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 Dallas Cowboys Draft Review


Team Needs: RB, CB, DL


Selections:


Rd 1. 4 Ezekial Elliott Ohio State

Rd 2. 34 Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame

Rd 3. 67 Maliek Collins DT Nebraska

Rd 4. 101 Charles Tapper DE Oklahoma

Rd 4. 135 Dak Prescott QB Mississippi State

Rd 6. 189 Anthony Brown CB Purdue

Rd 6. 212 Kavon Brown SS Central Michigan

Rd 6. 216 Darius Jackson RB Eastern Michigan

Rd 6. 217 Rico Gathers TE Baylor


Recap:

2016 might best be remembered by draft analysts as the year that Jerry Jones was no longer unwilling to listen to other members of the organization in the draft room. Picking early in each round the Cowboys managed to come out of this draft with two impact players and some depth at various positions. Ezekial Elliott was the best pick the Cowboys could have made for 2016. Dallas was only an effective running game away from being a much better team last year and Elliott should solve that problem. In the second round Dallas took Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, my highest rated player - injuries aside. Smith might not play in 2016 but he should play, and play well, for the Cowboys for a decade following that. Maliek Collins gives the team a big body to develop at nose tackle. Charles Tapper further adds to their defensive line depth at end. Both players are the type of defensive linemen that the team will need to keep people off of Jaylon Smith in the future. Dak Prescott was a pretty nice score in the late 4th. He has a unique skill set but needs some time to develop outside of the spread system he ran in college. Dallas will develop him for a few seasons before Tony Romo retires - and as an added bonus he’ll probably get a few starts in each season when Romo gets hurt. Anthony Brown will have a chance to earn a roster spot on the cornerback starved Cowboys. He was one of the fastest cornerbacks drafted at the combine. Kavon Brown is, at best, an in the box safety and special teams stalwart. He’s a curious choice but he does play with a tone setting physicality. Darius Jackson will have a hard time finding a roster spot with Elliott also being drafted. He’s a very good athlete but it doesn’t show on tape as he is very slow to react. Rico Gathers is a converted basketball player with very little playing experience. He’ll need a year on the practice squad and then another year learning from Jason Witten before he is ready to play. Should he develop fully, look out. He’s an athlete.

Analysis:

  1. 2016 will be remembered, in part, as the year Jerry Jones conceded some authority with the Cowboys draft board. Jones stated that he wanted to deal up for Paxton Lynch but that his son did not. Instead the Cowboys stayed put and selected Jaylon Smith - a much more talented player than Paxton Lynch.

  2. Ezekial Elliott was a must have for the Cowboys. Elliott is the one player in this draft that should be able to solidify the one position that can put the Cowboys back in the playoff hunt. Fourth overall seems too high for a running back, given the recent draft trends, but this was a situation where need and value matched up pretty well. (If it hadn’t, Dallas still would have taken Elliott because the need was that much more important to them.)

  3. This could be a perfect scenario for Dak Prescott. He’s got a former quarterback as his head coach, no pressure to play for at least two years, and time to learn the offense before he has to play. I never bought Prescott as a second round draft choice, precisely because the investment was too high for a player that needs a lot of development (teams just don’t have the time to wait any more.) With patience and sincere guidance Prescott could replace Romo in 2018 or 2019.

Grade: B+


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