Last week the Dallas Cowboys added another piece to their secondary by signing former XFL cornerback Saivion Smith. He is the second cornerback they have brought in from the outside this offseason as they signed Maurice Canady in the first days of free agency. Dallas also added safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and they re-signed Anthony Brown. There are bodies in the secondary, but there is still help needed.
What’s more is the Cowboys are going to be in a bit of a pickle a year from now because Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Xavier Woods are all entering contract years. That trio was drafted together in 2017 in an effort to overhaul a secondary in free agency, time flies and the need is almost there yet again.
It is for this combination of reasons that many people want to see the Cowboys address the secondary in next week’s NFL Draft. There are a lot of options in the first round, but there are also some interesting directions to go in the second. ESPN’s Mel Kiper put out a two-round mock draft on Tuesday and he has the Cowboys staying in the back end with both of their first two selections.
Mel Kiper has the Cowboys going Xavier McKinney at 17 overall
We are a ways removed from every mock in the universe featuring Xavier McKinney or Grant Delpit going to the Cowboys in the first round, but sometimes you have to play the hits. It makes sense to give the Cowboys a safety given that they’ve been looking for one for most of this century.
Mel Kiper seems to subscribe to this logic by picking Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, although he’s gone corner for the Cowboys in the first before.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
McKinney called me out last week because I didn’t rank him as my No. 1 safety. I have Antoine Winfield Jr. just a little bit higher because of his versatility to play slot corner. But McKinney is the best pure safety in this class, and he’d be a great fit in Dallas, which has some talent on defense but lost starters Byron Jones, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins and Jeff Heath. The Cowboys brought in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for short-term help, but McKinney could be the future.
There is some discussion as to who the number one safety in the class is but consensus does seem to say that it is McKinney. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has previously mocked McKinney to Dallas and literally called him “the best safety in the draft” in the corresponding blurb. As true as that might be, that doesn’t mean that McKinney is the 17th-best player in the group.
For example’s sake, the very next pick after McKinney goes to Dallas in this mock is the Miami Dolphins selecting South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. There might be a T.J. Watt effect if the Cowboys pass on someone like Kinlaw that so many people love, especially if there is consensus that they “reached” to get a player not valued as a top 20 pick.
Kiper has the Cowboys going cornerback in the second round
While Kiper has previously had Dallas addressing cornerback in the first round (names like LSU’s Kristian Fulton, Florida’s C.J. Henderson, and Alabama’s Trevon Diggs are the ones to watch), he gave them a safety this time around. Cornerback would still remain a need if that happened.
Kiper sees you fretting and wants you to know that everything is going to be alright. He’s given the Cowboys a cornerback in the second round.
51. Dallas Cowboys
Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
This means I’m going all secondary for the Cowboys, for whom I grabbed safety Xavier McKinney in Round 1. With Byron Jones off to Miami in free agency, Gladney could challenge to start on the outside with Anthony Brown and Chidobe Awuzie. Gladney’s 26 pass breakups over the last two seasons were the most in the entire FBS.
We know that the Cowboys have met with Gladney so they’ve done their due diligence there. While there is no documented visit between them and Xavier McKinney, it makes logical sense that Dallas has done their homework there as well.
There are plenty of other positional needs that the Cowboys could address in the first or second rounds. Going heavy on the secondary would mean that the pass rush isn’t addressed or that the hypothetical of them trading back to land a center doesn’t happen either.
How would you feel about this?