The draft strategy for the Dallas Cowboys will reportedly be different from the past seasons. With a legitimate chance to contend for a Super Bowl, the Cowboys appear to be embarking on a win-now campaign. Just being a playoff contender is not enough for the Dallas Cowboys. At least not this upcoming season. It is safe to expect the Dallas Cowboys to take a player who can make an immediate impact with the No. 26 pick.
Repeating as the NFC East champions will be difficult this time around for the Dallas Cowboys. The New York Giants are improved and the Philadelphia Eagles are also not too far off.
There are several needs that the Cowboys have, especially in the secondary and pass rush.
The players the Cowboys seemingly will target are players who can come in and contribute right away. As Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones calls it, no redshirts (courtesy of the Star Telegraph) this time around.
“Drafting a player this year that is going to be redshirted high, with some of our needs, that gets problematic a little bit. Doing a Jaylon (Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith) this year when we are probably going to get a chance to get a player that’s got a chance to play. We’ve got to play young.”
Jones also hinted that the Dallas Cowboys may look to make some trades in the NFL draft.
“Near the bottom of the first, moving toward the top… this sets up for a little potential trade action to try to gain some value or try to hit an opportunity. I have never looked at where we were when we started a draft and thought we are not going to get a very good player right there. The assumption being that is where you are going to be when you have to make a decision. All that plays out as it unfolds. There are some opportunities (for trades up or down).”
Drafting Jaylon Smith from Notre Dame alone did not set the Cowboys back. Not having Smith available, along with the 14-game suspension levied on defensive lineman Randy Gregory set the Cowboys back. News that Gregory will also be suspended for the entire 2017 season (courtesy of Pro Football Talk) put the onus on Jerry Jones to find players who can play right away.
The Cowboys will look to the draft for defensive help, but they’re also counting on their veterans to improve.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 30, 2017
Jaylon Smith should be ready to play for the Cowboys this season. If Smith is anywhere close to the player he was projected to be before he tore his knee (courtesy of ESPN) in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl game, he will be a defensive stalwart. Prior to his injury, Smith was projected to be one of the first players taken in the 2016 NFL draft. The Cowboys saw an opportunity to take a risk, so they selected Smith in the second round, knowing that he would not play at all in the 2016 season.
What Jerry Jones wants to acquire in the NFL draft are sure things. The Dallas Cowboys were rumored to be looking at defensive ends in the NFL draft. They will need one to replace Randy Gregory. FanRag Sports has the Cowboys linked to Wisconsin Badgers’ outside linebacker T.J. Watt.
— NFL (@NFL) April 1, 2017
NFL teams hope that T.J. Watt, who is the younger brother of Houston Texans’ superstar J.J. Watt is somewhat close in ability with his older sibling. T.J. Watt’s upside is unknown given the fact that he was originally recruited by Wisconsin to play tight end. Midway into his college career, Watt switched over to defense.
Taking a risk on the youngest of the Watt siblings could pay off for the Dallas Cowboys in a similar fashion as the Chicago Bears drafting Kyle Long, the younger brother of Jake Long. That is if the Cowboys want to still go with a boom or bust project.
T.J. Watt is not a sure thing, but he is also not a redshirted player. He does fit the mold of the type of players Jerry Jones covets.
There are other players that is certain to gauge the Dallas Cowboys’ interest. One thing is for certain, whichever draftees the Cowboys add, look for them to be situated for an immediate impact.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]