Dallas Cowboys eye pass rusher in first round of 2020 NFL Draft

Local Sports

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The 2020 NFL Draft beings Thursday night, and our team at Texoma’s Homepage are taking a look ahead at what might happen when everything begins at 7 p.m.

There are a lot of questions surrounding Thursday’s first round, from will the Bengals take LSU QB Joe Burrow, like the entire world expects them to, to whether or not a blockbuster trade happens.

Some people are wondering how it’s actually all going to work out with no live audience, draft parties at home, and no one physically shaking NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell’s hand at the podium, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, the question on the minds of many Texomans is, what are the Dallas Cowboys going to do? Well, who better to ask than three guys Texoma knows and loves, who all happen to love football?

Meet Our Experts

Our digital team asked our three in-house experts, Tobin McDuff (sports director of KFDX/KJTL), M.J. Baird (sports anchor), and Jaron Spor (anchor, reporter and college football aficionado), their thoughts on what to expect over the next few days.

Tobin, M.J. and Jaron’s Top 20 Draft Prospects

What is the most significant need for the Cowboys in the 2020 NFL Draft?

Tobin McDuff — Defensive End. Losing Robert Quinn’s 11.5 sacks is major. An effective pass rush instantly makes your secondary better. The Cowboys improved their secondary through free agency. Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith may have joined Dallas, but their contributions will solely be a bonus because they haven’t played and their status with the league is still in question. 

M.J. Baird — Center. The retirement of Travis Frederick leaves a gap in that offensive line. Sure, the team has players it could use on a short-term “fill-in” basis, but I believe that getting someone who is a legit center is the best bet. Now, that may be in free agency instead of in the draft. Nonetheless, I see it as a very significant need for Dallas.

Jaron Spor — Safety / Pass Rusher. You can never have too many pass rushers, and the Cowboys need one after losing Robert Quinn. However, the safety position has been an issue for this team for years.

Should the Cowboys even draft based on needs, or should they take the best player available?

Tobin — Best available / balanced approach. The Cowboys are in a situation where they are not drafting with desperation. They’re already a Super Bowl contending-caliber team. Therefore, this year I believe they can lean toward drafting the best player available.

M.J. — Best available. I think the Cowboys have the flexibility to take the best available this season. With many needs on this team, you can’t get in a rigid mindset. Don’t be set on a certain pass rusher who is, say the 20th ranked prospect, when your pick comes around and the 14th ranked prospect, who happens to be a wide receiver, is available. Flexibility is key. Not to mention, Mike McCarthy has a proven track record of taking the best available.

Jaron — It depends. If the best player available is WR CeeDee Lamb or WR Jerry Jeudy, you have to take him. Otherwise, they should draft based on their needs.

With the Cowboys drafting 17th in the first round, should they try to trade up for a better player, down for more picks, or just stay where they’re at?

Tobin — Stay. I don’t see any reason to trade as they should draft an exceptional talent at 17. Would I object to moving up to grab Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb? No. Would I object to moving down? It all depends on what they get in return and who they draft with acquired picks.

M.J. — Stay, unless the situation arises to trade back. No need to trade in my opinion. There are plenty of good options on the table in the middle of the first round. That said, if Dallas could get a nice ransom from somebody looking to trade up to draft a certain player, then why not pull the trigger? But for the most part I expect the Dallas Cowboys to be selecting a player at No. 17.

Jaron — Stay. I think the Cowboys should stay, but if DE K’Lavon Chaisson is still available, they could potentially trade down to the 23-25 range, get an extra pick and still draft him.

Moment of truth… What’s your prediction for the Dallas Cowboys’ first round pick Thursday?

Tobin —DE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). I think he’ll be a great value at the 17th pick. He can contribute immediately opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. I’ve heard arguments that he is a scheme player. I’m a believer that football players play football. DeMarcus Lawrence would thrive in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme. Why can Chaisson not do the same?

M.J. — DE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). He is a pass rusher that, in my opinion, could be taken under the wing of Demarcus Lawrence. Will he replace Robert Quinn’s team leading 11.5 sacks? I highly doubt it. But if he can be half of that, it’s a good pick.

Jaron — DE K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). If Lamb and Jeury aren’t there at 17, then Chaisson is the pick. He’d give Dallas another great pass rusher opposite of Demarcus Lawrence, who I think will have a bounce-back year. Chaisson had 13.5 sacks last year. The Cowboys would then hope he can bring that production to the next level.

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