Rd. 1, Pk. 28
T.J. Watt, OLB/3-4OLB/ILB, Wisconsin
The Cowboys are expected to address either their pass rush or secondary with the No. 28 overall pick unless an explosive play-maker drops to them. It could be argued that Corey Davis fits that profile, but some teams labeled him as a late first-/early second-round prospect. Thus, Dallas may not see him as a huge steal.
Instead, Dallas could be interested in someone like T.J. Watt, whom we've had slotted as high as No. 21. Watt has great athleticism, which the Cowboys love, and he'd fill a huge need.
*** OTHER 2017 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Adoree Jackson, CB - Jackson sounds like he'll be the pick if he drops to No. 28.
2. Takkarist McKinley or Tyus Bowser, DE/OLB - Dane Brugler reported that the Cowboys have shown late interest in the Koopa King. McKinley also makes sense.
Pick change; previously Taco Charlton, DE
Rd. 2, Pk. 28
Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
I wanted to slot Tre'Davious White earlier than this, but he fell out of circumstance. It happens, and I have to imagine that the Cowboys would be thrilled.
Rd. 3, Pk. 28
Shaquill Griffin, CB, Central Florida
As mentioned in the first round, the Cowboys are expected to address the defense early and often. Cornerback help is sorely needed with Morris Claiborne gone. As luck would have it, this class is stacked at corner, so Dallas could grab two in the first three rounds.
Rd. 4, Pk. 26
Xavier Woods, SS, Louisiana Tech
The Cowboys lost both J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church this offseason, so I expect them to target a safety early in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rd. 6, Pk. 27
K.D. Cannon, WR, Baylor
I've mocked a receiver to the Cowboys much earlier than this, but Dallas will have to add a wideout at some point.
Rd. 7, Pk. 10
Jahad Thomas, RB, Temple
Alfred Morris was a disappointment last year, while Darren McFadden is always a question mark.
Rd. 7, Pk. 28
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
The Cowboys are in the market for a backup quarterback, so they could take one early on Day 3.
The Cowboys need a cornerback upgrade badly. At the combine, sources with Dallas told me they love Adoree' Jackson, but I don't have him getting to Dallas. The Cowboys could target King as they hosted him before the draft and he would be an upgrade for them.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder King has the length and size to match up against big wideouts while proving his excellent speed at the combine. Sources from multiple teams think that King could go late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
King was part of a good tandem of Huskies cornerbacks with Sidney Jones. In 2016, King notched 44 tackles with 13 passes broken up and two interceptions. He also had quality production as a junior with 39 tackles, five passes broken up and three interceptions. King totaled 65 tackles as a sophomore.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
The Cowboys could double up on cornerbacks to address their weak secondary.
In 2016, Awuzie recorded 65 tackles with 12 passes broken up, four sacks and one interception. The 6-foot, 205-pounder has decent size to him, but is inconsistent in coverage. He allows separation and doesn't play as big as his listed size. In his bowl game, he was torched by Oklahoma State. Awuzie had 84 tackles with 12 for a loss, four sacks, seven passes broken up and two interceptions in 2015.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina
The Cowboys lost Terrell McClain in free agency and could use more interior defensive line talent.
Jones had a solid 2016 season for the Tar Heels with 70 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes batted and a forced fumble. He is a disruptive defender who can defend the run and put some pressure on the quarterback. The 6-foot-5, 304-pounder played on the inside for North Carolina and has some versatility to man a variety of spots, but his best fit might come as a five-technique 3-4 defensive end.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio
The Cowboys grab some more pass-rushing competition.
Every year, there are some small-school prospects who get exposure at the college all-star games, and Basham took advantage with an impressive Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 259-pounder has the quickness to be an edge rusher in the NFL and has athletic upside to develop.
As a senior, Basham recorded 50 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks and two passes broken up. He put together some modest sack production as a junior (5.5), sophomore (4) and freshman (7.5). Basham ended his career with totals of 40 tackles for a loss, 28.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Treston Decoud, CB, Oregon State
The Cowboys grab more cornerback talent and competition.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Taylor McNamara, TE, USC
The Cowboys moved on from the predictably disappointing Gavin Escobar and could use some tight end depth.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Xavier Woods, SS, Louisiana Tech
Woods visited the Cowboys, and Dallas could target some safety and special teams depth.
While the Dallas secondary was gutted in free agency with the loses of two starting corners and two of their top safeties I believe they still have the pieces there to at least fake something of a position group there, the same can not be said for their pass rush though which desperately needs new life after the inconsistency of Demarcus Lawrence and off-field issues of Randy Gregory. Charles Harris though gives the Cowboys the "war daddy" Jerry Jones has craved and will give DC Rod Marinelli something to work with to create a pass rush to help limit the high flying offenses in the NFC.
The Cowboys need a cornerback upgrade badly. At the combine, sources with Dallas told me they love Jackson. The Cowboys would be fortunate if he got to their pick. <br> <br>
Jackson notched 55 tackles with 11 passes broken up and five interceptions in 2016. He also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, returned two punts for touchdowns, and made a 52-yard touchdown catch. Jackson had an awesome game against Alabama as he shut down star wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He held Ridley to only two receptions for nine yards on the night. Jackson has given the NFL proof that he is a serious cover corner prospect for the 2017 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
Jackson played on offense and defense in 2015. He had 35 tackles with eight passes broken up and one interception at corner. As a wide receiver, Jackson had 27 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore also returned punts and kicks. <br> <br>
Jackson became a starter in 2014 and was a sensation who also contributed as a wide receiver and returner/coverage defender on special teams. Defensively, the freshman had 49 tackles with 10 passes deflected. He also caught 10 receptions for 138 yards with three touchdowns on offense. On special teams, Jackson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 30 yards per kick return. For the NFL, the 5-foot-10, 186-pounder fits best as a cover cornerback. He is a fast corner to prevent separation, but can struggle with size and defenders making receptions over him.
The Dallas Cowboys exceeded just about everyone's expectations in 2016. After a preseason injury to Tony Romo, the Cowboys season seemed D.O.A. and the team seemed destined for another 4-12 record. Instead, the dynamic rookie duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would set the entire NFL on fire en route to a 13-3 record and the NFC’s number one seed. Now after a season nobody saw coming, the Cowboys enter the offseason with more questions than answers, with Romo’s future uncertain and six starters set to hit free agency. Outside of franchise stalwart Sean Lee, the Cowboys lack a definitive playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, and you can fully expect Jerry Jones to address defense come late April. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence recently underwent his second consecutive offseason surgery, while Rolando McClain and Justin Durant set to hit free agency and recurring headache Randy Gregory gearing up for a year-long suspension. At 6’2 and 265 pounds, UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley is the top edge-rusher prospect available. A highly-regarded prospect out of high school, McKinley originally committed to Cal before academic issues forced him to take the JUCO route and spend the 2013 season at Contra Costa College. McKinley would transfer to UCLA the following year and would make a name for himself as one of the best defenders in the Pac-12. A freakish athlete with a rare mix of size and speed, McKinley can be unbeatable at times. His versatility allows him to lineup in multiple defensive schemes, which something plenty of scouts and GM’s will look at. With McKinley making his debut alongside Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys youth movement extends to the defensive side of the ball as well.
Without a lot of cap space and having holes both at pass rusher and at cornerback leaves the Cowboys quite a few directions they could turn to for this pick. They could also go with a wide receiver or even a tight end should Howard, Njoku, Davis or Williams fall into their lap. That doesn't play out in this mock, so they go with the best pass rusher available who also happens to be the best fit for their defense. It's a solid move since they can't count on Randy Gregory and because Taco Charlton would provide some nice value here at 28. Taco has terrific size and athleticism. He really took off in his senior season once he got regular playing time. Given that his production only improved every year in college, I think his best football may still be ahead of him.
The Cowboys went from 4-12 to 13-3 thanks to an amazing rookie class and will likely need another one to make up for the losses they have had this season. Ronald Leary, Doug Free (retired), Jack Crawford, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox all left the team. So at the end of the day the teams biggest needs are RT, CB, and Safety. This years offensive line class is weak and the Cowboy will likely alternate Byron Bell and Chaz Green for the job. The Cowboys still have Anthony Brown and Orlando Scandrick on their roster plus they just signed Nolan Carroll so they can wait a round or 2 to pick one. So that leaves safety and the highest ranking safety on the board is Peppers. Personally I'm not a fan of the scheme fit. But he can be the hard hitting strong safety that the Cowboys lost when they lost J.J. Wilcox. Worst case scenario Peppers can play inside linebacker with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith on the outside or play nickel.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Jabrill Peppers Going to Cowboys
Rd. 1, Pk. 28
Taco Charlton, DE/3-4OLB
One team told us early in the draft process that they regarded Taco Charlton as a top-10 prospect. That changed a bit throughout the spring, but Charlton still provides solid value at No. 28 overall. Charlton is a long, athletic player. The concern is that he's a 1-year wonder, but he's very talented and could potentially solve Dallas' pass-rushing woes. I had Charlton going at No. 21, so the Cowboys did well by being patient and taking one of the better players remaining on the board.
Rd. 2, Pk. 28
Chidobe Awuzie, CB
There are definitely mixed reviews about Chidobe Awuzie. One team thought he was good enough to be chosen in the top 20, but they had a better player fall into their laps. Two other teams had Awuzie marked as a fourth-round prospect. There are questions about Awuzie's deep speed, but he did run a 4.44 at the combine. He has great athleticism, which the Cowboys like, and he fills a big need.
Rd. 3, Pk. 28
Jourdan Lewis, CB
The Cowboys have taken lots of chances on troubled players, so it's no surprise that they've decided to take a shot on Jourdan Lewis. The Michigan product was charged with domestic violence a month ago. He's a terrific talent who would've gone much earlier had he been clean off the field, but he's worth the risk toward the end of the third round.
Rd. 4, Pk. 26
Ryan Switzer, WR
Ryan Switzer was like the college football version of Cole Beasley last year, but he's not a projection like Beasley for the NFL, as he tested very poorly athletically. However, he could become a dynamic special-teamer for the Cowboys. I had him in the seventh round, but Switzer could score some touchdowns as a returner.
Rd. 6, Pk. 7
Xavier Woods, SS
I had the Cowboys selecting Xavier Woods in the fourth round, so I love this value. Woods is an athletic player with great play-making ability, so he could start for Dallas at some point. He's not a great tackler, but that's his only real blemish.
Rd. 6, Pk. 32
Marquez White, CB
I slotted Marquez White at the end of the fifth round, so the Cowboys are getting some value at this spot. It makes sense for them to select yet another cornerback, given their colossal need at the position. White isn't very athletic, and he'll struggle in run support, but he had some nice tape at Florida State and has nice size (6-0, 194). This is a solid pick.
Rd. 7, Pk. 10
Joey Ivie, DT
I didn't have Joey Ivie as being drafted in my mock, but he was close at least. Still, it's unlikely that he'll make Dallas' roster, though I do understand why the Cowboys would go after defensive line depth.
Rd. 7, Pk. 21
Noah Brown, WR
Noah Brown made a huge mistake by declaring early, falling all the way to the middle of the seventh round. He had very little production at Ohio State, and he doesn't have intriguing athleticism at all, so it's not a surprise that he fell this far. He's going to regret his decision for a very long time, as I'll be surprised if he makes Dallas' 53-man roster. I don't mind taking a chance on him, but it's disappointing to see this happen.
Rd. 7, Pk. 28
Jordan Carrell, DT
Jordan Carrell tested well at his pro day, which is why Dallas drafted him. His production was just OK, not great, at Colorado. It might be difficult for Carrell to make the roster, but perhaps he'll emerge in a couple of years after being on the practice squad.