NFL Draft 2017 preview: Dallas Cowboys' top needs, pick predictions

By Frank Cooney,
NFL Draft 2017 preview: Dallas Cowboys' top needs, pick predictions
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones leaves the field after pre-game activities at Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

This is one in a series that covers each team, offering viewers information for homework, suggestions and then the opportunity to make a draft pick.


When the NFL Draft begins selections in Philadelphia April 27, the Dallas Cowboys have the No. 28 pick in the first round.

Here is an in-depth look at the team's needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by's experts.

RELATED NFL Mock Draft 2017, Dallas Cowboys: Predictions for all 7 picks

Who would you pick and why?


1. Defensive end: Owner Jerry Jones has said he wants a war daddy pass rusher. The Cowboys brought in Damontre Moore in free agency, but he is not the answer. They will look hard at an edge rusher in the draft. They must find a way to get to the quarterback and take some pressure off the secondary.


2. Cornerback: The Cowboys lost Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr in free agency. The Cowboys made no effort to bring them back. And while they signed Nolan Carroll in free agency, cornerback remains a high draft priority. This could be targeted in the first or second round. Again they are looking for upgrades and guys who make plays on the ball.

3. Safety: The Cowboys lost Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox in free agency. The Cowboys wanted to bring Church back, but at a modest price. They have special teams ace Jeff Heath and not much else on the roster. But this is a position they will certainly target in the draft looking for upgrades. Good thing this draft is deep at safety.

RELATED 2017 NFL Draft Dallas Cowboys: Top needs, suggested picks, current outlook

4. Kick returner: The Cowboys will target a kick returner late in the draft or in free agency. They are not happy with Lucky Whitehead on or off the field. Most important, the Cowboys want a player who can provide a big-play spark in the return game.

5. Running back: The Cowboys want to develop a young running back to play behind Ezekiel Elliott. They re-signed Darren McFadden and still have Alfred Morris under contract. There is a chance Morris could be moved or released before training camp. The aging McFadden will not be back in 2018. The Cowboys want a young back to play third downs and participate on some special teams.



BEST FIT: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan. The Cowboys are looking for a war daddy pass rusher and Charlton has the upside to develop into one. He is a guy who should be there at 28 when it's the Cowboys turn to pick. The Cowboys brought Charlton in for a pre-draft visit.

Rob Rang: Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri. The Cowboys' gambles on recent character concerns at pass rusher have not paid off and adding a playmaker to this unit should be a top priority. Harris possesses the burst, bend and lethal spin move to wreak havoc off the edge and, after only joining the sport as a junior in high school, he possesses the upside for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to develop.

Dane Brugler: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri. Smart money has the Cowboys selecting a cornerback or pass rusher here, but it is anyone's guess who Dallas will select. Harris is the type of edge threat who can thrive under Rod Marinelli's leadership.

Pat Kirwan: Kevin King, CB, Washington.

Frank Cooney, IMO: Adoree Jackson, CB, USC. With Jerry Jones in the mix for this call, don't be surprised if the Cowboys reach for this flashy player to fill an immediate need at returner. Jackson has ample athletic ability to become a big-play addition not only on special teams but as a defender and spot performer on offense. Jones likes that kind of toy.


OK, it's your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.

Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and, is in his sixth decade covering football and 25th year on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

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