By Zach Walker
The Cowboys made the playoffs last season. The tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott got their first postseason taste of victory. Then the Cowboys ran into the Los Angeles Rams. I, like most, assumed that the linebacking depth that the Cowboys have could have kept Todd Gurley in check and force Jared Goff to beat them through the air. Not only did the Cowboys fail to contain Todd Gurley, they allowed a second one hundred yard rusher in the game, CJ Anderson. Despite, the loss in the playoffs, this team isn’t in desperate need for a bunch of pricey saviors to roll in. And, as we’ve all been reprogrammed to match the current direction of the Cowboys, we didn’t go out and cannonball into the free agent pool. We took care of our own heater, wrapped up that Tank with a good contract, and headed into the draft without a first rounder, having sent it to the Raiders for Amari Cooper.
So, the Cowboys start the draft on day two. How did things go?
58th Pick – UCF DT Trysten Hill. Probably the Cowboys’ most glaring need was the defensive tackle position. Hill wasn’t thought particularly highly of pre-draft, but that’s likely because of the conference and school. Hill snaps off the ball really well for a three bill man. He’s got a compact frame that works to his advantage if he’s placed along a four man front. This should be a really solid move, even if the stats don’t show up, he’s going to have that presence around the ball.
90th Pick – Penn State OL Conner McGovern. You think you know what the Cowboys are gonna do? Expecting a Zag after a zig? The Cowboys are liable for a Ziz in that situation. This is a long con move. The Cowboys not-so subtly step away from La’el Collins with the selection of McGovern. Conner Williams will eventually move to right tackle, and Conner McGovern will get the chance at left guard. It’s a move, for sure, and a bold move, but the logic is sound. He’s got position flex too, at guard and center. He’s a heads-up player.
128th Pick – Memphis RB Tony Pollard. There’s been a need for the Cowboys to have a talented second option at the running back since they realized what they had in Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard is a Swiss-Army Knife back. He is a decent runner of the football, and that’s really taking away from him, but I discount his ground work because of what he does through the air. He’s a major threat through the air, I’m talking a James White for the Patriots starter kit. He also has great ability in the return game. This is likely a double value pick because of his return game.
158th Pick – Miami CB Michael Jackson. Things are starting to get really good. Great value from the fifth round. Jackson has potential position flex being that he’s taller than six foot with a decent buildable frame. He really doesn’t shy away from getting his shoulder pads scuffed in the physical game. He can be a little handsy when the receiver starts to peel away a bit, but that really can be said of any corner. He should get reps within the Cowboys rotation of corners.
165th Pick – Miami DE Joe Jackson. I wanted Jackson, I got Jackson. I’m very excited about this pick (ask co-workers when the news of this pick, I exploded). Ideal size, good strength, enough moves. This last season, even though there were other threats along the Miami front, Joe Jackson was the one to reroute power to the shields over. When Rod Marinelli gets to really work this player out, this could be a serious steal.
213th Pick – Texas A&M S Donovan Wilson. A fifth year senior due to injury in 2017. Wilson had an incredible sophomore season sixty plus tackle season coupled to five interceptions and three forced fumbles. To be transparent, I don’t watch A&M games, so I know really nothing about Wilson. Sorry. I hope he’ll be good. He’ll be good…
218th Pick – Ohio State RB Mike Weber. Weber is a running back that has a serious amount of thread on the tires. He’s played in 38 games at Ohio State, and only three times did he get more than twenty carries in a game. That’s great management of players by the Buckeyes’ coaching staff. His average per carry numbers are excellent. He’s got a solid build and should be a great final rounding out of the running back’s stable.
241st Pick – Oregon DE Jalen Jelks. This is pick made with gold in the eyes. If we’re going frame off, Jelks would be a MUCH higher draft pick. He’s got the prototypical build of a serious edge rusher, he has the motor to chase down the action like a linebacker, he has the bull rush ability, but once he’s been gotten he’s had. He cannot shed blockers once they have the hands on him. If Marinelli can teach Jelks how to disengage and reinstall, Jelks can put his size to best NFL use.
Overall Grade: Incomplete
Every year, same grade. We know nothing. It’s all on the players. Our pieces seem to be complimentary pieces and depth players used to round out the roster. Starter probability is pretty low for year one. Hill and the Jacksons should get some reps through the regular season. McGovern could probably be counted on to get a game during the season to get some wear on the tires. The two running backs will duke it out for the scrapes left behind by Zeke Elliott. Wilson and Jelks are my two question marks from this draft pool, but I really like the defensive help that was brought in. McGovern is probably the ace up the sleeve for this group, and that’s a good thing. Solid Dallas weekend.