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Cowboys news: As the draft nears, cornerbacks & edge rushers come into Cowboys focus

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The Cowboys will have an opportunity to add pass rushers and coverage guys for their defense in this draft.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Preview: One Good Haul Could Create A Super Bowl Contender - Bill Huber, FORBES
A case made that the Cowboys are one good draft haul away from the Super Bowl.

Lost in the shuffle of last year’s disappointing record is the fact that the Cowboys finished second in yardage differential. Yards, of course, don’t equate to wins on a week-to-week basis, but teams that dominate that figure over the course of a season tend to dominate in the standings. Last year, Baltimore was No. 1 in yardage differential, San Francisco was third, New England fourth, New Orleans seventh and Kansas City 10th.

With star power at quarterback (Dak Prescott), running back (Ezekiel Elliott) and receiver (Amari Cooper), Dallas has a Big Three that is almost unrivaled in the NFL. If McCarthy can work his magic, the offense could hit new heights. That means it will be up to Jerry Jones to make the right moves on defense.

Cowboys could target cornerback, pass rusher at top of draft - Schuyler Dixon, Yahoo Sports
The two biggest losses in free agency for the Dallas Cowboys were at cornerback and defensive end, so it's reasonable to list those as the club's top two priorities going into the draft.

Dallas is back in the first-round business with the 17th overall pick after sitting out opening night a year ago because of the 2018 midseason trade for receiver Amari Cooper, who recently signed a $100 million, five-year contract.

The possibilities include Florida cornerback CJ Henderson and LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. That’s after cornerback Byron Jones (Miami) and 2019 Dallas sacks leader Robert Quinn (Chicago) signed elsewhere.

Safety has been a persistent need for the Cowboys in recent years, but it’s been nearly 20 years since they drafted a prototypical safety in the first round. Dallas did add Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in free agency.

The Cowboys are headed in a new direction philosophically on defense under first-year coach Mike McCarthy, who was hired after Jason Garrett’s contract wasn’t renewed when Dallas fell short of lofty expectations by missing the playoffs.

Cowboys draft talk: One expert loves LSU pass rusher K’Lavon Chaisson for Dallas at No. 17 - Calvin Watkins, SportsdayDFW
Experts love Chaisson to the Cowboys at 17 but should Dallas be concerned about his ability to add bulk?

In our latest DMN “War Zoom” draft show, CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson said Chaisson might be the best fit for the Cowboys if available.

“I love him at 17,” Wilson said. “He’s a young edge rusher in terms [of] he hasn’t been doing it a long time. He’s going to get better, he’s explosive but he’s not consistent and I think that’s OK. He’s going to be a good player.”

So what should the Cowboys do with that weight on Chaisson? Should he go to 265?

“I don’t even know if you have to go that high,” said USA Today’s Jarrett Bell. “What is Randy Gregory? I think when you’re talking about a speed, edge rusher which is what Chaisson is, sometimes you don’t have to really drill down so much on the weight. It’s a big man’s game, no doubt about that. I don’t know if I’m worried about that as much as if he’s not going to be there. Now you’re talking about a pass rusher and you’re talking about [a] premium position in the draft; everybody has this guy going to Dallas.”

Possible Pick: Tee Higgens would be a great second-tier WR for the Cowboys - Kyle Youmans, DallasCowboys.com
Tee Higgins is one of the bright and shiny options at the top of the receiving class’ second tier.

With Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup listed as the top receivers on the current roster, there is an obvious need for a number-three target for Dak Prescott. Sure, there are some in-house options to replace the departed Randall Cobb, but none have a skillset and potential quite like Higgins. It’s been speculated throughout the offseason that the replacement for Cobb would be a true slot receiver and that Cooper and Gallup out wide. But the fact that the Cowboys are talking to a different type of receiver lends me to think they are open to shifting Cooper to the slot and forcing defenses to adjust accordingly.

With some of the longest arms in the receiver class, Higgins is a consistent deep-threat receiver who is more than capable of making a contested catch. Littered all over his college tape, especially in 2019, he showcased the ability to beat man coverage and make a play in traffic. His release off the line of scrimmage needs a bit of work and he could use a tune-up in his physicality, both of which could come with NFL coaching.

Source -- No decisions on Cowboys' Aldon Smith, Randy Gregory prior to draft - Ed Werder, ESPN
The Cowboys' Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory will not be reinstated prior to the NFL draft, a source told ESPN.

The Cowboys would have benefited from any resolution as they prioritize draft needs after losing 2019 sack leader Robert Quinn to the Chicago Bears in free agency. LSU defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson is among the projects with whom the Cowboys have conducted a virtual meeting as part of the draft evaluation process.

Smith and Gregory were suspended for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy under terms of the former CBA but cannot participate with the Cowboys until reinstated by Goodell.

Cowboys 2020 Draft: What the Falcons moving up in the draft could mean for Dallas - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
How do the reports of the Falcons considering trading up impact the Cowboys’ draft plans?

The Falcons, of course, are on the clock just one pick before the Cowboys. Naturally, Atlanta happens to have the same needs that the Cowboys are looking to fill: pass rusher, cornerback, and interior defensive line. There is a strong possibility that the Falcons could steal the prospect that the Cowboys are hoping falls to them.

Perhaps the name most commonly linked to both squads is Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, who many rank as the second best corner in the draft behind Ohio State’s (and South Grand Praire’s) Jeff Okudah. The Falcons need to upgrade Dan Quinn’s secondary — especially after the team let Desmond Trufant walk in free agency — while Dallas desperately needs to find a potential replacement for Byron Jones.

Cowboys Should Consider Appalachian State's Akeem Davis-Gaither for LB Depth - Mathew Lenix, InsideTheStar
Could the Cowboys benefit from waiting on a linebacker in the draft? Perhaps a prospect out of Appalachian State?

He would only appear in two games as a freshman in 2015 before redshirting. In 2016, in a reserved role, Davis-Gaither racked up 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks. In 2017 he would make three starts and doubled his production to 33 tackles. His junior season is when he put his name on the map with 105 tackles (10 tackles for loss), 1.5 sacks, and seven passes defended while garnering second-team All-Sun Belt honors. As a senior, Davis-Gaither cemented his name as an intriguing prospect on the next level with his best collegiate season registering 104 tackles (14.5 tackles for loss), five sacks, eight passes defended, and an interception. For his efforts, he would be named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year for 2019.

Is TCU’s Jeff Gladney the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick? - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Jeff Gladney would love to receive the call from his hometown team during the NFL Draft.

Count TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney among the defensive backs the Dallas Cowboys may select in the first round of next week’s NFL draft.

The Cowboys have done a virtual pre-draft interview with Gladney, according to a source. The team has also conducted similar meetings with other possible selections, including Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson, Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell, LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton, Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs, LSU safety Grant Delpit and Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.

2020 Draft: 25 Prospects linked to Cowboys in Rounds 1, 2 - KD Drummond, CowboysWire
Let's get down to brass tacks, who are the Cowboys really looking at in the 2020 NFL Draft?

The Dallas Cowboys essentially have two Top 50 picks in the NFL draft come the end of next week. Currently slotted to pick No. 17 and No. 51, the team should get a shot at one of their first-round rated prospects, and another favorable addition to their club. Normally, teams rate between 16-20 players as first-round grades and those boards are going to vary widely from team to team.

Not everyone values positions, or traits in the same manner. That normally leads to projections being thrown out the window towards the tail end of Round 1 and especially when the draft kicks back off on Friday evening for Rounds 2 and 3. Here, we’ve compiled information from various sources on the players currently projected to be drafted in Rounds 1, 2 and the very early part of Round 3 to develop a composite of who Dallas is considering with their first two picks.

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