FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have wasted little time in getting contract agreements with their nine draft picks, signing eight of them Thursday, the day before the team’s rookie minicamp begins.
First-round pick Taco Charlton, second-rounder Chidobe Awuzie, fourth-rounder Ryan Switzer, sixth-round picks Xavier Woods and Marquez White and seventh-round picks Joey Ivie, Noah Brown and Jordan Carrell also signed four-year deals. Only third-rounder Jourdan Lewis is unsigned.
Nothing should be read into Lewis not coming to terms yet.
League-wide, third-round picks are slower to sign because of guaranteed-money and split-salary issues that take longer to work out. Last year, the Cowboys signed all of their draft picks by the end of May but third-rounder Maliek Collins did not sign until July 14.
The Cowboys will get their first on-field look at their draft class at this weekend’s rookie workouts.
Charlton had his best season at Michigan in 2016, recording 10 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in earning All-Big Ten honors. The Cowboys plan to use him at right defensive end first but believe he has the position flexibility to play across their defensive line, especially in passing situations.
Awuzie has similar flexibility playing in the secondary. He played all four spots in his career at Colorado. He set school records in sacks (nine) and tackles for loss (26) by a defensive back and was a first-team All-Pac-12 pick after recording four sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles in 13 games. He will compete for one of the Cowboys’ starting cornerback spots but the team believes he could play safety if necessary.
Switzer will be given the chance to win the punt-return job after setting a North Carolina record with seven punt returns for a touchdown in his career. A near clone of Cole Beasley, Switzer set school records for catches (244) and yards (2,907). He had 96 catches for 1,112 yards and six scores last season.
The Cowboys gave up their fifth-round pick in 2018 to select Woods out of Louisiana Tech. Like Charlton and Awuzie, he was a pre-draft visitor to The Star. Despite being the 191st pick in the draft, he was ranked among the Cowboys’ top 70 players on their draft board. He was a three-time All-Conference USA pick after intercepting 14 passes and forcing six fumbles in his career. White was a two-year starter at Florida State, and senior director of college and pro personnel Will McClay believes he could be a sleeper in the draft class.
Ivie and Carrell will have the chance to earn interior defensive-line spots. Ivie started 10 of 11 games last season at Florida after missing three games with a thumb injury. He had 26 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Carrell was a two-year starter at Colorado and finished with 103 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 6 sacks and 24 quarterback hurries.
Brown bypassed his final season of eligibility at Ohio State despite only 33 career receptions for 411 yards and seven touchdowns. He missed the 2015 season with a leg injury but finished second on the team last season with 30 catches for 385 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns, including a school-record four against Oklahoma.