Cowboys 2019 Rookies: Don’t Get Discouraged by Lack of Early Impact

    While almost everything coming out of Sunday's big win has been positive and encouraging, there have have been some critical remarks about how little we saw of the ' 2019 rookie class. But rather than get discouraged about our newest players, we should understand the circumstances and appreciate what this says about the depth of the Cowboys roster.

    Before we dive into this, here's a recap of our eight 2019 draft picks and their current status with the Cowboys:

    • DT Trysten Hill – On roster
    • OL Connor McGovern – IR (eligible to return)
    • RB Tony Pollard – On roster
    • CB – Practice squad
    • DE Joe Jackson – On roster
    • S Donovan Wilson – On roster
    • RB – Practice squad
    • DE – IR (season-ending)

    Just from that, you see how limited to class is right now at being able to make an impact. Half of the rookies aren't even on the , and Donovan Wilson missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury.

    The most jarring absence was that of 2nd-Round pick Trysten Hill, who was one of the seven inactive players that didn't suit up to play the Giants. With other rookies like Tony Pollard and Joe Jackson getting to play, it may have been alarming to see our young as a healthy scratch from the 46-man game day roster.

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    But even though he was the highest draft pick on the team this year, keep in mind that Trysten was still just the 58th overall pick in the 2019 . If you thought he was going to come in and make an impact like Leighton Vander Esch (19th overall in 2018) last year, those weren't reasonable expectations.

    Hill is also competing with a loaded group at his position. and are well-established now as a starting duo, and veteran was signed in before the Cowboys ever drafted Trysten.

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    While we still want to see positive things from Trysten Hill in 2019, it's important to remember that he was drafted with a long-term perspective. With Maliek Collins a free agent and likely being released in 2020, Hill was added to provide current depth and hopefully a future starter. He was scouted as a raw talent who needed development; an ideal player for the role Dallas had available this year.

    Connor McGovern
    Dallas Cowboys G Connor McGovern

    The same goes for 3rd-Round pick Connor McGovern. He was drafted with potential free agency departures from La'el Collins and Joe Looney in view next year.

    Dallas wound up re-signing Collins, and McGovern's ongoing pectoral injury limited his ability to compete in and this year. Even if he gets recalled from IR later this season, Connor isn't going to be more than a backup linemen as a rookie.

    Tony Pollard and Joe Jackson were the only two rookies who actually got to play on Sunday, but neither was able to do much with their opportunities. Pollard's 13 carries amounted to just 24 yards, and Jackson was part of the rotation that got very little pressure on Eli Manning throughout the game.

    It's easy to say, “don't overreact to just one game.” That's valid, but we should prepare ourselves for the reality that most of these 2019 rookies could have very quiet seasons.

    Barring injuries, Trysten Hill probably isn't going to moved ahead of any of the other defensive tackles on the depth chart. Once veteran DE comes off next week, Joe Jackson could easily be joining Hill on the inactive list.

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    The two guys who have the best chance to make impacts as rookies are Tony Pollard and Donovan Wilson. Hopefully, future weeks will give Pollard better looks and see utilize him as a weapon in the . It would also be nice to see Tony on kick returns, where he was a stud in college.

    After arguably being MVP of the preseason, Donovan Wilson returned to practice yesterday and will hopefully be among the active players against Washington. Even if he doesn't oust from a starting job this year, Wilson should still get opportunities to play.

    Sean's Scout: Cowboys Thankful for Cooper in Division Win Over Redskins
    Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

    A key thing to remember with this 2019 draft class is that the 1st-Round pick went to Oakland for Amari Cooper. There is no Leighton Vander Esch, Byron Jones, , or in this bunch when it comes to that projected early impact.

    Cooper's instant effect on the offense last year, and his strong game against the Giants on Sunday, far outweigh the benefits from any 1st-Round rookie that Dallas might have selected last April. This caveat can never be forgotten when we talk about the class of 2019; it's greatest asset is not reflected in the rookie pool.

    That being said, the Cowboys have been spoiled in recent years with immediate contributions from players like , , , and as rookies. It's easy to start holding everyone to that standard, counting on 's draft magic to keep producing these kinds of players.

    But one of the issues you're now seeing is how good drafting and free agent can eventually fill the cupboard to capacity. Michael Jackson didn't make the team because there was already so much talent at , and all of them still on their rookie contracts. Joe Jackson, good as he's looked, may wind up playing very little because of a good pick last year in and a shrewd signing in Kerry Hyder.

    Because of their depth, the 2019 Cowboys were able to draft for the future rather than the present. They were ready to use guys like Hill and McGovern if needed, but were happy to let them develop for a year behind a wealth of returning talent.

    Again, it's still early. We may see Trysten Hill get on the field and even become a prominent rotation player by the end of the season. The Cowboys are certainly invested in his future, so they will be happy to give him those opportunities if it's mutually beneficial.

    But for now, given the depth of the team and the circumstances of these rookies and the positions they play, we may need to adjust our expectations for their immediate impact. The class of 2019 has talent and will be heard from in due time, but it may not be as soon as we usually hope.

    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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    Ethan Chazin

    Jess, I usually agree with you but sorry on this one you seem to be working overtime talking out of both sides of your mouth. Why did this team need depth at DT? They drafted a kid who may not play much if at all, and passed on a major upgrade to safety. Thornhill was available when they picked, so they passed on a guaranteed upgrade at safety one of the weakest spots on the roster. With regards to mcgovern, his pick seemed justified by O lien depth assuming the team didn’t re-sign Collins but they must have known they were going to re-sign Collins (despite the claims he gave them a hometown discount) so why draft mcgovern at all? Pollard makes sense. Given how they shuffled their RBs around esp at/after cut down I don’t understand drafting Mike Whie at all. The others seemed to make sense at the time. We all know this is a talented (deep) roster and any pick would be tough to make the active team, but Hill and McGovern appear to be stretch picks.

    Kevin Black

    Dallas needed more 3-techs, which is why they went with Hill. I’ve talked to several people who I respect and they assured me that he would not last until our third round pick came around. I was wanting to see Thornhill in the 2nd and Hill in the 3rd, but Kris Richard is right: without a strong push by the defensive line, the secondary will be killed while the QB just sits there and picks them apart.

    When they picked Donovan Wilson in the 6th, I felt much better. How he slipped under the radar with his highly successful collegiate career is somewhat baffling. I realize his missed the 2017 season, but his 2018 season was more than worthy of him going on the 2nd day. I’m thrilled that we have him and I’m loving his progress. I was disappointed he got hurt on the last preseason game, but by the end of this year, he will be starting over Heath. Wilson had better stats and had a better rating than Thornhill, so that at least justifies drafting him. The regular season is a different animal and I still think Thornhill will have the better overall season, but Wilson will make you very glad we got Hill before he ended up someplace like Philly, KC or New England.