Connect with us

NFL Draft

Top 10 Draft Prospects for Cowboys

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - Top 10 Draft Prospects for Cowboys 4

You're going to hear a lot of talk about "big boards" over the next five-and-a-half weeks until the NFL Draft. In case you don't know, someone's big board is their ranking of the eligible college players. Whether it's the national pundits like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay or each individual team, everyone has their own list of players ranked by their perceived quality and pro potential.

With the Cowboys having the fourth-overall pick you can narrow the field somewhat among the draft's elite prospects. Even if they trade down I can't imagine Dallas dropping lower than tenth, still needing some significant talent upgrades at several positions. So, with the assumption that they will select somewhere in the draft's first ten picks, here are my Top 10 prospects for the Cowboys.

1. Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida St.

Cowboys Blog - Rumor Mill: Jalen Ramsey #1 On Dallas Cowboys Draft Board 1Regardless of who else is available I think the Cowboys have to take Ramsey if they get the chance. Not only does he have the look of an elite player but plays a position that Dallas needs help with now and especially next year.

Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox could all be free agents next year. Not only does Ramsey help you with future roster needs but he may be immediately better than at least a few of these players, if not all of them. His versatility to play corner or safety pairs wonderfully with Byron Jones, allowing Dallas to play them at whatever position suits them best and not be forced by need.

Dallas fans may be nervous about taking a defensive back early given recent history with Claiborne and even going back to Terence Newman. Claiborne has been very disappointing and Newman, while a solid longtime veteran, never lived up to being a fifth-overall pick. However, other highly-drafted secondary players such as Patrick Peterson, Eric Berry, and Joe Haden have all proven true to their hype.

2. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio St.

The Cowboys are going to need help at defensive end and Bosa is the best prospect of the class. I don't think he's the next J.J. Watt as some do but I think he'd be a Day One starter and a stalwart on your defensive line for ten years.

Draft Blog - Cowboys Draft: Why I've Changed my Mind on Joey Bosa 1Sometimes you can't get too caught up in where you're drafting. I don't love Bosa as a top-five pick but I would be more than happy if the Cowboys were taking him in the 10-12 range. They likely couldn't trade down to there and still get him, so at a certain point you just have to suck it up and take the guy when you're on the clock.

While you never want to reach on a player out of need, many would argue that Bosa going fourth overall is no reach. He is currently Scout Inc's top-rated prospect at any position and is in the top five on most boards. He has his doubters, but at this stage in the game many of the top prospects start getting picked apart after months of scrutiny.

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio St.

I am on the record as saying I don't like the idea of spending such a high pick on a running back. We got a 1,000-yard season out of a scrap heap free agent in Darren McFadden last year and saw DeMarco Murray, a former third-round pick, break Emmitt Smith's single-season record in 2014. Dallas has built an offensive line that get production out of just anyone that isn't mentally disturbed.

That said, Elliott looks like a truly special player. He has dominated his position both on the field and at the combine. You could take him now and, conceivably, not worry about running back for at least the next four years. Some say he's the best overall talent in the entire draft.

4. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

Cowboys Headlines - Top 10 Draft Prospects for Cowboys 1Some will say this is too low for Jack but I'm considering team need in this ranking. Dallas has their top two linebackers set with Sean Lee and Rolando McClain. Remember, the Cowboys play a lot of nickel so they tend to have just two linebackers on the field more often than three.

The case for taking Jack would be mostly his potential to replace McClain next year and the health concerns with both McClain and Lee. Jack would be an immediate upgrade over Dallas' other players at the position. Jack is especially attractive for our defense given his abilities in pass coverage, which Rod Marinelli asks plenty of from his linebackers.

Though not the most immediate need, Jack's talent is considerable and he could become a superstar in this scheme. There is the red flag of his knee injury last year but that hasn't stopped anyone from projecting him as a top-five prospect.

5. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

I wrote a full article about what Dallas should consider if Tunsil were to fall them at number four. To summarize, I think the Cowboys could take him and not feel bad about loading up their offensive line. He should be an immediate upgrade over Doug Free and would give them total stability on the offensive line for at least the next four or five years.

In all likelihood, Dallas would use Tunsil's availability as a lure to find a trade partner and get some extra picks. However, if they ultimately chose to take him, there are plenty of good reasons to do so. Check out the full article for more.

6. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida

Cowboys Headlines - Top 10 Draft Prospects for CowboysWhile some wouldn't like Hargreaves as a top-five pick I think he fits our defense very well. His detractors tend to focus on his size but he's not any smaller than Ronde Barber was, who might have been the best corner to ever play in this Cover 2 scheme. Hargreaves is also much quicker than Barber was, giving him potential to get a break on balls when playing out of the zone.

There is still high potential that Dallas will cut Brandon Carr after the draft for cap savings, which would leave them with just Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick as proven players if they decide to keep Byron Jones at safety. That creates a clear need for a corner and Hargreaves should be able to contribute immediately.

7. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota St.

The consensus on the draft's top two quarterbacks is that Wentz has the most upside but that Jared Goff is more ready to play right now. Since the Cowboys still have at least a year or two of Tony Romo then they should obviously go with the upside pick.

Only the Cowboys know how much longer they really expect Romo to last.  Jerry Jones says one thing but that's all about public relations. Hoping that Romo can play another three or four years is great but so far his body doesn't appear able to hold up to that. I think two more years of Romo is more likely as he can be released in 2018 for $16 million in cap savings.

Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Draft: Carson Wentz Film ReviewI'm not in love with spending this pick on a player who isn't sure to help you immediately, given that Dallas is trying to win now with Romo and their other veteran leaders. However, you can't deny that this is a rare opportunity to snag a quiarterback with Wentz's potential. Like I said with Bosa, sometimes you just have to take the hand you've been dealt in terms of draft positioning and focus on talent acquisition. Wentz solves your backup quarterback issues immediately and takes quarterback out of your scouting process for the next several years. That kind of security is not a bad thing.

8. DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon

Dallas could take Buckner and leave themselves with options for next year. He would likely start at defensive end but they could move him inside and play Tyrone Crawford outside. If they can't get Joey Bosa then the Cowboys may have to make this move just to cover their bases at defensive line next year.

Listed at 291 pounds, Buckner may sound more like a tackle. You have to keep in mind that he's 6'7" and is leaner than that weight normally indicates. You might compare him to Julius Peppers and Mario Williams, similarly tall and large players who've played as outside rushers. Buckner didn't run as fast a 40-yard dash as them but top speed isn't as important as the ability to get off blocks, which Buckner does very well for his size.

9. Leonard Floyd, DE/OLB, GeorgiaCowboys Headlines - Top 10 Draft Prospects for Cowboys 2

Cowboys Headlines - Top 10 Draft Prospects for Cowboys 3He's considered more of a 3-4 outside linebacker but is an exceptional enough pass rusher to work in any scheme. Floyd's talent and potential are very comparable to Randy Gregory's last year, just without the personal baggage that pushed Gregory to the second round.

If taken, Floyd could potentially play as the Sam linebacker in the base defense and then move down to be an edge rusher in the nickel scheme. Like Gregory, he will need to focus on adding weight and developing his body to become a full-time defensive end. One of the fast risers in terms of draft stock right now, Floyd is emerging as a consensus top-ten talent and would help the Cowboys with their biggest need.

10. Jared Goff, QB, California

Let's pretend the Cowboys traded down and then didn't land any of the aforementioned players. If Goff's available then they might trade down again, but you could apply everything I said about Wentz here. Goff is still a top prospect and a worthy option as Romo's future replacement.



Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Advertisement
9 Comments
  • Bryson Treece

    I guess it's pretty clear you're not for QB at #4. But it's a good list. The way the Cowboys have been drafting lately, whether they go QB, S, DL, et. all in the first, I'm confident it'll be a valuable addition. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack martin, Byron Jones… Dallas has been on a roll with super-productive first round picks lately.

  • Johnathan

    No Shaq Lawson?

  • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin
    Bryson T.

    I guess it's pretty clear you're not for QB at #4. But it's a good list. The way the Cowboys have been drafting lately, whether they go QB, S, DL, et. all in the first, I'm confident it'll be a valuable addition. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack martin, Byron Jones… Dallas has been on a roll with super-productive first round picks lately.

    Agreed, which is why they key this year will be to make sure they also hit on the 34th pick and beyond. I'm confident their second round pick will make a very big impact. Guys like Josh Doctston, William Jackson III, Andrew Billings, and Ronald Blair would all be great to get. Then we all already know who I want in the third or fourth round – Devontae Booker.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie
    Bryson T.

    I guess it's pretty clear you're not for QB at #4.

    You are correct. I would much rather they add talent to help this year's team maximize its potential. We can worry about Romo's heir next year, and hopefully with a stronger class than what this draft offers. There's part of me worried that Wentz and Goff are both overrated because they're the best of a weak bunch.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie
    InsideTheStar.com User

    No Shaq Lawson?

    Lawson was going to be one of the next names listed if I'd kept going. I debated between him and Floyd for that 9th spot but ultimately felt Floyd was the more intriguing prospect and liked his DE/OLB versatility for our current needs.

  • http://www.pigskinhub.com/forum/index.php?forums/dallas-cowboys/ Jess Haynie
    Sean Martin

    Guys like Josh Doctston, William Jackson III, Andrew Billings, and Ronald Blair would all be great to get.

    I'll have to remember those names when I start profiling 2nd Round possibilities. I'm going to start with Kevin Dodd this week.

  • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

    If Dodd is there at 34, they'll definitely give him strong consideration

  • http://PigskinHub.com Zac Fields

    To be honest, I've softened on the non-QB draft prospects in a huge way as we've gotten closer and closer to the draft.

    • I don't like Joey Bosa. I don't think he's a generational talent. Maybe I'm wrong, but after watching his tape and watching the combine, I don't see a 12+ sack guy in Bosa.
    • Jalen Ramsey is definitely interesting, but I've even got doubts about him. He had zero interceptions last year. It is extremely rare for a guy to have zero picks and then be regarded as a top 10 draft pick, and I worry that he's being given too much credit for his athleticism. I LOVE athletic, fast guys but at #4 I want to know this guy is the next coming of Patrick Peterson. When a guy floats around from corner to safety in college, that tells me he's dynamic but it also makes me worry that he didn't have one of those positions on lock-down enough that they wouldn't want to move him. The lack of turnovers is a red flag, though. How big of a red flag is dependent on your perspective.
    • Deforest Buckner is just not a good fit, here. I like him more than Bosa, but I like him more as a 3-4 DE than a 4-3 DE. I really think he would have to be a 3-tech DT, and we've got one of those.
    • I have no questions about Ezekiel Elliot and would love for them to draft him, but I don't know if they'd pull the trigger at #4. I get the impression that RB is not a position they're prepared to invest that kind of money into.

    The more I soften on these other guys, the more sense it makes (to me) to draft Wentz or Goff. I'm starting to believe that this is the perfect year to either strike on Elliot or Wentz/Goff. Even if you have to trade back or something, This year's talent at the top just suggests it's a great opportunity to take a shot.

  • http://wmscradio.com/show/upon-further-review/ Sean Martin

    Byron Jones didn't have an INT for Dallas this year but everyone was thrilled with the performance they got out of him. Just a thought on the Ramsey analysis. Rest of this is spot on

Dallas Cowboys

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Have the Dallas Cowboys Overcome Their 2nd-Round Curse?

You may not be aware or maybe you've simply forgotten, but the Dallas Cowboys have struggled drafting players in the 2nd-round who can come in and contribute. Typically players drafted this highly are not only immediate contributors as a rookie, but are cornerstone players for years to come. That hasn't been the case for the Cowboys.

I don't know where you stand, but I was beginning to think the Dallas Cowboys were cursed with their 2nd-round draft picks. I know this was an area where they would gamble on players for some reason or another, but unfortunately it never really paid off. Hopefully, things are changing for the better.

Let's take a look back at past drafts to see what I'm talking about.

Past 2nd-Round Draft Picks Dating Back to 2006:

2018 Connor Williams
2017 Chidobe Awuzie
2016 Jaylon Smith
2015 Randy Gregory
2014 DeMarcus Lawrence
2013 Gavin Escobar
2012 (no selection) used to trade for Morris Claiborne
2011 Bruce Carter
2010 Sean Lee
2009 (no selection) traded out of 2nd-round
2008 Martellus Bennett
2007 (no selection) used to trade back into 1st for Anthony Spencer
2006 Anthony Fasano

You may be wondering why I decided to start all the way back in 2006. Well, I believe that's when the 2nd-round draft picks curse started for the Dallas Cowboys.

Anthony Fasano ended up having a solid career in the NFL, but he never lived up to his draft status as a former 2nd-round draft pick. The same can be said for Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar, and Bruce Carter. Shed a tear for them if you want, but I'd put them in the "bust" category.

Sean Lee

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee

The sad truth is, Sean Lee is the only 2nd-round draft pick on this list to ever see a second contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Although, I guess you can include DeMarcus Lawrence since he will be playing under the franchise tag in 2018. But, that's still not a very good hit percentage in the 2nd-round for more than a decade. Luckily, it looks as if things are changing.

DeMarcus Lawrence might end up being another "hit" for the Cowboys. It may have taken him four years to reach his potential, but there's no denying how dominant he was last season. If he can maintain that dominance this season, he could be looking at a big payday from the Cowboys.

The Dallas Cowboys took a risk on the next two players they drafted after D-Law. They knew Randy Gregory had his off the field issues, but were willing to take a chance on his talent in the 2nd-round. That has yet to pay off, but Gregory has a chance to rebound now that it looks as if he has his life back in order.

Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

The Cowboys took another risk in the following draft when they drafted Jaylon Smith. No one knew if he would ever be able to play again after the devastating knee injury he sustained in his final collegiate game, but it's looking as if he could make a full recovery and return to his pre-injury form. Year 3 will be big for him, but he could end up being an absolute steal.

Fortunately, the Cowboys 2017 and 2018 2nd-round draft picks (Chidobe Awuzie and Connor Williams) look to be cornerstone players for years to come. That's what you're looking for in players drafted this highly.

I say all of this because it's really looking like the Dallas Cowboys have finally broken their 2nd-round curse. Maybe it's a change in draft philosophy or maybe it's because Will McClay's voice carries more weight in the draft room, but it's definitely good news for the future of the franchise. Hopefully it continues.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys 2nd-round curse has ended?



Continue Reading

NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft Class: How Many Will Be Starters In 2018?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have been showered with praise by most national NFL media outlets for their 2018 NFL Draft class. NFL.com graded the Cowboys as having the 2nd best class in the league, and most other analysts have agreed that the team had a strong showing.

But now, of course, it's time to see what these new players will actually do on the field. Some are hoping the team found 3-5 new starters for the 2018 roster, but history would suggest that is pretty rare.

Dallas' 2016 draft class has been lauded as one of the best in the last decade, especially considering they look to have found their franchise quarterback in round four. That strong class only features four full-time starters heading into 2018, but we have to wonder if that's the outlier and not the norm.

Still, as we look back and examine this 2018 draft class it really appears they have found three day one starters in the first three rounds.

First round pick Leighton Vander Esch is expected to be the starting MIKE linebacker this season, with former second round selection Jaylon Smith moving to SAM. Vander Esch wasn't my favorite option at 19, but he is certainly starter-worthy in this Cowboys LB corps.

On day two the Cowboys added OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup, two of my personal favorite picks of their entire class. Williams should be the starting LG week 1 of the season, and Michael Gallup may overtake Allen Hurns as the most productive WR on the roster by year's end.

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: DUPLICATE***Colorado State Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup (4) picks up a few yards after catch as Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Isaiah Oliver (26) comes in for the tackle during the first quarter on September 1, 2017 in Denver, Colorado at Sports Authority Field. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What about the rest of the class?

Dorance Armstrong will probably have too much competition to start at defensive end this season, but he should be an interesting rotational pass rusher. TE Dalton Schultz has the chance to surprise some people, but overtaking Geoff Swaim as the "starter" would be unexpected.

After that, the player with the best chance to make the team and contribute early on might be Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson. Wilson was a late day-two, early day-three pick to me so snagging him in the sixth round should provide incredible value to this roster. That wide out room is getting very crowded, though, so Wilson has his work cut out for him heading into camp.

How many of the Cowboys' 2018 draft picks will be starters in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.



Continue Reading

NFL Draft

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?

One of the many winners of the 2018 NFL Draft were, without a doubt, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only did they addressed some of the team's most pressing needs, but they managed to draft very talented, capable players beyond the first round.

Cowboys Nation had to feel better about the rookie class the front office walked away with, specially after the second day of the Draft. Just like last year, they managed to find steals in the second and third rounds. In 2017, they did so with Cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Now, they stayed put at their original picks and walked away with OL Connor Williams and WR Michael Gallup.

But first things first. In the eyes of many, Leighton Vander Esch wasn't worth the 19th overall pick. While I do agree that Vander Esch was a questionable selection, the Cowboys fixed arguably their most concerning position of all. As much as it pains to admit it, Sean Lee has yet to play an entire NFL season and Jaylon Smith was pretty much the only other capable starter on the roster.

Cowboys en Español: Dallas Selecciona a Vander Esch, ¿Quién Sigue?

Although Vander Esch needs to develop a ton before reaching his full potential. he's a week 1 starter and an early contributor for this defense. Whether it felt like a "reach" or not, the Cowboys took a starter in the Boise State linebacker.

Later, the Cowboys managed to add an arguably first-round talent with pick #50 to plug-and-play along the offensive line. Texas OL Connor Williams was also seen as a tackle prospect, but he'll likely start at guard for Dallas as a rookie.

Since Ron Leary left for Denver, the left guard spot hasn't been as stable. Jonathan Cooper did a decent job filling that spot, but with Williams taking his place, the Cowboys dominance in the trenches will finally return. Playing next to All-Pros Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, Connor Williams might become the best rookie in this class for the Cowboys.

One can't simply say the team found a "replacement" for Dez Bryant since he's a special player and with a very specific skill set, but Michael Gallup from Colorado State has the potential to become the team's WR1 pretty soon.

In the team's effort to build a Dak-friendly offense, Gallup is a crafty and smooth route-runner who has what it takes to play in any spot of the offense. His skill-set will allow him to play anywhere on the field and become Dak's favorite target in a year in which Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will no longer be lining up on his squad.

Taken in the first three rounds, Vander Esch, Williams and Gallup will be unquestionable starters. The question, however, is who else could become a starter for the Cowboys? Who could line up and start in week 1?

Dallas Cowboys Add Depth on Day 3, Building Future with Young Starters 1

Even though it definitely isn't as certain as the other three rookies, I'm betting on Dalton Schultz to be a more important starter than we imagine. Listen, maybe it's not an ideal scenario to have the TE from Stanford start in week 1, but it could be necessary.

The Rico Gathers Adventure might just be over before it starts and Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin may not be anything special. In college, Schultz was pretty good at run blocking. In the Cowboys' offense, led by one of the best running backs in the league, Ezekiel Elliott, Schultz may be able to find success earlier than expected.

Besides, he has what it takes to catch passes in the NFL and although he certainly won't be the flashiest, he could be enough to give Dak Prescott a reliable tight end.

Dalton Schultz could be the surprise of this Draft for Dallas. He'll probably become a starter at some point in the season and for a fourth-round pick, that's a very good thing to say.

For a front office that's constantly bashed by Cowboys Nation, their job at this year's NFL Draft was a pretty good one. Now it's just a matter of time to find out which picks were as good as we originally thought.

Tell me what you think about "Did the Dallas Cowboys Find 4 Starters in the 2018 NFL Draft?" 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!



Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).




Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending