Which position might the Dallas Cowboys look to address with their first selection in the 2018 NFL Draft next offseason?
Just three weeks into the 2017 NFL regular season may seem far to early to be looking into next offseason and the 2018 NFL Draft. But it’s during the regular season when we can best identify the Dallas Cowboys biggest positional weaknesses.
Although I’m sure we’ll discover more strengths and weaknesses in this Cowboys roster as the season progresses, and after suffering losses via free agency, if the draft were held today, which position do you believe Dallas would choose to address with their first round selection?
Obviously there are two important factors to consider first. One, where the Cowboys draft in the first round. If Dallas has the postseason success we expect them to have on a yearly basis, the Cowboys would have yet another late round selection. That certainly can limit Dallas’ options, as taking the best available player combined with team need is always a balancing act that late in the first round.
Secondly, which college prospects are still available and how do the Cowboys have them ranked on their big board? For the purposes of this article, let’s simply assume that there are first round level talents available at every position of need. This story is more about identify the Cowboys biggest area of need.
Here’s my top three guesses…
The Cowboys have selected offensive lineman in the first round of the NFL Draft three times since 2011. And each one them has turned out to be a Pro Bowl level player. With Chaz Green‘s continued struggles to stay healthy, and Dallas’ indecisiveness about which player to start at the position all offseason, it presumable to think the Cowboys could address this need in the upcoming draft. Especially since Dallas has a very good chance of landing the top guard prospect late in the first round.
As a former first round pick himself, safety Byron Jones is likely locked at his position as a starter for years to come. The same cannot be said about Jeff Heath. The special teams ace is trying to prove he can be a starter in this league. But the undrafted safety has yet to really shine through the first part of the new season. If Heath doesn’t improve as the year wears on, his replacement might be found in the first round of the draft.
With the emergence of DeMarcus Lawrence as the league’s top pass rusher through three games this season, and the selection of Taco Charlton in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, some may wonder why Dallas might look for another “War Daddy” so soon.
Well, consider the fact Lawrence is in the final year of his rookie deal. Based on his early numbers, DeMarcus will likely want a massive contract extension to stay in Dallas at seasons’ end. And considering his past inconsistencies and two offseason back surgeries, I’m not sure the Cowboys will make that leap financially.
Finally, Charlton is a developmental project. Like Lawrence before him, it could take Taco several more seasons before he becomes the War Daddy Dallas drafted him to be. Plus, the Cowboys motto has always been you can never have enough pass rushers.