past. You will come to understand the rationale behind those picks in the weeks and months following the draft. There's a chance you might start defending those picks at some point. Over time, you may even grow to love those picks. It is what we do.

Or you can make like Tom Ryle and avoid the aggravation altogether.

It all comes back to my basic rule: Take the player that helps the Cowboys the most. You have to put the proper weight on position in making that calculation, but it cannot drive the choice above all other things. So I don't worry much at all about which position comes first. At the end of the day, I just want the most talent possible.