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2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 WRs Available for Dallas Cowboys

Sean Martin

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2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 WRs Available for Dallas Cowboys 1

The release of Dez Bryant has opened up a significant pre-draft need at wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who would be relying purely on potential and unproven upside if they had to play a game with their current group of pass catchers tomorrow.

Fortunately for them, the 2018 NFL Draft presents a great opportunity for the Cowboys to improve with young talent at WR. This certainly had a factor in the Cowboys decision to move on from Bryant, and now they must hit on the receiver they seem prepared to take as early as 19th overall.

In our last full week prior to AT&T Stadium and the Cowboys hosting this year's draft, here is a look at my top ten wide receivers available.

1. Calvin Ridley - Alabama

Round Grade: 1st

Even with Dez Bryant in their plans for 2018, the Cowboys have been linked to this year's consensus WR1 in Alabama's Calvin Ridley for some time now. The fit makes a ton of sense, as Ridley is ready to contribute at the next level right away - something he needs to do as an older prospect (23 years old).

Ridley can play anywhere on the field, winning in a variety of ways to create separation with his lanky and athletic frame. After the catch, Ridley is tough to corral in the open field.

Held back by inconsistent quarterback play at Alabama, the expectation is that a quarterback like Dak Prescott will turn Ridley into a consistent threat in the NFL.

2. D.J. Moore - Maryland

Round Grade: 1st

Of all the receivers available in this draft, Maryland's D.J. Moore may be most ready to provide the Cowboys with the play making ability they need out wide.

Getting the ball into the hands of Moore should be no problem for his next team, and this is a player that absolutely knows what to do with it when given the chance. Somewhat of a smaller target, Moore does not shy away from contact in any phase of his game.

Winning with long speed and exceptional quick-twitch in tight spaces, Moore will track the ball downfield for vertical plays or elude defenders on a short pass to spark any offense.

D.J. Moore likely has a better chance of reaching the Cowboys' first pick than Calvin Ridley does. If Dallas is set on drafting a WR at 19th overall, they should be ecstatic at the chance to grab Moore.

2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 WRs Available for Dallas Cowboys

3. James Washington - Oklahoma State

Round Grade: 1st

Is another Oklahoma State receiver in the first round exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need?

With James Washington, who was a late 30 visit for the Cowboys, the answer may very well be yes. Washington has been criticized as a prospect because of the league he played in, benefiting from the gaudy numbers that the Big 12 is known for putting up through the air.

Washington still projects as a reliable target in the NFL however, proving at this year's Senior Bowl that he is a nuanced route runner with soft hands. Moving through his routes and taking the top off of defenses comes easy for Washington.

These are both traits that the Cowboys should be in the market for at WR, putting James Washington on their radar as my third ranked player at the position.

4. Anthony Miller - Memphis

Round Grade: 2nd

Anthony Miller may be the best "bad ball" receiver in this draft, making a name for himself out of Memphis by producing circus catches and improbable plays regularly. The hype for Miller has been transferred to other receivers ever since it was announced that he was dealing with a foot injury leading up to this draft, but Miller's next team is still getting a great football player.

If the Cowboys pass on a WR at 19th overall, Anthony Miller has to be directly in their sites for the 50th overall pick. Miller explodes off of the line of scrimmage to quickly beat the cushion that even the quickest defensive backs give him, separating at full speed to make contested catches.

Miller played all over the field for the Memphis Tigers, meaning the Cowboys could find an ideal spot for him without worrying much about Miller adjusting to the position.

Courtland Sutton

5. Courtland Sutton - Southern Methodist

Round Grade: 2nd

A local prospect for the Cowboys, SMU's Courtland Sutton has been somewhat of a polarizing prospect in this year's WR class. Where some see a slower player that will struggle against the increase in competition level in the NFL, others view Sutton as a match up problem for any defense to handle thanks to his size and leaping ability.

As my fifth rated receiver, I see Sutton as a ready-made contributor at the X-WR position. With not many like him in this draft, Sutton may be in a tough position to grab for the Cowboys if they are not prepared to take him in the first round.

There may be more dynamic players than Sutton at WR in the 2018 Draft, but this is a player with physical traits and an overall ability to impact the game as a receiver and blocker that cannot be ignored.

6. Christian Kirk - Texas A&M

Round Grade: 2nd

Like Sutton, Kirk's value as a receiver at the next level has come into question - this time due to his size. Using his acceleration and burst to separate is not a problem for Kirk, who was a productive player for Texas A&M as both an outside and slot target.

I believe that Christian Kirk projects best as a slot receiver in the NFL, but this is not to say that he won't earn snaps on the boundary. If the Cowboys believe he can do both effectively, Kirk could be the long threat that they've missed over recent seasons as a "home run hitter" that is perfectly Dak-friendly.

7. Equanimeous St. Brown - Notre Dame

Round Grade: 2nd

This is one of the most underrated players in the 2018 NFL Draft, with the chance to instantly outplay his draft position in year one. Notre Dame's Equanimeous St. Brown is an all-around skilled athlete with 13 career touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.

St. Brown is primed to take the league by storm in 2018 and well beyond, an absolute glider of a receiver with reliable hands and pro-ready size.

8. Auden Tate - Florida State

Round  Grade: 2nd

If "EQ" St. Brown is a prototypical receiver for his next team to take full advantage of, the same goes for the physical specimen that is Auden Tate - although the Florida State product lacks the same refinement.

Tate projects best as a red zone target, but does find enough ways to use his build to create separation for contested catches.

This is likely the type of receiver the Cowboys are looking to pass on for more "twitched up" targets with polish to their route running, but Tate is still deserving of his top ten status here at eighth overall.

9. Dante Pettis - Washington

Round Grade: 2nd

The latest burner WR out of the Pac 12 is Washington's Dante Pettis, one of the best "Swiss Army Knife" prospects available for teams in need of a receiver and punt returner.

When Pettis is given space to work with, he is free to fly as an elite speed target that will track the ball through open areas. Lacking the build to make up for disruptions in his routes, Pettis will get pushed around some in the NFL.

A number of Pettis' touches will have to be scripted into his new offense, but there is enough to like about Pettis as a fluid receiver with experience both inside and out to land him in the second round.

Cowboys Draft Target: LSU WR D.J. Chark

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

10. D.J. Chark - Louisiana State

Round Grade: 2nd

Another recent pre-draft visitor of the Dallas Cowboys, LSU's D.J. Chark is an intriguing prospect to figure out. A late-bloomer when it comes to production in college, Chark put down a 4.34 second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. Doing so on the heels of a standout Senior Bowl week earlier in this draft process, the LSU receiver has done plenty to stand out to this point.

Chark is at his best when running dead straight, and there are immediate issues with his game when asked to do much else (besides return punts). It's clear on Chark's tape that he doesn't play with a great understanding of his own body, struggling to set up defenders at the line of scrimmage despite his length and quickness.

Chark also allows too many defenders to beat him to the catch point and take away receptions. Steady coaching against increased competition should only help D.J. Chark though, who will always be good for shot plays made easy as an NFL target.

 ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys have their work cut out for them in rebuilding their receiving corps on the fly, but also have plenty of options in next week's draft to add rookie talent. As you'll notice in my round grades through the top ten, all of the players above are graded in the first two rounds (where the Cowboys hold the 19th and 50th overall pick).

The type of receiver the Cowboys target will say a lot about the direction this offense is going, with Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton projecting as the best 'X' players available.

Overall, the Cowboys should feel good about letting the board come to them as always in the first round - waiting until day two to land a receiver that will still fit Dak Prescott's offense nicely.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 WRs Available for Dallas Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Draft: Kansas DT Daniel Wise

Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.

One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.

At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.

A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.

In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.

But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?

The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.

Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.

Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.



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NFL Draft

Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

Brian Martin

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Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class

The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.

You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.

The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.

Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:

  • DT, Trysten Hill
  • RB, Tony Pollard
  • RB, Mike Weber
  • WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
  • CB, Chris Westry

If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.

The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.

I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.

After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.

This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.

It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.

Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?



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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades

Shane Carter

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Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades 1

Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.

Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.

Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.

58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 1

In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.

Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.

It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Grade: B

90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 6

As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.

However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.

Who’s job could be on the line?

Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?

Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?

Is one of them going to get traded?

Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?

So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.

Grade: A

128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard

If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.

Shane Carter on Twitter

Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft

Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.

The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.

Grade: A-

158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 9

This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.

His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.

With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.

Grade: C+

165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 11

Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.

The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.

The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.

Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.

Grade: B+

213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 12

The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.

Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.

Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.

Grade: B

218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 13

Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.

Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.

He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.

Grade: B

241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys Draft Grades 14

Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.

It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.

Grade: B-

Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B



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