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.
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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