2020 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys strong core allows for flexibility with 17th pick

Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

While the Dallas Cowboys have holes to fill in the draft, a solid core roster means they have some flexibility with the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Tonight’s 2020 NFL Draft is filled with the promise of excitement as we get a reprieve from the 24/7 coronavirus news cycle for a brief return to sports. The Dallas Cowboys own the No. 17 pick tonight, courtesy of their 8-8 record last season.

The Cowboys enter the draft with quite a few notable positions of need. The defensive line needs some help, particularly with pass-rushing as Dallas needs to replace the production of Robert Quinn (11.5 sacks). They also have to find a new slot receiver after Randall Cobb signed with the Houston Texans. Cornerback is also a need with Byron Jones gone, as is a backup quarterback for Dak Prescott.

As you can see, there’s no lack of options for what Dallas needs this draft. The question is what will they address first? Will it be a pass-rusher, a wide receiver or a cornerback? Maybe it’s as simple as following the ol’ mantra, “take the best player available” regardless of your needs? Or perhaps the Cowboys trade down and stock up a few more picks.

Despite the hundreds of mock drafts, it’s impossible to predict what Dallas will do at No. 17, simply because we don’t know what the 16 teams ahead of them will do. The NFL Draft is filled with surprises, so predicting who will be available when the Cowboys are on the clock seems pretty nonsensical to me.

Thankfully, it doesn’t really matter. Yes, these are positions of “need” but this is a team with a very solid core. There are holes but not glaring weaknesses. Most of what Dallas needs is depth.

Just about every starting position on offense is accounted for. Offensive line could use some help and, as I mentioned, they need a slot receiver. But you can find offensive linemen in the middle rounds and this is a deep wide receiver class. There’s no pressure to move up.

On defense, just about everyone agrees the Cowboys need defensive end help. This would seem like the most obvious position to use the pick on but it’s not like the Cowboys don’t have options on the roster already. They’ve got Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith in the wings awaiting reinstatement by the NFL. Relying on these two to return to form is a gamble, for sure, but any more so than taking a chance on a rookie end? Does Taco Charlton ring a bell?

Even cornerback seems somewhat stable despite the loss of Byron Jones. The Cowboys expected core includes Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jordan Lewis, C.J. Goodwin and Maurice Canady. The at this position lies in the future as everyone except Brown are set to be free agents in 2021. Addressing this position in the draft certainly seems to be a need but not one that mandates a first-round pick.

Over the years, the Cowboys have built a solid foundation that allows them flexibility in the draft. They can take a gamble on one of their positions of need, possibly even trading up to grab someone they have their eye on, or they can trade down and build up a stockpile of picks for the future.

dark. Next. Cowboys mock draft: First three picks address defensive needs

Dallas heads into tonight’s draft in a very good position, one where they aren’t drafting on tilt. They enter the 2020 NFL Draft with sensible heads on their shoulders and a solid core roster that’ll be in playoff contention regardless of who gets drafted tonight.