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Dallas Cowboys Draft Recap

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Dallas Cowboys Draft Recap as New Faces Bolster the Defense

The dust has settled and clearly the defense was on the mind of the Dallas Cowboys on draft night. No surprise here, as an overwhelming majority of pre-draft visits were from players on the defensive side of the ball.

Clear areas of weakness were addressed in this draft in an attempt to improve the defense from top to bottom. This draft class has provided the Cowboys with two defensive ends, four defensive backs, and a middle linebacker.

I am including “red shirt” rookies Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper in that mix of additions.

Tapper, who was selected in the fourth-round out of Oklahoma, was expected to be a key piece of the defensive front last season. However, a back injury hampered him for the entire season. In spite of that, when healthy, Tapper without a doubt will upgrade the pass rushing abilities of this defensive front. The six-foot-two, 270-pound specimen is a pure pass rusher who registered a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last year.

Jaylon Smith. Man do I get excited just thinking about this guy being on the field.

Possibly the best defensive prospect in last year’s draft, Smith missed the entire 2016 season after suffering a serious injury in Notre Dame’s Fiesta Bowl game against Ohio State. The injury left Jaylon with a damaged peroneal nerve, causing what doctors call “drop foot.” Smith, formerly thought of as a top-5 draft pick, slid to Dallas in the second round.

Recent examinations of the of the damaged nerve continue to show signs of progress. He is now lifting his toes as sensations in that knee is beginning to return. He is doing everything the rest of the team is doing at teams voluntary workouts, certainly a good sign.

Now, lets talk about the new guys.

Round 1, NO. 28: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Taco Charlton may be exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need. A mean, pass rushing “SOB”, who will stay on the field. What has to be emphasized is that there are no red flags, I repeat, NO RED FLAGS on this young man. That’s important because the Dallas Cowboys’ best pass-rushers are often unavailable on the field. Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory have both missed significant time due to substance abuse penalties.

I was most excited when I saw Taco’s basketball background. To me, that says this guy is an athlete, and I love athletic players with a mean switch like Taco’s. He is six and half feet of misery for opposing quarterbacks. Rob Marinelli will build a monster with Taco.

This defense needed a Taco Charlton.

Round 2, NO. 60: Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado

A day-one starter in my opinion.

Chidobe Awuzie is a play-making, physical, ball-hawking defensive back who flashes his talent and potential consistently.  Put him in the nickel and he’s a threat to rush the passer and cover the slot receiver. Put him outside and he can bully your number one, jump the route, or in some cases both.

His film, in my opinion, is better than that of Morris Claiborne, who the Cowboys had to trade up to draft sixth overall. His ball skills are incredible. He is like the tool man. He will fix a lot of haunting problems this defense has faced the past decade.

I am excited to see the versatility he will bring to this secondary. I also can’t wait until OTA’s and training camp. Players like Dez Bryant will bring the best out of Chidobe. Expect some “interesting” moments this summer.

Round 3, NO. 92: Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan

Steal alert! I repeat, steal alert!

Let’s be clear about this guys. Without concerns in regards to an investigation stemming from a domestic violence incident, Lewis is, at the least, a second round draft pick.

The two-time All-American is pound for pound the best cover corner in this year’s draft. You will not see this position played any better on tape than the way Jourdan played while at Michigan. He is a human pest, who has a special ability to stay in the pockets of receivers. Watching the film, you’ll see a player who doesn’t care if his man has a step on him. His incredible make-up speed usually negates whatever separation a guy might have. It’s almost like a trap, or very good baiting. A very physical player, he is a bully to outside threats.

Jourdan Lewis will have an impact on this year’s defense. I am going on record as saying that in Jourdan’s first two seasons, he will provide more turnovers than Brandon Carr did in his entire stay with Dallas.

We are looking at a solid ten-year pro, in my opinion.

Round 4, NO. 133 Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina

I loved this pick in the fourth. I believe the value of this pick will not be really recognized until about week 4 of the regular season. When he has a few highlights to put together, people will wonder how this guy lasted until the fourth.

I can’t wait to see this guy terrorize opposing defensive coordinators.

Think of Switzer as a less-hyped Christian McCaffrey. When the ball is in his hands, watch out.

Switzer had an even smaller frame than Mccaffrey, which I believe scared away a lot of teams. At five-foot-ten, 174-pounds, Ryan is no doubt a little dude out there on the field. But man every time you watch him, you see him having the time of his life running away and putting moves on defenders.

He’s constantly a threat to beat you down the field or in the screen game. Dak Prescott and company will have a lot of fun with Switzer’s skill set.

Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer will be busting up zone coverages for the next three to five years.

Round 6, NO. 191: Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech

Another steal alert.

This guy is a candidate for my all-tape team.

The Cowboys traded up 20 spots, and traded their 2018 fifth-round pick, to the New York Jets for Woods. So I believe Jerry and Stephen Jones when they say they were shocked he was still available this late in the draft.

Xavier Woods was literally all over the field when he played at Louisiana Tech. A very physical safety when you study his tape, he reminds me of a smaller Karl Joseph, who was drafted by the Raiders last season.

Except Woods may be more athletic than Joseph.

Xavier loves to hit, but he will have to develop better tackling technique to last at the professional level. His nasty playing style and play-making abilities will be a very welcomed sight to this defense.

I expect Xavier to be in the mix back there at safety, and maybe even win the job in training camp. Another great value pick.

The possible new trio of Woods, Awuzie, and Lewis will without a doubt make up for any concerns lingering from free agent losses during the offseason.

Round 6, NO. 216: Marquez White, CB, Florida State

Marquez White started two full seasons for Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles. He recorded four interceptions while in Tallahassee.

However, as the current roster stands today, the chances of White making the 53-man roster would be a bit of a stretch. I do expect the Cowboys to move on from Orlando Scandrick, despite Jerry Jones saying publicly the team was not interested in doing so.

Predictions can’t be made based on hypotheticals, but in my opinion, the writing is on the wall. I believe the Cowboys are just hoping for the right deal to move on from Scandrick.

Round 7, NO. 228: Joey Ivie, DT, Florida

Joey Ivie will provide Rod Marinelli a big body, with a high motor on defense. This run-stopping nose tackle will provide needed depth to the Cowboys defensive front.

Losing Terrell McClain to free agency took a stab at the depth of this lineup. Yes, Dallas added Stephen Paea, but I would assume Marinelli would like to groom a young nose tackle along with a proven veteran.

I like the fact that he played his college ball in the SEC, which means he has seen the best talent there is in the trenches.

With the right coaching, and a bit of patience, I can see a long NFL future for Ivie.

Round 7, NO. 239: Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State

My fellow Oklahoma Sooner fans may still have nightmares of Noah Brown pinning a touchdown catch on the back of a Sooner defensive back during a 45-24 massacre in Norman.

At six-foot-two, Brown is a bigger receiver than Dez Bryant, and possesses some of the similar red zone abilities.

I would have liked to see him be more productive while at Ohio State, but I am leaning on the possibility of Brown becoming a diamond in the rough kind of selection here in the seventh.

Brown will without a doubt have an opportunity to make the 53-man roster this offseason. With a crowded receiver room, Brown will have to impress. Jason Garrett loves to emphasize the importance of competing to his players. This will be an interesting development to follow up with all offseason.

Round 7, NO. 248: Jordan Carrell, DT, Colorado

Carrell is a big guy who intimidates as soon as he steps off the bus.

The six-foot-three, 300-pound defensive tackle is a project, and making the final roster will be a very uphill fight for the former Buffalo. At Colorado, Jordan was a very productive player, totaling 51 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the 2016 season.

Marinelli will push this big fella to see exactly what he is capable of. Carrell really fits the mold of a “Marinelli” guy, if there is one.