The Dallas Cowboys have had some success drafting in the second round, but which prospects could be on their radar in the 2017 NFL Draft
Taking a look at the past six second-round NFL Draft choices by the Dallas Cowboys, there has been a hodgepodge of greatness (Sean Lee, 2010), disappointment (Gavin Escobar, 2013; Randy Gregory, 2015) and unknown (Jaylon Smith, 2016).
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Even with the uneven consistency for the Cowboys in the second round as of late, the 2017 NFL Draft holds great opportunity for Dallas. After going 13-3 a season ago, they obviously have high hopes for the future. However, they also had a defense that needed improvement last season, and now that unit has lost several key pieces via free agency.
The Cowboys’ second-round pick (60th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft is just as important for the franchise as their first-round pick, because there are dire needs on the roster that one prospect can’t address by himself. What’s more, this is regarded as a deep draft class. Subsequently, a miss like in 2013 or disappointment with players who have been suspended can’t happen anymore, especially heading into the 2017 season where the Cowboys enter as one of the favorites to contend for a Super Bowl.
With that in mind and the need to hit on the pick, here are four players the Cowboys could draft in the second round who could help fill one of the many holes Dallas is left with currently.
Sep 3, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies defensive back Kevin King (20) points to the stands after making a tackle for a loss against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
4. Kevin King, CB — Washington
The Cowboys need help at the cornerback position, and though he could possibly be selected in the first round, Kevin King of the Washington Huskies could go anywhere in the first-to-second round. The 6-3, 200-pound cornerback has excellent height to play against some of the toughest wide receivers in the NFL, especially the ones he’d face twice a season in the NFC East.
Not only does King have height on his side, he has speed, too, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, in addition to posting a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has the opinion King “is the most versatile defender” to come out of Washington in recent years, and that includes Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters.
In his final season with the Huskies, King played in 14 games where he totaled 44 tackles (26 solo) with 3.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. For his four-year collegiate career, King totaled 164 tackles (9.5 for loss) and six interceptions.
What really stands out abut King is his potential ability to play both cornerback and safety, similar to what Byron Jones is able to do if called upon. If the Cowboys have any interest in King, they will most likely have to trade up in the second round to add him to their roster — that is, if he is still available by the time the second day of the draft arrives.
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans defensive back Adoree’ Jackson (2) runs against Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins (3) in the first quarter of the 2017 Rose Bowl game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
3. Adoree’ Jackson, CB — USC
Adoree’ Jackson is fast enough to try out for the Team USA Olympic team in two different events and can bring a lot of athleticism to a Cowboys defense that seems to be lacking depth and excitement with the 2017 NFL Draft nearing. Jackson is described as an “elite athlete” by Rob Rang of NFLDraft Scout.com, and Jackson proved that with a 40-yard dash time of 4.42 seconds and a height on a vertical jump of 36 inches.
Jackson would also be an improvement on special teams with his ability to return kickoffs and punts. This past season at USC, Jackson had 26 kickoff returns for 767 yards and two touchdowns, while also returning 20 punts for 315 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Jackson had 55 tackles (46 solo) with five interceptions, 11 passes defensed, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble. In his three-year career at USC, Jackson totaled six interceptions, 28 passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
This would be an interesting pick for the Cowboys here because it would mean that the Cowboys most likely went with a pass rusher off the edge in the first round, which would be the smart move for the franchise as they seek their sixth Super Bowl championship.
Sep 10, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Curtis Samuel (4) against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 48-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
2. Curtis Samuel, WR — Ohio State
Let’s go completely away from the defense of the Cowboys and have some fun adding to the offense. Dallas could possibly add Ohio State wide receiver Curtis Samuel to their roster. Remember the last time the Cowboys drafted a player from Ohio State and how that worked out?
Samuel had an absolutely outstanding 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, timed at 4.31 seconds, to go with a vertical leap of 37 inches. Samuel also faced some stiff competition in the Big Ten last season. Though he might not be the biggest player on the field, playing opposite of Dez Bryant or even on the field at the same time as Terrence Williams and Cole Beasley could make Samuel a very dynamic offensive powerhouse for the Cowboys.
Additionally, with the possible selection of a wide receiver in the second round, what is wrong with adding another weapon for second-year quarterback Dak Prescott while adding to the depth of the offense as well, especially since Bryant has been a tad bit injury-prone in recent seasons?
With the Cowboys and the second round, who knows what the franchise is thinking. But one thing is clear: they could go best player available with this selection. And if that is the case and Samuel is still on the board, they could really make a splash and draft the Buckeyes wide receiver to their roster.
Nov 10, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Utah Utes defensive back Marcus Williams (20) returns an interception against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
1. Marcus Williams, FS — Utah
Marcus Williams, free safety from Utah, is a potential playmaker for the Cowboys defense, something they’ve lacked in the defensive backfield. Think about it; as a fan of the Cowboys, do you feel comfortable with who the Cowboys currently have on their defensive backfield roster? Did you feel confident in last year’s group in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs?
Adding a player with the abilities of Williams changes the feel of the defense the first day of rookie camp, making the defense better than what it was. Playing at Utah has made Williams a bit of a hidden gem for the 2017 NFL Draft. He finished his collegiate career with 11 interceptions (five in 2016), 188 tackles, four tackles for loss, eight passes defended and four forced fumbles.
For the Cowboys, having a chance to add a playmaker on defense in the second round might be a lot to pass on for this franchise. Williams does have a pre-draft visit with the Cowboys, so if the team feels they are in the market for a safety in the second round, remember the name of Williams, as it could be called on day two of the draft.