The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft is now just under 3 weeks away. And while draft boards are being finalized and media mock drafts are published, certain players continue to find themselves mocked in the first round – whether they truly “deserve” it or not.
There are three players in particular who have been pushed up mock drafts as of late, mostly due to their athletic and combine profiles. While I like these three players in a vacuum, I would have issues with the Cowboys taking one of these players 19th overall.
This doesn’t mean that I think these players are bad prospects, simply that they should not warrant a first round selection from the Dallas Cowboys.
Florida Gators DT Taven Bryan
A favorite among Cowboys Twitter, Florida Gators defensive tackle Taven Bryan has earned first round grades from some prominent draft writers. While I like Bryan’s game as well, and believe he can be a solid NFL player, I would not be comfortable taking him 19th overall.
Taven Bryan has an elite first step and plays explosive off the ball, but his pad level, hands, and ability to play with leverage are all suspect. He is a balanced and smooth player, and tested within all of the Cowboys’ defensive tackle thresholds, but I like a few other defensive tackles more than him in round one.
In a perfect world the Cowboys could snag Bryan 50th overall, but that seems highly doubtful with the way most believe the board will fall. Still, I think I would stay away from him in round one, especially if someone like Vita Vea is available.
Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch
Another fan favorite, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is finding himself mocked to the Cowboys in round one often, but I’d advise against it. While I don’t have Vander Esch graded as a first round player, my concerns with this pick have more to do with taking any linebacker not named Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds this early.
In my opinion, the value a player like BYU’s Fred Warner would provide later in the draft outweighs that of Vander Esch in round one. While the Cowboys definitely have a hole to fill at linebacker, I’d rather someone like Alabama’s Rashaan Evans at 19 over Vander Esch.
Above all, as I’ve discussed before, grabbing a bully on the defensive line or a starting left guard in round one seems more important to me than taking a linebacker or wide receiver. And, of course, that opinion covers Vander Esch as well.
UCLA OL Kolton Miller
Kolton Miller’s draft board rise makes next-to-no sense to me. When I watched him on a film, I saw a day-three project that could be worth a fourth or fifth round pick. But due to his measurables and perceived ceiling, Miller has been mocked as high as the first two rounds.
The Cowboys aren’t necessarily in the hunt for a first round tackle anyway, but a player in Miller’s shoes could intrigue them. Tyron Smith has had some health issues the past few seasons, and some questions still surround La’el Collins’ ability at right tackle.
These uncertainties could lead the Cowboys to target a developmental tackle late in the draft, or possibly even value someone like Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey in round one. Either way, Kolton Miller is not the tackle I’d be drafting.
It appears that if you want Miller on your football team you may have to spend a top 50 pick to get him, and there is no way I would advise the Cowboys to make that move.