[In this series, we’re going to give you options for each Cowboys draft pick through round four to see who you believe is the best option.
We’re just going to assume that the Cowboys stay pat and pick so no trade options here. Using Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings at NFLDraftScout.com or hints from their pre-Draft visits, we’ll give you options of guys with a chance to be on the board.
BTB has spoken and DT Vita Vea slides down to pick 19 by 44% of the vote.
After we have gathered all answers to the polls, we’ll publish the perfect BTB Draft.]
DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (Brugler: 47th)
Where he fits: If you’re looking for sure-fire production, look no further than the guy that recorded 100 (yes 100) tackles last season. He also had 17 tackles for loss with 7.5 sacks despite being asked to take on double- and even triple-teams at times. Phillips would be an ultra-productive 1-tech tackle that gives you some looks at the three if you needed him there. He doesn’t get talked about nearly as much as other guys but Phillips’ combination of balance and power is second to none.
He’s not the biggest guy at 6’3, 307 lbs as he looks more chiseled than most 1-techs but Harrison’s motor and relentless effort set him apart. He’s got the quick burst to get to the quarterback with the strength to take on two or more blockers, what’s not to love?
WR Courtland Sutton, SMU (Brugler: 53rd)
Where he fits: Sutton is certainly a player the Cowboys have their eyes on as Jason Garrett attended his pro day last week. Brugler has often stated that Sutton is a forgotten man but he looks like a prototypical WR1. He’s broad-shouldered with long arms and has muscle definition.
Sutton is a natural hands receiver and has the strength in those hands to secure the contested catch. He’s also got great timing and ability to bail out his quarterback on poorly thrown passes. He doesn’t possess the elite route-running concepts and will need to broaden his repertoire. Sutton has speed in the 4.4’s but he doesn’t play with that suddenness off the line or out of his breaks at all times. If Dallas is looking for an eventual replacement to Dez Bryant, Sutton has the attributes associated with the ‘X’ receiver.
DT Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hayes State (Brugler: 55th)
Where he fits: Shepherd is a an interesting player that the Cowboys have already worked out. He’s a very large man at 6’4, 310 lbs, but he’s also got a finished frame on him. Shepherd is that type of player that plays both the three and one but he’s probably better as the under tackle. He has the quick feet and agility with a great motor that seems to have multiple gears. He’s a very violent player with strong hands that can stun a blocker and he’s always ripping at the ball making finishing efforts.
The two knocks on Shepherd are the facts that he’s 25-years-old and never played Division I football. He dominated lesser competition but what can he do against other NFL prospects? For the Cowboys, he’s not really the type of defensive tackle they need but this team loves 3-techs so it’s very possible he could be their pick.
G Austin Corbett, Nevada (Brugler: 56th)
Where he fits: Corbett started 48 of 49 games all at tackle but he doesn’t have the length to play the position in the NFL and looks like a guard. Making the transition from tackle to guard in the NFL without previous experience could be challenging. However, Corbett has the physical, mauler mentality that would make him the next collegiate tackle to turn pro inside. Corbett has great knee bend and agility that show up on the tape with regularity. He’s very powerful at the point of attack and has the athleticism to maintain blocks at the second-level.
For Dallas, they may want a guy that has more experience at guard but they’re one of the best teams at developing offensive linemen. If they decided to draft Corbett, they would feel very confident that he could be a starting guard.
FS Justin Reid, Stanford (Brugler: 59th)
Where he fits: The Cowboys really need a center fielder for the back end of their defense and Reid, although unfinished, could provide that type of range they covet. Reid has pretty good speed in the 4.4 range but he’s not necessarily a burner. Where he wins is with his instincts and intelligence. He does a really good job at timing receivers routes and anticipating the play. He’s never going to shy away from tackling and plays with the necessary alertness to adjust depending on the situation.
He still has a lot to learn before he can reach his potential but has a good enough understanding of the game to start immediately at free safety with his solid ball skills. He’s not afraid to be physical plus he’s a guy who sets his goals and attains them. Reid has very high upside and all the physical traits that his brother Eric had, he just needs more polishing.
LB Malik Jefferson, Texas (Brugler: 62nd)
Where he fits: Dallas is going to look for linebackers quite early in this draft because they require their primary backup to be of high caliber. Anthony Hitchens is gone to take on a starting role with the Chiefs. Dallas has concerns that 32-year old Sean Lee will not make it through a 16 game season and Jaylon Smith is almost 100% recovered from a devastating injury.
Jefferson is an explosive athlete that spent a chunk of his time at middle linebacker before becoming a roving linebacker in the Todd Herman administration. There is no doubt that Jefferson is a playmaker that sees the ball and gets the ball. The problem with Jefferson is that he tends to guess a lot and that can get you in hot water in the NFL. He’s got speed, he’s very physical, an aggressive tackler with tremendous production on defense and special teams. For all his athletic abilities, Jefferson only has marginal instincts. So you have to determine what you value more at linebacker: supreme athleticism or instincts?
WR Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame (Brugler: 64th)
Where he fits: The Cowboys will be leaving no stone unturned in their quest to better their receiving corps. St. Brown is a long and lean athlete but he’s the former son of a Mr. Universe and the weight room is his home so he’ll certainly put more muscle on his 6’5, 214 lbs frame. For a thinner guy, St. Brown is tough as nails and doesn’t allow minor injuries to keep him off the field, starting every game over the last two seasons.
Where the Cowboys will really fall in love with him is when they see him flash game speed. He’s consistently burning guys and finding creases in the defense with a very noticeable second-gear that some guys just don’t have. He’s certainly a raw product that needs to improve his play strength to break more tackles but his athletic profile will be hard to pass on.
Of these seven prospects, who should the Cowboys take at 50?
This poll is closed
DT Harrison Phillips
WR Courtland Sutton
DT Nathan Shepherd
G Austin Corbett
FS Justin Reid
LB Malik Jefferson
WR Equanimeous St. Brown