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NFL Draft

Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts

Sean Martin

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Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts

Results from the NFL Scouting Combine have not yet factored into mock drafts, with testing wrapping up from Indianapolis on Monday. Our latest installment of this mock draft summary continues to bring some familiar prospects to Dallas, strengthening the case for these players to remain where they are projected post-Combine.

Let's take another look at where the media sees the Cowboys upgrading in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama

CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso:

"A relatively poor combine sinks Ridley slightly, but the Cowboys are happy to pick him to pair with Dez Bryant to stretch defenses vertically in 2018 and beyond."

Analysis:

A 23-year old WR prospect with underwhelming stature, Calvin Ridley's draft stock as the top receiver in this class has come into question.

If you choose to trust Ridley's tape out of Alabama, which I have in grading him as WR1, this is a player the Dallas Cowboys can't pass on. In a deep class of receivers, the Cowboys could significantly upgrade their vertical passing game at 19th overall with Ridley.

Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts 1

NJ.com: Da'Ron Payne, DT - Alabama

NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks:

"The Cowboys' defensive line was a disaster last season. Payne is a step in the right direction to turning it around."

Analysis:

Living in the heart of New York Giants territory, it is always interesting to see local opinions on the Dallas Cowboys - particularly when it comes to the NFL Draft. Calling this team's defensive line a "disaster" is laughable, but Payne does fill a need on this front with the ability to play both interior positions.

Evaluating individual Alabama defenders can be difficult, with so much NFL talent coming together to dominate college football on a yearly basis. When asked to play the unheralded 1T position though, Payne created opportunities for his teammates to make plays thanks to his upper body strength and above average movement ability.

Payne also showed the ability to put all of these traits together as a pass rusher, beating guards with a good first step and exceptional pad level.

NFL.com: Maurice Hurst, DT - Michigan

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein:

"Hurst-to-Dallas feels like one of the cleanest fits in this mock. Rod Marinelli wants more rush from the interior, and Hurst fits his scheme and style."

Analysis:

Following the NFL Combine, "clean" will unfortunately not be a word used to describe Maurice Hurst's projection in this 2018 Draft. The Cowboys may be the most affected by the news that Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition during his all-important medicals, with the majority of mock drafts having Dallas double up on Michigan defensive linemen.

There is no doubt that Hurst would upgrade the Cowboys' ability to generate pressure in quarterback's faces, but the stock on this year's top 3T DT is still unknown until further testing.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

This is the third time in four weeks that Maurice Hurst find himself in this mock draft summary, with Calvin Ridley also making his second appearance.

Hurst's presence here is the most likely thing to change in post-Combine mock drafts, while monitoring how far Calvin Ridley could slide will remain crucial for the Cowboys.

Courtland Sutton and James Washington are two other WRs that have been projected to Dallas, meaning the Cowboys don't have to be all-in on Ridley - or even a receiver with their first pick.

With these mock drafts also serving as an outlook on the NFL before free agency, my biggest takeaway this week is that the Cowboys should be exactly where they want to be come draft night - in position to upgrade at any position without a glaring team need.

Tell us what you think about "Familiar Faces Remain in the Fold for Cowboys Mock Drafts" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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6 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    Those are good wr prospects but the guy yall dont talk about is Christian Kirk from Texas A&M. He had a great combine but will not be available in the 2nd round. I wouldn’t be mad if they bring him in

    • Reynaldo Laporte

      Kirk is damn good but we don’t need any more diminutive WO’s. Don’t get me wrong I like the guy but if we are drafting a receiver in the first than our FO has failed us.

      Give me Moore who I think will be gone or St. Brown from ND.

      • Reynaldo Laporte

        Oh yeah, I wish our DC valued the 1 tech more. Vea would fit our D perfectly and would keep our LB’s clean allowing them to make plays,

        • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

          Right there with you, Vea is my only first round DT at the moment. Would be a great pick. As I said below too, I’m also not drafting Kirk in the first round. Struggles too much to win on the outside. I like the player, and will gladly let him excel somewhere else.

  • winstar

    I like both Moore and Kirk. I’m afraid both will be gone unless Dallas trades up. Watch for these two WR’s…both will be later picks and one will probably go undrafted. Daurice Fountain, probably will go fourth or fifth round. Steven Dunbar III will in all likelihood go undrafted but if he gets the chance some team will get a good solid WR……..I think.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Thank you for the names to look into, and for your comment! I highly doubt that both Moore and Kirk are gone before pick #19, but I wouldn’t draft Kirk in the first round either. For me, it is either Ridley or Moore in the first round – or this team waits to take a WR, which is perfectly fine given the depth of this year’s class.

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

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2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


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NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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NFL Draft

Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch
Loren Orr / Getty Images

A week ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked out to the stage at AT&T Stadium to announce the Dallas Cowboys first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the second consecutive year, a large portion of Cowboys Nation was not pretty happy about the player America's Team had drafted in the first day of the Draft.

Boise State's Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has become one of the main debates among Cowboys fans right now and will continue to be one at least until the season starts. Some are fine with the decision the front office made and some simply don't view Vander Esch as a first round talent.

Naturally, taking Leighton in the first round has been widely compared to the team's last first round pick: Taco Charlton.

Both of these selections resulted in fans all around the world complaining and criticizing the selections since they both seemed like a reach, arguing that they could've gotten better players at other positions.

But fans shouldn't be so quick to compare the Charlton and Vander Esch selections, because they really aren't that similar. Sure, most of the media and Draft fans didn't consider any of these players worthy of a first round pick, but that doesn't mean both players were ranked similarly in the Cowboys' draft board.

Defensive End Taco Charlton, despite showing some very promising flashes towards the end of the year, wasn't able to become a starter at any point during his rookie season. Hopefully he develops into one next season. But when you're talking about first-round picks, being a solid starter at the end of the season at the latest is a very usual expectation.

Possibly what made the Taco pick hurt even more, is the fact that the front office didn't even consider him a first-round talent. Although he was drafted to wear the Star with the 28th overall pick, he wasn't their guy.

Drew Davison on Twitter

The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.

With Leighton Vander Esch, the same can't be said. The Cowboys knew he was their guy and that they were going to take him, regardless of the situation. For many weeks we wondered about just every scenario the team might face when they were on the clock.

What if DE Harold Landry is available? What if Calvin Ridley is still on the board? What if Derwin James slides, would they trade up?

For the front office, there was quite a lot of talent to choose from at 19 (not to mention James did slide out of the top 15), but they still took Leighton Vander Esch, even with Landry and Ridley on the board. We might disagree with the pick. We might not think the Boise State's product should've been taken so early. That's completely fine.

But Cowboys Nation should be happy knowing that this was the guy they wanted all along. Maybe if Derwin James hadn't been drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th pick, Dallas would have still taken Vander Esch.

 "If the Cowboys traded up a few spots in the first round, I believe it would have been to ensure they got Vander Esch, not get James or Edmunds." Dane Brugler on the Cowboys' approach to the Draft. 

For now, it's time to root for the Dallas Cowboys' new rookie. Vander Esch will provide a special factor to this defense and has the potential to become a very good starter down the road. Playing side by side with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith will certainly help his development and turn him into an impact player soon.

At the end of the day, it takes years to properly evaluate how a draft pick turned out in the NFL. There are first round players who turn out to be complete busts just like there are sixth or seventh round players that go on to become superstars in the league.

The Dallas Cowboys did a hell of a job addressing their needs throughout the Draft this year and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about this year's draft picks. Leighton Vander Esch is without a doubt, one of them.

Tell me what you think about "Why Cowboys Nation Should Feel Better About Leighton Vander Esch" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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