It's looking more and more as if the Dallas Cowboys draft a wide receiver early in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. They have already met with several of the top WRs in this draft class, whether formally or informally, which raises the question about exactly how early will they decide to draft a WR?
I have no doubts the Cowboys draft a wide receiver at some point, but there really is no way of knowing how early they will do so. They could decide to use their first-round draft pick on Day 1 to take a WR or they could wait until Day 2 or Day 3. It will ultimately come down to how the whole draft process plays out.
Opinions will certainly vary as to when the Cowboys should draft a receiver, but I think we can all agree there is a high possibility it will happen in the first three rounds. Luckily, the Cowboys actually sit in a pretty good position in each of the first three rounds to find an upgrade at the WR position, but again, when and where is still the ultimate unknown.
Since I believe the Dallas Cowboys draft a wide receiver in the first three rounds, I decided to share with you which WRs they seem to be targeting and where. I broke down the receivers mentioned below based on where I personally have them graded.
Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is the WR1 on nearly everybody's draft board, and for good reason. Ridley is the most Pro-ready WR in the 2018 draft class and should be able to make an immediate impact with whichever team who drafts him. The only real concerns about Ridley is his age, his slight frame, and the fact he might already be a finished product. But, he would immediately upgrade the receiving corps if the Cowboys draft him at 19.
D.J. Moore, Maryland
I personally have D.J. Moore ranked slightly behind Calvin Ridley and wouldn't be at all surprised if he was the Cowboys draft target at 19. I think he improved his draft stock the most with the way he performed at the combine and I believe he might have more upside than Ridley. He still needs to improve his route running, but he is dangerous anytime he gets the ball in his hands.
Courtland Sutton, SMU
Drafting Courtland Sutton 19th overall might be a little high for most people, but I personally like him more than most. The Cowboys should get to know Sutton pretty well when he is able to attend Dallas Day for local prospects. I think he is one of the few receivers in this draft class who has WR1 potential and could be Dez Bryant's eventual replacement. Taking him at 19 might be a little too high for the Cowboys, so he is probably more of a trade down target.
D.J. Chark, LSU
D.J. Chark has been one of my "pet cats" from the very beginning of the draft process. I really like the skill set he would bring to the offense and he fits the Cowboys draft criteria for a WR to a T. I initially had a third-round grade on him, but he continuously improves his draft stock when given the opportunity. He reminds me of Houston Texans WR Will Fuller, who was drafted in the first round a few seasons ago, which is where I have him ranked now.
James Washington, Oklahoma State
In order for the Dallas Cowboys to draft James Washington, they would probably have to move up in the second round because I think he gets drafted in between 19 and 50. I'm personally not as high on Washington as most, but I wouldn't hesitate taking him with the Cowboys second round pick. He is a tough/gritty WR, who is built like a RB and has the speed to take the top off of defenses.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
The Dallas Cowboys have already met with Christian Kirk informally, which indicates there is some interest there. Kirk is a dynamic playmaker as both a WR and a return specialist. He still needs to improve as a route runner, but he is dangerous anytime he touches the ball. He may still be there at 50 when the Cowboys are on the clock, but they might have to trade up in order to secure his services.
Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
I'm probably higher on Equanimeous St. Brown than most people, which is why I was ecstatic to see the Cowboys have already shown an interest in him. It's rare that a 6'5", 215 pound WR runs a 4.48 40 yard dash, but he did just that at the scouting combine. He is a solid route runner, although he could stand to improve in this area, and he has a wide catching radius. I think he'll be a better Pro than he was in college and he has WR1 potential.
Deon Cain, Clemson
Deon Cain is another WR the Dallas Cowboys have shown an interest in and someone who could help the offense from Day 1. Clemson has kind of become "WR U" these past several years, and Cain is the next one who should make his mark in the NFL. He is a good route runner who has the speed to take the top defenses, but unfortunately he shows lapses in his concentration from time to time.
Anthony Miller, Memphis
Anthony Miller was pretty much a one-man show during his time in Memphis. Opposing defenses always knew where he was located when he was in the game, but still had trouble containing him. I love how he plays with a chip on his shoulder, but he is somewhat inconsistent when catching the ball, which is a pretty big concern. But, he would still be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys wide receiver core.
Michael Gallup, Colorado State
Michael Gallup possesses a good combination of height, weight, and speed to become a very solid WR2 in the NFL. He's what the Dallas Cowboys look for in their outside WRs and could be a steal if they can get him in the third round. He might struggle to create separation at the next level, but his game is based on physicality and could become a really good position WR in Dallas.
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
DaeSean Hamilton has been mocked to the Dallas Cowboys on more than one occasion already this draft season. He is arguably the best route runner in the entire 2018 draft class, but his lack of straight-line speed may hurt a little bit at the next level. I personally believe he would be better playing out of the slot in the NFL, which doesn't bode well for him getting drafted by the Cowboys. He will have to prove he can win consistently on the outside in order to end up in Dallas.
Which round do you think the Cowboys draft a wide receiver?
Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?
You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.
I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.
Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.
Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:
2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano
You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.
The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.
DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.
The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.
Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.
I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.
Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?
Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?
The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.
But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.
Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.
Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.
First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.
On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.
What about the rest of the class?
Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.
After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.
How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?
One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.
Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.
But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.
Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.
Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.
Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.
One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.
In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.
Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?
Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.
The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.
Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.
Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.
For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.
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