The Dallas Cowboys had arguably the most exciting draft they’ve had in a long time. Their 2016 draft was excellent, but just after the draft, we had no idea how that draft would turn out. This year’s group is incredibly hyped. It’s possible they could find up to six starters or significant role players from this draft.
From CeeDee Lamb to Bradlee Anae, the Dallas Cowboys got incredible value throughout the draft and on paper a bunch of players who could play.
Though the excitement has yet to wane, it’s important to understand that these guys still have to come in and earn their roles. While the influx of talent is refreshing, let’s not forget about these five players.
Joe Looney, Center
The Dallas Cowboys made a draft-day trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to move back into the fourth round to select Wisconsin Center Tyler Biadasz. Biadasz was tremendous for the Badgers and was the Rimington Award winner in 2019 as college football’s best center.
Unfortunately for Biadasz, injuries hurt his performance last season, causing his draft stock to drop. He’ll be thrown into a competition to start at center, presumably with 2019 third-round pick Connor McGovern and 2018 starter Joe Looney.
In the wake of former Cowboys center Travis Frederick’s battle with Guillen-Barre Syndrome in 2018, Looney started 16 games during the regular season and the Dallas Cowboys two playoff games. He played well enough for Ezekiel Elliott to capture his second rushing title in three seasons.
Looney is an experienced veteran who has gained the trust of the front office and was re-signed to a one-year deal even amidst the coaching changes that occurred this offseason.
While McGovern and Biadasz will have a shot to compete for the starting center spot, Looney’s experience and success for the Dallas Cowboys will give him the inside track.
Michael Gallup, Wide Receiver
You probably haven’t forgotten about Michael Gallup. How could you? He went for 1,000 yards last season, just his second in the NFL. He was excellent opposite Amari Cooper and had several incredible catches in 2019.
However, there were also times where he didn’t necessarily show up when the team needed him to step up with Amari Cooper battling injuries. The New York Jets game in particular.
That said, Gallup is a great number two wide receiver that was referred to as a “WR1b” by Amari Cooper and has the upside to turn into one of the better wide receivers in the NFL. His combination of route running, hands, and athleticism proved to be excellent attributes in Kellen Moore’s offense, and he will likely have a significant role yet again in 2020.
In the 2020 NFL Daft, the Dallas Cowboys selected CeeDee Lamb with their first-round pick. It was very unexpected as most analysts didn’t think Lamb would be available at pick number 17 of the first.
Lamb comes to the Dallas Cowboys after a season with the Oklahoma Sooners in which he was a unanimous first-team All-American in Lincoln Riley’s offense. Lamb and Blake Jarwin figure to replace a big portion, if not all, of the target share vacated by Jason Witten and Randall Cobb, who departed in free agency.
While Lamb is a very exciting addition and Blake Jarwin’s role as the starting tight end makes this offense more dynamic, it shouldn’t take away from Michael Gallup’s ability to produce big numbers again in 2020. He’ll still see a similar target total to the 113 he saw in 2019.
Trysten Hill, Defensive Tackle
Getting Defensive Tackle Neville Gallimore in the third round of the NFL Draft was a huge boon for the Dallas Cowboys. Gallimore was projected to go somewhere in the late part of the first or the second round. It was a tremendous value.
Lost in the excitement of Gallimore’s selection is Trysten Hill, their second-round choice from 2019. The Dallas Cowboys have now added Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and Neville Gallimore this offseason, which puts Trysten Hill’s future in an interesting position.
Gone is the Rod Marinelli, who stood on the table for him in the draft last year, and Hill didn’t garner much love from the rest of the coaching staff during his first season with the Dallas Cowboys. However, a new coaching staff opens the door for Hill to make a new impression and earn an opportunity to get on the field in 2020.
He’ll certainly have to compete to earn snaps whenever the Dallas Cowboys can get to practice, but the tools that got him drafted are still there. Trysten Hill is still young and even has a chance to make an impact for the defense moving forward.
Anthony Brown, Cornerback
There’s been a lot of movement this offseason at cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys. First, Byron Jones departed for the Miami Dolphins and the richest cornerback contract in the history of the NFL. To mitigate the loss of Jones, the Dallas Cowboys re-signed Anthony Brown in the offseason.
Then the Dallas Cowboys drafted two cornerbacks in the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Anthony Brown, who’s played a lot of snaps for the Cowboys could potentially find himself on the bench depending on how this offseason goes.
However, if newcomers Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson II are unable to take a starting job in training camp, Anthony Brown will find his way into a significant role early on.
Brown can help the Cowboys both on the outside and in the slot. If one of the rookies does earn a starting role early on, Brown is a good player to bring off the bench if you need to have him fill in for a few series.
Connor Williams, Left Guard
There’s been a lot of talk about the offensive line competition that is going to take place once the Dallas Cowboys get back to the practice field. Connor Williams is the incumbent left guard with 22 starts under his belt over the last two seasons.
He’s struggled to stay healthy in his first two years and will likely be locked in a battle with Connor McGovern at left guard. Of course, McGovern will see some work at the center and compete there as well. A lot of what happens at center may have an impact at left guard. If the Cowboys feel like they are better with Connor McGovern at center, then Williams likely starts at left guard.
However, if they limit the center competition to Joe Looney and Tyler Biadasz, Connor Williams will be locked into a battle with McGovern at left guard. Williams should have the inside track to start along the offensive line yet again despite the addition they made in the draft.
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The 2020 NFL Draft class has received rave reviews from every corner of the NFL community. And while that excitement will persist into the Summer, it’s important to remember the veterans on the roster that will have something to say about how much of an impact they’ll have in year one.
The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of depth, and that competition should bring out the best in everyone on the roster. If it raises the games of the veterans, the team will be the best for it.