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NFL Draft

The Cowboys Past Two Draft Classes Are Unrivaled

Admittedly, May and June can be tough months for football fans. We are almost stuck in football limbo as the draft has ended and training camp is still months away. So, when something as simple as a tweet proposing a hypothetical scenario arises, we all dive in head first to talk about that topic. Respected NFL Draft analyst and Dallas Cowboys’ fan Dan Turner proposed one of these hypothetical scenarios last week. Turner asked how you would rank the Cowboys five major selections of the past two drafts if they were all in the same draft class?

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Draft - The Cowboys Past Two Draft Classes Are Unrivaled

Admittedly, May and June can be tough months for football fans. We are almost stuck in football limbo as the draft has ended and training camp is still months away.

So, when something as simple as a tweet proposing a hypothetical scenario arises, we all dive in head first to talk about that topic.

Respected NFL Draft analyst and Dallas Cowboys' fan Dan Turner proposed one of these hypothetical scenarios last week. Turner asked how you would rank the Cowboys five major selections of the past two drafts if they were all in the same draft class?

Dan Turner on Twitter

If B Jones, R Gregory, La'el, Zeke & Jaylon had all entered draft at same time and none had inj / off-field, how would you have ranked them?

It is certainly an interesting question, and one that sparked a ton of debate on social media amongst fans. But what this scenario really got me thinking about was just how great these past two classes can be for the Cowboys.

And, has any team ever had a two-draft stretch like Dallas has had?

Of course, some of these players are yet to even play a snap for the Cowboys, making it difficult to access the greatness (or not-so-greatness) of the draft class fully.

But we can consider the pre-draft rankings of past classes and the careers which those drafted have sustained.

Let's take a look.

In 2015, the Cowboys added three players with first or early second round grades; Byron Jones at 27th overall, Randy Gregory at 60th overall, and La'el Collins as an undrafted free agent.

Player Proj. Rd. Position Ranking Overall Ranking
Byron Jones 1  3rd  35
Randy Gregory 1  5th  14
La'el Collins 1-2  2nd (as OG), 3rd (as OT)  46

Finding a way to add three players who were each rated as top 5 players at their particular position is ridiculous enough to consider.

But, when you consider what Dallas then managed to do in this years draft, it then becomes unprecedented.

Player Proj. Rd. Position Ranking Overall Ranking
Ezekiel Elliott 1 1 4
Jaylon Smith 1 1 9

I have to say, I obviously knew how great Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith were considered to be, and I knew how high Smith would have been drafted without the knee injury, but actually seeing the rankings in a chart form was jarring.

I mean, are you kidding me? The Cowboys added two top ten prospects in one draft class, and did so the year after adding three top 50 prospects in one draft class.


But the question this information brought me to research just how great these drafts are historically.

Has any team ever found this level of success in back to back draft classes?

The short answer is no.

There are three explanations I have been able to come up with for why the Cowboys have been able to draft so unprecedentedly great these past two years.

  1. Typically when a team has a great draft, they put themselves out of position to grab top 10-15 players in their next draft.
  2. The Cowboys front office just drafts better than most.
  3. And, of course, these past two years have seen some pretty outstanding circumstances.

The first point is evident through the 2000 New York Jets draft class. They selected a stunning four times in the first round, adding Anthony Becht, Chad Pennington, Shaun Ellis, and John Abraham.

Because they were in a position to add top 20 rated players with the 12th and 13th overall picks, they didn't have the chance to draft in the top 15 the next season.

They instead took Santana Moss in 2001, which while still a good pick, doesn't compare to what the Cowboys have potentially done these past two drafts.

Many teams have top 10-15 picks year after year and still don't have the classes which the Cowboys have had, however. And, to that I say the Cowboys just draft better than most.

The Cleveland Browns have had a top 15 pick 13 times since 2000, and yet have not been able to turn it into any sustained success.

Dallas understands the draft process, scouts the players, and makes their picks better than the majority of the league. This cannot be understated.

We cannot ignore the outstanding circumstances which have allowed Dallas to add all of this talent, however.

La'el Collins would have been long gone by the time the Cowboys decided to sign him in 2015 if it weren't for an off the field issue which he turned out to be uninvolved with.

Randy Gregory would've been selected in the first round, or at least the early second if he had not failed a drug test at the NFL combine.

Jaylon Smith would have never made it to 34th overall in 2016 had it not been for his possibly season, or career, ending knee injury.

And, the Cowboys would have never had a top five selection this year had Tony Romo and Dez Bryant not suffered severe injuries in 2015.

This would mean no Zeke, unfortunately.

Of course there have been some unbelievable circumstances which have yielded the Cowboys the chance to add five first round type players in two years, but you still must give the organization credit for being willing to take chances and capitalize on their opportunities.

During my research, I found only one two-draft stretch which I felt compared to what the Cowboys have done.

Consider the 1996 Baltimore Ravens.

With the fourth overall pick they selected the great Jonathon Ogden, who would go on to have a Hall of Fame career. They then snagged none other than Ray Lewis later on in the first round.

It was a draft class for the ages, and one which would set the stage for a Super Bowl ring in 2000.

Things didn't change overnight for the Ravens, however, as they once again had the fourth overall pick in 1997. Their fourth overall selection, Peter Boulware, was a four time Pro Bowler and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Another winner for the Ravens.

Their 34th overall selection, Jamie Sharper, enjoyed a nine year career in the league, and was a rather highly touted linebacker coming into the draft out of Virginia.

The Ravens found the talent in the top of these drafts and capitalized on their opportunities, setting themselves up for a Super Bowl run.

Twenty years from now we very well may look back at the past two Cowboys drafts as necessary risks, and smart roster building moves which set the stage for greatness over the years to come.

There is a strong possibility we look back on these classes in the same way we look back at those Ravens. And I can't wait to find out if we will.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

  • Jess Haynie

    Where did you get the positional and overall rankings from?

    • Kevin Brady

      I used Walter Football’s ratings. I also looked at Draft Tek to compare how similar they were to each other.

NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller
(Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys have been frustratingly unsurprisingly quiet through the start of free agency, as their opportunity to improve at the AT&T Stadium hosted 2018 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching. Offensive line depth remains a team need for the Cowboys, one they're actively looking to address by visiting free agent Guard Marcus Martin while planning a pre-draft visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

I'm told UTEP Guard Will Hernandez is another of Dallas' 30 pre-draft visitors. Hernandez joins Alabama WR Calvin Ridley and UCLA G/T Kolton Miller on the list of reported visitors for the #Cowboys. Since 2014, 14 of Dallas' 35 picks (40%) have been pre-draft visitors.

Protecting one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft in Josh Rosen through college, Kolton Miller absolutely blew up the Combine in Indianapolis - entering the draft as one of the most athletic available linemen.

It is this athleticism and versatility that the Dallas Cowboys should absolutely be looking for, if trying to add another "blue chip" player to an offensive line already featuring LT Tyron Smith, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, and RT La'el Collins.

Kolton Miller Longest Offensive Lineman Broad Jump 2018 NFL Combine

Kolton Miller with the broad jump world record for an offensive lineman at 10 1 wow

Tyron Smith's health (along with the level of play the Cowboys received at his spot in his absence) and the FA status of Jonathan Cooper are both reasons the Cowboys should consider adding a new, controllable option to their dominant offensive line. Whether this is with the 19th overall pick, or later on with a prospect like Miller, will depend on how the board falls through the first 18 picks of the draft.

With ten total picks coming in, the Cowboys could be positioning themselves for a move up the board to land an impact defender, or an additional piece for Kris Richard to work with in the defensive backfield. Staying home at 19th overall and selecting a player capable of playing swing tackle would not only be a safe option for the Cowboys, but a smart one with Ezekiel Elliott returning full-time to the lineup in 2018.

Without Elliott for six games in 2017, the Cowboys still managed nine wins. This is a point lost to most of Cowboys Nation, especially those watching the entire playoffs without their team in it, only to watch the Eagles hoist the Lombardi. Elliott's impact on each's week game plan for Dallas is hard to understate, and the Cowboys' trust in him begins up front.

Testing as an elite athlete with the film to match at tackle in the Pac 12, Kolton Miller should be a welcome addition to America's Team - getting the opportunity to learn the Cowboys' way with a trip to The Star in his future.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Cowboys to Hold Visit with UCLA Tackle Kolton Miller" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Can Powers of Persuasion Help Make Will Hernandez a Cowboy?

Brian Martin



Can Powers of Persuasion Make Will Hernandez a Dallas Cowboy?

There is no shortage of NFL hopefuls who would like to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, not one of them have used their powers of persuasion to make their intentions known as much as former UTEP offensive guard Will Hernandez.

Throughout the entire draft process, Will Hernandez has done nothing but stand out when given the opportunity. He first started to make waves at the 2018 Senior Bowl, where he pretty much dominated his competition. Then, he improved his draft stock even more by putting on a show at the Scouting Combine.

The 6'2", 330 pound offensive guard has likely cemented himself as a surefire first-round draft pick and is arguably the second-ranked OG in the entire 2018 draft class. He is a plug-and-play prospect for any team who drafts him, but he has made his intentions well known that he would love to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in February, Will Hernandez was spotted hanging out with the Cowboys bookend offensive tackles, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, to see the premiere of the movie Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis.

Will Hernandez on Twitter

@PujolsFive Cowboys fans will appreciate this post!! ⭐️ Movie Premiere #Deathwish Great movie!

To see Will Hernandez rubbing elbows with a few of the Dallas Cowboys talented offensive lineman only strengthened the connection for Hernandez becoming a draft pick by America's Team. But, this wasn't the only time the former UTEP offensive guard was seen out with a Cowboys player.

In March, he was once again seen out on the town with the Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.

All of this can probably be chalked up to a current player hanging out with an NFL hopeful, but as a Cowboys fan you want to believe it's more than just a coincidence.

The Dallas Cowboys without a doubt need a new starting left guard. It can be argued it's the team's biggest need this offseason and Will Hernandez fits the bill to a T. He would immediately upgrade the entire offensive line and solidify the unit for years to come.

The only problem is, the Dallas Cowboys have already invested quite a bit in their offensive line and taking Will Hernandez in the first round would be considered by some as overkill. I for one wouldn't be opposed to taking him at 19 if he is the top rated player when the Cowboys are on the clock.

It's hard to know if seeing Will Hernandez hanging out with Tyron Smith and La'el Collins improves his chances of being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, but it definitely doesn't hurt. Offensive lines around the NFL perform at their best when they play as a cohesive unit, so developing a bond already could be viewed as a good thing.

Who knows, maybe Will Hernandez's powers of persuasion will pay off and end up being the deciding factor to help him become the next first-round offensive lineman drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you read anything into Will Hernandez hanging out with Cowboys players?

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NFL Draft

Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley

Mauricio Rodriguez



Butch Dill / Getty Images

With NFL Free Agency buzz at full speed this week, Dez Bryant is one of the most intriguing names in the Dallas Cowboys world. We all know the story. We've been talking about it since last season. Bryant, who was once among the "Top WR of the league" conversation, doesn't look like an elite player anymore.

That doesn't mean he is a bad football player, but the problem is that he's getting paid big time.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have struggled with cap space for many years now, may want to avoid paying $16.5M to a player who isn't justifying his paychecks on the field. Big name and all, it certainly doesn't feel that way.

His lack of production on the field the last three years is concerning, even though he's played with quarterbacks not named "Tony Romo." There are other receivers around the league who have played with bad quarterbacks and have still been able to produce.

Even still, it wouldn't be easy to replace Bryant on the offense just like that. Right now, top free agents are already off the market, so if Dallas wants to replace him, it'd have to be via trade or via the NFL Draft.

Jane Slater on Twitter

ICYMI: A few things to consider as we wait on news about Dez Bryant's future with the Dallas Cowboys

Right now, it seems that Dez is going to remain a Dallas Cowboy and after seeing the contracts other receivers in the league are about to get, who knows if a pay cut will even enter the equation.

Even if Dez keeps wearing the Star every week next season, wide receiver is still one of the team's top needs. Despite the fact that Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten are some very well-known names, the truth is this offense needs a guy who can create separation and be harmful as a deep threat.

This is a draft class with a lot of depth at wide receiver, and the Cowboys could find contributors at the second or later rounds. Even still, if they're on the clock at 19 and Alabama's Calvin Ridley is available, the front office should pull the trigger.

Yes, even if Dez is still on the team.

Despite last year's struggles, we shouldn't lose faith on the Cowboys' offense when it has a lot of talent. We believed in this group to take us to the Super Bowl. What they are missing could just be a new, dynamic wide receiver.

Dallas Cowboys Reportedly Set to Meet with Alabama WR Calvin Ridley 1

Alabama Crimson Tide WR Calvin Ridley (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Calvin Ridley is by far the best WR in the Draft this year and will be an impact player anywhere he goes. Despite a poor showing in the Combine, Ridley proves to be worthy of a first round pick on tape. Ideal route-running, great ability to separate and more than enough speed for the NFL.

This would certainly take a lot of pressure off Cole Beasley's shoulders, who was constantly double-teamed last year. Sure, he's still good, but if he continues to run into double-coverage, Dak Prescott and company will probably continue to struggle another year.

It's tough to imagine Calvin Ridley being available at 19, especially with the Baltimore Ravens holding the 16th overall pick. However, some people believe there's a 50/50 chance he's available once Dallas is on the clock. If that's the case, the Cowboys shouldn't pass on this prospect.

Ridley could very well end up being the most productive receiver for the Cowboys in 2018 becoming an essential "best friend" for Dak Prescott.

We've seen how other front offices have made friendly offenses for their young QBs and if Calvin Ridley is what it takes, why even think about it?

Tell me what you think about "Keeping Dez Bryant Shouldn’t Stop Cowboys From Drafting Calvin Ridley" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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