There’s only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Aside from that, life is unpredictable, and so is the NFL Draft. Every year, there are players taken both way too late and, sometimes, way too soon. We hear and read reports for months and think we have an idea of who’s going where, until draft day comes and we’re all proven wrong.
This can also be beneficial. Players fall all the time and it’s an enormous benefit to the team that snags him.
Last year, Calvin Ridley and Derwin James had no business falling as far as they did, but in the end, the Falcons and Chargers got great players for a ridiculous bargain for what they’re worth.
The Dallas Cowboys are no different.
The Cowboys have made it a point of picking not just the right player in the first round, but picking Pro Bowl players as well. Since 2010, only two first round picks have yet to be a Pro Bowl caliber player (yet).
This year, the Cowboys’ first round pick was taken super early, in the form of Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, who has been every bit worth the pick it cost to obtain him. Their first overall pick won’t come until number 58 in the second round, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still be a first rounder.
Maybe it’s luck, or maybe it’s things working out, but the Dallas Cowboys have for a while been able to find players who were graded as first rounders and starters with their second round picks.
If we look at their recent history in their last 5 second-round selections:
- 2018: Guard, Connor Williams
- 2017: Corner, Chidobe Awuzie
- 2016: Linebacker, Jaylon Smith
- 2015: Edge, Randy Gregory
- 2014: Edge, DeMarcus Lawrence
All five players were graded as first-round talent who fell for different reasons:
- Connor Williams played tackle in college but was projected to play guard in a guard-friendly draft.
- Chidobe Awuzie fell for similar reasons as a corner.
- Jaylon Smith may very well have been the first round selection had he not tore his ACL and MCL.
- Randy Gregory had (and unfortunately still has) problems with substance abuse.
- DeMarcus Lawrence was selected in one of the best defensive line drafts in recent memory with Jadeveon Clowney, Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack and Dee Ford being selected before him.
Based off recent history, it’s a safe bet that Dallas will be fine at 58. A quality first-round player will still be there. As far as who, there are many realistic options. The team’s three most pressing needs today would likely be safety, corner and maybe tight end.
As far as who could be there, some realistic options would be:
- Safety: Taylor Rapp, Deonte Thompson, Johnathan Abram, Juan Thornhill.
- Corner: Byron Murphy, Deandre Baker, Greedy Williams, Justin Layne
- Tight End: Irv Smith, Jace Sternberger, Dawson Knox
Whether these players are first-round talents or not is purely subjective but it wouldn’t shock many if any, or all are selected in the first before Dallas can even get to them.
What can be said is that Dallas will probably, once again, have a first-round player fall right in their laps, without needing to use a first rounder at all.