Last week we took a gander at one potential scenario that could come to pass during the 2019 NFL Draft for the Dallas Cowboys. It involved trades, and we explored the idea that trading back is probably the best course of action for the Dallas Cowboys unless there is a player that they love that is sitting there at 58.
With so much depth in this draft at positions where the Dallas Cowboys could use some reinforcements, it makes sense for them to look to add to their cache of draft picks. Sitting with six picks and no first rounder gives them little leeway unless someone wants to trade up into pick 58.
Using Fanspeak.com's On The Clock Premium simulator, I selected Matt Miller's big board, from Bleacher Report, while allowing the computer to use multiple big boards to better simulate the variations that can take place from team to team.
Today, we're going to look at another mock draft scenario that involves two trade downs from the Dallas Cowboys.
58 - TRADE
The New York Jets call Jerry Jones in the Dallas Cowboys war room and offer picks 68 and 93 for the Cowboys pick in the second round.
Sure it’s a 10 pick trade back, but the value they’re offering is too good to pass up. Per the Trade Value Chart, Dallas earns a net of 76 points, which would be the equivalent of pick 109. This draft is deep at defensive line, safety, and wide receiver so with options on the board that I really like, I’m moving back and picking up an extra third rounder in the process.
New York Jets get pick 58.
Dallas Cowboys get picks 68 and 93 (two third round picks).
68 - TRADE
Sensing that Jerry is in the wheeling and dealing mood, the Washington Redskins come calling and offer picks 76 and 96 for the Cowboys pick -- acquired from the New York Jets -- at 68. Again the Cowboys pick up a net value of 76 points here and there are still several players on the board well liked by the team.
Washington Redskins get pick 68.
Dallas Cowboys get picks 76 and 96 (two third round picks).
Through the two trade backs that the Cowboys accepted, the Cowboys now have four 3rd round picks to work with.
76 - Gerald Willis III, DL, Miami
Via Trade with the Washington Redskins
This year's edition of the NFL Draft features a really deep class of defensive lineman. The Dallas Cowboys, though they've shored up their defensive interior with the signings of Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder (who can play on the edge or inside), the Cowboys will still look for long-term answers at the 3-tech position on the defensive line.
Maliek Collins likely pencils in as the starter heading into 2019 at the 3-tech spot, but is only under contract through the 2019 season and has struggled with consistency while battling offseason injuries that have limited his preparation.
Gerald Willis III is a player that profiles as a 3-tech with his athleticism and strength. He had four sacks and 18 tackles for loss for the Miami Hurricanes. He's a raw player that only played one full season at division one, but under the wings of defensive line guru Rod Marinelli, could be the solution to the Cowboys interior pass rush.
Read Kevin Brady's scouting report on Gerald Willis III.
90 - Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
The Dallas Cowboys have yet to truly address the safety position in free agency despite having visits with Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. Darnell Savage is a very interesting player that reminds me a lot of Xavier Woods.
Like Woods, Savage is a versatile player who is physical and aggressive in run support and plays coverage very well. If there's something he lacks, it's size standing only 5-10 and weighing in at 198.
He plays the ball well in the air and is an aggressive down hill tackler. He would match well with Woods in that you could keep the offense off-balance with your safety looks. Savage has the speed, athleticism, toughness, and range to be a plug and play safety in the box or as the deep safety for the Dallas Cowboys.
Read my full scouting report on Darnell Savage Jr.
93 - Andy Isabella, WR, UMass
Via Trade with the New York Jets
Though the Dallas Cowboys have brought back Wide Receivers Allen Hurns and Tavon Austin along with signing Randall Cobb, none of those three players has a contract behind 2019. The Cowboys would be wise to continue to look at the NFL Draft to add talent to their wide receiver pool. Andy Isabella has elite production, speed, and athleticism to be an excellent slot receiver in the NFL.
Read Brian Martin's scouting report on Andy Isabella.
96 - Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma
Via Trade with the Washington Redskins
The Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line looks set for 2019 with the expected return of Travis Frederick, a full offseason of strength and conditioning for Connor Williams, the return of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins, and excellent depth with Joe Looney, Cam Fleming, and Xavier Su’a-Filo.
The problem is that the Cowboys will probably let Collins walk in free agency next offseason and will look to replace him through the draft. Collins will likely demand a big pay-day as a right tackle who will have started three seasons at the position for one of the league’s best running games.
Enter Bobby Evans from the University of Oklahoma who was a member of one of the best offensive lines in college football. The Sooners offensive line provided Quarterback Kyler Murray with tons of time to drop back to pass and gave huge running lanes to running backs Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks.
Evans has good athleticism, strength, and arm length that could allow him to play either side of the offensive line. He would start out as a backup and potential swing tackle, but with development could be your replacement for La'el Collins at right tackle.
128 - Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
If you read this space on a regular basis, you know that I'm all about Rodney Anderson in the fourth round for the Dallas Cowboys. If he's available, the Cowboys have to think long and hard about selecting him.
Yes, he's had some injury issues during his career at OU, but he's a potential bell-cow running back if something were to happen to Ezekiel Elliott.
He's a smooth runner who is able to change direction quickly and has the physicality to run inside. He runs with patience and can make defenders miss while possessing enough speed to break away from the defense.
If the Dallas Cowboys are serious about extending Ezekiel Elliott, and it appears they are, they need to find a guy who can ease some of the burden that Elliott's carried through his first three seasons in the NFL. Elliott's a great back, but even the great ones need to be spelled from time-to-time.
Read Brian Martin's scouting report on Rodney Anderson.
136 - Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
The Cowboys tight end situation doesn't look nearly as serious today as it did a month ago. Prior to the return of Jason Witten, the Cowboys were looking like a team that would seriously attack the tight end position in the draft. With Witten's return, the Cowboys could look to go into the season as is hoping that Blake Jarwin and/or Dalton Schultz take a step forward in their development, making any snaps from Jason Witten icing on the cake.
But, that's hedging your bets a little. As much of a believer as I am in Blake Jarwin, hope is not a plan. If for some reason he's not the player you thought he'd be, then you need to grab one of the tight ends from this deep group of players.
Jace Sternberger is the guy that I like the best after the third round trio of Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson, and Irv Smith. Sternberger offers a ton of athleticism and is a downfield threat that the Cowboys haven't had in years from the tight end position.
165 - Khalen Saunders, DL, Western Illinois
As I mentioned earlier, though the Dallas Cowboys have addressed the defensive interior, but need to have to take into account that they won't have several of those guys after the 2019 season.
Khalen Saunders could be a nice fit in the 1-tech defensive tackle rotation despite being short relative to the position. His size, strength, and athleticism remind me of Poona Ford from last year's draft who dropped down draft boards because of his height. Ford had a very productive rookie season for the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.
Don't make the same mistake on Saunders.
241 - Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
When you're looking at the seventh round of the draft, you're trying to find those diamonds in the rough. Jordan Brailford from Oklahoma State may just be that guy this season.
Brailford is a player that profiles as a weakside defensive end in a 4-3 or a 3-4 outside linebacker. For Oklahoma State, he had 10 sacks in 2018, though he tailed off toward the end of the season.
All 10 of his sacks came in his first eight games of the season, but he recorded three sack games against Boise State and Kansas. In addition to his 10 sacks, he recorded 17 tackles for loss and 55 total tackles.
He's a plus athlete that could contribute on special teams and provide depth on the edge. Both of those things are worth taking a chance on in the seventh round.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
We are now only a little more than a month away from the 2019 NFL Draft and you know the Dallas Cowboys will find some players to add to their roster for this season. They've become one of the better teams in the league at drafting. Not only do they hit on their first rounders (Taco Charlton, TBD), they've found starters and valuable depth pieces throughout the draft.
This is just another scenario that could take place come draft weekend.
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Draft Needs: Special Teams
Some have argued that the words "kicker" and "punter" don't belong in the same sentence as "NFL Draft." But just last year, six special teams players were drafted by NFL teams. Could the Dallas Cowboys consider such a player with one of their 2019 draft picks?
From 2009-2018, various teams have drafted 19 kickers and 18 punters. The highest pick was a second-rounder; Tampa Bay's selection of Roberto Aguayo in 2016. Outside of one pick in the third round and another in the fourth, the other 34 picks have all been in rounds 5-7.
The Dallas Cowboys have only contributed on pick to this total. In 2009 they selected David Buehler in the fifth round, two years after using a sixth-round pick on Nick Folk.
Ten years later, could Dallas finally use another draft pick on special teams?
There are a few of factors that make this possible. For one, the Cowboys are already fairly loaded with talent across the roster. A late-round pick spent at any number of positions would have a hard time surviving final cuts.
Second, in terms of the quality of player versus the round, there's no better value than on special teams. You can possibly get the best kicker in the country in the fifth or sixth round; no other position offers that.
Lastly, and most importantly, the Cowboys have a pretty clear opportunity to upgrade at kicker. They also could use the draft to save some cap space by making a change at punter.
As I've written about before, Brett Maher was a Jekyll & Hyde kicker in 2018. He was brilliant from long range but a major liability closer in, and his 80.6% total field-goal accuracy was near the bottom of the league.
While Maher's distance is a true asset, does it outweigh the risk of him missing a game-winning FG from 35 yards? And what about extra-point kicks, for that matter?
Dallas should certainly bring Brett back in 2019 to compete for the job. Remember, he was still Dan Bailey's backup until close the start of the regular season. Perhaps a full offseason as the primary kicker would help him stabilize his game.
But given the uncertainty, the Cowboys could easily justify spending a late-round pick at kicker. They could potentially land LSU's Cole Tracy or Utah's Matt Gay, two of the top prospects in this draft class.
The worst-case scenario is that Maher beats one of these guys and you cut them. But there was a high probability that you'd have cut whoever you drafted at another position anyway. Essentially, you'd have spent a late draft pick as an insurance policy against Maher's development.
That's not bad business. In fact, maybe you'd be able to trade that kicker at final cuts to a team who suffers a preseason injury or is otherwise dissatisfied at the position. There's a chance you could even recoup your draft pick.
Another consideration is at punter. Chris Jones has been a very solid one for a while now, but he turns 30 in July and counts $2.3 million against the salary cap. Could the draft give Dallas a chance to get someone younger and cheaper?
Let's say Dallas drafted one of the nation's top punters like Jack Fox out of Rice or Stanford's Jack Bailey. They'd have that player on a four-year rookie deal costing roughly 20% of what Jones' does.
Dallas could trade or release Chris Jones for $800k in 2019 cap relief, or $1.8 million if he's cut after June 1st. That would push $1 million of dead money onto the 2020 cap.
Those aren't big numbers, so the real gain here is if you think one of the top rookie punters could match or even exceed Jones' play. Then you've got that player on the cheap for the next four seasons.
I would not predict that the Cowboys will spend a draft pick at either kicker or punter, but the point of all this is that you can't entirely dismiss it. 2019 presents the right mix of circumstances for Dallas to consider it more than they have in the past, especially considering how long Dan Bailey was a fixture on the roster.
Brett Maher doesn't enjoy that same status. Dallas could easily look at some of the top kickers available and think that an upgrade is possible.
Will that lead to the Cowboys spending a draft pick on special teams for the first time in a decade?
Draft Likelihood: 10%
Projected Round: *6th-7th
* The Cowboys don't currently have a 6th-round pick, but could acquire one in a potential trade.
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Other Draft Needs Articles
Potential CB Prospects Dallas Cowboys Could Target in Each Round
It has somewhat flown a little bit under the radar, but Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard has been touring around the country working out several cornerbacks in this year's draft class. With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown entering into the last year of their contracts, it wouldn't be all that surprising if the Cowboys draft a CB at some point in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the cornerbacks the Dallas Cowboys could target in each round in which they hold a draft pick. In order to keep it as realistic as possible I tried to narrow it down to the potential CB prospects that fit Richard's parameters. We all know he likes those tall, lengthy defensive backs and that's what I tried to focus on.
Let's take a look…
Justin Layne, Michigan State
Justin Layne was a four-star wide receiver recruit coming at a high school, but ended up becoming a three-year starter on the other side of the ball at cornerback during his time at Michigan State. He has tremendous ball skills due to his background at receiver and has the size and length (6'1", 192) Kris Richard covets in his defensive backs. He needs to continue to improve is overall technique, but he has Day 1 starting potential.
Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
Joejuan Williams was a two-year starter during his time at Vanderbilt and primarily played press and off-man coverage. At just a smidge under 6'4", Williams typically towers over the wide receivers he faces, which has allowed him to find success at this point because of his mere size and length. He has the skill set and athleticism to become an eventual starter in the NFL, but really needs to develop his mechanics and the mental side of his game a little more.
Jamel Dean, Auburn
After overcoming three major knee injuries earlier in his career, Jamel Dean eventually became a two-year starter to finish his career at Auburn. He has elite size (6'1", 202), length (31 3/4" arms), and speed (4.3 40-yard dash), but his durability is a red flag moving forward. He also needs to play with a little better mean streak, especially in press man coverage. The talent is there though and he has a chance to develop into a really good starting CB if he can stay healthy.
Isaiah Johnson, Houston
Isaiah Johnson is another player with elite size (6'2", 208), length (33" arms), and speed (4.4 40-yard dash) at the cornerback position and is someone Kris Richard has met with and worked out on a number of occasions. Johnson was a former three-star wide receiver recruit coming out high school before making the switch to CB his final year in Houston. He played mostly bail technique for the Cougars and is still really raw as a CB prospect, but he has immense upside. He will likely need a year or two to further develop his craft before he can be relied upon.
Lonnie Johnson Jr., Kentucky
There are actually three Kentucky defensive backs the Dallas Cowboys could target, but Lonnie Johnson Jr. is the top-ranked prospect so far. He has the size, length the Cowboys are looking for, but he really needs to refine just about every aspect of his game before he's ready to compete at the next level. He has tremendous instincts which has gotten him to this point, but he's going to have to develop both technically and mentally if he wants to find any kind of success in the NFL. All of the tools are there though.
Jordan Brown, South Dakota State
Jordan Brown was a three-year starter at South Dakota State, playing primarily press and off-man coverage. He has the size, length to play as a boundary corner in the NFL, but only has average top end speed. He is a competitor with a scrappy mentality that unfortunately runs a little hot and cold at times. He plays with good balance when making his transitions, which allows him to stick with receivers. Overall, he is a solid developmental mid-round pick with starting upside.
Michael Jackson, Miami
Michael Jackson was a two-year starter at Miami on the right side, playing mostly press man. He is a good-sized athlete with the kind of length and athleticism Kris Richard is looking for in his cornerbacks, but he has shown a tendency to struggle against savvy route runners. He's not the most fluid of athletes and will struggle in his transitions, so he might fit best in a defensive scheme that plays a lot of zone or cover 2.
Kris Boyd, Texas
Kris Boyd was a three-your starter during his time in Texas and played on both the right and left side, often times shadowing the opposing team's best wide receiver. He plays with the desired competitive nature and checks all the boxes as far as size, speed, and athleticism are concerned for a starting caliber cornerback. But, he plays undisciplined and doesn't trust his eyes, often times causing him to arrive late with his reads. If he can become more disciplined he could be a steal this late in the draft.
Chris Westry, Kentucky
Chris Westry was a three-year starter at Kentucky, but gradually started to see his playing time decrease with the emergence of Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Derrick Baity Jr.. At 6'4", 199 pounds and legitimate 4.35 speed, Westry has extremely rare size and speed for the cornerback position. Unfortunately, he is a better athlete than he is a football player right now and might be nothing more than a developmental project.
Derrick Baity Jr., Kentucky
Derrick Baity Jr. worked his way into the starting lineup at Kentucky as a freshman and ended up becoming a four-year starter. He has excellent size for the position (6'2", 197) and is light footed with good ball skills, but he doesn't play with the kind of physicality you'd think from my player his size. He is an untrustworthy tackler and undisciplined with his fundamentals. His size and ball skills should get him drafted, but he might be nothing more than a developmental project.
Cowboys Draft: Will A Quarterback Be Considered?
Dak Prescott is the current and future starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Let's make that clear.
Prescott has done more than enough over the first three years of his career to earn this "franchise quarterback" title, and the contract he will eventually receive from the Cowboys' front office.
But that doesn't mean the Cowboys shouldn't consider drafting a quarterback this year. Or next year. Or the year after that.
Quarterback is the game's most important, and highest paid, position. It's the position where a player can most greatly effect a game individually, both positively and negatively.
And it's the position you must make sure is accounted for heading into any new season. Yes, the Cowboys clearly trust now fourth-year quarterback Dak Prescott, but adding talent to your QB room is never a bad thing. In fact, it's typically a great thing.
Behind Prescott are Cooper Rush and Mike White. Rush beat out now-offensive coordinator Kellen Moore for the backup job during the 2017 preseason, and then held off rookie Mike White in 2018 to maintain the job.
When the Cowboys drafted White, however, they had dreams of a new backup quarterback in mind. White didn't perform as well, or progress as quickly, as some had hoped leaving Cooper Rush as the unquestioned QB2, however.
Is Cooper Rush good enough, though?
This is a question which really is yet to be answered. And if the Cowboys have it their way, it will never be truly answered. He was excellent during the 2017 preseason, no doubt about it. But he was, well, bad last year. Rush and the offense struggled mightily during the preseason, and while lack of offensive line depth didn't help him, Rush's play didn't spark much optimism or excitement either.
The Cowboys would be wise to consider drafting a quarterback later in the 2019 NFL Draft, but they shouldn't spend too much time worrying about it either way. The backup quarterback, especially behind Dak Prescott, will bring his value in terms of game-planning and aiding Prescott, rather than with his actual arm talent.
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