Mock drafts are in full swing as the endless exercise of trying to project new players to the Dallas Cowboys is one of the funnest things to do at this time of the year. With so many great players to choose from, it’s hard to decide on what we believe is best for our football team. It’s like when you were a little kid and your mom said you could pick out one toy from the store. Suddenly, you freeze up as you try to decide what selection will maximize your enjoyment.
Making the right decision is hard, especially when there are several rounds in the mix that can help maximize their draft haul. Would you really take Alabama safety Xavier McKinney if you knew you could get Minnesota’s Antoine Winfield Jr. in the second round? Is it smart to take one of the top tier receivers on Day 1, when great depth offers such good choices later? The Cowboys passed on Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore in 2018, only to select Michael Gallup in the third round, and that worked out pretty well.
Weighing such options is the topic of this article as we wanted to explore what combinations of players would improve this Cowboys roster the most. For this exercise, we are going to deal with the premium rounds, one through three. Also, we are going to limit this to just four positions. Safety, defensive tackle, and cornerback are on the table because they unequivocally represent the team’s biggest needs based on the community here at BTB. We are also going to include wide receiver because this deep class has people mocking players to the Cowboys in all of the premium rounds of this draft. We shouldn’t turn away from talent if the whole purpose of the draft is to collect talent.
With four position groups and three rounds to work with, that means one position is going to get left out, but that’s the way things go sometimes. Such is the NFL Draft.
Note: While specific players are listed here, feel free to replace them with players at the same position that are projected to go around the same time, i.e., don’t like CeeDee Lamb and want Jerry Jeudy instead? No problem.
Also, some of these guys won’t make it to the Cowboys pick, but some will. In most cases, we’re pleasantly surprised when certain guys are still available when the Cowboys pick, so in the spirit of fairness, we’re including “best-case scenario choices” for all the position groups.
Let’s get to the choices.
WR CeeDee Lamb - his ball skills are unmatched, and his complete list of skills has him rated as potentially the top receiver in this draft class.
DT Javon Kinlaw - this guy has tremendous burst off the snap and shows a regular display of disruptiveness in the middle.
CB C.J. Henderson - he’s got the length and athleticism to be a premium cover corner in this league.
S Xavier McKinney - a smart, savvy tackler that has top notch instincts to be effective in coverage.
WR - Tee Higgins - with great body control and an impressive catch radius, the Clemson star is just one of many high quality receivers who could be available in the second round.
DT - Justin Madubuike - outstanding leverage and strong hands make this Aggie one of the top gap penetrators in this draft.
CB - Damon Arnette - this Buckeye is a smothering corner with great awareness and closing speed to make pass-catching difficult.
S - Antoine Winfield Jr. - a sneaky undercutting safety that lurks in the darkness just waiting to take the ball away.
WR - Michael Pittman Jr. - with excellent hands and great body control, the USC receiver is very quarterback friendly.
DT - Raekwon Davis - this huge clog exhibits excellent body control, and has the arms to latch onto ball carriers.
CB - Jaylon Johnson - physical at the line of scrimmage, this aggressive corner is effective getting receivers pushed off their routes.
S - Ashytyn Davis - with an assortment of good traits, this mobile Golden Bear shows great anticipation and attack the field well.
We asked fans on Twitter what combination they would choose. With over 100 comments, we parsed through the answers. Here are the results:
It was good to see a nice balance of selections as it speaks to some pretty favorable choices the Cowboys may have when they’re on the clock. While Javon Kinlaw and CeeDee Lamb were the top favorites, the Cowboys could go many different directions on Day 1.
Antoine Winfield Jr. ran away with this one. Many would argue that there is very little chance he makes it to the Cowboys at 51. That may be true, but anything is possible. Both Dane Brugler from The Athletic and Chad Reuter from NFL.com have Winfield Jr. being drafted after the Cowboys in the second round. If you knew the Cowboys could score Winfield in round two, would that make you completely look past the idea of using a first-round draft resource on McKinney?
USC’s Michael Pittman may not be your favorite choice (maybe it’s Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool?), but there should be a talented WR option available when the Cowboys are up in the third round. What is also interesting is how a starting caliber defensive tackle could be there as well. It may not be Alabama’s Raekwon Davis, but there are some really enticing names falling to 82 in many of the mock drafts. If the Cowboys are patient with DT, they may be rewarded handsomely in round three.
What combination of players would you choose for the Cowboys in the first three rounds?