News: DMN: 5 players Cowboys could take at 28: Should Dallas go for pass-rushing upside or an

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    Brandon George and Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News are back for another episode of Candidly Cowboys. Listen to the podcast below or read up on some of the highlights.
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    The guys break down five potential players that could be around at pick No. 28 for Dallas.

    T.J. Watt

    Brandon George: It's hard to go wrong with a Watt, I guess. ... He's out there at No. 28 because he had only one good year at Wisconsin. He was injured early on in his career. He converted from a tight end early on in his career too. He had a big year in 2016 so he had a one-year wonder kind of guy. But obviously the pedigree is there when you got two brothers who are playing in the league and J.J. Watt being a standout defensive end.

    ... Watt obviously put up big numbers this past year at Wisconsin. He has the frame to put on more weight. I think he could get bigger. I think that's one of the knocks on him when you see scouts say that he needs to get a little bit bigger to be a kind of 4-3 defensive end.

    Takkarist McKinley

    Jon Machota: McKinley is only 6-2. So a lot of people are gonna think, 'Well, maybe he's a better fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. I just like McKinley's production. The reason he kind of won me over is the fact that he played with, what I believe was, a torn labrum pretty much the last two seasons he was at UCLA. He finally had the surgery on it.

    So there's your red flag right there. He had surgery on it and he could miss most, if not all, of training camp. So there's your risk there if kind of you're weighing Watt and McKinley, who I think it could come down to at 28.


    Jon Machota: I had Takk McKinley going to the Cowboys in my mock draft. McKinley and T.J. Watt were on the board when I was picking. I had [Charles] Harris already gone.

    ... I think he has the highest upside. He won me over at the combine. At his interview he talked about how, 'Yeah, you know what? I might not be the best pass rusher in this draft after Year 1 but it's not just about one year.' When we look back on this draft after like five, six, seven years he believes he'll be the best pass rusher. I can see why he'd make that argument. Obviously Myles Garrett seems like he'll be the best one out of this class, but I just like the McKinley confidence and I love the fact that he played two seasons through the shoulder injury.

    Charles Harris

    Jon Machota: When you talk about Missouri pass rushers, especially recently in the draft, Missouri's been as good as anybody putting them out. You've had Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, Markus Golden and Shane Ray. Just out of Ray, Golden and Ealy ... those three guys last year combined for 25.5 sacks. That obviously helps Charles Harris. [That] kind of adds into the fact that I don't think Charles Harris is going to be there at 28. I think he'll go a little bit higher than that.

    He's another guy [with] really good production. His last two years: 16 sacks, 30.5 tackles for a loss. That's in 24 games.

    Kevin King

    Jon Machota: The thing I like about King, and I've said this before, is just the size. He's 6-3, just reminds you of Richard Sherman. He's a little bit thin, but you can add size in the NFL with an NFL weight training program. But you're not able to add up to 6-3. I feel like the NFL is getting into one of these leagues where you have all these taller wide receivers. Why not have one of these bigger corners? That's what Brandon Carr's job was -- to go against these taller wide receivers. Brandon Carr is gone. It just makes sense. It fits in there that if Kevin King was there why wouldn't you add him?

    One of the problems is that his size is also something that I think that the Seahawks are going to like a lot. They draft two spots ahead of the Cowboys. In my first mock draft I actually have King going to the Seahawks at 26 because all that stuff's out there about them shopping Richard Sherman. [If] they lose Richard Sherman why not replace him with another guy that's almost the exact same size as him? That just makes a lot of sense.


    Brandon George: I do like the fact that he was coached by Hardy Nickerson in high school. [He's] a former NFL linebacker. I don't like necessarily the fact that he lacks the size. I think that could be an issue for him down the road.

    Jon Machota: You talking about the weight?

    Brandon George: I mean the weight part of it. He's 6-3. You can't teach height. That's a big deal. But the weight part of it may be of concern. One reason I say that too is because the Morris Claiborne experiment here ... he wasn't as tall but he was a really thin frame. They wanted to put more weight on him and it never happened. He battled through injuries throughout his career in Dallas. I just wonder if maybe that'd be the same pattern with this guy.

    Obi Melifonwu

    Jon Machota: He played with Byron Jones at UConn and there's a lot of similarities there. They're both freak athletes. Byron got on everybody's radar because that broad jump at the combine a couple years ago. He did the 12 feet, 3 inches. Second now to Byron's combine record is Obi Melifonwu who went 11 feet, 9 inches at the combine.

    You look at his stats though: four interceptions, seven pass break ups, led the team with 118 tackles. He was doing everything for them on the back end at UConn. He's got a 44-inch vertical, he ran a 4.4 40. He's got all the measurables that you would think pair this guy with Byron and you've got the back end covered for the next six, seven, eight, nine years at the safety position.

    This is the thing with this kid: that combine performance really kind of pushed him up the board. I think he was more of a second round guy. Now after he blows up at the scouting combine; he puts up numbers similar to Byron Jones. Byron Jones was a late first round pick by the Cowboys. So I see the similarities there and why people want to put those two guys together.


    Brandon George: I can see why you'd take a chance on this guy. Obviously has a lot of big numbers like Byron. Actually has better numbers than Byron had when he left UConn. ... Another freak kind of athlete. That's kind of what you want back there -- kind of a rangy type of athlete at your safety position that can really go get the ball.

    I do lean toward not taking a safety the first round. I'm not a big fan of the safety spot in that position just because I think cornerback and defensive end are more of elite positions. They're harder to find. With a first round pick I'd rather you go that route than go with a safety.

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