The Mothership provides a nice mock draft roundup for the Cowboys first-round pick, and no surprise - it’s safety heavy.
Chad Reuter, Draft Analyst, NFL.com
Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama
“McKinney’s ability to serve as a ballhawk and attack plays downhill could be a boon to Dallas’ secondary, which intercepted seven passes in all of 2019 (tied for fewest in the league).”
Nate Davis, USA Today
Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU
“No need to give up the ship for Jamal Adams when you can enlist another highly capable Bayou Bengal in Delpit, last season’s Jim Thorpe Award winner, to shore up the backline.”
2020 Mock Draft 3.0: Five plausible trades that could shake up round one - Dane Brugler The Athletic
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler also has the Cowboys selecting one of the top safeties, only he has them wheeling and dealing to land some extra picks if the New Orleans Saints feel compelled to go after Drew Brees replacement and trade up for a quarterback.
17. ***TRADE*** New Orleans Saints receive: 2020 first-round pick (No. 17 overall)
Dallas Cowboys receive:
2020 first-round pick (No. 24 overall)
2020 third-round pick (No. 88 overall)
2021 third-round pick
2021 fourth-round pick
And who does he have the Cowboys picking at 24?
24. Dallas Cowboys (via NO) – Grant Delpit, DS, LSU
In this scenario, the Cowboys trade back seven spots, add three draft picks and draft a player they likely would have considered at No. 17 overall. Delpit is far from a perfect prospect, but his coverage awareness and speed allow him to make plays sideline to sideline.
Every team has an ideal draft target, but who’s that guy for the Cowboys? Bleacher Report makes their guess.
Dallas Cowboys: Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
The Dallas Cowboys have massive money invested in running back Ezekiel Elliott, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and linebacker Jaylon Smith. Now the front office has to find a way to pay quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper and cornerback Byron Jones. That’s another way of writing that the pick at No. 17 needs to have an instant impact.
If the Cowboys are lucky, said pick might be LSU’s Kristian Fulton, a corner prospect with instant starter potential and plenty of playmaking ability. Corner figures to be the odd position out this offseason for the Cowboys as the front office looks to keep the franchise passer linked with his franchise wideout. But that doesn’t mean the Cowboys can afford to let the talent at corner dip so significantly.
It’s as if everybody is writing off the possibility of Byron Jones returning to Dallas.
Dak Prescott is understandably no. 1 on this list, but guess who’s name comes up at five?
5) Byron Jones, CB, Dallas Cowboys
Lost in all of the Dak and Amari Cooper noise ... Oh, by the way, the Cowboys’ top defensive back is due a new contract. I am a big fan of Jones. Great player. Great teammate who will do anything to win, including changing positions. He was a Pro Bowler in Year 1 as a full-time corner in 2018, and just enjoyed another fine campaign at the spot. If the Cowboys weren’t so distracted with the Dak back and forth, this could be done. And should be. I would absolutely prioritize Jones over Cooper.
A breakdown of the Cowboys cornerback situation.
2020 Cornerback Contract Statuses
Signed: Chidobe Awuzie Jourdan Lewis Donovan Olumba Deante Burton Chris Westry D.J. White
Free Agents: Byron Jones (UFA) Anthony Brown (UFA) C.J. Goodwin (UFA)
The debate about how good Byron Jones is or isn’t compared to the elite NFL corners is for another day. But sometimes you can only go with the reality of the current year, and the bottom line is that Jones is the Cowboys’ best CB and the top player at his position among other pending free agents in 2020. Dallas spent a 1st-round pick in 2015 to acquire Byron, which would making losing him now a disappointment. Any player you spend that kind of draft capital on should ideally get a second contract, and hopefully never play for any other team.
Eagles Signing Byron Jones Away From Cowboys Would Be the Ultimate Offseason Move - Jerry Trotta, 12 UP
Losing Brown would not be pleasant, but then seeing in sign with the rival Eagles would just be blasphemy!
We couldn’t think of a better fit for the Eagles, who will drive their fanbase into a state of depression if they don’t overhaul their bottom-of-the-barrel secondary. Jones is only 27 years old, meaning he’s just entering his prime. There’s a reason that NFL insiders believe he will become the league’s highest-paid CB this offseason: he’s a shutdown cornerback in every sense of the word, and there’s always demand for that. The UConn product isn’t necessarily a turnover machine, but does anybody really rely on stats to determine a cornerbacks true value? No way.
Byron Jones has been targeted 125 times over the past two years - allowed 65 receptions (52%) and 806 yards (6.4 YPA)— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 14, 2020
5 TD’s allowed, 19 PBU’s
27 years-old, former 1st rounder, 2nd-team all-pro (2018), 100 percentile athlete (RAS)
You DO NOT let that player walk in free agency
Philadelphia Eagles: Bryon Jones has to be free agent priority number one - Matty Breisch, Section 215
This Eagles fan tells the story how Philadelphia passed up on Byron Jones once already, but how they could make amends by stealing him away from Dallas.
As you probably know if you’ve watched an Eagles game over the last decade, Philly hasn’t had an elite cornerback, let alone two, in what feels like forever. Sure, they’ve paid guys like they are elite cornerbacks, with Nnamdi Asomugha, and Byron Maxwell each receiving deals paying out over $10 million a year, but through it all, nothing much has changed.
Signing Jones to a long-term free-agent deal does present the same inherent risk, but his upside is massive. Jones is big enough to body up any wide receiver in the NFL and fast enough to keep up with even the fastest speedsters the league employs.
After having to settle for interchangeably mediocre cornerbacks since 2016, Schwartz could use Jones as a moveable matchup piece who can line up on either side of the field, or even in the slot depending on how an opposing offensive coordinator chooses to attack the Birds’ D. And quite possibly best of all, signing Jones would guarantee he doesn’t somehow make it back to Dallas next season, a two-for-one win that’s almost too good to be true.
K.D. Drummond provides some insight to how much the Cowboys could recoup if some of their free agents signed elsewhere, including a projected compensatory estimate of the team’s All Pro corner.
CB Byron Jones: Projected 3rd Round
Perhaps more likely is the Cowboys allow their 2015 draft pick to walk after five seasons with the club. Jones was miscast early but found his groove at boundary corner and excelled under Kris Richard’s tutelage. The issue is that he doesn’t have ball skills and while the percentage of plays even the best CBs get interceptions on is woefully low, they are high impact plays which float a player’s reputation. Jones will get big money, somewhere. Teams just don’t complete very many passes thrown in his direction and that’s the core of his job responsibilities. He will likely make at least $14 million a year (top-7 CB money) and would earn a third rounder if he walks.
While Byron Jones is the free agent cornerback who will command a hefty price tag this offseason, Bleacher Report identifies another Cowboys corner who could end up being quite the bargain.
CB Anthony Brown
Brown’s physical nature allowed him to accumulate 172 tackles, eight for loss, three sacks, 32 pass breakups and four interceptions in 56 contests. With that said, there were some rough patches. The Cowboys benched him during the 2017 campaign, and his defensive snap count percentage declined in the following season. Because he’s more effective in the slot, teams may limit his role to nickel duties.
In Week 11 of the past season, Brown tore his triceps and landed on injured reserve. He finished with five pass breakups and zero interceptions through nine games, which included four starts. As a solid slot cornerback for stretches through four campaigns, expect Brown to remain in that role going forward. Because of his season-ending injury and some coverage lapses during his time in Dallas, clubs may hesitate to offer him big money. Nevertheless, he could emerge as a top-tier inside cover man in the near future.
Best of luck, Sanjay. I hope Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf like carrying bricks.
Former Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal is joining the coaching staff of the Seattle Seahawks, a source confirmed to PFT.
The exact position Lal will hold with the Seahawks has yet to be finalized but he will work with the offensive coaching staff. The team had an opening on its coaching roster after Steve Shimko left to take a job coaching tight ends at Boston College earlier in the offseason.