If Dallas opts to select a receiver in the early portion of the draft, here are five possibilities.
Jalen Reagor, TCU
Another exciting option for the Cowboys is TCU’s Jalen Reagor, who was one of the most electric playmakers in college as a sophomore (1,231 total yards and 11 touchdowns) before he was hamstrung by legitimately terrible quarterback play as a junior (700 total yards and five touchdowns). Just 30.7% of Reagor’s targets in 2019 were charted as accurate by PFF.
Even with awful quarterback play, Reagor, a standout at Waxahachie High School, was able to show off an exciting skill set that should translate well to the NFL. He lined up all over the formation, including in the backfield, but for the most part, he aligned as the right outside receiver in TCU’s offense.
While not on Jeudy’s level, Reagor proved to be an extremely effective route runner who consistently created separation against his Big 12 competition. Reagor didn’t see a ton of press, but when he did (like against Ohio State in 2018), he proved very capable of earning separation at the line of scrimmage. His lateral agility consistently made it difficult for opposing cornerbacks to get a hand on him. He will likely need to add to his library of releases in the NFL, but Reagor has a strong foundation to work from in that area.
Cowboys Can't go Wrong Drafting Florida's CJ Henderson or Alabama's Trevon Diggs - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star
Dallas will be in good shape if they wind up with either C.J. Henderson or Trevon Diggs as their first pick.
Henderson has the height and length you want for a cornerback at 6’1 204 pounds. He has tremendous closing speed and anticipation to break up passes that appear to be easy completions. You can rely on him in press coverage or zone which shows his flexibility. Running a 4.39 in the 40 gives him the speed to not only cover receivers downfield when they try to take the top off of defense but also on quicker routes like the slant. Henderson returned an interception for a touchdown in each of his first two games at Florida which shows he not only can take the ball away but he looks to put points on the board. He’s willing to provide support against the run although he’ll need to show more discipline when tackling, which is probably the biggest knock on him.
Diggs, much like Henderson, has the size you want at 6’1 205 pounds. He’s athletic enough to not only cover smaller, faster receivers but he can match up with bigger targets as well. Very good at reading the quarterback’s eyes and has the anticipation and closing speed to disrupt throwing lanes. Displayed elite ball skills to make impressive interceptions during his senior season. He had a nose for the end zone in 2019 as he scored on a fumble recovery and an interception. His speed covering receivers downfield is his biggest weakness but with veteran safeties Xavier Woods and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix covering over the top he wouldn’t be asked to do so as much. Also, he returned punts and kickoffs with pretty decent success in college.
Take a closer look at another cornerback option, LSU’s Kristian Fulton.
Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah is widely regarded as the best corner in the draft and a likely top 5 pick. Florida’s C.J. Henderson is commonly thought of as the No. 2 option.
After those two, it’s a gaggle of about eight names – and Fulton is right in the middle of it. He formed one of the best cornerback tandems in the country at LSU last season, partnering with Derek Stingley Jr. to anchor the secondary for the eventual national champions.
Fulton is a good example of tape versus workouts. His measurables aren’t going to wow anyone, but he did start 25 games in the SEC, where he consistently performed against the nation’s best competition. He finished his career with 23 pass breakups and two interceptions.
Opinions about his draft stock range anywhere from mid-first round to mid-second round. It’s a good bet Fulton is a top 50 draft pick, but it’s hard to call him a slam dunk first-round prospect.
Pre-draft position preview: Cowboys have a pair of young Pro Bowlers at linebacker, but issues remain - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys basically brought back their entire linebacker group. Is that a good or bad thing?
Position strengths: Smith and Vander Esch are talented players who play well off each other but had subpar 2019 seasons. Some changes in the defensive schemes, such as allowing bigger defensive linemen to take on two blockers, should give Smith and Vander Esch more room to make plays in the open field. Lee returned on a one-year deal and provides a safety net in case of injury. Lee has encountered his own health problems, mainly his hamstrings, but he played 16 games in 2019 for the first time in his career.
Position weaknesses: Lee is a good backup, but he’ll be 34 for Week 1 and it’s undetermined how effective he can be over 16 games. While the Cowboys expect Vander Esch to return from neck surgery, there remain concerns about a re-occurrence of the genetic spinal condition. Smith needs a bounce-back year and must improve in pass coverage.
Which scenario would you be most excited about?
Meanwhile, they’ve signed defensive tackles Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, reserve cornerback Maurice Canady, and most recently, former Pro Bowl defensive end Aldon Smith, who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015. (He and Randy Gregory have both applied for reinstatement in the NFL after serving suspensions.)
Since then, here are the players that have been most mocked to the Cowboys in the first round: defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina, OLB edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson from LSU, cornerback CJ Henderson from Florida, or one of the three top wide receivers in the draft: CeeDee Lamb from the University of Oklahoma, or Henry Ruggs or Jerry Jeudy, both from the University of Alabama.
But there’s another likely possibility: None of these players are available at pick 17, and the Cowboys are forced to choose someone else with this pick or trade down. A big part of the fun is how each choice affects the rest of the decisions, kind of like draft dominoes. Depending on who is chosen first, the rest of the draft can change drastically. Given this reality, without further ado, let’s take a look at different draft scenarios the Cowboys might experience:
If you need some football in your life during these tough times, check out this excellent Deep Blue, “The Cold Shoulder”.
Smith had carried the Cowboys throughout the season, despite missing the first two games because of a contract holdout. Still, the team had survived a series of ups and downs and were in position to properly defend their Super Bowl title, but just needed one big win in the Meadowlands.
But the drama intensified in the second quarter when Smith suffered a shoulder injury that had him writhing in pain throughout the day. But it didn’t stop him from producing. Wearing a makeshift protection out of a knee pad, Smith continue to get the ball and churn out yards. He willed the Cowboys to a 16-13 overtime win, that will go down as one of the most important games in Cowboys history.
Yes, the Cowboys are the Team of the 90’s. But does that happen without that victory? Some of the members on that team wondered just how different things would’ve been without that game and that performance by Emmitt Smith.
Who exactly are the Cowboys getting in Gerald McCoy? Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter Casey Phillips joins The Ocho to discuss.
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