Nearly all of the Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman are either under a one-year contract or entering the remaining year of their deal, so the 2019 NFL Draft might be a good time for them to start preparing for the future. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cowboys draft a DT early, quite possibly with their first selection at 58th overall in the second-round.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the defensive tackle prospects in this year’s draft class the Dallas Cowboys could be interested in in each round. Fortunately, this is a good year to draft a DT and there are several potential candidates in each round that makes sense.
Let’s take a look…
Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
Dexter Lawrence has a chance to sneak into the first-round, but could slide right into the Dallas Cowboys lap just as easily. He would be a no-brainer pick and take over as the starting one-technique from Day 1. He moves surprisingly well for a player his size and flashes dominant qualities as a run defender. He needs to improve his pass rushing repertoire, but the skills are there. He would immediately upgrade the defense and help keep the Cowboys young, talented linebackers clean to make plays all over the field.
Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State
Dre’Mont Jones unfortunately didn’t test as well as many were expecting at the 2019 NFL Combine, but he possesses the skill set to become a disruptive force as a three-technique in a 4-3 defensive scheme like the Dallas Cowboys deploy. He has a quick first step and understands how to get skinny to be a force as a pass rusher. His work as a run defender leaves much to be desired though. He will really need to improve his strength and technique before he can be considered in every down player.
Trysten Hill, UCF
Trysten Hill is someone the Dallas Cowboys have shown a pretty strong interest in throughout the draft process. He was not only part of their 30 allotted pre-draft visitors, but Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli also personally put him through drills at his Pro Day. He also happens to be one of my “pet cats” in this year’s draft class. He is exactly the kind of disruptive DT Marinelli likes and has the versatility to play it at the one or three-technique. He plays with reckless abandon right now and needs to clean up some things, but he is a moldable piece of clay worth developing.
Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois
Khalen Saunders is an athletic big-bodied DT who absolutely dominated lesser talent during his time at Western Illinois. He flashes dominance on tape in both the running and passing game, but is still pretty raw from a technical standpoint. He needs to improve his pass rush moves and technique because he has struggled at times getting off the blocks. His athletic ability and strength are all NFL ready though and he projects best as a 4-3 one-technique with three-tech upside.
Daniel Wise, Kansas
Daniel Wise was a four-year starter at Kansas and played up and down their defensive line in a variety of roles and fronts. He projects best as a three-technique in a 4-3 defensive scheme in the NFL due to his quick first step and relentless motor. He never quits on a play and gives it his all down after down. He played a high volume of snaps during his time with the Jayhawks and never seem to wear down, which is a testament to his endurance. He only has average athletic ability, but his relentlessness makes them difficult to block in both the running and passing game.
Gerald Willis III, Miami
Gerald Willis III was a one-year starter at Miami and unfortunately doesn’t have the best track record on or off the field. He would come with plenty of red flags if he were to be drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but he has the talent to become a starter in the NFL. He projects best as a three-technique and has the quick first step to be a disruptive force in both the running and passing game. He’s a little undisciplined with this approach and will need to clean up his technique, but he has the skill set to have a long career in the league.
Keke Kingsley, Texas A&M
Keke Kingsley was a three-year starter at Texas A&M. He started his career as a nose tackle before dropping 20 pounds and moving to defensive end prior to his senior season. He is a smooth athlete for his size and has the versatility to play a variety of roles along the defensive line. He shows strength in his upper body, but needs to play with a better base and pad level at the next level. He would likely be a rotational player in a 4-3 defense his rookie season, but with more development he has started potential in a year or two.
Michael Dogbe, Temple
Michael Dogbe is one the strongest players in the entire 2019 draft class. In summer workouts he bench pressed 505 pounds, including 37 reps up to 25 and squatted 685 pounds. He played all across the defensive line during his time at Temple and has the versatility to do the same in the NFL in a four man front. He probably projects best as a three-technique where he can use his quick first step and strength to his advantage. He’s probably a rotational player as a rookie, but has starting potential with more seasoning and development.
Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri
Terry Beckner Jr. was was a three-year starter at Missouri. He struggled with knee injuries early on in his career, but started all 26 games his last two seasons and finished with double digit tackles for loss both years. He had plenty of splash plays in his collegiate career, but really needs to improve his strength and mechanics to carve out a role in the NFL. He has the desired quick first step to become successful, but if he doesn’t win with his initial burst he tends to get washed out of plays.
Demarcus Christmas, Florida State
Demarcus Christmas was a four-star recruit out of high school and a three-year starter at Florida State. He was a part of a heavy defensive line rotation with the Seminoles and played primarily over the A-gap. He looks the part of an NFL defensive lineman with his well proportioned 300 pound broad frame and uses his size effectively to stack and shed offensive lineman, but he hasn’t developed like many believed he would. He has the power to play in the league, but needs to improve his instincts and technique if he wants to make an NFL roster.