Heading into the NFL Combine last week, the Dallas Cowboys had a ton of questions to answer as the team gets ready for the 2017 season. The combine marks the first big event of the offseason that typically produces some interesting outcomes.
Almost all of the stats from this year’s draft class are in and this is an impressive crop of players we will see make their NFL debut in several months. The deepest positions include pass rusher, wide receiver, tight end, and cornerback. So the Dallas Cowboys could address several needs in this draft.
This tight end class is big on offensive capabilities but most players struggled to be effective blockers. That is somewhat disappointing as group of tight ends has been touted as the one of the best in years.
If the Cowboys want to find a successor for tight end Jason Witten, I do not believe he is in this draft. However, they could land a terrific offensive weapon…just not an all around player like Witten. It seems as if this year’s crop of tight ends have more in common with talented wide receiver Mike Evans than they do with New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett.
In terms of wide receivers, the speedsters shined over the weekend. Washington’s John Ross and Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel stole the show. Ross ran the fastest 40-time in the history of the combine as he recorded a 4.22. One has to feel bad for Samuel, who ran an impressive 4.31 and would typically be the most talked about wide receiver in the combine.
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The Cowboys have expressed that they would like to add a speedy wide receiver to help stretch defenses and this is seemingly the class to find that type of player. I think Dallas should draft a wide receiver at some point between the second and third round.
Finding a reliable pass rusher has alluded the Cowboys for several seasons now. That could all come to a close in this draft as the team should have several options to choose from in what should be a very deep class at defensive end.
The most interesting defensive lineman for me in this class is Derek Rivers from Youngstown State. At 6-foot-4, but only 248 pounds, this prospect has the build of a linebacker or a safety. But River’s strength is outstanding. He recorded 30 bench press reps and is one of the quickest, longest edge rushers available.
There are two other players that I think the Cowboys should consider.
One is Auburn’s Carl Lawson, who posted 35 reps, the highest number for the bench press at the combine this year. Lawson was rumored to be on the Cowboys radar before his stellar workout, that likely improved his draft stock among other NFL suitors.
The second being Arkansas pass rusher Jeremiah Ledbetter, who could become a solid value pick late in the draft after he posted 29 reps at the bench press.
The Dallas Cowboys should be able to find a talented pass rusher at several points throughout the 2017 NFL Draft.