NFL Draft Insiders
The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?
ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.
Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: B-
Kiper: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox all left in free agency, and the Cowboys just needed bodies to fill those snaps. I thought they missed an opportunity at pick No. 28 to get a first-round talent -- Kevin King and Budda Baker were still on the board -- and instead chose Taco Charlton, a 6-foot-6, 277-pound defensive end who is a much better run defender than pass-rusher. Yes, Dallas needed an end after DeMarcus Lawrence underwhelmed last season and Randy Gregory was suspended for at least the 2017 season, but a premier pass-rusher made more sense. I don't think that's Charlton, who is No. 46 on my board.
Dallas' Day 2 was much better. Chidobe Awuzie, the best tackling corner in this draft, and Jourdan Lewis, likely a slot corner, will play early and often. Lewis is facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges, however. Ryan Switzer wasn't in my top 300, but I can see why teams like him. At 5-8, 181, he's tiny, but he's a great punt returner. I do wonder how Dallas will get both him and Cole Beasley on the field together. Noah Brown was much higher on my board (168) than where he went (239).
Without many picks, the Cowboys got some value after Round 1, but the Charlton pick is a bit of a head-scratcher. Seven of nine picks on defense show that Dallas knows it has to improve there to be a true Super Bowl contender.
|4/133||Ryan Switzer||WR||NORTH CAROLINA|
|6/191||Xavier Woods||S||LOUISIANA TECH|
|6/216||Marquez White||CB||FLORIDA STATE|
|7/239||Noah Brown||WR||OHIO STATE|
Todd McShay's favorite pick
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan (pick No. 92)
Lewis fell to the third round with off-field issues lingering, but we had an early second-round grade on the Michigan product and they got him in the bottom of the third. Lewis has a chance to be the best nickel/slot CB in this class, and the Cowboys really needed corners after losing Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency. Lewis is on the smaller side (5-10 , 188), but you'd never know it by watching him fill against the run. And in coverage, he gave up less separation than any cornerback I watched on tape in this draft. The Cowboys upgraded their secondary on Day 2 of the draft, selecting Lewis and Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie, both of whom made my 2017 All-Tape Team.
Scouts Inc. on 2017 class
1 (28) Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan | Highlights
What he brings: Charlton makes up for what he lacks in suddenness and top-end speed with his length, size and power. He's an effective edge setter against the run, plus he uses his length, hands and flexibility to beat offensive tackles rushing the passer. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: With Randy Gregory suspended for the 2017 season, Demarcus Lawrence coming off back surgery and 2016 fourth-round pick Charles Tapper missing his rookie season with a back injury, Dallas needed to add a defensive end. Charlton has the talent to make an immediate contribution, and look for defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to get the most out of him. -- Steve Muench
2 (28) Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado | Highlights
What he brings: A three-year starter with outstanding football character, Awuzie shows man-to-man limitations on tape, but he's an explosive athlete who tested well at the combine and shows above-average instincts in zone. He's also outstanding in run support and should cover kicks in the NFL. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: Awuzie is an excellent fit for Rod Marinelli's Cover 2-heavy scheme. He'll likely compete for a starting job at corner, but he's versatile enough to play safety where Dallas also has a need, and he has the potential to develop into a special-teams player as well. -- Steve Muench
3 (28) Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan | Highlights
What he brings: Lewis is one of the most naturally instinctive corners we've studied in years and he's tough for his size both in coverage and stepping up in run support. He's also got the closing burst and ball skills to develop into a playmaker. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: It's not surprising that the Cowboys have taken two corners, considering they parted ways with starters Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Lewis has the toughness and instincts to make early contributions in Dallas' scheme, plus he has the ball skills to help a defense that had only 20 takeaways (tied for 19th) last season. -- Steve Muench
4 (27) Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina | Highlights
What he brings: While Switzer is undersized, he's the best route runner in this draft class. He has the burst and open-field instincts to develop into a productive slot WR and punt returner. Scouts have reported that he can be difficult, though. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: Switzer has the potential to develop into a productive slot receiver for the Cowboys and should make an immediate impact returning punts. -- Steve Muench
6 (7) Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech
What he brings: Woods is a versatile safety with above-average top-end speed. He misses some tackles, but he was Louisiana Tech's second-leading tackler last year. He flashes the ability to get to the quarterback and has the potential to develop into a playmaker. -- Steve Muench
6 (33) Marquez White, CB, Florida State | Highlights
What he brings: White has average size with good fluidity and quality mirror skills to line up in press or off coverage. However, he has room to get stronger and become more consistent both playing the ball and in run support. -- Kevin Weidl
7 (10) Joey Ivie, DT, Florida
What he brings: Ivie is a grinder who lacks an elite physical skill set but has quality power. He plays with the toughness and motor that could allow him to overcome his deficiencies. -- Kevin Weidl
7 (21) Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
What he brings: Brown's size, ball skills and athleticism give him a chance to develop into a solid No. 3 or No. 4 wide receiver who excels in the red zone. He's capable of becoming a better pro than college player, but he needs to be motivated enough to keep his weight in check and maximize his raw tools. -- Kevin Weidl
7 (28) Jordan Carrell , DT, Colorado
What he brings: A JUCO transfer, Carrell is on the lighter side with shorter arms. He needs to improve his upper-body strength but he has the quickness to develop into a disruptive backup 3-technique. -- Steve Muench
For more insightful content from Marc-Lawrence click here