After each and every draft, grades are handed out like candy on Halloween. These grades are based on where expert thinks the best value was found and who reached too early. Did a team get a steal with a guy in the seventh round? Did they reach way too early in the first?
The fact is, grading a draft the day after it happens is basically pointless. There is no way to tell how a good, or bad, a pick can be until they get on the field for a full season. And even after one season, it still can be difficult to get a true read on some guys. Most people think you need two or three years to fully grade ones draft class.
So with the 2013 draft right around the corner, we take a look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys draft class and how those selections have fared.
1.24 WR - Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
Bryant came in the league with some immaturity question, but his natural talent was something that Dallas couldn't pass on. Dallas gave up their third round pick in order to move up and grab Bryant. He only started 2 games his rookie season, but finished with 45 catches, 561 yards, and 6 TD. He also added 2 punt return TD as well. He's had a few minor off-field issues early on, but has stayed out of the spotlight this offseason, and after last season in which Bryant accounted for 1,382 yards receiving to go along with 12 TD, he's looking the part of one of the top WRs in the league.
With Bryant developing into a true number one WR, and maturing off the field, the Cowboys seem to of hit a homerun with this pick.
Should have selected: Bryant - After a bit of a bumpy start, Bryant's 2012 season was what the Cowboys were planning on getting when they drafted him. Has the skillset and talent to develop into one of the better WRs in the NFL.
2.23 ILB - Sean Lee, Penn State
Sean Lee fell on draft day due to concerns about a knee he injured in college. Known for his high football IQ and overall toughness, Lee was able to take things slow as rookie as he backed up Keith Brooking and Bradie James. He had a fantastic 2011 season leading the team in tackles with a total of 105. Also led the team with 4 interceptions. Was only in the teams first 7 games last season (toe injury) but looked the part of the Cowboys best defender with 58 total tackles.
Injuries have been somewhat of a concern early on in his career, but Lee has the making of the Cowboys next great defensive player. He's a leader on and off the field and should continue to develop as a player that opposing offenses have to gameplan for.
Grade: A -
Should have selected: Lee - He's everything that Dallas needed and wanted at the time. He looks the part of a franchise defensive player and should continue to flourish even with the switch to the 4-3
4.28 S - Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana (Pa.)
Cowboys drafted Owusu-Ansah knowing they had to be patient while he developed as a NFL FS. But they anticipated he could contribute immediately as a kick returner. That never happened as battled injuries and he failed to make an impact on Special Teams or as a Safety.
Prior to his release late in the 2011 season, AOA totaled 28 kickoffs for 599 and zero touchdowns. Dallas looked to convert him to WR in hopes his playmaking ability could get him on the field, but that was a failed experiment as well. He was picked up by Jacksonville late in 2011, and spent the 2012 season in Oakland.
Should have selected: Kam Chancellor - The Pro Bowl Safety was selected 7 spots after AOA, and has totaled 220 career tackles to go along with 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles.
6.10 OT - Sam Young, Notre Dame
At the time, Young was considered good value in the 6th round. He came from a pro-style offense and amassed over 50 career starts while at Notre Dame. He had NFL size, and was thought he could be groomed as the teams future RT.
Instead he never developed the way the Cowboys had hoped. He stuck around for the 2010 season, but was cut in 2011. He landed with Buffalo and made 4 starts and is currently listed as their backup RT
Should have selected: Antonio Brown - While at the time Dallas wasn't in the market to select two wide receivers, Brown has emerged as the Steelers top WR for 2013, and was the first person in NFL history to record 1,000 receiving and return yards in a single season.
6.27 CB - Jamar Wall, Texas Tech
Cowboys thought that Wall could come in right away and contribute on Special Teams and eventually battle for, at worst, the third CB position. Instead, what they got was someone who never saw the field as a Cowboys as he was one of the last players cut back in September of 2010. Tallied one career tackle and had brief stints with the Texans and Eagles
Should have selected: Trindon Holliday - When picking late in the draft you look for immediate contributors to your Special Teams unit. Holiday could've added just that as one of the more dynamic returners in the NFL. Picked one spot after Jamar Wall, Holliday was someone the Cowboys could've used at the time.
7.27 DT/DE - Sean Lissemore, Williams & Mary
Coming out of college, Lissemore was known for his relentless motor and untapped potential, and thats exactly what the Cowboys got out of him. He comes to work everyday and brings the intensity and hard work he was known for in college. He continues to develop, and while he will never be considered a week in and week out starter, Dallas saw enough to reward him with a three-year contract extension this past season. He will move to DT in the new 4-3 and once again be relied on to bring a spark off the bench.
Should have selected: Lissemore - Brandon Deaderick wouldn't have been a bad option, but Dallas loves what they have in Lissemore.
This class will always be remembered for Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, and any time you can grab two long term starters in a draft it should be considered a very successful draft. However, having three picks in the middle of the draft basically wasted is a bit troublesome. Lissemore provided great value as one the last players picked in the draft.
Difference-Making Prospects Linked to Cowboys in Latest Mock Drafts
The next time we take a look at these mock drafts to see who various members of the media have landing with the Cowboys, it will be on the week of the NFL Scouting Combine. This 2018 Draft process is charging towards Dallas, and with it we have some new prospects to add to the radar this week.
After introducing you to two secondary players last week, along with a consensus top-10 player in Georgia's Roquan Smith, here is the latest crop of college talent to be mocked to America's Team.
CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama
This mock draft comes to us from Chris Trapasso, with the most complete receiver in the draft falling to the Cowboys.
"The Cowboys are thrilled with Ridley still being available. While he's not the biggest wideout and has a skinny frame, he's a dynamic route runner and has the deep speed Dallas has to inject into its offense."
Calvin Ridley may be the one WR in this draft too good for me to pass up on in the first round. As I've studied deeper into this class, the amount of talent available in the later rounds looks much more attractive for a Cowboys team that remains set on at least two starting receivers.
Should this WR depth deter the first 18 teams in the draft order from taking Alabama's Calvin Ridley though, this is a trigger that has to be pulled in Dallas.
Rotoworld: Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan
Josh Norris' mock draft produces a familiar outcome for the Cowboys, but the talent he passes up on to mock Hurst to this team is certainly interesting.
"I know Vita Vea is on the board, but in Hurst the team is getting more of an upfield, disruptive lineman. He has special moments off the snap, creating instant penetration and totally destroying the offense’s plan."
Yawn. It feels inevitable that at least one mock draft each week will have the Cowboys doubling up on Michigan defensive linemen in the first round - upgrading the 3T position with Hurst. While I'm not dismissing Hurst's talent in any way, I don't see a consistent enough player (nor enough of a difference maker) to warrant the 19th overall pick.
Should the Cowboys lose RFA David Irving, there is no doubt they'll be in need of a disruptive defensive tackle. As the roster stands now though, the Cowboys' bigger need is at the 1T position - which Norris ignores despite the best player at that position (Vea) being available.
Bleacher Report: Tremaine Edmunds, LB - Virginia Tech
Like Chris Trapasso's mock, Mike Tanier's latest draft projection has another top player sliding the Cowboys' way.
"Tremaine Edmunds has been a tricky player to slot in this mock draft. He has limitless upside, but at a position (off-the-ball linebacker) that few teams prioritize in the first round anymore. He should be a Bobby Wagner/Luke Keuchly-caliber contributor by 2019, but whoever drafts him will experience some growing pains as the not-yet-20-year-old Edmunds learns not to get sucked into play action or get caught flat-footed in coverage."
An argument could be made for Tremaine Edmunds as the best LB in this draft. At the very least, he is in elite company atop the board with Roquan Smith. Both prospects play the WILL position, which Tanier correctly points out as one that is devalued currently.
This shouldn't stop Smith from having his name called early in the 2018 Draft, and I have my doubts about it doing the same for Edmunds. A freak athlete out of Virginia Tech, Edmunds will be just 19 years old at the time of April's draft.
This bodes exceptionally well for the Cowboys, who are of course preparing to start Sean Lee at WILL once again. Drafting Edmunds may go against this team's philosophy of drafting immediate starters, along with first round linebackers.
With all that said, Tremaine Edmunds is not a player I could pass up on with the 19th overall pick.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
The NFL Scouting Combine will give teams and draft analysts a much better evaluation of where all of these prospects truly belong. Through three weeks of doing this series, I can't say that any player mocked to the Cowboys has been a reach.
Instead, the likes of Smith, Edmunds, and Ridley could soon disappear entirely from the majority of Cowboys mock drafts moving forward. The bigger picture of who actually will be available to Dallas, and who they're targeting in the first round, is slowly coming into focus.
Cowboys Draft: 3 LBs To Pay Attention To
The Dallas Cowboys enter the 2018 NFL offseason with clear needs to fill at linebacker. Starting MIKE backer Anthony Hitchens will enter free agency, starting WILL Sean Lee has been riddled with injuries, and the now third-year Jaylon Smith is still somewhat of a question mark.
Considering all of the doubts surrounding the Cowboys linebackers, it would be wise to target one during the 2018 NFL Draft. Of course, Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds have become fan favorites over the last few months.
Both of these guys are clearly first round players, however, and may both be gone by the time the Cowboys are on the clock. Dallas will probably need to find their linebacker starting on day two, so I have compiled a short list of some potential targets.
Josey Jewell, Iowa
With each NFL Draft cycle, scouts everywhere can typically feel good about their evaluations of Iowa Hawkeyes players. The BIG 10 school is known for producing solid, pro-ready talent that NFL teams absolutely need to fill out a roster. Enter Iowa Linebacker Josey Jewell, a three-year starter and captain on this Hawkeyes defense.
Iowa Hawkeye's linebacker Josey Jewell has been gaining traction within the draft community as of late. The three-year starter and collegiate captain has been discussed as one of the more pro-ready and consistent linebackers in this draft class.
Jewell earned a third round grade on my draft board, and fellow Inside The Star writer Sean Martin saw him in a similar light. Jewell possesses impressive instincts, plays with textbook technique, and is a solid run defender/tackler in the box.
His main weakness, however, is his athletic ability. He doesn't move laterally as well as someone like current Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith did in college. Jewell is a player with a solid floor, but not a very high ceiling. Drafting him would give the Cowboys another good piece on their defense, and a starting SAM backer.
Sean Martin believes he can play at either WILL or MIKE, and we both view him as a potential target for the Cowboys 81st overall.
Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Vander Esch reads it and attacks at 100 mph. Put this guy on my football team. https://t.co/RaTvP9sO7u
Boise State's Vander Esch is a linebacker garnering a lot of hype throughout Draft Twitter. At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Vander Esch certainly looks the part of an NFL linebacker. His athleticism and ability to move laterally leaves much to be desired, however.
Vander Esch totaled 141 tackles and 3 interceptions during the 2017 season, breaking onto the scene as a Junior. Vander Esch is a three down linebacker who has been labeled a leader and hard worker by his Boise State teammates and coaches, making him an excellent "RKG" candidate for Jason Garrett. He is an instinctual player who reads, reacts, and attacks on a routine basis against the run. He is also consistently impressive in coverage, something the Cowboys could use from their linebackers.
Despite his positives, which there are many, I just can't convince myself to draft Vander Esch as early as he's being talked about. I believe he can be a solid professional linebacker, and fit in as an off ball WILL, but if I were running the Cowboys I wouldn't make that pick until the third round.
And the way things look, Vander Esch will be long gone by the 81st overall pick. Maybe Dallas will see things differently, and make the move in round two.
Rashaan Evans, Alabama
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My favorite of these three linebackers, Alabama's Rashaan Evans is an off ball/edge hybrid who was all over the field for Alabama.
At 'Bama, Evans had six sacks and 10 quarterback hits, ranking 16th in pass rushing productivity (Pro Football Focus) among all qualifying draft-eligible inside linebackers. Still, I believe his best plays came from when lined up as a traditional off ball linebacker.
In Dallas, Evans could be used as a WILL backer who also rushes as a defensive end in passing situations. The 6'3" 234 pound linebacker is exactly the type of player that NFL defenses are moving towards, and he would be a welcomed addition to this young Cowboys defense.
I believe Rashaan Evans is a top-30 type of player, making it tough to envision being able to draft him 50th overall. If completely wiped out, Evans could be a candidate at 19, though I wouldn't hold my breath. Evans is ILB3 on my draft board, and earned the highest grade of these three linebackers.
Could This Draft Sleeper be Dez Bryant’s Successor?
One of my favorite parts of the NFL offseason is jumping into the draft process and studying the next group of incoming rookies. I don't pretend to be a professional scout, but I do trust my own analysis for the most part. I find myself right about these prospects more times than not, but no one is perfect.
When scouting these prospects, I am particularly looking at players that fit in with what the Dallas Cowboys like whether it is based on scheme or preference. I try not to waste my time with the ones who I don't believe fit into those categories.
Today, I want to share with you a wide receiver I happened to stumble upon who isn't getting talked about enough, but probably should. He is still flying under the radar, but I think that could change here in a few weeks when the NFL Combine gets underway.
We all know the Dallas Cowboys would probably like to add another receiver at some point in the draft, but when and where is debatable. I think it's unlikely they take one on Day 1, and possibly not even Day 2. It will likely depend on how things fall, but Day 3 could still have quite a few good options available.
I've started to study these Day 3 prospects, and I think I've found a diamond in the rough. I'm actually surprised he hasn't been talked about, but that could be good news for the Cowboys.
Let me be the first to introduce you to former Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle, Korey Robertson.
WR Korey Robertson, Southern Miss
I don't know about you, but I don't think of ever watched Southern Mississippi play a single collegiate game. They're not a big powerhouse school and don't produce a lot of high-end draft picks, but we've seen small school players make a name for themselves in the NFL before.
As you can imagine, I wasn't expecting much when I started to watch Korey Robertson's game film, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think he has the potential to be a WR1 in the NFL and he reminds me a lot of the Dallas Cowboys own, Dez Bryant.
Robertson was a surprise early entry into the 2018 NFL draft class. He had remaining eligibility left and could have possibly improved his draft stock by returning to Southern Miss, but that's neither here nor there now.
Robertson certainly looks the part of a WR1 in the NFL. He is 6'2", 210 pounds and plays with amazing physicality. I think he could be the best WR in this draft class at attacking the ball in the air and winning those 50/50 jump balls. This is where he reminds me of Dez Bryant the most.
But don't take my word for it, take a look at his highlights and judge for yourself.
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I really like what I seen of Korey Robertson. I think he really makes an intriguing wide receiver prospect for the Dallas Cowboys. I personally think he has WR1 potential.
He registered 76 catches for 1,106 yards and 12 touchdowns this last season, so the production is there, but he's far from a finished prospect.
Robinson still needs to fine-tune his route running, but it's not terrible. He shows good speed on film and is expected to run in the 4.4 range at the combine. That would definitely boost his draft stock.
I think he checks just about all of the boxes. He has the size, speed, catches the ball easily (with his hands), and plays with the physicality that will immediately make him a fan favorite.
I currently have a third-round grade on him, but I'm probably higher on him with others. I think he will be a Day 3 draft pick, which means the Dallas Cowboys could use one of their compensatory picks to select this talented wide receiver.
What do you think of Korey Robertson as a potential Cowboys WR?
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