Former UCLA defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley might be a good fit for the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL Draft. Young Kwak AP
Former UCLA defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley might be a good fit for the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL Draft. Young Kwak AP

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys’ need at defensive end could put target on UCLA’s McKinley

By Charean Williams

cjwilliams@star-telegram.com

April 14, 2017 02:47 PM

UPDATED April 15, 2017 06:06 PM

The Dallas Cowboys finished 26th against the pass, made only nine interceptions and lost four secondary players in free agency. They could use secondary help.

They also made only 36 sacks and haven’t had a player with double-digit sacks since defensive tackle Jason Hatcher had 11 in 2013. The Cowboys could use a “war daddy” pass rusher.

The Cowboys, holding the 28th spot, are at the mercy of other teams unless they decide to trade up. Derek Barnett, Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, T.J. Watt and Takkarist McKinley are among the projected first-round defensive ends who have taken pre-draft visits to The Star, and Kevin King, Adoree’ Jackson and Gareon Conley are among the cornerbacks to visit.

The NFL Draft is April 27-29 in Philadelphia. Here’s our latest mock draft:

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1. Cleveland: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M – The Arlington Martin product had 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss in three seasons at College Station.

2. San Francisco: Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford – The 49ers signed 21 free agents, but they still lack a pass rusher.

3. Chicago: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State – The Bears need a playmaker in their secondary, even after signing safety Quintin Demps and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency.

4. Jacksonville: Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama – The Jaguars ranked 19th against the run and still need help inside.

5. Tennessee: Jamal Adams, SS, LSU – The Titans, who ranked 30th in pass defense and made only 12 interceptions, added safety Jonathan Cyprien in free agency, too.

6. NY Jets: Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State – The Jets, who finished 17th in pass defense, are in desperate need of secondary help.

7. LA Chargers: Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan – Keenan Allen can’t stay healthy, having missed 23 games over the past two seasons.

8. Carolina: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU – Jonathan Stewart, who turns 30 next week, averaged only 3.8 yards per carry last season.

9. Cincinnati: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee – The Bengals ranked 17th in total defense and made only 33 sacks.

10. Buffalo: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama – The Bills, who ranked 30th in passing, need a playmaker on offense to go with WR Sammy Watkins, who has missed 11 games the past two seasons.

11. New Orleans: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama – The Saints ranked first in total offense and 27th in total defense, so the top defensive player should get the call.

12. Cleveland: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech – The Browns have started 18 quarterbacks in the past 10 seasons.

13. Arizona: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, North Carolina – Carson Palmer, 37, considered retirement after last season.

14. Philadelphia: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford – It was only two years ago that the Eagles made a splash by signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.

15. Indianapolis: Haason Reddick, LB, Temple – The Colts, who ranked 30th in total defense and 19th in sacks, need front seven help.

16. Baltimore: Mike Williams, WR, Clemson – Steve Smith’s retirement leaves Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman as the team’s only significant returnees at the position.

17. Washington: Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State – The Redskins have drafted only one defensive lineman the past five years, and that was in the fifth round.

18. Tennessee: John Ross, WR, Washington – Dorial Green-Beckham and Andre Johnson didn’t work out for the Titans last year as Rishard Matthews led the team in receiving with 65 catches, 945 yards and nine touchdowns.

19. Tampa Bay: David Njoku, TE, Miami – He would replace Cameron Brate and give Jameis Winston yet another weapon.

20. Denver: Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin – The Broncos addressed the guard position by signing Ron Leary; they now need a tackle.

21. Detroit: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri – Ezekiel Ansah had two sacks in 13 games and is in a contract season.

22. Miami: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky – The rebuilding of the Dolphins’ offensive line continues after taking Laremy Tunsil last season.

23. NY Giants: Garrett Bolles, OT, Utah – The Giants, who averaged 3.5 yards per carry, still could use help at tackle after adding guard D.J. Fluker.

24. Oakland: Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU – The Raiders, who ranked 26th in total defense, could use upgrades for cornerbacks David Amerson and Sean Smith.

25. Houston: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – The Texans have had nine starting quarterbacks the past four seasons.

26. Seattle: Kevin King, CB, Washington – The Seahawks could trade Richard Sherman, creating a spot for a local product.

27. Kansas City: Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt – The Chiefs were 24th in total defense, lost NT Dontari Poe in free agency and have LB Derrick Johnson returning from an Achilles tear.

28. Dallas: Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA – It seems inevitable that the Cowboys will draft the highest-rated DL or CB on their board.

29. Green Bay: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama – The Packers released Sam Shields after his repeated concussions, and the signing of Davon House doesn’t make up for the loss of Shields and versatile Micah Hyde.

30. Pittsburgh: Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut – The Steelers need secondary help after finishing 16th in pass defense.

31. Atlanta: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan – The Falcons need to continue to help a defense that ranked 25th overall, including 28th against the pass.

32. New Orleans: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State – The Saints face Julio Jones and Mike Evans twice a year every year.