DRAFT IN DALLAS

The 2018 Dallas Cowboys draft recap

The Cowboys draft was entertaining. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

With 10 picks, this was a HUGE draft for Dallas. While the departure of Dez Bryant made a lot of people think WR is the position of greatest need, I don’t agree. Here is what I saw as the 5 biggest needs…

Linebacker: Was a need last season, and with Dallas losing two LBs, it becomes the greatest position of need.

Pass rush: Dallas franchise tagged leading pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence and David Irving is also returning on a one year deal. I’m not sure if either of these guys will be around next season as Lawrence is going to command a huge contract if he produces again this year.

Left guard: Kicking La'el Collins out to RT left a huge hole here last year. Dallas picked up Cameron Fleming from the Patriots but that might not be enough. Dak Prescott needs all the time he can get.

Tight end: The Jason Witten situation leaves a big question mark. James Hanna retired.

Wide Receiver: Although Bryant is gone, I don’t see this as a HUGE need.

AND HERE… WE… GO…

Round 1, Pick 19

LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH - LB - Boise St.

If you listen to the right people in Dallas (@BryanBroaddus, @HelmanDC, @Birddog26, & @dpbrugler) you saw this coming.  LVE brings what this organization loves, VERSATILITY. Big dude who always knows where the ball is. Biggest knock is that he only started one year. If he can ball, and it looks like he can, I am good. Let Sean Lee coach him up and put him in between Jaylon Smith and Lee.  

Round 2, Pick 50

CONNOR WILLIAMS - OL - Texas

How Williams dropped this far I have no idea but I’M HAPPY HE DID because it looks like they found their LG. The game against the Falcons last year informed this pick. “The Great OLine of Dallas” looked more like a flatline last year. This could be the LG they have been looking for with Ron Leary leaving and Doug Free retiring, leaving huge holes… and it showed.  After Tyron Smith got injured it was over. Putting Zeke behind a line that added Williams with a healthy  Smith, Zach Martin, Travis Fredrick, and Collins could MOGA (MAKE OLINE GREAT AGAIN)!

Round 3, Pick 81

MICHAEL GALLUP - WR - Colorado St.

Stephen Jones said before the draft that they want competition with the wide receivers in camp.  How do you do that…. GET ALL THE WIDE RECEIVERS (sans Dez). NFL is going spread offense and Gallup is a good fit for it.  Physical receiver who can play X or Y ( there’s that whole versatility thing again). Good target for Dak.

TRADE

Cowboys give up 6th round pick # 192 for TAVON AUSTIN of the LA Rams… Remember, GET ALL THE WIDE RECEIVERS!

Round 4, Pick 116

DORANCE ARMSTRONG JR. - EDGE - Kansas  

Dallas almost traded up into the 3rd round to grab him but instead waited and he landed right to them. Adding him to DLaw and Irving is going to made this pass rush legit.  

Round 4, Pick 137

DALTON SCHULTZ - TE - Standford  

GREAT TE for this offense. Dallas needs a solid blocking TE who can also catch. Great replacement for the departing Hanna… and possibly Witten.

Round 5, Pick 171

MIKE WHITE - QB - Western Kentucky

White becomes only the sixth QB drafted by the Cowboys since Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989. I remember Bryan Broaddus touting White as only slightly different from the top QBs in this draft. Looks like Dallas will carry three QBs, which I think is a good thing.

TRADE

Cowboys give up Wide Receiver Ryan Switzer for Oakland Raider DT Jihad Ward.  Dallas still wants ALL THE WIDE RECEIVERS, just not the ones named Dez or Switzer.

Round 6, Pick 193

CHRIS COVINGTON - LB - Indiana

Competitive guy. Speed guy. Possible special teams guy too.  

Round 6, Pick 208

CEDRICK WILSON - WR - Boise

GET ALL THE WIDE RECEIVERS!  (And Boise St players)

Round 7, Pick 236

BO SCARBROUGH - RB - Alabama

How did he get all the way down here? Don’t care! Put him behind Zeke and freaking RUN THE HOG!

WRAP IT UP

I can’t remember the last time I was this positive about a Cowboys draft.  ON PAPER this was the draft Dallas needed. The biggest complaint you’ll hear from people is that they did not draft a safety.  Meh… There are still UDFAs and FAs out there. Bottom line is that the Cowboys stuck to their board, and many of their picks had higher grades than where they ended up falling draft positions wise.  

Positions of need got addressed, some lower risk chances were taken, WIDE RECEIVERS happened, and they even scooped a QB so ESPN can talk quarterback controversy in Dallas for the next year…

The NFL is moving to the RPO, and in my opinion, this draft reflects that Dallas recognizes it and is moving that way too. Lots of speedy versatile physical players.  

 

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It's all about Deshaun. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The Texans moved to 3-7 following their 27-20 win over the Patriots. They are still without a permanent head coach and general manager. There lies the problem, and those problems will be settled this upcoming offseason. The new general manager and head coach will steer this franchise in the direction it needs to go in. Undoubtedly, Deshaun Watson will be at the forefront of what they do. How can he not be? You don't take a job like this with a quarterback like him and not consider him the centerpiece. What else would make one take either of those jobs? The salary cap hell the team is facing? The lack of draft picks coming off a terrible year? The faith ownership has placed in the NFL's version of Littlefinger?

Watson is the lone attraction to the flaming dumpster fire Cal McNair allowed to occur on his watch. If he's not careful, it could get worse and he'll find it hard to recover from. Watson signed an extension that'll keep him in Houston for another four years. He'll still be in his prime (barring any serious, career-threatening injury), and be eligible to hit the market as a free agent before he turns 30. So who do the Texans hire as head coach that can get the most out of Watson? Who can convince him to stay and re-sign after his extension is up?

The main cast of characters will most likely take better jobs. The Jets job is more attractive because of the cap space and draft picks. If the Falcons job opens up, so is it because of Matt Ryan and that offense. What coach/coaches would be interested in taking on this job that would be viable candidates given that the best of the best would take other jobs? Jayson Braddock and I tackled this topic not too long ago on Late Hits. Here are a few guys off the beaten path we felt were contenders:

Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator: Daboll is a guy who, according to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, is openly campaigning for this job. The work he's done with Josh Allen has been remarkable. Allen has gone from a raw prospect with all the physical tools to an MVP candidate. Who wouldn't want a guy like that in Watson's ear guiding him over the foreseeable future?

Greg Roman, Ravens offensive coordinator: Roman has done wonders for Colin Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson. He helped Kaepernick reach a Super Bowl with the 49ers and turned Jackson into last season's league MVP. Given his history with athletic quarterbacks, he should be a natural fit and given full consideration.

Tony Elliott, Clemson offensive coordinator: Here's where it gets interesting. Elliott has been the OC (or co-OC) at Clemson since 2015. He has an established relationship with Watson and a proven track record as a coordinator of high-powered offenses in college. He's the type of hire that won't cost as much as some big names will, but might be able to provide the same spark.

Note that all three of these guys are offensive coaches. I fully understand that the defense is an issue and needs help desperately. I also understand that the previous two coaches were offensive guys as well. But Watson is your franchise quarterback and the most attractive piece in a pile of flaming dung that resides on Kirby. If anyone is going to take this job, it'll be because of number four. I know these aren't the sexy names most folks would want to hear, but these names are more realistic as candidates. None of them has head coaching experience. That fact cheapens their price tag and lends itself to them being long shots. A lot of this depends on the general manager hire. We'll get into that in another articel. For right now, dwell on this and let me know what you think.

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