The Dallas Cowboys were looking for a defensive end in the late portion of the 2017 NFL Draft, a part of a nine-pick draft that would see seven selections used on defense. Prior to the start of the Draft, the team had expressed plans to sit still at the 28th overall selection, allowing the draft board to come to them, expecting some of the top defensive ends, and their top picks, to be there when they were selecting.
That is not really what happened, however, according to a report from the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The Cowboys actually had conversations with the Baltimore Ravens to move from the 28th position to the 16th slot, but the price for such a jump was too much for Dallas. Their target? Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.
The Miami Dolphins selected Harris with the 22nd overall pick, grabbing a player that the front office and coaching staff had targeted fairly early in the pre-draft process. Miami coveted Harris so much, they actually avoided having contact with him outside of the 15-minute NFL Scouting Combine interview they held in an effort to prevent other teams - like the Cowboys - from knowing which prospect they were actually looking to select.
The report did not indicate if the Cowboys had discussions with any other team before the Dolphins’ pick to try to move up and grab Harris.
The Dolphins will look to Harris to provide a pass-rush specialist type of role this year, working him into the defensive line when they need to get pressure on the quarterback. He will likely be the top reserve behind Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake and the recently re-signed Andre Branch, though Miami could be looking to use packages where all three players are on the field at the same time.
Dallas also was interested in UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley, according to the report, but he was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 26th overall pick after the Georgia franchise jumped ahead of the Cowboys with a trade.
In the end, the Cowboys ended up sitting in their original draft spot and waiting for the draft board to fall to them, and picked up a defensive end in the process. Dallas selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton with the 28th overall selection.
It appears, however, their top choice will be wearing aqua and orange next year, rather than blue and silver.