When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the Dallas Cowboys have the No. 19 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Linebacker: Sean Lee’s injury and Jaylon Smith’s uncertainty has the Cowboys hunting for an every-down linebacker, preferably one that can play in the middle.
- Safety: The Cowboys are looking for a true free safety, one that can play centerfield. They passed on a number in free agency because they were considered box safeties.
- Wide receiver: The Cowboys signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson before releasing Dez Bryant, but they will still target a receiver in the first three rounds.
- Guard: The signing of Cameron Fleming has them considering moving La’el Collins back to guard from tackle. But they could still take a guard in the draft. Upgrading the left guard position is important and that could mean keeping Collins at right tackle and using Fleming as a swing tackle.
- Tight end: Jason Witten is still on the roster. He will be back for a 16th and likely final season. It’s time the Cowboys found Witten’s replacement.
–BEST FIT: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. The Cowboys spent the offseason upgrading the receiver corps and deciding to move on from No. 1 receiver Dez Bryant. Ridley would be the final piece to the puzzle and give quarterback Dak Prescott a young receiver to grow with.
–Rob Rang: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State. While adding an explosive receiver to replace Dez Bryant would probably bring the loudest cheers from the thousands of Cowboys fans attending this year’s draft, the smarter move might be first addressing its injury-prone linebacker corps with Vander Esch, an ascending prospect and one of the few remaining three-down ‘backers in this draft.
–Dane Brugler: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama. At some point in the first two rounds, the Cowboys are expected to address the wide receiver position and there is a chance that no receivers are drafted in the first 18 picks. Although not a traditional “X” receiver, Ridley is this draft’s top pass-catcher.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.