The Cowboys crushed it in the 2016 NFL Draft, but now they need to crush the 2017 draft on the defensive side of the ball.
Dallas came away with three starters in last year's draft, including NFL Rookie of the Year quarterback Dak Prescott and NFL rushing leader Zeke Elliott. They also found defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who was second on the team with five sacks.
In 2005, the team picked starters in DeMarcus Ware (11th overall), Marcus Spears (20th overall), Kevin Burnett (2nd round), Chris Canty (4th round) and Jay Ratliff (7th round).
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The team needs to bring in a similar haul in 2017 to fill their needs at defense end, cornerback, safety, kick returner, tight end and wide receiver.
Dallas has the 28th overall pick in a draft that is stocked with pass rushers and defensive backs. They need two of each. They also need a tight end, since this could be Jason Witten's final season.
The Cowboys trading out of the 28th pick to move down and collect more players if the prospects they grade as first rounders — I'm told they have 19 — are off the board by then. In other words, the "war daddy" pass rusher they covet may be off the board and they may go with a defensive back.
Jones has made a first round trade five times in the last 10 drafts, so expect to see Trader Jones make a move.
Dallas has a total of seven draft picks: 1st round (28th overall), 2nd round (60th), 3rd round (92nd), 4th round (133rd), 6th round (211th) and two 7th round (228th and 246th).
Here is a look at the Cowboys’ five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season.
Now one thing fans need to remember during draft weekend is what the club did in free agency and the offseason. Here is a refresher of the moves:
• WR Brice Butler: Potential Unrestricted Free Agent; 1 yr, terms unknown.
• G Jonathan Cooper: UFA; $2M/1 yr, $500 SB.
• RB Darren McFadden: UFA; $980K/1 yr, $80K SB.
• QB Kellen Moore: UFA; $775K/1 yr, $100K guaranteed.
• WR Terrance Williams: UFA; $17M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$9.5M guaranteed.
• T Byron Bell: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
• CB Nolan Carroll: UFA Eagles; $10M/3 yrs, $3M SB.
• DE Damontre Moore: UFA Seahawks; $1.665M/2 yrs, $100K SB.
• DT Stephen Paea: UFA Browns; $2M/1 yr, $500K SB.
• CB Brandon Carr: UFA Ravens; $23M/4 yrs, $4M SB.
• S Barry Church: UFA Jaguars; $26M/4 yrs, $12M guaranteed.
• CB Morris Claiborne: UFA Jets; $5M/1 yr, $2M SB.
• DE Jack Crawford: UFA Falcons; $8.8M/3 yrs, $2.5M SB/$3M guaranteed.
• DE Ryan Davis: UFA Bills; $2.2M/2 yrs, $100K SB.
• TE Gavin Escobar: UFA Chiefs; 1 yr, terms unknown.
• T Doug Free (retired).
• RB Lance Dunbar: UFA Rams; $1.5M/1 yr, $1.375M guaranteed.
• G Ronald Leary: UFA Broncos; $36M/4 yrs, $3.5M SB/$18.65M guaranteed, $5.35M injury only at time of signing.
• DT Terrell McClain: UFA Redskins; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$10.5M guaranteed, $3.25M injury only at time of signing.
• QB Tony Romo (released/post-June 1 designation).
• QB Mark Sanchez: UFA Bears; $2M/1 yr, $750 SB/$1M guaranteed.
• S J.J. Wilcox: UFA Buccaneers; $6.25M/2 yrs, $3.125M guaranteed.