As Cowboys fans, we are lucky to get the local coverage we get from the official team website. DallasCowboys.com’s The Draft Show provides the best content around during draft season, and once again killed it with their season finale episode.
David Helman, Dane Brugler, and Bryan Broaddus interviewed the Cowboys VP of Player Personnel Will McClay, who provided insight into the Cowboys’ draft strategies this year.
Here are three main takeaways from their conversation, and you can listen to the entire interview here.
Tony Pollard Is Will McClay’s Guy
When asked about who his pet cats were in this year’s draft class, McClay initially said “all of them.” After this cop-out of sorts, McClay then immediately got into discussing how he fell in love with Tony Pollard as a prospect at the Senior Bowl.
Referencing both his week of practice and toughness during the game itself, McClay spoke in high regard about how he thinks Tony Pollard can fit into the Cowboys offense. We’ll see how Kellen Moore and the coaching staff uses him, but McClay’s words should give you some hope for Pollard as early as 2019.
“Character” Plays A Big Role In Their Evaluation
If you took a shot every time the phrase “football character” was used on this podcast, you’d be wasted I’m sure. McClay spoke about how important it is to get a gauge on a player’s work ethic, heart, want-to, and overall football character during the draft process. He said that while you obviously need natural ability to succeed, a player’s football character is just as important in the evaluation.
He also gave two excellent examples of where football character shined through during draft visits in Jaylon Smith and Dak Prescott. Obviously both of these players have worked out great for the Cowboys, despite being gambles in their own right on draft day.
They Have Real Hopes For Safety Donovan Wilson
McClay spoke glowingly about Xavier Woods’ future at free safety, but was much less generous with his praise of Jeff Heath. After mentioning Heath’s name, Will McClay nearly immediately said it’s a spot they are looking to improve at, and then got into how they view Donovan Wilson’s fit with the Cowboys’ defense.
“He has box safety traits” McClay told The Draft Show, and while he is right in how he evaluated the player, we can certainly be skeptical about how good of a player those traits will make Wilson.
It seems like McClay and the front office have real hopes for Wilson, though, expecting him to compete for that strong safety spot as soon as possible. That’s a lot of hope to have for a sixth round pick, but they’ve certainly found sixth round starters in the secondary before.