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Cowboys Draft: My Take On Our Projected Draft Board

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Cowboys Headlines - My Crack at our Draft Board 1

Take this with a grain of salt, but I thought I'd take a shot at what I think the Cowboys' board looks like with just over 2 weeks left until the draft. There is bound to be a surprise or two in here, but I can't imagine there's too much shakeup.

Instead of just doing the top 4, which I was going to do initially, I'm going to do the top 15 in the event that we end up trading down. So without further ado:

1.

DB - Jalen Ramsey

9.

DE - Joey Bosa

2.

RB - Ezekiel Elliott

10.

DE - DeForest Buckner

3.

QB - Carson Wentz

11.

CB - William Jackson III

4.

QB - Paxton Lynch

12.

DE - Shaq Lawson

5.

LB - Myles Jack

13.

DT - Sheldon Rankins

6.

QB - Jared Goff

14.

CB - Vernon Hargreaves

7.

OT - Laremy Tunsil

15.

WR - Laquon Treadwell

8.

DE - Noah Spence

 

There are more than a few things about this chart to argue with. The first is that we have Jalen Ramsey as our number one player. If you'll recall, a few months back, someone created a rumor that the Cowboys had Ramsey as their #1 player. While I don't think that was true back then, given that we didn't have our board set, I truly believe that when all is said and done, he'll be sitting atop our chart. To me, with the vibes that I get from the fan base and media, anyone else would be a surprise.

Another thing to note is that we have three quarterbacks in the top six. Jerry has gone on record by saying that we will absolutely not draft a quarterback with the 4th overall pick. Anything that these executives say prior to the draft should be taken with a grain of salt, let alone a proclamation about a particular selection. The fact of the matter is, you set up your board and stick to it 99% of the time. If Jalen Ramsey and Zeke Elliott are off the board in the first three picks, you better believe the Cowboys entertain the idea of concreting their quarterback position for the next 15 years.

Speaking of quarterbacks, yes, I put Paxton Lynch fourth on our board. I don't think the Cowboys have shown any hesitancy in their evaluation for the Memphis product. If you'll recall, Paxton Lynch was an overwhelming top 5 projection last fall.

This is a guy with raw talent, and would have to sit behind Romo for a year or two, but as would Wentz or Goff. They've visited with Lynch 2-3 times already, and have another visit planned right before the draft. Buckle your seat belts because if things play out perfectly (depending on your point of view), we may be looking at a situation where Lynch is the pick at four.

"Wait, you're telling me Laremy Tunsil is 7th in our board?" No. Well, yes. But also no.

I think the Cowboys see Tunsil as one of the top 2-3 players in this draft. But, we just drafted Chaz Green in the third round last year, and have Doug Free still under contract. This doesn't mean we wouldn't consider drafting Tunsil at all. I just think we may value other players more in the top 6 when you factor in need and the over-valuation of quarterbacks nowadays. Having said that, if we traded back to 8-10 and Tunsil were somehow still available, you've got to pull the trigger, or trade farther back.

To me, Myles Jack is rated too low. In fact, on my personal board, Jack is the number one player. The versatility he brings to the field, in combination with his instincts and athleticism, is second to none. If his medical re-check comes back with no issues, he could see a jump on many boards, including ours.

Ah, the polarizing status of Joey Bosa. Cowboys fans have been stressing out for a couple months now about the thought that Joey Bosa could be the pick at 4. Yet, I've seen a ton of experts go on record as saying Bosa is certainly a top 4 player in this draft. Whether or not he is is, obviously, yet to be seen, but I truly believe the Cowboys don't have a ton of interest in him at 4. Don't get me wrong, they like him. A lot. But I think, at pick 4, they're looking for a sack leader, and not a run defender, which I think most people see Bosa as.

Thus, I think that they likely have him a little farther down their board. You'll notice I believe they have him ranked just behind Noah Spence, who will be more of a sack producer at the next level.

Another thing people may find surprising is how far down DeForest Buckner is. This is a simple explanation: scheme. Do I think Buckner would excel in a 43 defense? Absolutely. BUT, that's not what he played in college. Thus, any projections about his production in our scheme would be just that: guesses. He's a physical freak and has traits defensive coordinators love. I wouldn't be surprised at all if we took him at four based on that. But, I would think they may want a little bit more of a sure thing (if there's such a thing) in the top 5.

Lastly, you may be surprised by the ordering of my cornerbacks.

Do you remember the Cowboys releasing Tyler Patmon and rolling with Terrance Mitchell/Deji Olatoye? When they did this, the Cowboys went on record saying they were looking for players with a little more girth, who could get more physical with guys at the line in press coverage. This isn't how Florida used Vernon Hargreaves. He was mostly used as an off Cover 1 and 3 guy because of his lack of top-end speed.

Enter William Jackson. He's not a guy who gets his hands on you at the line as much as we may want, but he's over six feet tall, and runs in the mid 4.3s.

This is a guy who can keep up with any receiver in the NFL, and is the best in the draft with his back to the ball. Hargreaves is an excellent player, but I feel that our front office may like Jackson's traits a little more for this defense. Having said that, the Cowboys brought in Hargreaves as one of their 30 visits, and refrained from bringing in Jackson, so I could have missed the mark here.

Per Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net, the top of the Cowboys' board looks a lot like the one described in this post:

rabblerousr on Twitter

From the great @TonyPauline:

Now for the bottom line. I don't think Jalen Ramsey is going to be available at pick #4.

I think all of the top 3 picks have needs in the secondary, and it would be very difficult to pass up on Ramsey's elite talent. Thus, I think Cowboys fans will still be happy to hear that I believe there's a very good chance Ezekiel Elliott will be taking the field with a star on his helmet this September.



Dallas Cowboys fan since the Drew Bledsoe "era." I love Tony AND Dak. I like to think that I'm the most objective that a fan can get, while still being a diehard, which I truly believe is the 8th wonder of the world. Go Cowboys!!

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6 Comments
  • Randy Martin

    Interesting how you can get in the head of the Cowboys front office. I'll take it with a full shaker of salt.

    • Ian Koplowitz

      This was more of a post based on rumblings and rumors I've heard from news outlets and social media. I tried to throw all of that together for fans and breakdown some surprises.

  • Sean Martin

    Interesting board philosophy for sure. This is why we love the draft though! A lot of teams will just stick Tunsil at the top of their board, even if they have no shot at him. Then just go down with BPA from there. I hope they have Buckner ahead of Bosa and think they might, but I don't think either is the pick at 4. As for the corners, I do personally like Jackson more than Hargreaves. How they fall on the board depends on how Dallas evaluates his value to other teams. For a while there he was in play for #34, but that is no longer the case. If they think he will be available in the 20s though, that changes a lot. Looking forward to more great stuff like this leading up to draft night, Ian!

    • Ian Koplowitz

      The Jackson projection was a fun one. You can't help but to get excited about the athleticism he brings. I may well have missed the mark there, but I think they really like his traits. Since boards rarely ever come to public view, people are surprised when they see boards that don't mimic CBS and ESPN ones. Fact of the matter is, we draft a "3rd round center" in the first round. Charlie Casserly just mocked Kenny Lawler (a third-fourth round grade to most) as the top WR in the first round. It's all about who these teams like.

  • Ethan

    In a nutshell, I don't understand or like this board at all. I think a NFL team's board should reflect BPA "AND" players fitting a top NEED. That said, why list multiple QBs unless you are almost completely confident the Team will go QB in Round 1 which there are two camps strongly opposed/in favor of, AND…why have Tunsil at all? I think Jack that high is a big caveat that you "assume" his knee is healed which I have not heard is confirmed. We need a DE and Bosa is the closest option to a 'safe" bet to have an immediate impact.

    • Ian Koplowitz

      Totally agree with you. I listed 3 quarterbacks for a couple reasons. 1) the rumors that we have Wentz as our #1 QB, 2) all of the meetings with Lynch our front office has had, and 3) Goff being widely regarded as the best QB. Tunsil is arguably the BPA, but he's lower because of his worth to this team. And I absolutely agree that Bosa can have an immediate impact, but I'd rather spend the 4th pick on someone I have more confidence in to get higher sack totals. Lastly, I believe Jack is the best player in this draft. Regardless of the knee, I haven't heard of any long term damage, meaning when he recovers, if he hasn't already, he'll be fine moving forward.

Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

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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.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

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.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

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?



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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

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.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

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.



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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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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.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

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?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 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.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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