Grading the Dallas Cowboys’ 2017 NFL Draft:
Overall Draft Grade: A
The Cowboys had major holes to fill in the secondary and on the defensive line, and they addressed them extremely well. Dallas started off by grabbing an elite pass rusher in star DE, Taco Charlton from Michigan with the 28th overall pick. After that, they addressed the secondary by stealing CB Chidobe Awuzie in the second round and CB Jourdan Lewis in the third. Dallas also took a couple WRs to make sure their offense stays atop the NFL. Dallas could’ve beefed up their defensive line a little bit more, but overall, this was yet another fantastic draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Taco Charlton, EDGE, Michigan
Round 1, Pick 28
Although Reuben Foster was still on the board, Charlton was a home run selection in my opinion. The 6'6 pass rusher from Michigan was a potential top-10 pick a couple weeks ago, but fell because of questions about his athleticism. Taco Charlton displayed flashes of greatness at UM, but he’s still a work in progress. Charlton has a lot of potential; he was the most productive DE in the nation last year with a 17.1 pass rush productivity, and has the physical tools to be successful at the next level. This fills a major need for the Cowboys, and I think Rod Marinelli and the rest of the coaching staff will get the most out of Taco in Dallas. This could be the ‘War Daddy’ that Jerry has been waiting for.
Chidobe Awuzie, DB, Colorado
Round 2, Pick 60
I LOVE Awuzie’s game. When I watch Chidobe Awuzie, I see a lot of Tyrann Mathieu. Awuzie is a big time playmaker in the secondary, and I think he’s going to be a stud in the NFL. Chido has unbelievable instincts, and is an extremely good blitzer off the edge. Awuzie has the ability to lock down anyone, and has the physicality and toughness to play safety or corner in the NFL. Awuzie can play anywhere in Dallas’ secondary, and this gives the Cowboys’ defense a huge boost.
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
Round 3, Pick 92
When you hear the name Jourdan Lewis, think shut-down. Lewis might be the quickest corner of this year’s draft, and was a projected first round pick before his off field issues. Lewis is under investigation for domestic violence, but says he’s “completely innocent”. If he’s cleared, this is the biggest steal of the draft. Lewis has the ability to lock down anyone, which the Cowboys desperately need. The defensive back from Michigan is a little undersized (5'10, 170), but his competitiveness and ball skills make up for it. The Cowboys keep building up their defense and the Michigan product will have an immediate impact in Dallas. Cowboys fans should be extremely excited with this pick.
Ryan Switzer, WR, UNC
Round 4, Pick 133
This pick was a little bit of a head scratcher because Dallas already has Beasley, but Ryan Switzer is one of my favorite players of the entire draft. He will provide Dak with another dynamic offensive weapon. Switzer is a short, white slot receiver, but don’t let that fool you. Ryan Switzer is a great route runner and is deadly with the ball in his hands. Switzer should be the immediate starting punt returner too; he had over 1,000 career punt return yards, and returned 7 punts for TDs in his career at UNC. The former North Carolina receiver will give Dallas’ offense some added juice. Switzer can learn from one of the better slot receivers in the game in Cole Beasley, and who knows, maybe the duo of Ryan Switzer and Cole Beasley will be better than the one of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.
Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
Round 6, Pick 191 (from Jets)
Snagging Xavier Woods in the 6th round was a really good value pick. I truly believe Woods is a 2nd or 3rd round talent. Although he can be inconsistent in his coverage, he’s a ball hawk and a big time hitter with a ton of upside. Woods is a poor man’s Jabrill Peppers in my opinion, and I think Dallas is a really good landing spot for him. Woods has great range at the safety position and is a big time playmaker at the back end of the defense that the Cowboys have been lacking for quite some time. This was another position of need for the Cowboys, and they just hit home run with this pick.
Marquez White, CB, Florida St.
Round 6, Pick 216 (from Patriots)
The Cowboys add more depth in the secondary by selecting Marquez White. White is a big CB (6'0, 200) that can be an immediate contributor for the Cowboys. Marquez White is versatile, which will be a big help in Dallas’ defense.
Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
Round 7, Pick 228 (from Bills)
At 6'3, 301, Joey Ivie has the frame and strength to be an NFL caliber DT. Ivie is versatile on the line and possesses good hand usage that teams covet. Although his production was not great, Joey Ivie is a leader and a hustler that is good for any team. The DT is definitely a project, but I like this pick.
Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
Round 7, Pick 239 (from Patriots)
This is another great value pick for the Cowboys. Brown should’ve gone higher than the 7th round in my opinion and at 6'2, 222 pounds with 4.5 speed, Noah Brown has all the physical tools to be successful at the NFL level. Brown has soft hands, runs very good routes, and is a great blocker. This is a good pickup for the Cowboys.
Jordan Carrell, DL, Colorado
Round 7, Pick 246
The Cowboys use another late round pick on a defensive lineman. Although he’s more of a DT, Jordan Carrell is a versatile defensive lineman that can play DT or DE. Carrell will be a project for the cowboys, but he created a lot of penetration at Colorado, which was one of the best defenses in the entire nation.