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Candidates for the 58th pick if the Cowboys miss out on one of the top safeties

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Who could be the best available players left on the board if all the top safeties are gone?

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NCAA Football: Kentucky at Texas A&M John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

One of the exciting things about a fantasy football draft is the thrill of watching a player you covet slowly slide to you in the draft. It can be exhilarating, but it can also be filled with anxiety as you have to wait and wait, hoping that player makes it to you. Well, this is the feeling most of us Cowboys fans are going to experience in the upcoming NFL Draft as we wait for 57 players to come off the board. By the end of Day 1, the anxiousness will start to set in. We will ponder who could possibly make it to the Cowboys and hold our breath at each trip to the podium before their pick, hoping we hear someone else’s name called. It’s going to be nerve racking.

In most cases, there are going to be at least one player available that we really love. For some fans, we are hoping that player is one of the talented safeties from this draft class. If Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Taylor Rapp, or Juan Thornhill somehow made it to 58 and was the Cowboys choice in the second round, many of us would be elated. While that would be ideal, there’s always a chance that the safety position is washed out. Recently, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay from ESPN put together a two-round mock. Something disturbing happened in Kiper’s mock as all of the top safeties came off the board.

25 Johnathan Abram (Eagles)

38 Taylor Rapp (Jaguars)

48 Juan Thornhill (Dolphins)

49 Nasir Adderly (Browns)

55 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (Texans)

Midway through the second round, things were looking promising as only Abram and Rapp were gone, but then boom! boom! Thornhill and Adderly were selected. And then there was a small glimpse of hope that Gardner-Johnson would make it, but then he was snatched up three picks before the Cowboys were up. How disappointing.

It appears the Cowboys are giving serious consideration to go after a safety with that 58 pick. After all, four of them are official pre-draft visits. But then these plans could get crushed if all of them are gone. Then what?

Let’s take a look at their options at that point.

SECONDARY

Who’s left? The players grayed out have already been taken in Kiper’s mock (Note: some players, like CB Byron Murphy, are purposely left off the list because the consensus is they’ll be first-round picks and have no chance of making it to 58). Alabama’s Deionte Thompson is the next best safety, but is he the best player at this point in the draft?

The Cowboys could go after one of the top corners available if one of them falls, but a lot of the really good ones are gone. How much better is the corner they could get a 58 versus what they could get at 90?

DEFENSIVE LINE

There are plenty of edge rushers available, but is there anyone here you like at pick 58? Or would the slew of options make them inclined to see if one of these guys are available in the third round?

The hope is that a deep defensive tackle class could push Dexter Lawrence or Jerry Tillery down the board. Kiper has Lawrence going way early as he’s taken 19th overall by the Tennessee Titans. Tillery slides, but he’s eventually selected by the Minnesota Vikings at 50. What do you think about the team’s remaining choices at defensive tackle?

OFFENSE

The wide receiver position is where we’ve seen the most variety in terms of how players are evaluated. This could be where the Cowboys find a fallen talent. You can almost guarantee that there’s going to be a receiver there we’re going to love, but is that the correct use of draft resources? The team has already spent their first-round pick on Amari Cooper. Should they double-down and get one in the second round too or could they still find a quality receiver in round three?

The tight end position doesn’t offer very much either. Noah Fant and Irv Smith Jr. aren’t even realistic options as Kiper has them going late in the first round. With both Green Bay and New England picking late in the round, that seems like a safe bet. That leaves Jace Sternberger as the only real option, but is he the most talented player available or would that be a reach?

Who should the Cowboys select? This decision is a lot harder than expected as we were hoping a sure-fire player would just jump out at us. Do you see that player? Let’s consult the experts and get a list of their best available players at each of these positions. For this list, we are using rankings from Drafttek, Dane Brugler’s top 100, CBS Sports, and The Draft Network. Here are their top players available at each position, with their highest ranked player highlighted in red.

S Deionte Thompson

Maybe this list of quality safeties is a little longer than we thought? The people over at Drafttek love Thompson’s upside and there was a time where he was believed to be a legit top 15 pick. He’s a risk-taker and it’s allowed him to make some huge plays, but those same type of gambles have gotten him in trouble. Thompson still has a lot of work to do in terms of tackling and some of the responsibilities of being a safety, but he’s a ball-hawking coverage guy who loves to jump routes.

DE Jachai Polite

This is just a deep class of edge rushers and that could cause some talent to fall through the cracks. Polite is a pass rushing specialist and may be just a situational player at first, but he’s very talented at getting to the quarterback. He’s twitched up, has great bend, and has all the traits you look for in an edge rusher. He does have some maturity concerns which is another reason he could fall, but the talent is there.

DT Dre’Mont Jones

One of these days the Cowboys are going to find themselves a dual threat defensive tackle that can rush the passer and be a force against the run. However, picking this late in the draft means it won’t be happening this year. Instead, the team will look for gap shooters who can get off the line of scrimmage quickly and attack the quarterback. This is the appeal of Jones as he is extremely athletic and can be an asset on passing downs, but the liability he presents in the running game limits what he can contribute on the field.

WR Hakeem Butler

Which wide receiver will be available at 58 and will he be your favorite? If it’s Butler, then the answer will be yes for me as there’s a lot to love about this huge receiving target. He doesn’t change direction on a dime and his route tree isn’t spectacular, but the speed/size combo is something that could cause some serious damage down the field. Butler shows up high on a couple of different boards and is as high as 19th overall on the Draft Network rankings. Could Butler be that late second-round Ju Ju pick the Cowboys missed out on in 2017?

CB Amani Oruwariye

If one of the top corners fell to 58, you’d gladly pound the table for him, right? Well, it’s a possibility that Oruwariye could be that guy. At 6’1” and 204 pounds, Kris Richard would be handed a gift on a silver platter. Talented corners like Deandre Baker and Julian Love are fun to watch, but they don’t posses the size Richard requires from his corner. Oruwariye needs to work on his technique, but his size and instincts have made him one of the classes top corners. And he has the production to back it up. It might not be the specific defensive back position group they were targeting, but this could end up being a nice draft steal for the Cowboys. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Amani going up against Amari in practice?

TE Jace Sternberger

Yes, if you watched the gauntlet drill at the combine for the tight ends, Sternberger was one of the guys who didn’t face the right direction. But don’t fret, the chance of him lining up the wrong way in an actual game is practically nil. While the talent tier takes a drastic drop after Irv Smith Jr., Sternberger still has a lot of traits that will translate well in the NFL. He’s a great receiver with strong hands and always finds creases in the seam. While there are a few other tight ends that can be selected later who are also good receivers, they are huge liabilities as blockers. Sternberger should be able to step in right away and be a contributor.

Poll

If the Cowboys miss out on one of the top safeties, who should they go after with the 58th pick?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Stick with S, take Deionte Thompson
    (404 votes)
  • 16%
    EDGE - Jachaie Polite
    (277 votes)
  • 21%
    DT Dre’Mont Jones
    (359 votes)
  • 8%
    WR Hakeem Butler
    (132 votes)
  • 18%
    CB Amani Oruwariye
    (305 votes)
  • 10%
    TE Jace Sternberger
    (166 votes)
1643 votes total Vote Now