Star-Studded Draft: Could Dallas' 2016 Class Be All-Time Great? ⋆
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Star-Studded Draft: Could Dallas’ 2016 Class Be All-Time Great?

Cowboys Headlines - Star Studded Draft: Could Dallas' 2016 Class Be All-Time Great?

NFL Draft

Star-Studded Draft: Could Dallas’ 2016 Class Be All-Time Great?

After the dust settled on the 2016 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys received mixed reactions from fans and critics alike.

Many detractors pointed to the obvious right away — the team’s largest flaws didn’t seem to be addressed. Rather than select defensive play makers in the early rounds who could provide an immediate impact, the team’s first two picks were spent on a running back and a luxury pick of Jaylon Smith, who will miss all of 2016 due to a severe knee injury.

Then came the rest of the offseason from hell.

Suspensions and injuries plagued the team, crippling what was already presumed to be an underwhelming defensive unit. The backup quarterback position wasn’t directly addressed with a veteran free agent until Kellen Moore went down with an injury, and many didn’t seem to view Dak Prescott as a franchise guy. His fourth round draft selection indicated that.

Many began to view the Dallas offseason as one of the team’s worst in recent memory. When Tony Romo went down with another significant injury, all hope seemed to be lost.

Fast forward to week six of the NFL season and things couldn’t be better.

The Cowboys are 4-1, and all of a sudden a serious early contender in the NFC. The team is much more than just an early surprise.

It may be premature, but the 2016 draft class deserves much of the credit. Just how great is this draft group, and where can they potentially rank in the franchise’s history? As of now, this class has the potential to be near the top when all is said and done.

Whenever a team lands a potential franchise quarterback, their draft class immediately gains significant credibility. Just look at both the 1964 and 1989 drafts for the Cowboys, both of which are easily the best in franchise history. Roger Staubach was selected in the 10th round and Troy Aikman was selected with the first overall pick in their respective years.

It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as the franchise quarterback is taken at some point.Cowboys Headlines - Star Studded Draft: Could Dallas' 2016 Class Be All-Time Great? 2

In a QB driven league, landing a franchise guy is something that needs to be celebrated and heralded. Landing him in the fourth round is an even greater franchise achievement. Through five games, Dak Prescott appears to be an absolute steal, and the real deal.

Ezekiel Elliott is playing like the slam dunk that NFL scouts thought he would be. Offensive Rookie of The Year looks even more realistic than it did in the offseason as Zeke leads the league in rushing through five weeks. The Cowboys couldn’t miss on a guy like Elliott, and even his high pick of fourth overall doesn’t have many second guessing anymore.

But it doesn’t just start and end with the two young offensive stars. Alone, landing both Prescott and Elliott make this draft class elite, but it has potential to go much further than that. The second round selection of Jaylon Smith could pan out down the stretch, and turn out to be a great defensive steal. He was graded by some as literally the
number one overall talent in the draft.

Cowboys Headlines - Star Studded Draft: Could Dallas' 2016 Class Be All-Time Great? 1The thought of Dallas landing three first round talents in a single draft (Elliott, Prescott, Smith) gives me chills. But Maliek Collins and Anthony Brown cannot be overlooked either.

Brown has filled in formidably right away for an injured Orlando Scandrick, which is incredible considering his 6th round selection. Collins appears to be contributing on a very unknown defensive line as well. Add a healthy Charles Tapper into the mix down the stretch, and you could be looking at one of the most special draft classes to come through Dallas in a very long time.

Is it too early to call the 2016 Dallas Cowboys draft class one of the franchise’s best? Where will this class of players be in a few years? Let us know by commenting below.

Die hard Dallas Cowboys fan behind enemy lines here in New Jersey. CBS Sports employee and contributor for InsideTheStar.com.

5 Comments
  • John Williams

    I think you hit the nail on the head, Justin. this draft class could go down as one of the best. Now we’ll need to see contributions from Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper on the defense to make that a reality, however with Prescott, Elliott, Collins, and Brown, this is already a really strong class. Brown is getting an opportunity to advertise himself for a role in 2017 should the team not be able to retain Morris Claiborne or let Brandon Carr walk. If Smith and Tapper can be ready to go in 2017, it will give them another pass rusher and the MLB they’ve been looking for. As you mentioned it’s a quarterback driven league, and with Prescott, we have found a diamond in the rough. Somewhat fortuitously as well. Could have drafted Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook and maybe they’ll be good, but right now, we know Dak Prescott is good.

    • http://gravatar.com/jgrohowski jgrohowski

      Just the thought alone of Jaylon Smith being a stud for the Cowboys in the future is crazy to think about too. I’d go as far as to say if he lives up to the hype, that may be enough to make this draft an all time great one. Assuming Prescott keeps this up of course. The rest is just all an added bonus, but Collins and Brown are looking solid.

  • Kevin Black

    You have to compare any draft class like this to the dirty dozen of ’75. Still, based on that, this might rival that class. You could even add Brice Butler to it since we used this year’s 5th round pick in trade for him. He’s come up big with Daz’s absence.

    • http://gravatar.com/jgrohowski jgrohowski

      Great reference Kevin. Not sure if any Cowboys draft can ever be as deep as 1975. Besides Randy White, that draft had plenty of contributing starters and Pro Bowl talent. Thomas Henderson and Pat Donovan to name a few.

      I didn’t even think about Brice Butler in that capacity. He has the look of a solid starter too. Not sure if he is WR2 material just yet, but everything we have seen from him suggests potential.

      Either way, landing a potential franchise QB, elite RB, and other underrated talent could elevate this draft class to the top. Just imagine if Jaylon Smith is the star that he is projected to be. Time will tell.

      Thanks for reading.

  • txpatriot

    As a great coach once said, put away the anointing oil. The 1964 draft class netted three HOFers. Even if Zeke and Dak ultimately are voted into the HOF, that still leaves the 2016 class one short. Give them time, and let’s enjoy these kids while we can, w/o putting such expectations on them.

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