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
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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 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.
Pre-Draft Visitors Highlight Dallas Cowboys 2019 Rookie Class
The Dallas Cowboys are "officially" adding 21 rookies to their roster, eight of which they drafted and the remaining 13 are undrafted free agents. The number of rookies the Cowboys are bringing in isn't all that surprising, but what did surprise me was how many of them were pre-draft visitors.
You may or may not know, but the NFL allows 30 allotted pre-draft visits for each team around the league. Teams don't have to use all 30 visits of course, but the majority of them take advantage of the opportunity and generally use up all 30 visits. It's a chance to introduce these rookies into the atmosphere they could be playing in and work them out in more of a one-on-one basis.
The Dallas Cowboys of course are known as a team who take their 30 pre-draft visits very seriously. Over the past several years they've drafted several players who were brought in for pre-draft visits, and 2019 was no exception.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, paying attention to the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visits is a good idea because the odds of them drafting one or more of them is pretty high. That's why I decided to run a pre-draft tracker this year, and because of it I was able to confirm 27 of the possible 30 pre-draft visitors for the Cowboys.
Here are 2019 pre-draft visitors currently on the Cowboys roster:
- DT, Trysten Hill
- RB, Tony Pollard
- RB, Mike Weber
- WR, Jon'Vea Johnson
- CB, Chris Westry
If you're doing the math, 5 out of 30 equates to 17% of the players the Dallas Cowboys brought in as pre-draft visitors. But, if Dallas only brought in 27 that percentage rises to 19%. To say that the Cowboys value these pre-draft visits would be an understatement, at least as far as 2019 is concerned.
The first three of Trysten Hill, Tony Pollard, and Mike Weber were of course all draft picks and have the best chance to stick around on the final 53-man roster, but I wouldn't rule out Jon'Vea Johnson and Chris Westry. Both were draftable players, but somehow fell through the cracks right into the lap of the Cowboys as UFAs.
I don't really know if it's a good idea the Dallas Cowboys are so transparent with how valuable the treat these 30 pre-draft visits. We've seen teams time and time again trade up right in front of them to draft a player the Cowboys could've possibly been eyeing, and this year was no exception.
After drafting Running Back/Wide Receiver Tony Pollard with the first of their fourth-round draft picks, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys had their sights set on small school Defensive End/Defensive Tackle John Cominsky out of Charleston with their second pick in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Atlanta Falcons traded up a spot ahead of them to draft Cominsky.
This of course isn't the first time the Falcons have done this, which begs the question as to how they knew the Cowboys could have possibly been targeting Cominsky. We can throw a conspiracy theory out there that Atlanta might have been inside source, but that's highly unlikely. More plausible theory is they were paying attention to Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors as well.
It may be time for the Dallas Cowboys to deploy a little more smoke and mirrors when it comes to who they bring in for pre-draft visits in the future. But regardless, there's no denying the Cowboys pre-draft visitors highlight their 2019 rookie class.
Are you surprised the Dallas Cowboys added so many pre-draft visitors to the roster?
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Grades
Another year, another draft come and gone. The difference was that this year the Dallas Cowboys were without a first-round pick thanks to their trade for Amari Cooper with Oakland. Their de facto first-round pick would obviously earn an A+ from how well he meshed with Dak Prescott and gave this Cowboys offense another dimension.
Given how well the Cowboys have done in the first round in recent history -- all but two of their first round picks since 2011 have been in the Pro Bowl, a trend that continued with last year’s pick, Leighton Vander Esch. This season, the Cowboys only had picks from round two and on. So this year was all about finding value and hoping it would fall into their laps.
Obviously time will tell if any of these players work out or not. For the time being, we can grade the picks based on what we do know. Some picks were worth it, while others raised questions, as well as eyebrows.
58 Overall: DT, Trysten Hill
In what has been considered the best defensive line draft in decades, the Cowboys took a bit of a risk with their first “official” pick. Trysten Hill is a first round talent out of UCF, but reports questioning his love for the game had some give him a third round grade.
Dallas has already had an off-season dealing with talented defensive linemen with questions around their passion for the game (i.e. David Irving) and so obviously people didn’t love this pick.
It’s a high risk, high reward move that we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.
90 Overall: G, Connor McGovern
As far as value goes, McGovern was probably the team’s best pick. In my pre-draft rankings, Connor McGovern was my fourth overall interior lineman; a player who you can play anywhere in the interior and start immediately.
However, guard didn’t really seem like a need. This was obviously a “best player available” pick. What this pick has done instead is raise a bunch of questions.
Who’s job could be on the line?
Does this imply the team won’t re-sign La’el Collins?
Is Connor Williams going to play tackle like he did in college?
Is one of them going to get traded?
Is Travis Frederick really ready to go?
So many questions surround this pick, but there’s no questioning the player. Connor McGovern is likely a future starter on the line and Cowboys fans should be excited about that.
128 Overall: RB, Tony Pollard
If you follow me on Twitter, you know my feelings about Tony Pollard already.
Tony Pollard might be my favorite #Cowboys pick. Has experience at both the RB and WR position, plus had 7 career kick return TDs in college. He addresses all 3 needs in 1. #NFLDraft
Returner has been a need for a year now. I never liked the team trading away Ryan Switzer because it created a huge hole on special teams, as well as the receiving core.
The team also needed a backup running back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott a bit. With Tony Pollard, they get all three positions filled in the form of a player who's 6'0" 210 pounds, ran a 4.52 40 and compiled 25 total touchdowns. Terrific value in the fourth round.
158 Overall: CB, Michael Jackson
This is the type of corner Kris Richard loves; big and tall. At 6'1" 200 pounds, Michael Jackson fits the profile.
His 2017 tape was actually better than his 2018 tape, and all four of his career interceptions came in '17. However, the team is obviously betting on his potential, especially with corner being a serious need.
With the Cowboys' four primary corners coming into contract years the next three seasons, odds are that at least one will be gone. MJ doesn’t fill in day one as a difference maker but, given some time under Kris Richard, he could be a nice player.
165 Overall: DE, Joe Jackson
Take Joe Jackson, new Cowboy, as well as Michael and Darius Jackson, and the team is just two short of a Jackson 5 reunion.
The team has been very busy trying to rebuild the depth at edge and Joe Jackson is icing on an already stacked cake. In an off-season that saw the retirement of David Irving and another suspension for Randy Gregory, the team was able to extend DeMarcus Lawrence and trade for Robert Quinn.
The edge room was already full but you can never have too many.
Joe Jackson is a fun, productive player from The U, who was teammates with the previous pick, Michael Jackson. In his career, he totaled 24 sacks and 37.5 tackles for loss all in three seasons. He’s not the fastest edge rusher in the world but has plenty of power to make up for it. With the team only for sure having DeMarcus Lawrence guaranteed beyond 2019, it’s good to have as much talent as possible.
213 Overall: S, Donovan Wilson
The team really needed a safety and it enraged most people that they didn’t pick one earlier. Especially with Taylor Rapp, Juan Thornhill and Amani Hooker all available at different times.
Donovan Wilson is an interesting pick. His career has been a rollercoaster while at Texas A&M, with a highly productive 2015 season, a dip in 2016, a fractured foot in the 2017 opener, and a rebound 2018 season.
Had his career not been derailed by his injury, he’s likely gone way before the sixth round and the Cowboys are obviously betting on his potential. Meets a need, but not a plug-in right away type of pick.
218 Overall: RB, Mike Weber
Tony Pollard is going to get first crack at the backup running back spot. However, given that he’s also the team’s likely return man as well, it makes sense that they’d want to deepen the running back room to give the team a true RB2.
Mike Weber was Ezekiel Elliott’s teammate at Ohio State, but didn’t come close to the impact Elliott had. Only topping 1,000 yards once in college, Weber is likely in competition with Darius Jackson for the backup spot.
He’s not as flashy as Zeke but can pick up the slack when asked to and is a solid receiver out of the backfield. If Weber can’t beat Jackson for the backup spot, then Weber is a likely candidate for the practice squad.
241 Overall: DE, Jalen Jelks
Jalen Jelks falls into a similar boat that both Hurricanes players are in. Like Joe Jackson, he’s a good solid edge piece (fifth round draft grade), but like Michael Jackson, his prior season's tape was better than his final season.
It's interesting that the Cowboys would pick a player who seems to be better suited to play in a 3-4 as a OLB, but has plenty of starter potential. Otherwise he’s a player that’s likely headed to the practice squad that the Cowboys wanted to make sure they get first crack at. Still, a good value in terms of where he was picked.
Dallas Cowboys Overall 2019 Draft Grade: B
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