Dallas Cowboys retool defense in pre-Combine 7-round 2020 mock draft

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Cowboys mock draft (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys mock draft (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Trade: Cowboys send picks No. 17 and 209 to Patriots for No. 23, 115, 184

When the Cowboys came on the clock at No. 17, LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton had just come off of the board, who would’ve been my selection for Dallas. At that position, C.J. Henderson was the next prospect on the board and, despite his upside, I’m not comfortable taking him at No. 17. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney was also on the board but, frankly, I’m not sold on taking any safety in the 2020 NFL Draft class in the top 20 picks (McKinney was selected at No. 20 in this simulation).

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Also on the board, however, were two elite edge rusher prospects in K’Lavon Chaisson and A.J. Epenesa. With my feelings about the board in relation to Dallas’ needs and their presence, a trade down for more mid-round and better late-round picks seemed in order. The Patriots accepted moving up six spots and giving up their fourth-round pick from the Bears while also swapping their sixth-rounder for a seventh-round pick.

Then sitting at the No. 23 pick, the Cowboys take safety Grant Delpit out of LSU. Over the second half of the regular season and since LSU’s national title run, the stock has dropped on Delpit. He was once pegged as a possible top-10 pick and that has gone by the wayside in large part due to his ineffectiveness and, frankly, lack of willingness as a tackler.

For as much of a long, rangy playmaker that Delpit can be on the back end of the field, his timidness or avoidance of tackling was troubling in 2019. Could it have been a business decision with the NFL Draft in mind? Sure — but it stands to reason why some no longer view him as a lock to be a first-round pick any longer.

That may be true but the Cowboys’ need at safety is for a player that can have the type of impact Delpit can. He has the physicality to be a strong tackler and, if they can coach him in that regard, his coverage ability on the back end could make him a viable game-changer in the Dallas secondary.