The big night is upon us!
Here is the final draft board that I'm taking into this weekend's festivities. My hope is that the Cowboys will come away from the first two rounds with two of these 40 players. I wouldn't even be opposed if they traded away that second pick to snag some of the top names on the list.
Yesterday I posted my final rankings for the Cowboys biggest draft needs. This is really the foundation for my logic behind this board and how I'm prioritizing players. Referencing it would help you understand some of my decisions.
It's important to know that I have narrowed the focus of this board by leaving off certain positions. Based on their current talent, there's no way I see the Cowboys drafting any quarterbacks, running backs, or interior offensive linemen with their first two picks.
Of course, that means we hope that other teams will. We want those guys to go early and often to push some players to us.
1. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The best DE and pass-rushing prospect in this class and one of the most exciting in this decade. If he doesn't go first overall to Cleveland then the Browns have just written the next chapter in "Brown Town: A History of Shitty Decisions." I only wish Dallas had the ammo pull off some kind of trade.
2. Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
Despite the likelihood that he goes in the top three picks, Thomas feels like a major afterthought compared to Garrett. He would be the best DE prospect in just about any other draft class and whoever gets him will be very happy.
3. Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio St.
About as good as CB prospects get. Lattimore can fit into any scheme and will likely walk into his new team as their top corner. Nobody comes close in this class.
4. Malik Hooker, S, Ohio St.
Injuries and a lack of college experience may keep Hooker below Jamal Adams tonight. However, Hooker's upside is tremendous and would make more sense for the Cowboys with Jeff Heath also a potential starter.
5. Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Many expect Adams to hear his name in the first three picks. Guys like Eric Berry and Kam Chancellor have made safety trendy again, as has the ongoing evolution of the NFL into a passing league. Great safeties used to seem like a luxury, but they are now becoming a necessity.
6. Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
Some would balk about putting Harris above Barnett and other pass rushers but I think he fits the Cowboys needs perfectly. He has a polished, complete pass rush skill set that will allow him to be an immediate contributor. Any concerns about run defense aren't a problem in Dallas because they have so many other options for the rotation. Harris attacks quarterbacks, plain and simple, and that's what the Cowboys need.
7. Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Barnett's college production is undeniable but I worry about his ability to attack NFL left tackles He's not a superior athlete and has some technical issues for pure, professional pass rushing. Still, he could be dynamic as the left end and likely better than anyone Dallas currently has.
8. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA
The opposite of Barnett, McKinley's raw skills are exciting but the rawness is a concern. He may need a season to really develop body and technique for playing 4-3 RDE, but the potential is tremendous.
9. Haason Reddick, LB/DE, Temple
Not quite as dynamic as Von Miller but a similar type of player, Reddick should be a major contributor for any defense. His versatility to play in space or as a blitzing LB could give the Cowboys a new edge and unpredictability.
10. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Jason Witten's retirement could come as soon as next year and none of James Hanna, Geoff Swaim, or Rico Gathers have proven much, if anything. While there's little chance of it, Howard falling to the 28th pick would be too good for Dallas to ignore. He would bring immediate juice to the offense and settle the question of Witten's eventual replacement.
11. T.J. Watt, LB/DE, Wisconsin
Some would put Watt above the pass rushers I've already listed, but I have my concerns. I think he can be productive but perhaps not a catalyst that makes everyone better. I also wonder where he'd be rated with a different last name. Still, he's clearly talented and will
12. Tyus Bowser, LB/DE, Houston
Bowser reminds you of the things Dallas liked in Randy Gregory two years ago. He has explosive physical ability but needs to work on his body and technique to become a consistent pass-rushing threat. The raw talent is there, though, and worth the 28th pick.
13. Jordan Willis, DE, Kansas St.
Like Bowser, Williams is a great athlete who needs to get coached up to really blossom as a pass rusher. He's the kind of physical specimen that a coach like Rod Marinelli would just love to get his hands on.
14. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
While he has more name value than some of the guys I just listed, Taco doesn't seem like much of a pass rusher. He could be a strong-side DE for the next decade but the Cowboys already have that in David Irving or DeMarcus Lawrence. I'd rather they get a true edge rusher, but can see why Charlton would appeal with Lawrence potentially on the way out.
15. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
The consensus #2 corner after Lattimore, Humphrey has nice size and athleticism. There are concerns about his man play but he is expected to be great in zone, which the Cowboys use a lot of. He should have more value to Dallas than other teams.
16. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
While a Top-5 player in this class, Allen just doesn't fit the Cowboys biggest needs. Still, if he dropped to 28, they would have to strongly consider him on sheer talent. Allen and Maliek Collins could form a DT duo for the next decade.
17. Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
The picture above shows a major reason why Dallas may want Jackson over other corners. He is a dangerous return man and could even be used on some offensive plays. While the Cowboys really need more size from their next cornerback, Jackson's ability and versatility could be too good of a package to pass on.
18. Kevin King, CB, Washington
Speaking of size, King is 6'3" and the most physically intriguing corner in the class. He may have trouble early on in tight man coverage but could be dangerous eating up space in zone, which suits the Cowboys well.
19. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU
The opposite of King, White is on the small side but is a great man defender. He could be a great replacement in the slot for Orlando Scandrick, who is potentially a cap casualty in the next season or two. In 2017 he could easily contend to be one of the team's top three corners.
20. Jordan Ross, WR, Washington
The new King of the 40-Yard-Dash, this speedster can be used in any offense. Ross would have more value than Mike Williams or Corey Davis for Dallas as he could be immediately used for his unique athletic gifts, plus what he could offer in the return game. With so many top defensive guys off the board, it wouldn't be wrong to use the pick on receiver.
21. David Njoku, TE, Miami
While not quite as dynamic as O.J. Howard, Njoku is an exceptional TE prospect and would be tough to pass up at #28. Athletic and already a solid blocker, he could be immediately useful as a second TE and has the potential to start for many years to come.
22. Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Williams and Corey Davis would be much higher if the Cowboys hadn't brought back Terrance Williams, but that move negated much of the need at WR. Still, Dallas wasn't really in a big need for a receiver when they drafted Dez Bryant in 2008. Sometimes you just can't pass on talent and Williams has that in spades. He could push for the WR2 job now and eventually replace Bryant in the top spot.
23. Corey Davis, WR, W. Michigan
See everything I just said about Williams. The only reason I like Williams a little more is that he's a little taller and more of an endzone threat, which is big for a Dallas team that relies on the run to move up and down the field. Still, Davis' route-running is superior and he could easily wind up the better player of the two.
24. Malik McDowell, DE/DT, Michigan St.
McDowell has the size to play inside and the athleticism to be a big strong-side end like a Julius Peppers or Mario Williams. The questions about him are motor and locker room impact; he's apparently not the most likable fellow. Still, the physical gifts are obvious.
25. Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
I like Moreau way more than some. He has great physical tools and plenty of room to develop. He may be a reach to some but I'd rather have his upside at #28 than any of the remaining players.
26. Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
A potentially elite LB talent, Foster could provide immediate insurance to Jaylon Smith's health and an eventual replacement for Sean Lee. He can rotate with both of them in the nickel scheme and would likely walk in with better coverage talent than Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, or any of the Cowboys' other linebackers.
27. Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio St.
The current issue with a rape accusation may push Conley out of the first few rounds completely, but you know NFL teams are doing their homework. As long as they feel good about his legal future, Conley could easily be drafted tonight.
28. Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Big, physical corner who fits the mold of what you've seen from the Seahawks in recent years. Wilson might wind up at safety before long if he doesn't improve some of his man coverage techniques. Plenty of talent, though, regardless of which position he plays.
29. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Colorado
A good athlete and coverage guy but has some major concerns with his tackling. That's not good in Cover 2 and is why he's at the bottom of all the corners on my board.
30. Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
Dallas could form an all-Huskies duo with former college teammates Melifonwu and Byron Jones. Listed at 6'4" and over 220 lbs while running a 4.4, Obi is a textbook "physical specimen." I've longed for one of these tall safeties since the days of Pat Watkins and maybe my dream will finally come true.
31. Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Our first offensive lineman, Robinson stands out to me because he could be an elite guard or right tackle. He may be lacking some of the quickness and technique needed to take on to pass rusher on the left side, but Robinson would more than replace Doug Free as a superior run blocker. You could also consider playing him at guard and using La'el Collins at right tackle; whoever fits the positions best.
32. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis could be an immediate upgrade as the SAM linebacker and has the coverage skills to play nickel. As already mentioned with Reuben Foster, Dallas can feel okay about adding a LB with the concerns on Jaylon Smith and the eventual need to replace Sean Lee.
33. Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
A true coverage LB, Cunningham would be a lesser version of Foster but still a great talent to add to the group. He would immediately be the primary backup for Sean Lee on the weak side.
34. Garret Bolles, OT, Utah
35. Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
You can really flip a coin between these two. What you like more about one over the other comes down to specific team preferences and I can't really say is clearly better. Either should be a long-time starter at offensive tackle.
36. Jabril Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
If Peppers falls to the 60th pick then I'm not sure what I'd want Dallas to do. He's a playmaker and I don't mind his position uncertainty all that much. I'd love him as a box safety and a coverage LB in passing downs. Where I'm worried is the other times when he needs to be a true cover safety. If he can't do that, is a utility player really worth a 2nd-round pick?
37. Derek Rivers, DE, Youngstown St.
The next tier of pass rushers would be decent but ultimately disappointing in the second round. Rivers has the potential to become a good rotation pass rusher but would need work.
38. Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Lawson reminds me of a poor man's Anthony Spencer. He could become a solid pass rusher on the left side as long as there's an attention-grabber playing on the other end. Unfortunately, Dallas is still looking for that catalytic guy in this draft.
39. Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio St.
Offering much of the same explosive potential as John Ross, Samuel would be a useful offensive weapon worthy of a 2nd-round pick. He also has return man potential and that gives him the value bump to appear on this list.
40. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
While part of me loathes the idea of another 2nd-round pick going to the TE position, Shaheen is physical freak who would have a year, at least, to develop and learn from one of the best to ever play the position. He's the only remaining TE prospect who think Dallas should consider. After Shaeen, I'd just stick with the current roster and see what happens.
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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