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Analyzing the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Draft Class

Brian Martin

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Analyzing the Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Draft Class 1

After months of buildup and anticipation, the 2019 NFL Draft is officially over. We now know the Dallas Cowboys 2019 rookie draft class, and for the most part what this team may look like when the season kicks off Week 1 against the division rival New York Giants.

The Cowboys 2019 rookie draft class isn't the most exciting on paper and definitely isn't what many of us expected, but it's a solid group nonetheless. Today I thought it would be a good idea to analyze this year's draft class a little so that hopefully it will ease your mind with the direction this team is heading this season and in the future.

Let's get started…

Round 2, 58th Overall - DT, Trysten Hill, UCF 

Trysten Hill

Dallas Cowboys DT Trysten Hill

Analysis:

I, like the Dallas Cowboys, was targeting Trysten Hill from the get-go with their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft above any of the safety prospects that could have been available here. Finding defensive tackles with Hill's disruptive ability and athleticism is extremely difficult, especially outside the first-round. He is someone that should step in Day 1 and help the Cowboys pass rush at the under tackle position or the 3-technique next to DeMarcus Lawrence.

Hill is still a little raw as far as his technique and footwork are concerned, but those are areas of his game Rod Marinelli can easily correct. He also needs to improve his pad level because he tends to play a little too upright when he gets tired, but he's more capable of pushing Maliek Collins for the starting job. He will likely be a rotational DT his rookie season and then take over as the starter in Year 2 after Collins' contract expires.

Round 3, 90th Overall - OG, Connor McGovern, Penn State 

Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys OG Connor McGovern

Analysis:

Jaws collectively dropped when it was announced the Dallas Cowboys were drafting yet another offensive lineman in Connor McGovern with their third-round draft pick. It was the curveball nobody saw coming since the Cowboys offensive line was considered a position of strength, but it's a selection that may be a little underrated. He could be an ace in the hole if Travis Frederick struggles upon his return to the field, but at the very least upgrades the depth along the interior offensive line.

McGovern would likely be a Day 1 plug-and-play starter for just about any other team around the NFL, but in a perfect world he won't see the field his rookie season much with the Cowboys. This is an underrated move with the future in mind in my opinion, although he could compete with Connor Williams to become the starting left guard in 2019. I think the plan is for Williams to move to right tackle in 2020 after La'el Collins' contract expires and insert McGovern at LG in Year 2. He may not make much of an impact as a rookie, but anyway you slice it this is a solid move.

Round 4, 128th Overall - RB/WR, Tony Pollard, Memphis 

Tony Pollard

Dallas Cowboys RB/WR Tony Pollard

Analysis:

We all expected the Dallas Cowboys to draft a running back at some point in the fourth-round, but it was a little surprising they decided to go with Tony Pollard considering some of the talent at the position that was still on the board. Pollard however is a really intriguing change of pace back that should pair really well with Ezekiel Elliott. He's a versatile weapon who can contribute in the running or passing game, and a home run threat anytime he touches the ball.

Pollard's versatility to contribute as a runner, receiver, and return man is pretty similar to what Alvin Kamara provides to the New Orleans Saints. It's a little unfair to compare him to such an established playmaker, but he can bring the same kind of skill set to the Cowboys offense if used correctly. It's up to new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to take advantage of such a diverse weapon, but the fact they were so excited to bring him aboard above more proven RBs still on the board tells me they have a clear role for him in mind.

Round 5, 158th Overall - CB, Michael Jackson, Miami

Michael Jackson

Miami CB Michael Jackson

Analysis:

Cornerback was an under the radar "need" for the Dallas Cowboys, especially if you take into consideration Byron Jones, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis are all entering contract years either in 2019 or 2020. Michael Jackson was a two-year starter at Miami and provides some much-needed depth at the position. He has the size, length (6'1", 205) Kris Richard prefers in his secondary and could carve out an important role for himself as a rookie.

Byron Jones is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season after having hip surgery about a month ago, but if he's unable to go Jackson could become the beneficiary. Richard was able to turn another fifth-round CB (Richard Sherman) into a difference making defensive playmaker during his time with the Seahawks, and the Cowboys are probably helping he can replicate that success with Jackson in Dallas. He did work him out privately ahead of the draft, so he should have a pretty good feel for what he's capable of.

Round 5, 165th Overall - DE, Joe Jackson, Miami 

Joe Jackson

Dallas Cowboys DE Joe Jackson

Analysis:

Joe Jackson is the second consecutive Miami Hurricanes defensive player the Dallas Cowboys decided to draft, and the first of two defensive ends. Outside of DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, there are a lot of questions and concerns about the depth at the DE position for the Cowboys. No one knows what's going to happen to Randy Gregory and both Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong have yet to develop to the point they can be trusted or counted on.

Jackson (6'4", 275) has the prototypical size the Dallas Cowboys look for in their DEs and projects to play on the left side behind DeMarcus Lawrence. He was as consistent as they come during his three-years at Miami and was one of only seven active FBS players in 2018 with at least 24 career sacks. He's not the most athletic player, but he brings a solid all-around skill set to the Cowboys and is a good value selection in the fifth-round.

Round 6, 213th Overall - S, Donovan Wilson, Texas A&M 

Donovan Wilson

Dallas Cowboys SS Donovan Wilson

Analysis:

The majority of Cowboys Nation was hoping and expecting the Dallas Cowboys to draft a safety early in the 2019 NFL Draft, quite possibly at 58th overall, but surprisingly they decided to wait until the sixth-round to address the position. Donovan Wilson is a hard-hitting safety who is at his best when playing around the line of scrimmage. Had a productive 2018 season, accumulating two interceptions, five pass deflections, two sacks, and 4.5 tackles for a loss.

Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier, George Iloka, and Darian Thompson all become free agents after the 2019 season, meaning Wilson provides some much-needed depth as a rookie and could compete for a starting role in 2020. He will likely be nothing more than special-teams player who plays sparingly on defense in his first-year in Dallas, but has the upside to be much more in a year or two. Who knows, maybe Kris Richard can work his magic and get Wilson on the field earlier than expected.

Round 7, 218th Overall - RB, Mike Weber, Ohio State

Mike Weber

Dallas Cowboys RB Mike Weber

Analysis:

After already drafting Running Back Tony Pollard in the fourth-round, it was somewhat surprising to see the Dallas Cowboys double down with the selection of Mike Weber. But, being able to get Weber this late in the draft is good value so I can understand their thinking. He's not the flashiest of runners, but he has a pretty good all-around skill set the Cowboys can use behind Ezekiel Elliott.

Weber is capable of picking up the "dirty" yards and is a solid pass catcher out of the backfield as well. He had a 1,000 yard season his first year after taking over for Zeke at Ohio State, but failed to reach that mark the next two seasons with the Buckeyes because he was in a timeshare with J. K. Dobbins. Overall, this is a good value signing that could become invaluable if Zeke (heaven forbid) had to miss some time. I believe he's more of an every down back then Tony Pollard.

Round 7, 241st Overall - DE, Jalen Jelks, Oregon

Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys DE Jalen Jelks

Analysis:

The Dallas Cowboys weren't done doubling down at a position of need and decided to take Defensive End Jalen Jelks with their final draft pick in the seventh-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. I know I've said this before, but I believe this is a good value selection because I had a fifth-round grade on Jelks. He joins a crowded defensive line, so he could have an uphill battle to make the roster.

Having said that though, he does fit the profile the Cowboys they like in their DEs. At 6'6" with 34.5 inch arms, he definitely has the size and length to play the position. He played all over the Ducks 3-4 defensive front and has the nonstop motor and flexibility to become an effective pass rusher in the NFL. Making the final 53-man roster is probably a longshot, but he is someone worth stashing on the practice squad and developing.



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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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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