Brought to you by: Big Shucks
By Zach Walker
And if a flurry of fanfare, television exposure, and hype, the NFL Draft came and left Dallas. Big time draft with solid drama throughout its three day run. And for the hosting Dallas Cowboys, this draft was big, made bigger and needed to be top-to-bottom a success. It was. Despite the MASSIVE curveball mid draft weekend, the Cowboys stuck to their guns, didn’t panic and continued to remind me that things aren’t what they used to be, run with emotion and crotch first thinking. They showed they have the brains to be successful.
The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant two weeks ago, and on Friday, April 27, they learned that they’d lose another weapon, this being the retirement of Jason Witten to get his Romo-blazer on and take the open spot on the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast. Me speaking totally personally, I’ve never seen a winner. The Cowboys have done nothing during my cognitive life, they were done winning Super Bowls when I was about to turn three years old. My biggest years of this team were the Romo and Jason Witten era, and to know that I’m in line to continue to enjoy football through those guys’ commentary, to be honest, is as good as it gets. However, with the holes opened up by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, it’d have been real easy to fire from the hip and try and appease the masses with an instant jersey player in form of a shiny pass catcher. The Cowboys had a terrific draft, here’s what they netted:
First Round: LB Leighton Vander Esch – Boise State. The Cowboys needed to come away from this draft with a minimum of a pair of linebackers, one of them being a premium selection. I’m watching Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin egg on the crowd chanting for another wide receiver and hoping they don’t take the bait, because every receiver was there on the board. The Cowboys played it smart and invested in their most critical of positions, linebacker. Vander Esch has only a single season of production out there to study on, but he took his opportunity and housed it. He’s a BIG linebacker, old-school stout. Six foot four and two hundred and forty pounds pre-NFL weight room, which makes him bigger than what DeMarcus Lawrence was when he was drafted. Vander Esch needs to be handcuffed to Sean Lee, and team him with an improving health Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have a solid footing for the future.
Second Round: OL Conner Williams – Texas. It’d have been Dallas Goedert, and don’t even try and explain to me otherwise, best d!ck move in the draft by far, great job Philadelphia. I’m a fan of getting stronger at your strengths, and adding what a TON of people considered the top tackle in the draft, Williams slides to the Cowboys at 50, giving position flex for both him and La’el Collins to plug the better one at either left guard or right tackle, and having depth on a line that got pretty thin last season. Killer pick, absolute home run.
Third Round: WR Michael Gallup – Colorado State. I went and looked up highlights of Gallup, and I have to say, they were pretty excellent. Gallup looks like he catches a ball better when there’s a little mustard on it, or when he’s in a fight for the possession, as if he’s rubbing some extra drama on the play, but he’s coming up from these battles with the smile and the ball. Slight bit of irony with Gallup, having that name, and having seemingly his biggest question mark be his ability to separate with speed, but really a productive receiver through two seasons at Colorado State.
Fourth Round: DE Dorance Armstrong – Kansas. At the beginning of the 2017 football season, Dorance Armstrong was a first round pick, I remember it vividly. His 2016 was explosive, even made our pick Conner Williams look pretty poor, but teams weren’t having an encore in 2017, making sure to have a hat and a pair of hands on him at all times, and his production dropped. Most are saying that he projected to be a better stand-up 3-4 pass rusher, but the Cowboys are trying to make another DeMarcus Lawrence out of him. For the potential, it’s a good pick.
TE Dalton Schultz – Stanford. RAIN CLOUD! One does not simply replace Jason Witten. So, this isn’t the replacement, this is the newest tight end that the Cowboys selected. Feel good in the fact that David Shaw and Stanford have put quality tight ends in the league for a while now (Zach Ertz, Coby Fleener, Austin Hooper, Levine Toilolo). Schultz has ideal size, and at Stanford, tight ends block, as in actually block.
Fifth Round: QB Mike White – Western Kentucky. Interesting. Maybe not, but intriguing. The word is competition, so Mike White is brought in to push Cooper Rush, who pushes Dak Prescott. Good. Warm air down the back of the neck of Prescott doesn’t hurt. A bit of a waste of a pick in my eyes though. Did the Cowboys really have to draft a quarterback to create the competition? Seems frivolous to me.
Sixth Round: LB Chris Covington – Indiana. I’m not too familiar with Covington, though I understand that like Vander Esch, he had a very solid season this past year, and like I said, this team needed a two linebacker draft, and they delivered.
WR Cedrick Wilson – Boise State. Wilson is basically the same as Michael Gallup, they both had two very productive seasons after transferring from junior college, but Wilson played on blue turf and Gallup did not.
VIA TRADE – WR Tavon Austin – Los Angeles Rams. Oh I like this move. A real return specialist, and someone to mop up those ridiculous wide receiver end-arounds that Garrett likes. But for the return game solely, this is an excellent use of a sixth round pick.
Seventh Round: RB Bo Scarbrough – Alabama. I figured he had already been picked up, I went back to work and paid really no mind to the seventh round. Then find out that we actually grabbed Bo Scarbrough. I was happy. Very happy. Scarbrough is a role player, he’s played his role to the letter at Alabama, and now he gets to backfield buddy up to Ezekiel Elliott, maybe grab a series, some short yardage packages. Amped about Big Bo joining the Cowboys running back’s room.
On the Ryan Switzer for Jihad Ward trade. We had no room for Switzer following the Tavon Austin trade, and drafting two wide receivers, and bringing in Allen Hurns, so why not give Rod Marinelli the chance to put the former second round pick back together in Jihad Ward, who never lived up to the billing after being over-drafted in the second. What’s the harm? Win-win for both teams.
Overall Draft Grade: B/Incomplete. A letter grade of B for the Tavon Austin for return guy trade, and incomplete for the rest, because none of them have played in the NFL yet.