It's well-known that the Dallas Cowboys don't mind gambling on players in the second-round of the NFL Draft. Over the last decade they've targeted players who have fallen in the draft for some reason, whether it be a poor injury history or off the field related problems. Unfortunately, that gambling hasn't really paid off, but 2018 could be the year it finally does.
If you were to look back over the Dallas Cowboys second-round draft picks for the last decade or so you would notice hardly any of those players are still on the roster. That's not good at all. In fact, it's pretty pathetic!
Second-round draft picks are supposed to be players that become the cornerstones of your team. The Cowboys have one maybe two players in the last decade who can possibly be considered cornerstone players… Sean Lee and DeMarcus Lawrence.
When healthy, Sean Lee is without a doubt one of the best linebackers in the league. If not for his inability to remain healthy for an entire season, he would without a doubt be a cornerstone player. He probably still deserves that distinction, especially considering he's the only second-round draft pick to see a contract extension over the last decade.
The jury is still out on DeMarcus Lawrence. His first three seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys are pretty much forgettable, but last season was pure dominance. If he can replicate that kind of performance in 2018, he could become another Cowboys second-round success story and receive a contract extension.
Unfortunately, that's about as much success the Dallas Cowboys have had with their second-round draft picks. They have done a much better job the past two seasons by drafting Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and Guard Connor Williams, who should both be cornerstone players, but what about the other second-round draft picks still on the roster?
The Cowboys second-round gambles that I think could actually pay off this year in 2018 is Linebacker Jaylon Smith and Defensive End Randy Gregory. Both players were arguably top 10 selections in their respective drafts based on their talent, but both saw their draft stock plummet for different reasons, landing right in the lap of the Dallas Cowboys.
Randy Gregory of course saw his draft stock plummet because of failed drug tests in not only college, but at the NFL Scouting Combine as well. That trend continued as a member of the Cowboys, but luckily for him he still is a chance to turn his career around now that he's earned his reinstatement into the league.
For Jaylon Smith, his draft stock took a hit because of an unfortunate injury in his last collegiate game that almost ended his professional career before it even got started. It was a 50-50 chance he would never play again, but the Cowboys decided the risk was worth reward and it could end up paying off big time.
I say all of this because I think this is the year we will finally see the Dallas Cowboys second-round gambling pay off. It started a little bit last year with DeMarcus Lawrence's domination and Jaylon Smith's return to the field, but now we can hopefully throw in Randy Gregory as well. All three could play really important roles in 2018 and become the cornerstone players they should be as second-round draft picks.