Welcome to Draft Day! A little later this evening the 2018 NFL Draft will officially kick off and we will finally be able to put to bed any kind of rumors or speculation about who the Dallas Cowboys will select with their first-round pick. But until then, there is one more rumor I thought worthy of being mentioned.
Normally, I don’t put too much stock into draft rumors, especially this late in the process. But, this particular rumor comes from someone who has been a credible source in the past… Tony Pauline of Draftanalyst.com.
Almost at this exact point in the draft process a year ago Tony Pauline reported that the Atlanta Falcons were looking to jump the Dallas Cowboys in the draft to select a pass rusher. That proved to be true when the Falcons traded up from 31 to 26, two spots ahead of the Cowboys at 28, in order to take Takkarist McKinley.
Now, Tony Pauline has another report involving the Dallas Cowboys. According to Pauline, the Cowboys have zeroed in on three specific players with their first-round selection.
“Sources tell me the order of the three players the Dallas Cowboys are targeting with the 19th pick is Vita Vea, Leighton Vander Esch, and D.J. Moore. A report from Rotoworld yesterday stated that the Cowboys organization compared Vander Esch to Brian Urlacher.”
I don’t know who Pauline’s sources are, but it sounds very plausible that the Dallas Cowboys have an interest in each one of the three players mentioned. Each one of them plays a position the Cowboys need to fill in the draft and they are some of the top prospects at those given positions.
Personally, I would change the order of these three players. I would keep Vita Vea where he is, but move D.J. Moore up and drop Leighton Vander Esch to third in the pecking order. I’m a big fan of Moore, but not a very big fan of Vander Esch.
I have D.J. Moore ranked as the top wide receiver prospect in the entire 2018 draft class. I think he is exactly the type of “Dak-friendly” WR the Dallas Cowboys are looking for. He is a good route runner and has a wide catching radius. But, what I like about him the most is the physicality he plays with and his ability to pick up yards after the catch.
I’m not as high on Leighton Vander Esch as others. I don’t see a linebacker who plays with much physicality. Too many times on film I’ve seen him get washed out of plays or not be able to shed blocks. I think he is just a WILL linebacker in the NFL and you can find those kind of off-ball LBs later in the draft.