3 first-round NFL draft predictions that could change Cowboys’ plans

It’s officially draft week! If you have a little spring in your step this week because of the excitement that awaits, that’s totally understandable. This is an exciting time of the year for football junkies as it’s our version of Christmas. There are a lot of new gifts that await and we have no idea what is inside of them.

There will certainly be pleasant surprises coming, but some of the things that happen might not feel so festive. Here are three predictions that will bring a little crazy to our Day 1 draft day party.

NFC East teams are going to select players we love

It’s fun to laugh at our fellow divisional foes and all the missteps they have made in the draft over the years. The Cowboys may have a Mo here or a Taco there, but the other NFC East teams have had a smorgasbord of first-round whiffs.

The New York Giants are flat terrible at drafting. Honestly, the last good first-round pick they made was Odell Beckham Jr. and he’s spent the last three seasons playing for other teams. Every first-round pick they make ends up severely underperforming their draft cost. The list is long and includes Kadarius Toney (2021), Andrew Thomas (2020), Daniel Jones (2019), Evan Ingram (2017), and Eli Apple (2016).

The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t a whole lot better. They’ve stunk up the first round of their draft for the better part of a decade with picks like Jalen Reagor (2020), Andre Dillard (2019), Nelson Agholor (2015), and Marcus Smith (2014). And let’s not forget how much draft capital and cap space they invested in Carson Wentz (2016).

The Washington Commanders have done pretty well for the most part, but they are not immune to heavy reaches such as Dwayne Haskins (2019) and Josh Doctson (2016).

Does that mean they’ll drop the ball yet again? It’s reasonable to expect some “reaches” but they won’t all be mistakes. Between these three teams, they have a total of five picks ahead of the Cowboys including no. 5 (Giants), no. 7 (also Giants), no. 11 (Commanders), no. 15 (Eagles), and no. 18 (also Eagles). That’s rather significant. Suffice it to say, they’re going to get some great players, and they might even be some of our favorite draft targets so let’s brace ourselves.

Arizona is going to draft Zion Johnson

Teams ahead of the Cowboys will take some of our favorites, but that’s okay, one of them is bound to still be there, right? And that someone oftentimes has been the athletic guard Zion Johnson from Boston College. He may not be the flashy pick or play a flashy position, but he has great skills at one of the Cowboys’ most pressing needs. It’s a perfect fit.

Unfortunately, Johnson isn’t just on the Cowboys’ radar. Another late-round drafting team has an interest in him and they just so happen to pick right before the Cowboys. In our latest war room exercise, our own Connor Livesay tipped us off that the Arizona Cardinals are interested in Johnson. In fact, Peter Schrager, who is close with the team including Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, has a knack for correctly guessing who Arizona picks. In his latest mock, he has the Cardinals picking Johnson with the no. 23 overall pick.

If you’re a Johnson fan, you might want to hold your breath once Arizona is on the clock or maybe start developing a greater affinity for the other guard target Kenyon Green.

The quarterback extravaganza is going to turn things upside down

On one hand, this quarterback class is not at all exhilarating and offers very little to get excited about. On the other hand, several teams have a need at the position and could decide to make a move to land one. This is not to suggest that all these round 1-2 graded quarterbacks will fly off the board early, but some will be over-drafted. Additionally, teams who were reluctant to spend premium draft capital to get one early might have a totally different opinion about taking one late in the first round.

These ranges of outcomes could mean different things for the Cowboys. If teams press the issue and go early, that means some great talent at other positions could fall to Dallas at 24. If teams take the patient approach, the Cowboys might find themselves in a perfect spot to trade back in the draft with a team that wants a quarterback. That scenario could end up being a win-win as the Cowboys would get some extra draft capital while their trading partner gets the quarterback they want that comes with that highly-coveted fifth-year option.

Do you have any first-round draft predictions?

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