The Cowboys have had some good fortune with the 17th overall pick, will they get lucky again in the 2020 NFL Draft?
The Cowboys have the 17th overall pick for just the fifth time in team history.
With only four previous picks at this spot, one might suggest it’s a small sample size to call it a trend. However, 50 percent of the picks from this spot in the first round have ended up in the Hall of Fame.
That’s right, two of the four players the Cowboys have taken at No. 17 – Emmitt Smith and Mel Renfro – both have a gold jacket.
That’s quite a success rate, even with just four picks.
The other two weren’t that bad either, including cornerback Kevin Smith, who was taken 17th in the 1992 draft. That was one of the many picks the Cowboys obtained in the Herschel Walker trade and Smith had a nine-year career in Dallas, starting 93 games.
The Cowboys also drafted Kevin Brooks in 1985 out of Michigan. The bulky defensive end spent two years in a rotation before starting 26 games the next two seasons. He finished his career in Detroit. But the Cowboys certainly have hit home runs with both Emmitt and Mel Renfro, who have a combined 18 Pro Bowls between them.
2020 Draft: Is DT Javon Kinlaw at the top of the Cowboys’ wish list for draft night? - KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
There is a lot of talk about the Cowboys targeting safeties with the 17th overall pick but should more consideration be given to South Carolina’s DT Javon Kinlaw?
On defense, there are more questions than answers. DeMarcus Lawrence is the only starting defensive lineman who is guaranteed to return. Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods and Michael Bennett are all up in the air as free agents of some kind.
All of this, at least until some free agents are inked, lead to four regular objects of affection for the Cowboys to select at No. 17, according to mock drafts.
Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina)
Wide Receiver Henry Ruggs III (Alabama)
Safety Xavier McKinney (Alabama)
Safety Grant Delpit (LSU)
The majority of mock drafts, at least until the combine results start shuffling prospects around, are looking to deliver one of these four players to Dallas.
Kinlaw is the longshot to be available. He’s a highly disruptive player with a high ceiling as a pass-rushing interior lineman. The way he gets to Dallas could be the injury route, as he has knee concerns that knocked him out of Senior Bowl week after two practices.
NFL Draft 2020: A look at this year’s cornerback class & options for Cowboys - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
Let’s take a peek at the cornerback class in this year’s draft.
CJ HENDERSON, FLORIDA
9 GP, 33 TCKL, 3 TFL, 1 SACK, 11 PBUs (2019)
Henderson is already a favorite of some Cowboys writers at The Athletic and he could hear his name called on opening night. His production this season was really good for a guy that only played in nine games. Though he didn’t register a pick this year, he had six interceptions in his collegiate career, which is on par with the top corners in the class. Henderson’s agility is second to none and his coverage ability is top-notch as is his awareness for the game. What makes him special is his relentless effort to win his matchups down after down. Henderson was tested by NFL-caliber receiving talents and regularly shut them down. It is concerning that he sometimes seems to be disinterested in making the tackle but the playmaking ability is there, he just needs a little more coaching in a few areas.
Dak Prescott hasn't even thought about free agency because he's confident he'll never enter it.
“I’m confident a new contract is coming. I’m confident in my agent and my team and I’m confident in the Cowboys that something will get done,” he said in the interview with ESPN’s Sage Steele, when asked how close he was to agreeing to a new contract.
Asked why he and the Cowboys couldn’t agree to a new contract before the start of last season, Prescott said, “There’s a lot of variables that go into it.” “There’s a lot of things that have to come into play when you’re talking about a contract. Never just look at the money, never just look at what people see or the attention-grabber. There’s a lot of details to it,” he said. “There’s people that know that handle that, so I’m leaving that up to my agent and I have all the confidence in both sides.”
Dak Prescott won’t talk to Aaron Rodgers about playing for Mike McCarthy – Josh Alper, ProFootballTalk
Dak Prescott is not interested in Aaron Rodgers thoughts on the Cowboys new head coach, Mike McCarthy.
That won’t be the case for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. During an interview with Prescott this week, Chris Simms asked if he would be giving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers a call to talk about new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.
Prescott said he wouldn’t, because he wants to go into his relationship with McCarthy without any preconceived notions about the coach.
“No, not at all,” Prescott said. “I don’t care to get a feel from somebody else off of their judgment or their relationship. I know relationships are completely individual and I don’t even want to warp my mind off of what somebody else thinks.”
The Cowboys have so many looming free agent decisions ahead and Robert Quinn should be higher on the list.
One of the most important free agents to be retained is 2019 offseason steal Robert Quinn. After missing the first two games due to a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, Quinn was excellent. He led the team with 11.5 sacks and also added 22 quarterback hits. This was Quinn’s first double-digit sack season since 2014 during his days with the then St. Louis Rams.
More than likely, this will lead to Quinn being a hot commodity on the open market with lucrative offers sure to follow. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, that may be too much to keep Quinn in a Cowboys uniform. After all, you can’t put a premium on pass rushers in today’s NFL, and with Quinn proving he still has plenty left in the tank, he’ll definitely have suitors once March arrives.
Jason Witten leaning towards suiting up for another season, will he suit up for Cowboys though? -David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
He might not know where it happens, but it sounds like Jason Witten wants to continue playing football in 2020.
What that means for his future is hard to say. The Cowboys have a new head coach in Mike McCarthy, and Witten is currently out of contract. As a longtime veteran of the NFL, Witten acknowledged the future is not completely in his hands. Speaking on “The Rich Eisen Show,” he detailed that thought process.
”I have 16 years in Dallas. You would love to finish it off there. But I also am not naïve enough to think – you know, it may need to be somewhere else,” he said. “That’s how this business works. You have to be open to that idea, for sure. But I think the biggest thing is having those open conversations with Jerry and Stephen and Mike and see where this thing takes us here in the next couple months.”
Cowboys legends Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman talk Dallas' Super Bowl drought & coaching changes -Patrik Walker, CBSSports.com
Two former legends and Hall of Famers, Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, weigh in on their former franchise.
Why? Well, according to Johnson, it’s because they weren’t hungry enough.
”I don’t know why it didn’t go better [in 2019],” Johnson said from Super Bowl Media Week in Miami, via Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I watched them play a lot of times and they looked as good as anyone in the league, and they are very talented. But then I’d see some adversity happen, and they just went blasé. I think sometimes you gotta be able to grit your teeth and say, ‘I’m gonna make it happen. Someway, somehow, I’m gonna make it happen.’
”And you gotta have that inner drive to do it. At times, they didn’t have that inner drive.”
As Johnson readies himself for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August, joining Aikman, the latter has never pulled punches when it came time to critique all that went wrong in Garrett’s regime (and each regime prior to it, following Johnson’s and including Switzer’s). With his former backup and longtime friend now in New York, Aikman turns his eyes to the hiring of Mike McCarthy in Dallas, and he’s already impressed with the rebuilt coaching staff along with what McCarthy brings to the table.
”Is McCarthy the answer? We’re going to find out,” Aikman said. “A lot of people hope he is. I’m a big fan of Mike.”
”I keep saying that. I loved him when he was in Green Bay. ... I like his style. I like the way his teams were prepared, and his resume speaks for itself.”
Each NFL team's beat writer discusses the bold predictions they didn't get right in the 2019 season.
Bold prediction from September: Running back Ezekiel Elliott will lead the league in rushing.
If it weren’t for the fact quarterback Dak Prescott’s improved passing changed the scope of the Cowboys’ offense, I would have been right. Elliott finished fourth in the league in rushing with 1,357 yards, so I wasn’t that far off. And the argument can be made that the Cowboys got away from their core by relying on the pass so much, even if Prescott finished with a career-high 4,902 yards passing. Elliott did not break off many explosive runs, which perhaps his training camp absence played a part in, but he was effective. If I’m making a bold prediction for 2020, it’s that Elliott will lead the league in rushing. — Todd Archer