The NFL Draft is inching closer and closer. And, as it goes, so do the Cowboys.
The Cowboys badly need to hit in this draft, more than any other in recent memory. After a long, tough season the team badly needs to upgrade their offensive line and defensive line. Add to that the transition to the Tampa-2 defense and the Cowboys have more needs than draft picks.
Luckily, this draft is deep in the areas that the Cowboys need. With starting caliber offensive lineman deep, the Cowboys will be able to ensure they grab a game changer at 18 overall.
So without further adu, this is how I see the Cowboys draft working out.
Round 1: Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
Williams is a dynamic defensive tackle who has speed, size and explosiveness. He is rather raw but his ceiling is limitless. Once a third round prospect Williams tape suggests that he can be as disruptive a force as any on the interior line. With the elite offensive lineman off the board the Cowboys are able to select a guy who can play the 1 and 3 techniques and can be a force for the foreseeable future.
Round 2: (trade down with Cincinatti for 53 and 118 overall) Giovanni Bernard, RB, UNC
Bernard is a dynamic back with excellent all around ability and incredibly shiftiness. The Cowboys don't have any player's they're dying to land so they take the best player on their board. I believe that Bernard can develop into one of the best running backs in the game with his all-around skill set. Considering the Cowboys' cap situation for the next few years and Murray's inability to stay healthy, Bernard makes more sense then some would care to admit.
Round 3: Terron Armstead, T, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse
Finally, the Cowboys address their offensive line.
Armstead is an athletic offensive tackle who can be very good in a zone-blocking scheme. He's big, strong and fast which will help him against some of the elite pass-rushers in the NFC East. This move solidifies the right tackle position that seems to be a big question moving forward.
Pugh is an underrated offensive guard. He has seen his "stock" go on a rollar-coaster but I believe he's the fourth best guard in the draft. Considering how elite this class is, Pugh projects as an immediate starter who can use his size and strength to keep Tony Romo upright.
Round 4: J.J. Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern
WIlcox is a relative unknown to fans who focus on the bigger picture draft prospects. However, he is just as talented as the upper tier safeties and possibly a better fit for the Cowboys scheme. Wilcox has exceptional speed and range as well as elite cover skills. He isn't afraid of contact and is a sure tackler. A great find in the fourth.
Round 5: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
Boyce is a blazing fast receiver who has decent hands. He has a lot to learn in regards of becoming an NFL receiver but he can develop into a good slot guy and excellent return man. In the later rounds you're just looking for a guy who has one elite attribute, I think Boyce's speed makes him a weapon for the Cowboys.
Round 6: Michael Williams, TE, Alabama
In Williams the Cowboys get their blocking tigh end. Williams is deceptively atheletic and had good hands, though he isn't considered a receiving threat. The Cowboys badly need a tight end who can block. While the Cowboys added Hannah last season, Hannah can't block. Williams is a good find in that I believe he can develop into a solid balanced tight end behind Jason Witten.
The Cowboys actually get a really solid haul here. They don't get a depth pass-rushing defensive end but they address some very serious needs with great value. If the Cowboys end with this draft, I think Cowboys and fans are very happy with the results.
Report: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch Visiting Cowboys
As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, teams are beginning to hold their official visits with prospects of their own choosing. The Cowboys have already met with a few different prospects thus far, and they've reportedly added a linebacker to that list this week.
Multiple reports are saying the Cowboys will meet with Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch this week, adding him to the list of 30 potential visits.
BoiseState LB Leighton Vander Esch will be a pre-draft visitor for the #Cowboys. Add him to your list of 30, per Tony Pauline.
Vander Esch is a bit of a controversial prospect in the draft world. As I've stated before, he tested like a freak athletically, and his combine profile alone would put him in the discussion on day one. The problems I have with Vander Esch have nothing to do with his athleticism, however, and everything to do with his actual football-playing ability.
On film, I see a player who struggles to get off blocks and will have trouble finding a home with the Cowboys. Still, I wouldn't mind the Cowboys drafting Vander Esch - that pick cannot come in the first round though.
Vander Esch is a long, rangy, and athletic linebacker who is at his best playing laterally and tracking down plays. As a blitzer, Vander Esch has some rather clear issues. He often runs directly into blocks and is unable to shed at the point of attack. I also don't think he is as instinctual a player as some of the other linebackers in this class, such as BYU's Fred Warner or Alabama's Rashaan Evans.
The way things are looking, however, Vander Esch is going to be a first round pick. And if not, he'll almost certainly be a top 50 pick. I wouldn't be very comfortable taking him at 19, and I'd have to think twice before even taking him at 50 for that matter.
2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.
It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today
With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.
Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.
If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.
Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.
Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.
Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.
Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”
Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.
The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.
That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.
Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.
First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.
DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.
An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.
With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.
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