The Single biggest event for NFL teams looking to build a super bowl caliber team, the NFL Draft, concluded yesterday and the Dallas Cowboys made 8 picks. Dallas didn’t have any huge roster holes and made some surprising picks to most fans. They stuck to the best player available strategy and left fans with some questions like: How does this pick help the team? Really, more d-lineman? Where is our safety? Let’s dig into the picks and answer some of these.
Round 1, Pick 27: Amari Cooper, WR-Alabama
Obviously, we didn’t pick Amari Cooper with pick 27, but basically. We traded this pick to Oakland for Amari Cooper during the season. It was a great move too, judging by the weaker WR class of this year’s draft. The Cowboys got a proven, pro-bowl caliber receiver with the 27th pick. On the other side of it, the Raiders picked a Cowboys pre-draft visit, Jonathan Abram, with the 27th pick which almost seemed like a jab to the safety-needy Cowboys. Overall though trading the 27th pick for Amari Cooper was a home run and will be a cornerstone on the offense for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 58: Trysten Hill, DT-UCF
Throughout the pre-draft process, the Cowboys let their infatuation with DT Trysten Hill known. This former UFC product showed flashes of unstoppable play in 2018. He also showed the ability to be hard to coach and have attitude problems. That being said he has all of the measurables you would want to see in an interior d-lineman that can rush the passer as well as stop the run. Hill has great athleticism for his 6’3″, 308-pound frame. His burst off of the line and energetic play are huge plusses. He will be a huge disruptor in the middle of Rod Marinelli’s defense and has the ability to be a star in this league. Most fans would’ve preferred a safety here, with both Juan Thornhill and Taylor Rapp on the board, but Dallas opted for the interior disruptor and it looks like it will be a great pick for the defense.
Round 3, Pick 90: Connor McGovern, G-Penn State
This was the first surprise of the draft, and an unpopular pick with the fans. The need for a safety has been huge with fans this offseason and with many good options on the board at pick 90, Dallas decided to pass and pick the Guard from Penn State. This was a surprise considering last years second round pick was also a guard and the starting line is basically set, but at closer inspection, it may have been a great pick for the future. Dallas picked the best player on their board and it was McGovern, a player who may be the starting Left Guard in 2020. With the amount of contracts Dallas will shell out in the next two years, there will be losses. One of which will almost certainly be RT La’el Collins. He hasn’t lived up to expectations and will likely ask more money than Dallas can afford. THIS is where McGovern becomes a great pick and makes Cowboys fans rejoice, not to mention the security he provides as a backup in 2019. Dallas can move Connor Williams back to Tackle, where he played in college, and place McGovern at LG. This a great pick to keep a strength on the team strong in the coming years, at a low price.
Round 4, Pick 128: Tony Pollard, RB/WR/KR-Memphis
Dallas needed a backup RB to spell Zeke and take the workload off of the veteran heading into his 4th season. This isn’t really that guy though, or is he? Pollard is interesting. He has the versatility to really do anything you need him to. He can play receiver, return kicks and run the ball. If utilized effectively by OC Kellen Moore Pollard could be an absolute playmaker on offense. He will bring another element into the backfield when Zeke is resting or they can both be on the field at once. He will also likely take over punt and kick return duties. Pollard will bring versatility and dynamic playmaking ability to Dallas’ offense in 2019 and allow them to move on from Tavon Austin in 2020 when money will be tighter. He is definitely a player with high upside to be excited about.
Round 5, Pick 157: Michael Jackson, CB-Miami:
The Dallas secondary needed some help, especially to plan for the future when money will be tight and there will be many free agents at CB, which makes Jackson a great pick. He possesses the ideal size and length that coach Kris Richard covets. He is very versatile and can play all over the back end of the defense if he can develop under Richard. Kris Richard took Richard Sherman in the 5th round and made him an all-pro, I’m not saying Jackson is Sherman but there is a chance he can be a solid player down the road.
Round 5, Pick 165: Joe Jackson, DE-Miami:
The theme of beefing up the already strong d-line continues with 5th round pick Joe Jackson. The DE position is already stacked at Dallas but Jackson could become a rotational pass rushing piece. He plays fast and aggressive and had great production at Miami. He has the physical tools to be a good player and under Rod Marinelli, he could be a great value in the 5th round.
Round 6, Pick 213: Donovan Wilson, S-Texas A&M
The Cowboys failed to pick a safety until the 6th round, which left many fans unhappy. It seemed to be their biggest need heading into the draft and them kind of just picked up what was left at the position in the 6th round. Donovan Wilson was a very good player at Texas A&M and a leader on the team. He will have to be a special teams guy early to make the team but if he can be developed by Kris Richard he could turn out to be a solid strong safety. He is a big hitter and has the size to be an NFL safety. If he can improve his coverage skills he can be a good player and take over the Strong Safety spot in the future.
Round 7, Pick 218: Mike Weber, RB-Ohio State
Even though Dallas addressed the backup RB position with Tony Pollard, he isn’t really the guy that is a complete backup. He will be a great gadget player and big-play contributor but not a workhorse. Weber could be a workhorse. He is the next Ohio State RB in line behind Zeke in Dallas after Rod Smith departed in free agency. Weber has good athleticism and had good production at Ohio State. His fall to the 7th round was surprising but he should be a great depth chart addition and it looks like the Dallas RB position is taken care of heading into 2019.
Round 7, Pick 241: Jalen Jelks, DE-Oregon
Dallas didn’t need another DE. The room is already overcrowded but that didn’t stop them from selecting Jalen Jelks. They didn’t see him falling that far and they couldn’t pass up the value at that spot. Jelks is a long, fluid pass rusher that was very productive at Oregon. He lacks the size of a base end but he could be a rotational rusher if he added strength and refined his skills. He is a long shot to make the team but you never know.
Overall it was a successful draft for a team that seemingly made every decision based off of the future, rather than the now. It will be interesting to see how many of these guys move into to starting roles after the possible free agency exodus of some players next offseason.
featured image: via James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys