For the 2nd straight year much of Cowboys Nation was not exactly happy with the direction the team went in round one of the NFL Draft. Taking Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys believe they have added a rangy athletic player to their somewhat aging and hobbled linebacker corps.
Dallas still has nine picks remaining, however, meaning they should be able to find some more impact players as the draft moves along. Day two of the 2018 NFL Draft begins tonight, and luckily for Dallas, there are four offensive linemen left on the board who could start at left guard for them in 2018.
Will Hernandez, UTEP
Let’s be realistic. I highly doubt Will Hernandez, who I expected to be off the board in the late first round, will last until the 50th overall selection. But, I mean, it could happen.
A late first-early second round player on my board, Hernandez is a run-blocking menace who would fit right in with the Cowboys’ offensive philosophy. If they really covet Hernandez, however, they may have to move up the snag him in round two.
Watch out for the New York Giants 34th overall tonight in the Will Hernandez sweepstakes. The Giants drafted Saquon Barkley number two overall last night, and bringing in Hernandez to aid their offensive line would make a lot of sense. Then again, the Giants did just draft a running back second overall, so it’s hard to really get a grasp on their plan.
Connor Williams, Texas
Though a left tackle in college, Texas lineman Connor Williams would be a smooth fit at left guard for the Cowboys. I believe he possesses all the traits necessary to move inside at the next level, and would bring that tackle/guard versatility this franchise clearly loves.
Williams is a very technical run blocker with efficient hands and controlled feet. Balanced in pass protection, Williams works well against stunts and blitzes as well.
Though his 2017 tape didn’t match his 2016 performance, I think you can chalk a lot of that up to injuries. If completely healthy and ready to go in 2018, I see Connor Williams as the day one starter at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys. And with the weird way this draft has fallen, he might even make it to 50.
James Daniels, Iowa
Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels was a top 20 player on my board, and I’m sticking to that assessment. Daniels is quick, controlled, and powerful as a run blocker and is more than serviceable as a pass protector as well.
As I’ve said before, Daniels really impresses when asked to reach block and to get to the second level to seal linebackers. His athleticism and agility shine on these reps, something he would do a lot of when the Cowboys run outside (or wide) zone. Though he is listed as a center, I see Daniels having no issues moving to left guard full time for the Cowboys.
In my opinion, Daniels should’ve been the first center off the board, but it now appears he’ll be the third. For the Cowboys’ sake, I hope he is around when they get the chance to pick at 50.
Austin Corbett, Nevada
Last but not least, Nevada’s Austin Corbett may be the most realistic second round target of all four of these linemen. Although he may not initially blow you away like Will Hernandez can, Corbett is a smart and technical player who has the ceiling of a Pro Bowl interior lineman.
Corbett is the type of player that’s solid everywhere without any really major flaws. He would be far from the sexy pick on day two for the Cowboys, but in my opinion he would certainly be the most sensible one.
Corbett also brings the center/guard versatility that Daniels does, allowing the Cowboys to carry one less offensive lineman on game days if need be.