With Dez Bryant's release, the need for a front-line wide receiver becomes a bit more urgent for the Dallas Cowboys. The 2018 NFL Draft sets up very well for DAL to fill several needs on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. With a lot of depth at positions that the Dallas Cowboys have been looking into, there will be options to move around in this draft that fit what the front office likes to do.
So, here is my new seven-round mock draft, only because the Bryant move made me rethink what I would do.
Using Fanspeak's On The Clock Premium, I explored what it would look like to trade back in the first round, which is becoming my preference if the first round falls right. After picking up an extra pick or two in a trade back in the first, I'd love to see them move up in the second.
I made probably more trades than they would make, but they all make sense from a trade value chart perspective.
I used Connor Livesay's big board from Pro Football Talk Line and set the computer to use multiple big boards, trying to simulate what an NFL Draft actually looks like. Different teams place different value on the players due to their varying evaluations.
Using the running list that KD Drummond has going over at The Cowboys Wire, I made an effort to select players the Dallas Cowboys have met with in some capacity.
Round 1: James Daniels, G/C, Iowa
National 30 Visit
Five quarterbacks went in the first 18 selections, which is the best case scenario for the Dallas Cowboys at #19. I've been very vocal about the idea that Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson will all go before the Dallas Cowboys pick at 19. There are enough quarterback needy teams in the first half of the first round, and some in the back half, that it just makes sense.
The top two guard prospects, Quenton Nelson and Isaiah Wynn, were gone by 19, and Harold Landry went at pick 14 to the Green Bay Packers.
The New England Patriots came 'a callin' with #23 and their third rounder (#95) to move up to 19. It's not as good as adding a second rounder, but I didn't want to fall back too far and miss out on who I eventually picked for the Dallas Cowboys.
Iowa guard James Daniels.
He's a player that will fit what the Cowboys want to do with their zone blocking scheme. He has the mobility to get to the outside and to the second level. He completes the Dallas offensive line and allows them to continue being the physical run-first football team that they've morphed into over the last three or four years.
Round 2: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
National 30 Visit
Maryland Wide Receiver DJ Moore slipped to the top of the second round, so I made a move up from 50 to get him.
In order to do so, I had to give up pick 50, New England's pick at the back-end of the third round (95), and pick 192 to equal 534 points. That is about equal to the first of Indianapolis' two second round picks at pick 36 (540 points).
Moore is a good route runner with quickness and speed to make big plays happen. Was very productive at Maryland and has received comparisons to Minnesota Vikings' Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs.
We still have our third rounder to work with and now have filled the two biggest needs on the offensive side of the ball with players who could be day-one starters.
Round 3: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa
Heading into round three, I'm feeling really good about the draft so far. Obviously there are still some needs to address, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Got an offer from the Carolina Panthers to move back from 81 to 85, while also adding their fifth round pick, number 161.
After making the trade, the time came to address the linebacker position and Josey Jewell is the best one available at this point. Also the best available player at a position where the Dallas Cowboys have a hole.
The Cowboys coaching staff loves linebackers from the Big 10. See Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, and Sean Lee.
Josey Jewell is someone who can come in and rotate with Jaylon Smith at the MIKE linebacker spot right away. He isn't fast (4.8 40) but he has the quickness to be a pretty good linebacker at the NFL level. He will need to work on his coverage ability. He can help on special teams right away as well.
*After the trade back, we are armed with two fourths, two fifths, two sixths and a seventh.
Round 4: Tarvarius Moore, S, Southern Mississippi
National 30 Visit
When our pick came up at up at #116 we had some trade-back offers, but Tarvarius Moore, who excited the masses with his Pro-Day 4.32 40-yard dash, was still available. That speed and his true free safety ability couldn't be passed on any longer.
He makes a great addition to the safety rotation and can potentially be "the guy" at free safety. He'll have value immediately as a special teams gunner with his speed and could compete to be the full-time free safety right away.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
The other player I considered was Penn State TE Mike Gesicki. It's time for this team to begin looking at life without Jason Witten and Gesicki has some impressive athletic ability.
According to PlayerProfiler.com, he was no worse than the 95th percentile in any measurable and compares favorably to Vernon Davis -- hopefully without some of the headaches.
To get him, I sent both of our fifth round picks to Detroit to make the pick.
I traded pick 137 to the Seattle Seahawks for picks 141 and 168, though it was awfully tempting to stay there and take Nyheim Hines.
Round 5: Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State
National 30 Visit
Was able to pick up an extra fifth, move back and get a player who can contribute offensively and on special teams right away, Nyheim Hines. A dynamic pass catcher, Hines would be an excellent change of pace back to Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith.
He rushed for more than 1,100 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in 2017 at NC State, so he could be more Darren Sproles-like as a runner and receiver than anything they have on the roster at the moment.
Breeland Speaks, DT, Ole Miss
National 30 Visit
Attempting to add some depth with promise along the defensive line, Breeland Speaks is a nice addition who could fill some of the Tyrone Crawford role if he sticks. He can take some running-down snaps at defensive end or move inside and play some 3T defensive tackle for you as well.
Here's what NDTScouting.com's Jonah Tuls had to say about Speaks.
"I have a feeling Breeland Speaks will get drafted higher than he should because of his athletic traits and tools as a pass rusher, but his experience is mostly as a two-gap defensive end who is relatively unproven and underdeveloped with his plan of attack. Comparison: Jonathan Babineaux."
Jonah Tuls - NDTScouting.com
Round 6: Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
Part of the National Championship winning Georgia Bulldogs, the Dallas Cowboys like getting players from the Power 5 conferences and players who have good motors. Thompson has that.
Here's what Connor Livesay from ProFootballTalkline.com had to say about Thompson.
"Trenton Thompson was built in a lab, and passes the eye test with ease. At 6-foot-4 297lbs, Thompson has extremely good size and matches that with a fluid lower half that allows him to move well laterally and vertically. Has very heavy hands and you can see that from the tape when he strikes offensive lineman. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent play plagued Thompson’s career, but he can be a quality three-technique in the NFL if he’s able to stay healthy and hungry."
Connor Livesay - ProFootballTalkLine.com
208 - Leon Jacobs, LB, Wisconsin
Another linebacker from the Big 10 who can be competition for Damien Wilson on the strongside, but also has some weakside EDGE potential for you as well.
"The thing with Leon Jacobs is that he may be scheme specific to just a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker who can drop if asked, but rush with a blend of speed and power as well. He is incredibly raw and will take time to develop mental processing, however. Comparison: Aaron Curry"
Jonah Tuls - NDTScouting.com
Round 7: 236 - Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma
Yes, they signed Jamize Olawale in free agency, but that shouldn't prevent them from drafting one of the better chess pieces in the 2018 NFL Draft. I outlined my affection for Dimitri Flowers in last week's edition of my mock draft.
Dimitri Flowers is a pet cat of mine that I think could be a dynamic weapon for the Dallas Cowboys offense. He can run, catch, and block. He can lineup in the backfield, in-line as a tight end, or in the slot as a receiver.
If you watch his tape, you see him catching passes over the middle, down the seem, and along the sideline.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
While I don't expect that this is the way the draft is going to unfold, I do think trading back in the first and then up in the second is going to be the best option for the Dallas Cowboys to get the guard, wide receiver, and/or linebacker they need in the first two rounds.
Take it easy on me in the comment section. Thanks for reading.
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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