- LM Otero/AP
The NFL world is focused on the Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles with the top picks in this year’s draft and which quarterback will go to which team. But it is the Dallas Cowboys who hold the key to the draft, and they are also the biggest mystery.
While there has not been any official announcement from the Rams on whom they will draft, we do have a pretty good idea who the first three picks will be.
This is how the first half-hour of the draft, which begins Thursday night, will most likely play out:
- Pick No. 1 – The Rams will draft a quarterback, and 11 of 12 experts we surveyed recently say it will be Cal quarterback Jared Goff. Pick No. 2 – The Eagles will also draft a quarterback. It seems they are happy to draft whichever QB the Rams pass on, which will almost certainly be North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz. Pick No. 3 – The Chargers’ pick is not as clear, but most signs point to their zeroing in on one of the top two offensive tackles. Of the 12 experts from earlier this week, six had the Chargers taking Laremy Tunsil out of Ole Miss. In his latest mock draft, however, ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Chargers taking Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
That leaves the Cowboys sitting at No. 4 with what could be the most important pick of the first round, and it’s a complete mystery.
McShay was a recent guest on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike,” and he basically said that when filling out his latest mock draft he had no idea what the Cowboys were going to do.
“I went back and forth on Dallas all night long, texting people, calling, trying to figure it out,” McShay said.
In the survey of NFL draft experts, five of the 12 have the Cowboys taking Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The other seven, however, were split on Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott and Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa. McShay is similarly torn.
“To me, the good football decision is pass rusher or Ezekiel Elliott,” McShay said. “But I keep hearing that the best player on their board is Jalen Ramsey.”
- Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Elliott may be the biggest X-factor here, as his stock has been soaring in recent weeks as more and more people believe he is the rare running-back talent who is worthy of an early pick. Several teams have been rumored to be interested in Elliott behind the Cowboys, including the Browns and the Bears. Another is the Dolphins, a team that could be seeking a move into the top 10 (from No. 13) to draft Elliott, something McShay predicts in his latest mock draft.
“I can’t officially project a trade here,” McShay said, “but if Elliott slips past Dallas at No. 4, I’m hearing Miami could move up into the top 10 to snag the RB.”
While other pass rushers may not be as good as Bosa and other defensive backs may not be as good as Ramsey, there are other defensive ends and cornerbacks. Elliott may be the only sure-thing, game-changing running back in the draft, and several teams are most likely waiting nervously to see what the Cowboys will do.