The first round of the NFL Draft came and went and Cowboys Nation got to relish in the fact that their first round pick was spent on a known quantity in Wide Receiver Amari Cooper. Every other team is hoping that what they saw on tape will translate to the NFL and they’ll be rewarded for the investment.
With the second and third round of the draft coming on Friday, the time has come for the Dallas Cowboys to put together all of that pre-draft work and come away with a couple of players that could help them contend in 2019. Though a couple of players that the Cowboys had their eyes on went off the board at the end of the first, there are still a lot of difference making players that could be available when the Cowboys go on the clock.
In order to get an idea of who could be available, I ran several simulations using Fanspeak’s On The Clock Simulator. It replicates the first round now that it is complete, then the simulation continues with the second round. I used three different big boards in three different simulations to get a feel for which players might make it to 58. For the simulations I used Arif Hassan’s Composite Board, Fanspeak’s On the Clock Composite Board, and CBS Sports Aggregate Board.
Here are the players of interest to the Dallas Cowboys that were available in one or more of the simulations.
- Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina x2
- Taylor Rapp, Safety, Washington x2
- Joejuan Williams, Cornerback, Vanderbilt x2
- Jace Sternberger, Tight End, Texas A&M x3
- Trysten Hill, Defensive Tackle, Central Florida x3
- Nassir Adderly, Safety, Delaware x2
- Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia x2
- Zach Allen, Defensive Line Boston College x1
- Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida x1
- Irv Smith Jr., Tight End, Alabama x1
- Rock Ya-Sin, Cornerback, Temple x1
- Cody Ford, Guard, Oklahoma x1
- Dalton Risner, Offensive Tackle, Washington x1
- Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida x1
- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Safety, Florida x1
- A.J. Brown, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss x1
- Hakeem Butler, Wide Receiver, Iowa State x1
Second and Third Round Mock Draft
Using Fanspeak.com’s On the Clock Premium Simulator and their Composit Big Board, I attempted to figure out what the Dallas Cowboys will do with their second and third round picks in a short mock draft.
58th Overall – Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia
This was a really difficult decision. When the Cowboys went on the clock Hakeem Butler, Irv Smith Jr., Zach Allen, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and Joejuan Williams were all still available. It’s a situation where you’d love to trade back five or six spots in hopes you could grab one of these guys a bit later and pick up another draft pick.
That said, Juan Thornhill is the pick. He’s the guy the Cowboys have shown interest in. He could slide in and start at one of your safety spots right away or if they wanted to ease him in as a rookie, they could use him as a matchup piece, similarly to how the Cowboys deployed Byron Jones in his rookie season.
Thornhill projects more as a free safety and possibly as a cornerback in the NFL and so he gives the Cowboys some insurance if they aren’t able to get a long-term deal done with Byron Jones. He may not be as athletic as Byron Jones, but he’s really athletic and has a better track record of creating turnovers. With Jones and Anthony Brown set to hit free agency in 2020, the Cowboys have to plan for the possibility of life without two of their best corners from the last couple of years.
Put Thornhill in the back-end with Xavier Woods and I’d imagine the Cowboys get more interceptions in 2019 than they have in a long time.
At the top of the third, Hakeem Butler, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Joejuan Williams, and Zach Allen are still on the board. It seems unlikely all four of these players would still be available, and if they are, the Cowboys would likely try to trade up for a Zach Allen especially.
Let’s let the simulator run through without trading to see what our options are at 90.
The best players available that the Cowboys have shown interest in are Jace Sternberger, Isaiah Johnson, Ben Banogu, Emanuel Hall, and Trysten Hill.
90th Overall – Trysten Hill, Defensive Tackle, Central Florida
There’s been a lot of talk about Trysten Hill in connection with the Dallas Cowboys in recent days. It’s been speculated that he could be the selection at pick 58, so to be able to get him here at 90 is a no-brainer. The Cowboys need a penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle and Hill could come in and compete for snaps right away.
Hill’s an explosive and strong player in the trenches that provides good size at 308 pounds. He can be a base 3-tech and then slide over to the 1-tech in passing situations to make room for another pass rusher. Hill had three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in 2018 with Central Florida.
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If the first round of the NFL Draft taught us anything, it’s that there are few guarantees in the NFL Draft. Players go ahead of projections all the time and just when you think a player is going to fall into your lap, someone snatches him up a pick or two ahead of you.
The biggest point of this exercise was to articulate that the Dallas Cowboys will have options in the second and third round to find players that will really help their team in 2019 and beyond. It may not exactly be these players, but they’ve become one of the better teams in the league at finding talent after thr first round. I don’t imagine that changes this year.