2017 Mock Draft: Dallas Cowboys Get A Dominant Pass Rusher

Even though the 2016 NFL season is just a little over the halfway mark, that doesn’t mean it’s too early for 2017 mock drafts to already be circulating around the Internet.

Now, there is no way to predict where teams will be slotted to select players in April when the 2017 NFL Draft gets underway, but it is always fun to see who these so-called “experts” choose for each team.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) just released their first 2017 mock draft, and I not only like who they selected for the Dallas Cowboys, but where they have the Cowboys slotted to draft.

Here is who/where PFF thinks the Dallas Cowboys select in next year’s NFL Draft and what they had to say:

32. Dallas Cowboys: Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois

{ "type": "blockquote", "quote": "<p>“After a slow start, Smoot is headed for another dominant finish that mirrors last year’s as he is one of the nation’s best pass-rushers down the stretch. He’s shown the ability to take over games throughout his career and he’ll step right in as a pass-rush threat along a Cowboys defensive line that has not gotten after the quarterback at a high rate this season.”</p>" }

First off, as a Dallas Cowboys fan, you have to be pleased with where PFF has the Dallas Cowboys slotted to draft in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Cowboys are indeed drafting #32 overall, that means that they are adding another Super Bowl trophy to their collection.

There is a lot of football left the season, but I know I would be ecstatic if the Cowboys are Super Bowl champs. That’s a goal every year, right?

Secondly, we all know that the Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need for pass rushers, and  although I’m unfamiliar with Dawuane Smoot, he does fit a need.

Since I was unfamiliar with Smoot, I decided to do a little research and was pleasantly surprised to find out what two of the top draft “experts” thought about the soon to be former Illinois defensive end.

ESPN’s own Mel Kiper Jr. currently has Dawuane Smoot ranked #25 on his preseason Big Board.

{ "type": "blockquote", "quote": "<p>“Smoot played like a first-round pick with Jihad Ward, who went to the Raiders in the second round, on the other side,” wrote Kiper. “I had Ward as the No. 27 player on my final Big Board, but Smoot was more productive in 2015.”</p>" }

That is certainly high praise from someone who has been analyzing these prospects for years now, but his colleague, Todd McShay, apparently thinks even higher of Smoot and has him as his #5 prospect.

{ "type": "blockquote", "quote": "<p>“A gifted pass-rusher, Smoot keeps offensive tackles on their heels with his ability to win with speed, power and redirection quickness,” McShay wrote.</p>" }

Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are well respected for their draft analysis, which is plainly evident when you watch the NFL Draft on ESPN. I respect the work they do and the time they put in, but they aren’t my favorite draft analysts. That distinction would go to Matt Miller.

Miller is the lead Staff Writer/draft expert for Bleacher Report, and someone whose opinion I tend to agree with more than any of the other draft analyst.

Miller currently has Dawuane Smoot in the top 10 of his latest mock draft.

Here’s what he had to say about the Illinois defensive end:

{ "type": "blockquote", "quote": "<p>“Smoot–6’3″, 265 pounds–has ideal edge-rusher athleticism and size,” Miller wrote. “Unlike a Randy Gregory or Vic Beasley, he can hold up against NFL offensive tackles with power and speed. Smoot also uses his hands like a pro and is able to be a force on the edge even when he’s the sole defensive player opponents are game planning for.”</p>" }

Based on all of this information, it’s a little difficult to believe that Dawuane Smoot will still be around when the Cowboys are on the clock at #32 overall, but if he is they may be running to the podium to turn in their draft card.

I thought it was worth mentioning that Smoot’s head coach at Illinois is Lovie Smith, so defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys should be able to get a detailed scouting report straight from the horses mouth.

The Lovie Smith/Rod Marinelli connection makes the Dawuane Smoot to Dallas that much more plausible.

Let me hear what you think in the comment section below.

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