Over the course of May, both Joe Marino and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Dallas Cowboys.
The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:
|133||WR||Ryan Switzer||North Carolina|
|191||S||Xavier Woods||Louisiana Tech|
|216||CB||Marquez White||Florida State|
|239||WR||Noah Brown||Ohio State|
Best Value: S Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech
The Louisiana Tech product was an under the radar prospect in spite of being one of the most versatile defensive backs in the country. Woods was not a true man option from his safety position but his skills in impacting the game were vast.
Woods has good zone skills and takes good reactionary steps to challenge the ball, a skill that can also be seen when Woods is driving forward to challenge the run. The Cowboys were focused specifically on fortifying the defensive backfield and Woods figures to be a piece of the puzzle in spite of being a late round selection. He may not get a starting role as a rookie but I like his ability to be a consistent and positive influence on the field.
Worst Value: CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan
Lewis is a good straight line athlete with an uncanny ability to play the ball at the catch point. Yet I was left wanting more out of Lewis in some of his man to man reps; where I felt he was a bit stiff in his transitions and trying to realign his hips up the field of play. Lewis’ lateral quickness is only adequate and I don’t see the length or strength to play on the boundary with consistency.
The Cowboys appear to covet ball skills, so the selection of Lewis makes a lot of sense. So while this selection is at odds with my personal assessment, I do understand why Dallas targeted the Michigan product; as he fits their archetype.
Could Surprise: WR Ryan Switzer, North Carolina
Switzer was one of my favorite players in the entire 2017 NFL Draft. Quick as hell, polished in his route tree and consistently capable of winning with timing, Switzer was the key cog in the Tar Heels offense in 2016. When Switzer was on, the UNC offense was unstoppable. He’s one of the best route runners in the class and in spite of his size, Switzer plays with impressive tenacity to get to his landmarks on his routes.
This is a player dealing with some natural anatomical restrictions: he’s never going to be a jump ball player or be able to box out in the middle of the field with regularity. But where he wins and how he projects into the Dallas offense has me thrilled to see what his career trajectory looks like.