The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs last season, but they’ve already made a series of moves to ensure it doesn’t happen again in 2020. Dallas threw the exclusive franchise tag at Dak Prescott and extended Amari Cooper. With Ezekiel Elliott still commanding the backfield, the Cowboys will have one of the best offensive trios in the NFL next year. Jerry Jones should undoubtedly look to bolster the defense with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Who are the Cowboys’ best options in middle the first round?
Xavier McKinney — Safety, Alabama
You can never go wrong drafting an Alabama player with your top pick. Nick Saban builds professionals on and off the field, and Xavier McKinney is no exception.
McKinney is arguably the best safety in the entire 2020 NFL draft. He’s an extremely versatile defender that can play anywhere on the field. His game is similar to that of Jets’ Jamal Adams.
McKinney was a second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC pick last season. He led the Crimson Tide in tackles with 95. He could fit in seamlessly with fellow Alabama alum Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the Cowboys’ defensive backfield.
Jeff Gladney — Cornerback, TCU
The departure of Byron Jones leaves a huge hole at the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis would be the starters if the season started today, but the Cowboys need more depth at the position.
Gladney is a solid option at 17 for Dallas if their top options are off the board. He’s an aggressive ball hawk who can make game-changing plays on defense. Gladney is a bit undersized, standing at 5-foot 10 and weighing in at 191 pounds, but he proved at TCU he can hold his own on the outside.
Gladney is a top-five corner in the class, but the Cowboys should be aiming higher.
C.J. Henderson — Cornerback, Florida
The C.J. Henderson hype is real. Florida consistently pumps out elite cornerback talent, and Henderson is the latest product out of Gainesville.
Henderson dazzled in his NFL combine performance by running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, and he immediately shot up draft boards. The corner might not last to the 17th pick, but the Cowboys shouldn’t hesitate to take him if he does fall into their laps.
Henderson recorded six interceptions and 20 passes defended last year. He’s regarded as the second-best cornerback prospect behind Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. Could Jerry Jones work his magic and trade up for the Florida standout?
K’Lavon Chaisson — Edge, LSU
The three prospects listed above would be solid options for the Cowboys, but the No. 1 target for Dallas should be LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. And not just because he has one of the best names in the draft.
Chaisson is widely considered the best pass rusher in the draft behind Ohio State’s Chase Young. Since Young will be off the board 10 minutes into the draft, Chaisson presents the best option for Dallas to bolster their pass rush.
Robert Quinn and his 11.5 sacks are gone. DeMarcus Lawrence only had five sacks last year, and the rest of the defensive line didn’t produce much either. Jourdan Lewis was second on the team with four sacks last season.
Chaisson can immediately jump into the lineup as the team’s best pass rusher on day one. He recorded a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season. Chaisson was the best player on LSU’s championship defense.
His 6-foot-3, 254-pound frame and elite quickness make him one of the best overall prospects in the draft. Cowboy fans should be ecstatic if Chaisson slaps a blue star on his helmet next week.