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Mock Draft Roundup: Early Favorites For No. 17


The 2020 NFL Draft forecasts to be deep with talent at a number of positions, and barring a trade, the Dallas Cowboys will be sitting on the No. 17 pick in the first round with a number of potential needs to fill depending on how free agency shakes out.

Below is a collection of 15 NFL Draft experts across various platforms and publications who have produced early mock drafts. Projections and values might change after the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, but there are certainly some trends among the experts' opinions on the Cowboys first round plans. Thirteen of the 15 mock drafts have Dallas selecting a defensive back, and all 15 have them selecting a player from the SEC.

David Helman, Co-host of The Draft Show, Staff Writer:

  • Kristian Fulton, Cornerback, LSU

"It's impossible to know what team needs look like in April, but it's a good bet the Cowboys will need help in the secondary. If they don't like the value of the safety spot at pick No. 17, perhaps they could take one of the best cover corners in the draft. Fulton was impressive throughout 2019 despite playing through injury, and he could help fill the void at cornerback if Byron Jones leaves in free agency."

Chad Reuter, Draft Analyst,

  • Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

"McKinney's ability to serve as a ballhawk and attack plays downhill could be a boon to Dallas' secondary, which intercepted seven passes in all of 2019 (tied for fewest in the league)."

Todd McShay, ESPN:

  • Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

"McKinney has some range as a deep safety --- he pulled in three interceptions on the backend for Bama last season."

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN:

  • C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Florida

"With smooth hips and great recovery speed, Henderson is a natural cover corner with a 6-1 frame."

Charlie Campbell,

  • Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU

"Grant Delpit is an exceptional talent who was once considered a top-10 lock, but struggled a bit in 2019."

Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports:

  • Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU

"The Cowboys need help at safety and corner, and with the top corners already off the board, they take who I believe is the best safety in this class."

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports:

  • C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Florida

"Dallas has to go defense, and the front office will probably prioritize cornerback after likely losing Byron Jones in free agency."

Nate Davis, USA Today:

  • Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU

"No need to give up the ship for Jamal Adams when you can enlist another highly capable Bayou Bengal in Delpit, last season's Jim Thorpe Award winner, to shore up the backline."

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News:

  • Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU

"Delpit flies around the field, stopping the run like an extra linebacker and making big plays on the ball in downfield coverage."

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report:

  • C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Florida

"A feisty, fast cornerback, Henderson has excellent ball skills and the instincts to be a major factor playing the ball in the pros. He's never going to win awards for tackling skills, but like Deion Sanders always said, you're not paying cornerbacks to tackle."

Dan Kadar, SB Nation:

  • Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

"McKinney is a capable coverage safety and in nickel situations will come down and play linebacker."

Dane Brugler, The Athletic:

  • Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU

"In this scenario, the Cowboys trade back seven spots, add three draft picks, and draft a player they likely would have considered at No. 17 overall."

Lance Zierlein, NFL Network:

  • Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

"Assuming Dallas locks up pending free agent Byron Jones, McKinney would give the 'Boys a versatile, interchangeable safety who can also line up over the slot."

Bucky Brooks, NFL Network:

  • Henry Ruggs III, Wide Receiver, Alabama

"Adding speed, quickness, and playmaking ability to the receiving corps could be a priority with several gifted free agents poised to hit the market."

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network:

  • Xavier McKinney, Safety, Alabama

"McKinney is the best safety in the draft, and he addresses a glaring need for the Cowboys."

Bryan Perez, NBC Sports:

  • Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle, South Carolina

"If he's still hanging around, Jerry Jones will waste little time adding a player who has a chance to be a legitimate game-wrecker in the NFL."