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.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
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.
Red River Rivalry Brings WR Devin Duvernay to Dallas, Hopefully to Stay
If you happen to be a fan of college football and the Dallas Cowboys, then the 2019 Red River Rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns might just be a game you want to tune in for this weekend. Both teams will showcase quite a few players who could enter the 2020 NFL Draft and one of the more talented, although still underrated, players could be of interest to the Cowboys.
Enter Texas Longhorns Wide Receiver Devin Duvernay.
When it comes to positions the Dallas Cowboy would be most interested in next year's NFL Draft, wide receiver might not be at the top the list… or so it would seem from the outside looking in. But if you look a little deeper only Amari Cooper, who the Cowboys will extend eventually, and Michael Gallup are locks to stick around beyond this season. That's where Devin Duvernay comes in.
With Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin under one-year contracts, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking for their next slot receiver. Devin Duvernay may be new to the position with the Longhorns this year, but he's already proving to be a dynamic weapon out of the slot and could be exactly what the Cowboys are looking for.
The slot WR position is an important one for the Dallas Cowboys, especially for Quarterback Dak Prescott. It has become a security blanket of sorts over the years for Prescott and finding a sure-handed receiver he's comfortable with is easier said than done. Luckily though, they don't come much more reliable than Devin Duvernay.
According to the folks over at Pro Football Focus, Duvernay was one of the rare collegiate WRs who didn't drop a pass in 2018. That's pretty impressive considering he played the Z-receiver role with the Longhorns last year before moving into the slot in 2019. I'd say that's pretty sure-handed. Down the field targets are much more difficult to haul in than the ones thrown near or around the line of scrimmage.
Sure handedness isn't Devin Duvernay's only impressive trait though. His physicality and infectious attitude on the field is something that would pair nicely with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both of whom are a little low-key/reserved as far as their on-field persona is concerned. Duvernay is a WR who likes to punish would be tackler and he has the build to do just that.
At 5'11", 210 pounds, Duvernay's thick, well muscled frame is much more RB-esque than that of a traditional receiver. His build is comparable to Carolina's D.J. Moore and San Francisco's Deebo Samuel, both of whom were taken relatively high in their respective drafts the past couple of years. His play to both of these WRs is similar as well.
The soon to be former Longhorns WR has all the intangibles to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. His physicality alone makes him difficult for any defensive back to tackle, but he also possesses elite speed as well. He claims he can run a 4.3 40-yard dash and his film certainly suggests he's capable of doing just that.
Overall, Devin Duvernay is absolutely someone the Dallas Cowboys should keep an eye on when the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns meet up this weekend in Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. I'd be more than happy if he ended up being one of their Day 2 selections, which is where I have him being drafted right now.
Do you like the idea of WR Devin Duvernay in a Dallas Cowboys uniform?
Cowboys Land CB in Matt Miller’s way-too-early 2020 NFL Mock Draft
What better way to kick off the 2019 NFL regular-season and the start of college football then a way-too-early 2020 mock draft? Well, you're in luck. Matt Miller, one of my favorite draft analysts, just released his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft for Bleacherreport.com and you may be surprised as to who he selected for the Dallas Cowboys.
One of the reasons I enjoy Matt Miller's work above many other so-called "draft analysts" is because he has his ear to the ground and has a pretty good connection with scouts around the league. That kind of information is pretty invaluable, but he also has a solid understanding of team "needs". Add all of that up and you get a really solid guesstimate of who could be on a certain teams radar, in this case the Dallas Cowboys.
Let's take a look at who Matt Miller predicted the Dallas Cowboys could draft in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first-round selection. Miller set this particular mock draft according to current Super Bowl odds from Caesar's Palace.
25. Dallas Cowboys
The Pick: CB Bryce Hall, Virginia
Matt Miller predicting the Dallas Cowboys select Cornerback Bryce Hall with there first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft definitely seems like a plausible possibility. He knows the Cowboys can't afford to pay everyone and he even said as much. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering a contract year in 2019 and with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis having expiring contracts after 2020, Dallas' secondary could definitely need addressing.
The Cowboys know this as well which is why they probably attempted to add some developmental depth to the CB position through the 2019 NFL Draft when they took Mike Jackson in the fifth-round. Jackson has the attributes they look for in their corners, but in no way has he looked like he'd be ready for a starting role next season. That makes Miller's Bryce Hall selection a definite possibility.
According to Miller's 2020 mock draft Bryce Hall is the fourth secondary player to come off the board. There were three cornerbacks selected ahead of him and one safety. He does fit the mold Kris Richard prefers in his CBs (6'1", 200) and also has the physical playing style in press coverage Richard likes as well. All in all, this is a very solid prediction for the Dallas Cowboys.
Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys would choose to select a CB this early is unknown at this point. But, it certainly seems like a high possibility considering all the corners with expiring contracts in a year or two. I think the Cowboys could look into taking a tight end or a safety with their first-round pick as well, but again it's way too early to have any kind of clue as to how their draft board will look like when the 2020 NFL Draft rolls around.
I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a closer eye on Bryce Hall this season just in case Matt Miller is correct. I'd like to get a head start to see just how well he would fit, or not, with the Dallas Cowboys.
Do you like the Bryce Hall selection for the Dallas Cowboys?
2020 RB Options for the Cowboys if Things Turn Ugly With Ezekiel Elliott
The Dallas Cowboys could have a Le'Veon Bell-type situation on their hands in regards to Ezekiel Elliott. It's been reported Zeke is contemplating a holdout until his financial demands are met by way of a contract extension. This could put the Cowboys between a rock and a hard place.
Ezekiel Elliott is technically still under contract for two more seasons because of the fifth-year option he carries as a former first-round draft pick. Threatening to hold out seems a little premature, but Zeke has the Cowboys by the short hairs right now, meaning the leverage is on his side.
This is a situation that could, unfortunately, turn ugly, and quickly.
Check out Ep. 6 of Cowboys Weekly - Segment 1 for more discussion from Inside The Star on Ezekiel Elliott's Hold-Out situation:
The Cowboys have several other mouths to feed and Zeke may not be at the top the list considering his continued immaturity issues off the field. His on-field production is undeniable, but so are the red flags that keep popping up. It may be time for Dallas to look for his successor and fortunately, the 2020 running back draft class is a pretty good place to start.
Let's take a look…
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor (5'11", 219) would probably be the ideal candidate to replace Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of the more productive collegiate running backs expected to enter the 2020 NFL Draft and has the intangibles that are eerily similar to Zeke as far as size, speed, and power are concerned. Unfortunately, that likely makes him a top 10 selection, putting him out of reach of the Cowboys.
Taylor doesn't come without his warts though. As a true Junior, he's seen a lot of action in his three years as the starting RB for the Badgers. That wear-and-tear is a cause for concern because it could lead to durability issues once in the NFL. He also has struggled with his ball security. He's put the ball on the ground 12 times in the last two seasons, which will need to be cleaned up at the next level. But, there's no denying his talent.
D'Andre Swift, Georgia
D'Andre Swift (5'9", 215) is one of my favorite RB options in the 2020 draft class to replace Ezekiel Elliott if things turn ugly with the Dallas Cowboys. He doesn't have the same kind of production as Jonathan Taylor and is still somewhat under the radar because he's been stuck in a committee with the Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Elijah Holyfield the last two years. But mark my words, he will be the next great RB to enter the NFL out of Georgia. Swift could be as ideal of a candidate to replace Zeke as there is.
Dallas likes an inside runner with zone vision as well as someone who can be a threat in the passing game, and D'Andre fits the bill. Despite being a little smaller in size than Zeke, he still possesses the power to run inside. Then throw in his receiving ability, 32 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns last season, and you have someone who is more than capable of replacing #21's offensive production. He's projected to be a late first-round pick, which could put him within striking distance of the Cowboys.
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
J.K. Dobbins (5'10", 214) could be someone who is already on the Dallas Cowboys' radar as a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement. They seem to have a liking for Ohio State running backs (Zeke, Rod Smith, Mike Weber) and could turn to another Buckeye to carry the rock. Dobbins, an all-purpose back and native Texan (Houston, TX) checks all of the boxes the Cowboys typically look for in their featured back.
Dobbins has the size, speed, and vision to be a featured back in the NFL. He has rushed for over 1,000 yards his last two seasons while splitting time with Mike Weber and has averaged about 200 receiving yards during that time span as well. He's not the most physical back, but he keeps moving his feet upon contact. He also needs to improve in pass protection in order to become a true three-down RB in the NFL. But his vision, shorter area quickness, elusiveness, and patience as a runner are all top-notch.
Travis Etienne, Clemson
The breakout season of Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, unfortunately, overshadowed the Heisman-worthy year Travis Etienna (5'10", 200) had in 2018. In his first year as a starter, he rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns, all the while averaging an impressive 8.1 yards per carry. If he can follow that up in 2019 he could become the most coveted back in the 2020 draft class and become a really intriguing option for the Dallas Cowboys.
Etienne will probably need to add a little bit more "good weight" and muscle to his frame if he wants to be considered a featured back in the NFL. If he can accomplish that and not lose any of his elusiveness or speed he should climb up draft boards. If not, he may not be of much interest to the Cowboys because they already have a similar RB in Tony Pollard. He does possess plug-and-play talent though, making him a potential Ezekiel Elliott replacement.
Najee Harris, Alabama
Najee Harris (6'2", 230) is yet another big, physical running back who has had to remain patient and wait his turn at Alabama, but 2019 could be his breakout season. With Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris ahead of him on the depth chart the last two years, Najee saw limited playing time. But, when he did receive the opportunity to showcase his skill set he didn't disappoint. His physical talent could make him a top-5 running back come draft time.
Despite his limited playing time last the two seasons, he averaged over 6 yards a carry. He rushed for a career-high 783 yards and four touchdowns on just 117 carries in 2018 and should easily surpass those totals this season. In doing so he should become one of the more sought after RBs in the 2020 draft class. With the Cowboys, as Zeke's potential replacement, his physicality would pair nicely with Tony Pollard's slashing style. A Harris/Pollard duo could be just as productive as the Cowboys running game has been in the past.
The above five running backs are all potential Ezekiel Elliott replacements who I really like and will likely receive the most national attention due to the programs in which they play. But, they are only a few in what looks like a really strong 2020 RB draft class. Here a few honorable mentions you should also keep a close eye on as well.
- Cam Akers, Florida State
- Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
- Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
- Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Vanderbilt
- Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
I believe any of these running backs mentioned above at any point in the article could be in play for the Dallas Cowboys if they choose to play hardball with Ezekiel Elliott over his want for a contract extension. The 2020 running back draft class has a plethora of potential starters and this could be in the back of the Cowboys mind when they're determining where they want to spend their money. Paying top dollar for an RB might not fit in their budget, even for one as talented as Zeke.
Do you like any of these potential RBs as replacements for Ezekiel Elliott?
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