Seemingly the entire football world has been praising the Cowboys for their 2020 draft performance.
Snagging CeeDee Lamb in the first round was just the beginning for the Cowboys, who added studs like Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore on day two before finding potential future starters on day three.
But how many of these will provide the Cowboys with instant gratification? Or, in more direct terms, how many will be “starters” during the 2020 season?
This is a tough one to gauge. Let’s start with their first round pick, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. After being given the number 88 by Jerry Jones, it can be assumed the Cowboys envision some big things for Lamb going forward. But with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup both in place already, Lamb’s opportunities may be limited during his rookie season.
Still, we can count him as a starter. He will be at worst WR3 this season, and will earn significant playing time week in and week out.
The next potential starter is cornerback Trevon Diggs. The second rounder of Alabama had been mocked to the Cowboys 17th overall, so to land him 51st overall felt like a steal. Last year’s CB1 Byron Jones is gone to Miami, leaving that top slot open for competition. Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis were all expected to compete for the starting positions, but now there are questions galore.
Secondary coach Al Harris joined the Cowboys Draft Show, and he made it clear that he values long and strong cornerbacks. Sorry, Jourdan Lewis hive, but he may be marginalized by another coaching staff here in Dallas.
Awuzie has also been rumored to be moving to safety, though much is still up in the air as we are only in May. Regardless, Diggs has a chance to be a starter in a similar way to CeeDee Lamb, because of the importance of extra skill position players on the field in base packages.
Third round pick Neville Gallimore should see some serious playing time this season as well, though it remains to be seen how often the interior of the defensive line will rotate with Rod Marinelli gone. He likely won’t be a starter, but he will definitely contribute.
Now, is there a chance for a sleeper to earn a starting job from round four on?
Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz seems to have a chance. His tape has some bright spots, and he has the experience and football IQ to make the adjustment to the NFL his rookie year. He’ll be in an open competition with Joe Looney, Connor McGovern, and (maybe) Connor Williams. And while he may be the dark-horse here, Mike McCarthy clearly loves him as a player to trade up for him in the fourth round.
The next sleeper? Tulsa cornerback Reggie Robinson. The 6’1″ cornerback fits what Al Harris is looking for to a “T,” and his ballhawking skills in college speak for themselves. Robinson was largely thought of as a late day two prospect around the draft-world, so like his class-mates he felt like an excellent value pick when selected.
That cornerback room went from empty to packed really quick, and the talent in the room is young and impressive. Expect some great competition during training camp this summer.
Last but not least, I have to at least mention defensive end Bradlee Anae. The Cowboys have struggled to find a consistent end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, and Anae seems to have just as good a shot as anyone to win the job this season. We’ll see what happens with Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory, but as of now Anae has a real chance to win himself playing time.