This is the day we've all been waiting for. Draft Day. The NFL Draft is finally here and finally we can move on from the overly speculative aspect of the NFL Draft process and actually start selecting players.
The NFL Draft is by far one of the best parts of the NFL. Aside from actual games -- aside from Cleveland Browns games -- not a whole lot in the NFL or in professional sports holds up to the excitement, anticipation, and grandeur of the NFL Draft.
So, today is the day and with many final mock drafts coming out over the last couple of days, let's take a look at who the analysts and experts think the Dallas Cowboys will select at #19.
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
"The Cowboys have a ton of needs and will find talent for basically every position they could use at 19. Vita Vea would help the defense a lot, wrecking chaos in the middle of the line of scrimmage. With talented players like DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, the Cowboys could have a top defensive line for the 2018 season.
If they don't find Vea, they could target a WR like Sutton or Moore. Offensive guard might be an option as well, especially with Hernandez and Wynn still on the board. Rashaan Evans and Leighton Vander Esch will also be in consideration, but I don't like either at 19 compared to the other prospects, to be honest."
Jonah Tuls of NDT Scouting also had the Dallas Cowboys selecting Vita Vea, the physically impressive defensive tackle from the University of Washington. He's a player who's been rumored to go in the early teens, so if he were the selection, it would make a strong contingent of Cowboys Nation elated.
Here's what Jonah had to say:
The Cowboys could go a number of different directions here including wide receiver, offensive line or linebacker, but I think defensive tackle is squarely in play here, especially if Vander Esch is off the board. This team views Vea as a three-down player and brought him in for a visit as a result.
Jonah Tuls - NDTScouting.com
Another NDTScouting.com guy, Kyle Crabbs, also has the Dallas Cowboys going with the big man, Vita Vea, but after a trade back with the Atlanta Falcons to pick #26. If that happened, I'd be thrilled. Crabbs sends us his mock via FanRagSports.com:
The Cowboys have to be thrilled to see Vea still on the board here at 26. Yes, WR Courtland Sutton is in the mix, but Dallas insiders have suggested the team views him as more of a second-round talent. Dallas would be wise to take their pick at 50 and get into the first 10 picks of the second round.
That approach would give them a solid interior presence who can rush the passer AND a size receiver to help replace Dez Bryant.
Kyle Crabbs - FanRagSports.com
Leighton Vander Esch, Linebacker, Boise State
The Leighton Vander Esch love has grown quite strong over the last month. Bobby Belt, the host and creator of Cowboys Cast, has had him to the Dallas Cowboys for quite a while, even if some of us -- looking at myself -- were in denial about it.
As of today, here are the percentages I'd put on who is pick 19... Rashaan Evans - 25% Leighton Vander Esch - 20% Da'Ron Payne - 15% Calvin Ridley - 15% Will Hernandez - 5% Isaiah Wynn - 5% Field - 15%
Kevin "KT" Turner over at TheAthletic.com had the Dallas Cowboys going with LVE at 19 as well in his most recent and final mock draft.
"If Vita Vea is around, I suspect the Cowboys will pounce on him. But the Jones family will rest more easily knowing that they’ve solidified their fragile group of linebackers. Vander Esch doesn’t have a long track record but is an unbelievable athlete with huge upside. Sean Lee, Vander Esch, and Jaylon Smith have a chance to be a special linebacking corp."
Kevin Turner - TheAthletic.com and 105.3 The Fan
K.D. Drummond over at CowboysWire.com also mocked Leighton Vander Esch to the Dallas Cowboys, but he's not too pleased with it.
"This might end up being the worst mock draft in the history of history. Screw it, though. We’re going live with it. And if you aren’t a fan of the player mocked to the Cowboys here, you’re likely going to have to live with it."
He adds at the end.
"Please oh please let the reverse jinx work."
K.D. Drummond - CowboysWire.com
Dan Kadar of SBNation.com in his most recent mock draft also has the Dallas Cowboys selecting Vander Esch.
"Dallas would love to see Vander Esch still on the board. You can argue for a wide receiver or guard for the Cowboys, but Vander Esch could make a big impact on defense."
Dan Kadar - SBNation.com
Josh Norris of Rotoworld.com is also team LVE, but leaves himself a bit of an out. He doesn't give us a ton of analysis on his pick and his mock draft is pretty straight forward, but here are his thoughts.
"This pick is LVE, Vea or receiver."
Josh Norris - Rotoworld.com
Jeff Risdon is all aboard the LVE train as well as he has the Dallas Cowboys selecting Vander Esch at 19.
"An off-ball linebacker with potential to become a pass rusher, Vander Esch is one of draft season’s biggest winners. Dallas reinforces the defense. I know many think they go WR here, but I’m sticking with the D."
Jeff Risdon - RealGM.com
Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College
Newsweek.com tried to come up with a consensus pick for the Dallas Cowboys, based pretty much on how five analysts mocked the players in their mock drafts. It's an interesting exercise, not sure how scientific it is, but the Dallas Cowboys do end up with a good player in Landry.
"To make the process as scientific as possible, we have combined each selection and then divided it by five to work out the average, then assigned the player with the lowest average to the team picking first and so on.
At the same time, players with a lower average than others but who did not appear in all the five mock drafts analyzed appear lower in the order. For example, a player whose average pick position is 6.2 but only appears in four mock drafts, is listed lower than a player whose average is 8.7 but appears in all five mock drafts"
DJ Moore, Wide Receiver, Maryland
InsideTheStar.com Draft Analyst, Sean Martin -- who will be covering the 2018 NFL Draft from the AT&T Stadium press box -- has the Dallas Cowboys addressing the wide receiver position in the first round of the draft. He also mocks out the other nine picks the Cowboys will be making over the rest of draft weekend.
"Too much has been made of the Dallas Cowboys targeting a true X-receiver to "replace" Dez Bryant. This is a team going in a new direction with their wide receivers, in desperate need of play makers on the outside.
With Calvin Ridley long gone, the Cowboys draft arguably the better fit in Maryland's D.J. Moore. An easy target for Dak Prescott given his burst and acceleration, Moore's trademark toughness with the ball in his hands will make Cowboys Nation fall in love with him."
Sean Martin - InsideTheStar.com
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com, who puts out one of the more comprehensive draft guides in the industry, released his final mock draft and has the Dallas Cowboys taking wide receiver DJ Moore from Maryland, but sees it as a back-up plan for the Cowboys.
"I think Option A for the Cowboys is linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, but in this scenario, he is off the board. Depending on who is available, the focus could shift to wide receiver and Moore gives Dallas the versatility to play the X, Y or Z wide receiver positions."
Dane Brugler - NFLDraftScout.com
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com, in his annual "What they should do" mock draft, also had the Dallas Cowboys selecting DJ Moore.
"They have to get better outside in the passing game. They just don't have enough speed, and Moore would help fix that."
Pete Prisco - CBSSports.com
Former University of Texas quarterback, Chris Simms, now with Bleacher Report, gave us his final predictions on the 2018 NFL Draft and has the Dallas Cowboys going with Moore as well. Here's an excerpt from his analysis.
"Moore phenomenal [sic] at playing the ball in the air, and he'll make life easier on Dak Prescott. He's also the draft's most explosive receiver with the ball in his hands. Dallas can use him to attack downfield, but it can also use him on screens and speed-sweeps and even out of the backfield."
Chris Simms - Bleacher Report
Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, Southern Methodist
Another wide receiver who has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys is SMU's Courtland Sutton, who had a private workout with Head Coach Jason Garrett. NFL.com Draft Analyst Mike Mayock has the Dallas Cowboys selecting the big-bodied wide receiver.
"He's got outstanding hands. Oily hips, ability to get in and out of breaks. You can throw the ball to this guy immediately, and he's capable of making an impact."
Mike Mayock - NFL.com
Mike Tagliere, who works for FantasyPros.com, has a pretty good in-depth knowledge of the NFL Draft. He isn't just a "fantasy guy." Like Mayock, he's sending Courtland Sutton to the Dallas Cowboys. Here are his thoughts. Tagliere goes three rounds in his final mock draft and it's worth your time.
"I mentioned this pick two weeks ago in my last mock draft, as the Bryant rumors were to [sic] strong not to have some substance. Sutton is the closest thing you’ll find to a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver build in this draft and even though there are a few concerns, he’s likely worth the risk at this point. You aren’t going to go into the season with Allen Hurns and 36-year-old Jason Witten (he’s just not the player he was a few years ago) as your top two receiving options, so it all comes down to who the Cowboys view as the best receivers in the class."
Mike Tagliere - FantasyPros.com
James Daniels, Guard, Iowa
After scouring the internet, I finally found a final mock draft that had the Dallas Cowboys doing what I hope they will do when it comes time to pick at #19 - take a guard and make the OL an elite unit. Michael Sisemore over at BloggingTheBoys.com did just that. His selection is via a trade back in the first.
"Not every Cowboys’ fan is going to walk away with elation from AT&T Stadium this Thursday night with this unsexy pick but it’s still a good move. The value here is tremendous when you pencil Daniels in at starting left guard not only because of his supreme athleticism but because how well he fits the zone blocking scheme. Point blank, when the Cowboys are dominant up front, they dominate their competition, and we’ve seen the alternative. Here’s to five years of getting another top road-grader playing below the market price."
Michael Sisemore - BloggingTheBoys.com and The Brews and the Boys Podcast
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Well, there you have it.
There are still several names that have been linked to the Dallas Cowboys that could be their pick in the first round. Isaiah Wynn, Will Hernandez, and Calvin Ridley could still all be in play for Dallas. Trading up is also an option, though it would mean giving up pick 50 and/or 81 to do so.
Needless to say, it seems like the draft could go in a hundred different directions for the Dallas Cowboys. How it all falls in round one is anyone's guess, but it could dictate what the rest of the draft looks like.
I, for one, think by Sunday night, we're going to like what we see.
Make sure you come by Inside The Star for your NFL Draft Coverage. We'll be working tirelessly to provide you with the best content and analysis throughout the weekend.
Have fun and How 'Bout Them Cowboys!!!
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?
Cowboys Draft: Reviewing Kansas DT Daniel Wise
Throughout the post draft media process, the Cowboys' decision makers have been adamant that they found multiple draft-able players in undrafted free agency this year. Each of which, of course, will have an opportunity to compete for a roster or practice squad spot this summer.
One of those players who almost certainly had a draft-able grade despite fall through all seven rounds, is Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise.
At 6'3" and 290 pounds, Wise projects as a 3-technique in the NFL, and should compete for that very role on the Cowboys defense. Wise is not an overly bendy or athletic player, but he has a good initial quickness which allows him to penetrate gaps well. Wise plays with excellent effort, having the type of motor that I'm sure Rod Marinelli valued highly during the pre-draft evaluations.
A strong and powerful interior presence, Wise can offer some upside as a pass rusher as well. He has quick, active, and heavy hands. When combining his hands with his get-off, Wise is a real threat as a pass rusher. Maybe his most impressive pass rushing quality, however, is the effort which he plays with. Never giving up on a play, you'll have to block Wise until the final whistle or he will threaten for effort sacks.
In college, Wise was often asked to be a two-gap defender from the 5-technique, but that's just not where he'll be at his best. Rather, he should be used in the role the Cowboys likely envision for him, allowing him to play with power at the point of attack and disrupt the running game.
But what are Daniel Wise's chances of even making the team?
The Cowboys made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line this offseason, specifically on the interior. By adding free agents like Kerry Hyder and drafting Trysten Hill 58th overall, Dallas has improved what was considered a weakness during the postseason a year ago.
Not all of these talented defensive tackles will make the team, though, it's simply a numbers a game. And cutting an undrafted free agent will certainly be easier to do than cutting someone who will be owed real money, or was acquired through premium draft capital.
Regardless, Daniel Wise will have the chance to prove his worth during training camp and the preseason. And based on how he projects through his college tape and physical attributes, he'll likely make those final decisions very difficult on the Cowboys' staff.
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