In an effort to defend the first round selection of Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, Cowboys’ Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones mentioned that there was only one first round-grade remaining on their draft board when they were on the clock.
With this in mind, the selection of a player with a second round grade made more sense for the Cowboys. The question then became, however, who that remaining first round player was.
Of course, we speculated that it might have been Washington cornerback Kevin King, as it had been reported the Cowboys front office was quite high on the athletic defensive back. Yesterday, however, DallasCowboys.com’s Bryan Broaddus confirmed on The Draft Show that it was actually the now Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook with the final first round grade on the Cowboys board.
Considering that Dallas spent a first round pick, and a top five one at that, on running back Ezekiel Elliott a year ago, they clearly were not going to take another back early in this year’s draft.
So, instead, they looked to the next slot on their board, and took their best remaining defensive end. And it’s hard to be too mad at them for that, as long as they are in fact telling the truth about where Taco was on their board.
There has been some speculation that the scouts, who are paid to work almost year round on building the draft board and scouting college players, valued other remaining edge rushers like TJ Watt much more than they did Taco Charlton.
It was apparently the coaching staff, and specifically head coach Jason Garrett, who banged the table for the big school, full time college end instead of the outside linebacker projection-type player.
This speaks to the Cowboys philosophy on their entire draft class. Instead of making projections on players, looking at what they could potentially turn a player into, they decided to take guys who they have already seen do “it” in college.
They’ve seen Ryan Switzer play in the slot and return kicks. They’ve seen Jourdan Lewis play cornerback all over the field. And, they’ve seen Taco Charlton play defensive end for an entire season.
And while I may be disagree with the direction they went in the first round, the logic at least seems to be sound. Hopefully, Taco Charlton can outplay his projections, and prove the coaching staff right.