With the Dallas Cowboys in a position to add two talented players, the 34th overall selection will be a very important decision that cannot be overlooked.
As a fan base and certainly as an organization, you really don’t want to be drafting in the top five too often.
Doing such means your previous season was a dumpster fire of epic proportion and continually drafting in the zone (cough… Jacksonville… cough) should be grounds for dissolving your franchise.
So, when it comes in those rare occasions, it’s certainly understandable that all the attention and focus land squarely on that pick. Not only is it vital to be right, it is also the cheapest way to instantly get a possible superstar.
Lost in all of this hoopla, however, is that you’re also picking pretty high in the following rounds as well. For the Dallas Cowboys, the follow-up to that fourth overall selection is almost another first round choice. At 34th overall, it is very possible that if the right decisions are made, Dallas can end up with two impact players immediately to a roster that has some nice pieces already in place.
With that being said, let’s discuss who will likely end up having their name called by Roger Goodell with the fourth and thirty-fourth overall choices in the 2016 NFL Draft.
With the fourth overall selection, as much as I really want Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey to be on this team, there is a bigger need that has to be addressed.
The failures of the Cowboys to land anyone of significance who can rush the passer have put Dallas in a position to draft a defensive end. The good news is that they should have their pick of the litter when it comes to the position. The question will be whether they choose the known commodity or go with someone with a higher upside.
Comparing Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and Oregon’s DeForest Buckner is a lot like choosing between a Mercedes and a BMW. Either way, you’re getting a really, really nice player.
Neither players is going to blow you away with their speed (Bosa ran a 4.86 in the 40-yard dash, Buckner ran a 5.05). Bosa uses a wide array of rush moves, intelligence and athletic ability to wreak havoc in the backfield. Buckner uses his incredible upper body strength and massive size and physical skills to dominate opposing blockers.
Bosa accumulated 26 sacks and 51 tackles for loss in three seasons with the Buckeyes, proving he was extremely productive on a very high level. He’s a high-energy, non-stop motor type player who may not initially win the battle but will continue to fight and work to get after the quarterback.
Buckner finished his 2015 campaign with 10.5 sacks, 17.0 tackles for loss and 83 total tackles. He brings versatility to the line, as he played end in a 3-4 scheme but can also move inside on passing downs.
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Bosa will likely fall somewhere between a Chris Long and a Jared Allen as a pro. Buckner projects to be similar to Calais Campbell because of their similar size however he has the potential to be even better.
Ultimately, I believe the Cowboys will select Bosa as they usually lean towards the safer option in these situations.
As for the second round selection, this will largely depend on how the draft falls (look out for my full mock draft this weekend) but I believe the Cowboys will still be in the market for defensive help.
If the Cowboys want to continue to build the defensive line, players such as Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun or Clemson’s Kevin Dodd could be in the mix but I think Dallas will likely use this opportunity to get themselves another defensive back.
Dallas will be getting Orlando Scandrick back from injury and resigned free agent Morris Claiborne. While both are capable of being starters at this level, the Cowboys lack depth at the position. That depth will further be stretched if they end up releasing Brandon Carr which seems like a strong possibility.
Depending on which ever draft guru you like best, there are roughly six cornerbacks slated to be first round picks. Couple that intel with the physical traits of a player the Cowboys usually go after and I project Dallas to choose between Miami defensive back Artie Burns and Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller.
Burns is a speedster, posting a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and is at his best in press man coverage where he can use his length, aggression and speed, not to mention his size (6 feet, 195 lbs.) to blanket opposing receivers.
Fuller possesses above average read and react skills, is naturally aggressive and will go after the ball as evident by his eight interceptions in 28 starts for the Hokies.
Either way, the Cowboys will add talent to their secondary, but the pick should be Burns given that Fuller has had some injuries to deal with and Burns looks to be the better all-around package.
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