The last time the Cowboys held the No. 17 overall pick was 1992, when cornerback Kevin Smith was selected. In 1990, the Cowboys had the 17th pick and drafted running back Emmitt Smith, who would become the NFL's all-time leading rusher.
The Cowboys have never held a first-round No. 16 in their history. They selected E.J. Holub in that overall spot but in the second round in 1961.
A defensive player has been selected at No. 16 in two of the last three drafts. Buffalo picked quarterback EJ Manuel last year, the New York Jets snagged defensive end Quinton Coples in 2012 and Washington drafted defensive end Ryan Kerrigan in 2011.
ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have the Cowboys, who need to improve at defense, selecting Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the No. 17 pick.