The NFL combine has come and gone, and now we push our focus to NFL free agency. Before we get to that, let’s take a look and see how the first three-rounds of the NFL draft could play out, and put emphasis on how that could affect the Cowboys.
1. Cincinnati Bengals - Joe Burrow - LSU - QB
Cincinnati is in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Joe Burrow is as close as we can get to a can’t-miss quarterback prospect, and he is coming off one of the most successful college quarterback seasons of all time. This is a no-brainer for the Bengals.
2. Washington Redskins - Chase Young - Ohio State - EDGE
Chase Young is the best overall prospect in this year’s draft class, and the Redskins like what they see in Dwayne Haskins. While there is some speculation that the Redskins may consider Tua Tagovialoa with the second overall pick, taking Chase Young is the smart move with Dwayne Haskins showing plenty of promise.
3. Detroit Lions - Jeff Okudah - Ohio State - CB
The Lions are currently in a full-on rebuild, and starting the rebuild with one of the best cornerback prospects over the last decade would be an easy selection for GM Bob Quinn. Whether the Lions decide to keep veteran cornerback Darius Slay should have little impact on the direction the Lions go with the third overall pick.
4. New York Giants - Tristan Wirfs - Iowa - OT
It’s been quite a while since the Giants could say their offensive line was one of their teams strengths, but with new head coach Joe Judge and new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, building the OL to be a strength of the team will likely be a high-priority this offseason. Tristan Wirfs had an exceptional combine to pair with very impressive tape at Iowa. Wirfs would be a plug-and-play tackle for the Giants and would provide an instant upgrade for second-year QB Daniel Jones and electric RB Saquon Barkley.
5. Miami Dolphins - Tua Tagovailoia - Alabama - QB
The Miami Dolphins are in year-one of a complete overhaul. After trading away Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins have plenty of ammo to build the core of their roster. Tua would be in consideration for the number one pick if medical issues weren’t a concern, but the Dolphins shouldn’t worry about rushing Tagovailoa on the field in year-one, instead they should focus on him being healthy for the next three-four years.
6. Los Angeles Chargers - Justin Herbert - Oregon - QB
The Chargers have officially moved on from long-time quarterback Phillip Rivers, and will likely turn to the draft to find their quarterback of the future. Justin Herbert is a high-ceiling, big-arm quarterback that possesses elite arm talent, and prototypical size and athleticism for the position. The Chargers don’t pick inside the top six often, so grabbing their franchise quarterback while they are in range of one of the top guys, is a no-brainer for GM Tom Telesco.
7. Carolina Panthers - Isaiah Simmons - Clemson - LB
Linebacker, safety, cornerback, EDGE... the many positions Isaiah Simmons COULD play at the next level. Defense is the position Isaiah Simmons SHOULD play at the next level. With the retirement of Luke Keuchly, adding a player of Isaiah Simmons caliber is the exact thing Matt Rhule’s defense will need. Simmons offers elite versatility, athleticism, and leadership qualities to the defense, and can do so many different things for Phil Snow’s defense in Carolina.
8. Arizona Cardinals - Mekhi Becton - Louisville - OT
Even after winning rookie of the year in 2019, Kyler Murray needs to be protected better if the Cardinals want to keep him healthy and playing at a high-level. Becton has extraordinary size (6’7” 369 lbs), and pairs his size with excellent athleticism for the position. Becton has some insanely fun tape with his ability to toss defensive lineman around with ease both as a run defender and pass protector. The selection of Becton would provide the Cardinals with a starting offensive lineman, to help with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray’s development.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars - C.J. Henderson - Florida - CB
Similar to the Panthers, the Jaguars are starting their fire-sale, and looking to rebuild. After trading starting CB A.J. Bouye to the Broncos earlier in the week, the Jaguars will be looking to add young talent to the position. C.J. Henderson is just that, and will bring elite cover abilities to the table. While Jeff Okudah is the runaway best cornerback in this class, Henderson is just below him in terms of cover abilities, but needs to develop his technique as a tackler in run support.
10. Cleveland Browns - Jedrick Wills - Alabama - OT
After a disappointing year in Cleveland, the Browns need to do everything they can to get their offense back on track in 2020. That starts up front by fixing the offensive line issues that destroyed the teams chances in 2019. Jedrick Wills is arguably the best offensive lineman in this draft class and would be a day-one starter for the Browns at RT, with the ability to play LT and inside at guard if need be. If Wills is still available when the Browns are on the clock, their shouldn’t be much consideration from new GM Andrew Berry.
11. New York Jets - Andrew Thomas - Georgia - OT
In Adam Gase’s first year in new York, his offense struggled with consistency, and was absolutely disastrous running the football and keeping Sam Darnold upright for most of the year. Thomas’ strengths are his ability to open up running lanes, but also excels as a pass protector on the left side. Thomas may not be as exciting as one of the big-three receivers, but he’s a much smart option for the long-term success of the New York Jets and quarterback Sam Darnold.
12. Oakland Raiders - Jerry Jeudy - Alabama - WR
After trading away Amari Cooper at the trade deadline in the 2018 season, the Raiders have been looking for his replacement via cheap free agent signings or late round draft picks. It’s time to invest in the position and really see if Derek Carr is the answer at quarterback. Jeudy is an elite route-runner with the ability to play inside or outside in Jon Gruden’s offensive scheme. Jeudy will give the Oakland offense a guy that consistently get open, and give Derek Carr larger throwing windows to get him the football.
13. Indianapolis Colts - Jordan Love - Utah State - QB
The QB situation in Indianapolis was a roller-coaster ride in 2019. Jacoby Brissett showed signs of being productive, but ultimately wasn’t able to win over the front office and coaching staff. GM Chris Ballard is rumored to love the traits that Jordan Love showcased at Utah State, and a strong Senior Bowl and combine likely strengthened his love affair. Love has some inconsistencies to clean up, but has some elite traits at the most important position in all of football. Love may not walk in and take over the league immediately, but could have one of the higher ceilings in this draft class.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Derrick Brown - Auburn - DL
After a very underwhelming combine, Derrick Brown’s stock is probably at an all-time low. With that being said, he still is one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen I’ve ever scouted. Possessing elite size for the position, Brown offers the ability to play both nose tackle and under tackle for the Buccaneers, and would work nicely with Vita Vea in the middle of that defensive line. With the addition of Brown, Tampa Bay would have one of the best, young defensive tackle tandems in the NFL. It won’t take teams drafting in the top ten long to start regretting letting a player of Brown’s caliber fall due to a poor combine showing.
15. Denver Broncos - Henry Ruggs III - Alabama - WR
The whispers coming out of Denver continue to say the Broncos are looking to add starting-caliber offensive tackles, or adding speed to their wide receiver room. While the value for tackle didn’t make a lot of sense here, the Broncos did get excellent value at receiver with Henry Ruggs III falling into their lap. Ruggs III offers blazing speed, nuanced route-running abilities, and a sky-high ceiling at the position. Ruggs III would join Courtland Sutton in hopes of getting Denver back on track with Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay, and Noah Fant.
16. Atlanta Falcons - K’Lavon Chaisson - LSU - EDGE
Bendy, long, and athletic are three of the traits K’Lavon Chaisson brings to the table in the NFL. Those are also three of the most important traits when evaluating pass rushers in the NFL. Chaisson finished off the year on an absolute tear, and was a key-factor in the LSU Tigers winning the 2020 National Championship. Chaisson cleaned up his hand-fighting skills throughout his red-shirt sophomore season, and you could tell he was getting healthier as the season progressed. Chaisson would look to replace Vic Beasley’s pass rush production in Atlanta, and would finally give Atlanta a true EDGE threat to pair with DT Grady Jarrett.
17. Dallas Cowboys - CeeDee Lamb - Oklahoma - WR
Cowboys fans, you can thank the offensive lines combine performances for this one. While half of the fanbase likely hates this picks, because they want them to draft for need and target defensive tackle or cornerback, the other half of the fan base understands you can’t pass up a talent like CeeDee Lamb to draft for need. Lamb is dynamic after the catch, has elite ball skills, and has a good-feel for how to create separation in all three levels of the field. Lamb would be an excellent addition to a Cowboys’ offense that struggled at receiver down the stretch, in the red-zone, and finishing drives in 2019.
18. Miami Dolphins - Zack Baun - Wisconsin - EDGE
Zack Baun is an absolutely perfect fit for Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins defense. Baun will likely split-time as a true EDGE rusher and off-the-ball linebacker in Miami’s defense and can be a walk-in starter in both of those roles. Baun has an underrated skill-set as a pass rusher, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he slides into a full-time EDGE role in year two after a full season in an NFL offseason program. Baun’s versatility and talent would give to Dolphins a “multiple” defender that the team can build around for years to come.
19. Oakland Raiders - Kenneth Murray - Oklahoma - LB
A year after adding Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and Jonathan Abram to the defense, the Raiders will be hunting for physical, fast, linebackers in the 2020 draft class. Kenneth Murray is a match made in heaven for a defense lacking toughness and athleticism at the linebacker position. Murray offers excellent speed, sideline-to-sideline range, and ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars - Javon Kinlaw - South Carolina - DL
After adding a starting CB with their first-first round pick, they go back to the defensive side of the ball to add another starter along the defensive line. A fall into the 20’s for Javon Kinlaw would be excellent value for the Jaguars at 20th overall, and would provide them with an instant impact starter who can create chaos in the middle of the defensive line. While there are some concerns regarding the arthritis in his knees, Kinlaw’s medicals have all received positive signs coming out of Indianapolis.
21. Philadelphia Eagles - Kristian Fulton - LSU - CB
The secondary issues in Philadelphia have been an issue for years. Ronald Darby’s time in Philadelphia looks to be coming to an end, and the development of Sidney Jones, Ronald Darby, and Jalen Mills has been rather disappointing. Kristian Fulton provides excellent coverage abilities on the boundary, and offers solid athleticism at the position. Fulton helped himself with a very solid combine, and would fit in well in Jim Schwartz defense as they look to revamp the secondary.
22. Buffalo Bills - Yetur Gross-Matos - Penn State - EDGE
The rich get richer. After a very good year from the Bills defense, they add another solid player in Yetur Gross-Matos to help hunt quarterbacks. YGM offers excellent length, power, and can be both a very good pass rusher and run defender for Sean McDermott’s defense. Gross-Matos would give the Bills a young, talented core in Ed Oliver, Tre White, Tremaine Edmunds, and Yetur Gross-Matos.
23. New England Patriots - Terrell Lewis - Alabama - EDGE
Terrell Lewis is such a Bill Belichick player. Long, physical, and fast, Lewis offers electric pass rush ability as an EDGE. Lewis has low mileage on him as injuries and the amount of talent on the Alabama defense kept Lewis off the field far more than he was on it. With Lewis’ physical and athletic traits, it wouldn’t surprise me if Belichick turned Lewis into the draft’s best EDGE prospect with his ability to use him in multiple roles and alignments in New England.
24. New Orleans Saints - Justin Jefferson - LSU - WR
A combination of Michael Thomas and Justin Jefferson is a scary scary sight for the NFL. Jefferson offers the ability to lineup in the slot and outside, which works great with Thomas’ versatility as well. Jefferson has excellent ball skills, and one of the most underrated route-runners in this draft class. With Drew Brees’ career likely coming to an end, giving Brees a weapon in Jefferson to pair with Thomas, Kamara, and Cook would give Sean Payton and Drew Brees the best shot to out-score opponents on the way to the NFC Championship game, and possibly another Super Bowl appearance.
25. Minnesota Vikings - Jeff Gladney - TCU - CB
At the end of the first round, the Vikings get excellent value in TCU CB Jeff Gladney. The CB position in Minnesota has been inconsistent at best, and Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes aren’t expected to be back in 2020. Jeff Gladney offers special coverage abilities, overall good athleticism, and is as physical as they come in the running game. Gladney gets slept on for playing in the Big-12 and for his size, but will be one of the best corners in this draft class due to his ability to cover, and ball skills at the position.
26. Miami Dolphins - D’Andre Swift - Georgia - RB
While drafting a running back in the first round is never a great idea, adding a player of D’Andre Swift’s caliber at the end of the first round makes a ton of sense for the Dolphins who have a massive need at the position. Swift is a three-down back at the next level, with the ability, excellent burst, vision, and explosiveness between the tackles. Swift is a solid receiver out of the backfield, but will make his money making people miss and using his vision and burst to turn two-yard gains into five-yard gains consistently.
27. Seattle Seahawks - Trevon Diggs - Alabama - CB
Similar to Terrell Lewis with the Patriots, Trevon Diggs has the Seattle Seahawks written all over him. Diggs is a long, physical cornerback around the line of scrimmage, excelling in press at Alabama. Diggs has great recovery abilities and plays the position with excellent instincts and ball skills. Long arms allows him to bully receivers at the line of scrimmage and throughout the route-stem. His fit in Seattle makes perfect sense for both parties involved.
28. Baltimore Ravens - Patrick Queen - LSU - LB
Baltimore got away with replacement-level talent at the linebacker position in 2019, but will need to look to the draft to improve in the middle of their defense. Queen brings big-hit ability, excellent speed and burst, and was very successful as a blitzer and cover-man as well for the Tigers. Queen can bring sideline-to-sideline speed, while also being a big-time thumper in the middle of the field for the Baltimore defense. His attitude and play-style fits in perfect with the Baltimore prototype.
29. Tennessee Titans - Ross Blacklock - TCU - DL
After drafting Jeffery Simmons in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Titans back that pick up by going DL again in the 2020 draft. Blacklock is a special talent in the middle of the defensive line that plays the position with great quickness, strength, and versatility at the position. Blacklock would be able to play up-and-down the Titans defensive line, and would give them another high-ceiling defensive line with run-stuffing abilities, and the ability to develop his pass rush skill-set.
30. Green Bay Packers - Denzel Mims - Baylor - WR
Talk about an offseason rise. Denzel Mims came into the offseason as a solid receiver that would likely get drafted late on day two-early day three. Now, it’d be shocking for him to fall out of the first round. With Mims size, athleticism, and abilities to take the top off of defenses, he’s the perfect fit for Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has seen a consistent drop off in production his last two-years, and adding a player of Mims caliber could hopefully change the narrative that Rodgers is starting to fall off.
31. San Fransisco 49ers - Xavier McKinney - Alabama - SS
The 49ers had a fantastic season finishing just short of a Super Bowl victory. If there’s one spot on their defense they can look to upgrade, it would have to be the strong safety spot. Jaquiski Tartt is a solid player for the 49ers, but Xavier Mckinney would be an upgrade their with some more play-making ability. Mckinney will excel playing down in the box, and making plays around the line of scrimmage in the run-game, while also being able to cover in the nickel.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - A.J. Terrell - Clemson - CB
Kanas City had their fair-share of issues in the secondary in 2019, and the addition of A.J. Terrell would give them a long, athletic corner with ball skills. Terrell’s draft stock seemed to take a hit after struggling against LSU in the National Championship game, but the whole body of work is impressive. Terrell would work in well as outside corner in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
33. Cincinnati Bengals - Neville Gallimore - Oklahoma - DL
34. Indianapolis Colts - Tee Higgins - Clemson - WR
The Colts pair their new franchise quarterback, with a physical receiver on the outside to pair with T.Y. Hilton. Higgins ball skills, physicality, and reliable hands will make a great tandem with Hilton.
35. Detroit Lions - A.J. Epenesa - Iowa - DL
36. New York Giants - Curtis Weaver - Boise State - EDGE
37. Los Angeles Chargers - Josh Jones - Houston - OT
38. Carolina Panthers - Noah Igbinoghene - Auburn - CB
39. Miami Dolphins - Austin Jackson - USC - OT
40. Arizona Cardinals - Jalen Reagor - TCU - WR
Kyler Murray gets his protection in the first round, and his big-time playmaking receiver in the second. Reagor fits Kliff Kingsbury’s offense to a “T”, and will provide Murray with a deep-threat receiver to open up things underneath for Fitzgerald and co.
41. Cleveland Browns - Grant Delpit - LSU - FS
42. Jacksonville Jaguars - Antoine Winfield Jr. - Minnesota - FS
43. Chicago Bears - Cesar Ruiz - Michigan - OL
With their first pick in the 2020 draft, the Bears add the best interior offensive lineman in the class. Ruiz has experience at both guard and center, and will be a reliable centerpiece to the Bears offensive line.
44. Indianapolis Colts - Justin Madubuike - Texas A&M - DL
45. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Lucas Niang - TCU - OT
46. Denver Broncos - Isaiah Wilson - Georgia - OT
47. Atlanta Falcons - Jonathan Taylor - Wisconsin - RB
48. New York Jets - Lloyd Cushenberry III - LSU - Ol
49. Pittsburgh Steelers - Josh Uche - Michigan - EDGE
Pittsburgh adds another dynamic speed rusher to their defense to pair with T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree who is likely to return on the franchise tag. Uche brings excellent speed, bend, and explosiveness to play as an EDGE and OLB for the Steelers
50. Chicago Bears - Cole Kmet - Notre Dame - TE
51. Dallas Cowboys - Damon Arnette - Ohio State - CB
While Jeff Okudah gets a lot of the hype at Ohio State, don’t let that take your attention away from Damon Arnette. Arnette is an extremely physical man-cover cornerback that overwhelms receivers with his physicality at the line of scrimmage. If the Cowboys lose Byron Jones in free agency, Arnette would be an excellent option to replace Jones without spending a first-round pick.
52. Los Angeles Rams - Jonah Jackson - Ohio State - OL
53. Philadelphia Eagles - Laviska Shenault Jr. - Colorado - WR
The Eagles will finally upgrade their wide receiver room with Laviska Shenault Jr.. Shenault offers dynamic after the catch abilities, which is something the Eagles receiving corps has lacked in recent years.
54. Buffalo Bills - K.J. Hamler - Penn State - WR
55. Atlanta Falcons - Jaylon Johnson - Utah - CB
56. Miami Dolphins - Troy Pride Jr. - Notre Dame - CB
57. Houston Texans - J.K. Dobbins - Ohio State - RB
58. Minnesota Vikings - Matt Hennessy - Texas A&M - OL
59. Seattle Seahawks - Kyle Dugger - Lenoir-Rhyne - SS
60. Baltimore Ravens - Raekwon Davis - Alabama - DL
Baltimore adds a big bodied defensive lineman up front late in the second round, that can play up-and-down the defensive line in Baltimore. Davis has long limbs, is extremely power, and offers dynamic run-stuffing abilities as a day-two defensive lineman.
61. Tennessee Titans - Julian Okwara - Notre Dame - EDGE
62. Green Bay Packers - Prince Tega Wanogho - Auburn - OT
63. Kansas City Chiefs - Robert Hunt - Louisiana
64. Seattle Seahawks - Jonathan Greenard - Florida - EDGE
65. Cincinnati Bengals - Brandon Aiyuk - Arizona State - WR
66. Washington Redskins - Donovan Peoples-Jones - Michigan - WR
67. Detroit Lions - Willie Gay Jr. - Mississippi State - LB
68. New York Jets - Michael Pittman Jr. - USC - WR
Sam Darnold gets a new toy in Michael Pittman Jr. in the third round. Pittman brings great size, athleticism, and ball skills to the Jets receiving room, and will provide Darnold with a big-play receiver that can excel in all three levels of the field.
69. Carolina Panthers - Marlon Davidson - Auburn - DL
70. Miami Dolphins - Netane Muti - Fresno State - OL
71. Los Angeles Chargers - Damien Lewis - LSU - OL
72. Arizona Cardinals - Rashard Lawrence - LSU - DL
73. Jacksonville Jaguars - Malik Harrison - Ohio State - LB
74. Cleveland Browns - Cameron Dantzler - Mississippi State - CB
75. Indianapolis Colts - Adam Trautman - Dayton - TE
76. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jacob Eason - Washington - QB
With the quarterback situation in Tampa Bay still up in the air, the best bet for the Buccaneers could be to go best player available early and look to draft a developmental QB to play behind Winston if he comes back on the franchise tag.
77. Denver Broncos - Matthew Peart - UConn - OT
78. Atlanta Falcons - Erza Cleveland - Boise State - OT
79. New York Jets - Darrell Taylor - Tennessee - EDGE
80. Oakland Raiders - Darnay Holmes - UCLA - CB
81. Oakland Raiders - Jake Fromm - Georgia - QB
82. Dallas Cowboys - Ashtyn Davis - California - FS
Out of sight, out of mind. Ashtyn Davis has been sidelined for most of the offseason, and has missed the Senior Bowl and the combine recovering from a groin injury suffered at the end of the college season. Davis has great ball skills, athleticism, and isn’t afraid to light opponents up over the middle of the field.
83. Denver Broncos - Jordyn Brooks - Texas Tech - LB
84. Los Angeles Rams - Jeremy Chinn - Southern Illinois - SS
85. Philadelphia Eagles - Akeem Davis-Gaither - Appalachian State - LB
86. Buffalo Bills - Bryce Hall - Virginia - CB
87. New England Patriots - Ben Bredeson - Michigan - OL
88. New Orlean Saints - Amik Robertson - Louisiana Tech - CB
89. Minnesota Vikings - Ben Bartch - Saint John’s - OT
Small school, but a big talent. The NFL is not too bright for Ben Bartch, and he’s going to be a steal for the Vikings in the third round if he continues to develop at the rate he has been. Bartch has a strong anchor, quick feet, and has a nastiness to his game that stands out on tape.
90. Cleveland Browns - Saahdiq Charles - LSU - OT
91. Oakland Raiders - Davon Hamilton - Ohio State - DL
92. Baltimore Ravens - Van Jefferson - Florida - WR
93. Tennessee Titans - Tyler Biadasz - Wisconsin - OL
94. Green Bay Packers - Brycen Hopkins - Purdue - TE
95. Denver Broncos - Alohi Gilman - Notre Dame - SS
96. Kansas City Chiefs - Clyde Edwards-Helaire - LSU - RB
Kansas City adds a three-down back to pair with Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson, While Williams and Thompson found success in 2019, Edwards-Helaire would develop into the team starting back by the end of his freshman campaign, and could excel as a pass catcher in Andy Reid’s offense.