Although it was Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett begging the Dallas Cowboys to trade up for him, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett makes more sense
The Dallas Cowboys won the 2016 NFL Draft by staying put and selecting the best players on their board. Their first pick was Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards. He did that despite the team resting him in Week 17 with the NFC East wrapped up.
Zeke wasn’t even their best rookie though as their second of two fourth-round picks, quarterback Dak Prescott, won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award after unexpectedly taking over for injured starter Tony Romo. They also got five sacks out of third=round pick Maliek Collins at defensive tackle and had some exceptional play from sixth-round pick Anthony Brown at cornerback
This is all without even getting anything from second-round pick Jaylon Smith or their injured defensive end from Round 4, Charles Tapper. The Boys also have high hopes in their other sixth-round picks tight end Rico Gathers and safety Kavon Frazier.
After hitting on so many players while still having faith in others, it may be tempting to stay put in 2017 and select whoever their board tells them to. Or they could take advantage of their fortunes from last season and try to get a difference-making playmaker at defensive end — a position in desperate need of fixing for years now.
The first name to come to mind for most would be Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett, who took some heat a little while back for begging the Cowboys to move up and draft him. With Garrett likely to be the first overall pick, that won’t happen. What could happen though is a move to select Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, who was brought in by the Dallas brass for a pre-draft visit according to Ian Rapoport.
Barnett was an absolute monster at Tennessee and broke the record for sacks held by legendary pass rusher Reggie White. Breaking the record of such a great player in itself should be enough to get a player drafted in the top ten, but questions instead circle Barnett.
Some aren’t pleased with his perpetual slow starts to the season, while others were highly turned off by his less-than-impressive numbers at the combine. Both of those are just small issues with a guy who recorded double-digit sacks every season in college. And the slow starts mean that he didn’t rack stats up against the no-name schools to start the season, but rather against elite talent in the SEC during conference play.
Dallas has often used their second-round picks on project players, and the third round can be hit or miss. Sacrificing those two areas to ensure an elite edge rusher is a move worth making. Plus, unlike the Myles Garrett plea, this one is actually doable.