After some positive feedback for my PACKERS Review I have decided to keep on with these non-grade Draft Review article. But… I will not be doing every NFL team. So if you have a favorite team that you would like me to cover in this series please advise with a note back to the the website. For now I am moving on the team that “thinks” its America’s Team, as proclaimed by their beloved owner.
DALLAS COWBOYS DRAFT
For a change the COWBOYS went with some glamour big names, who can actually play the game when healthy, and many who should make the 2016 roster and help the team. Here’s a critical look at their Draftees.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT/RB/OHIO STATE 6’0/225 4.46/40 10 1/4″ Hands/30 1/4″ Arms
Clearly the best all-around RB in the 2016 Draft. I have no problem drafting a RB this high, despite the TRENT RICHARDSON disaster a few years back. ELLIOTT plays with power and speed. He also does all the extra things a RB has to do in the NFL these days. He has big, soft hands to catch the ball and is a very good blocker, which is a key in protecting TONY ROMO. Urban Meyer stated at the Combine that ELLIOTT’s best qualities are in what he does without the ball in his hands. In the football world that is indeed high praise. The only down side to this pick is the fact that the team had already gone out in VFA and aid a hefty price fro RB/ALFRED MORRIS. This could well mean that DARREN McFADDEN could be trade bait, or a Cap cut casualty after a very productive year for the team this past season.
Pick # 4 GBN Rank: 4 Ourlads: 9
JAYLON SMITH/LB/NOTRE DOME 6’2/223 4.65/40 9 1/2″HANDS/33″Arms
Quite the risky pick early in Round 2, but the upside is huge if he can return to pre-injury form in 2017. Everyone is pretty much conceding 2016 to a medical redshirt season basically, while waiting for nerve regeneration to take place in his knee. The Cowboys team orthopedic specialist performed the surgery and is bullish on SMITH’s eventual recovery. If he makes it back he will be a star in the league, on the Outside, IMO. He will likely get more pub this season than most of the Rookies actually playing. Great young man, great football player. Even Cowboys haters will wish him well. Remember the rankings below take into account the risk associated with his full recovery. Pre-Injury he was in everyone’s Top 5.
Pick # 34 GBN Rank: 37 Ourlads: 80
MALIEK COLLINS/DT/NEBRASKA 6’2/300 4.97/40 33 1/8″Arms/9 1/2″Hands
COLLINS came out early after a mediocre season in 2015. AT his best he’s a gap penetrating interior defender which is what ROD MARINELLI covets. He can push the pocket from the inside and has the pursuit speed to run down plays going outside. A Team Captain and 2-year starter. He was double teamed often in 2015 and he was unable to rise above the extra attention, but is still highly regarded as a potential pro. He has an explosive first step which allows him to shoot gaps in the running game. Some of the Cowboys DL are getting up there in age and his fresh legs will be a welcome addition to their rotation. COWBOYS fans looking to feel good about this pick should go online and locate some 2014 season highlight footage.
Pick # 67 GBN Rank: 72 Ourlads Rank: 107
CHARLES TAPPER/DE/OKLAHOMA 6’3/271 4.59/40 11″Hands/34 3/8″Arms
An exceptional athlete for a guy who spent most of his career with his hand in the ground. For a guy 6’3, he has huge hands and very long arms. His speed is also impressive, matching up well with most of the RB in this Draft. He can get into the backfield as well as drop into coverage. Expect MARINELLI to play with in different packages. He fits the mold of current COWBOYS defender KYLE WILBUR, but comes in as a Rookie with more productive numbers from college. Not an elite pass-rusher, but might have excellent potential to improve that aspect of his game. A very good value for a Saturday Pick.
Pick # 101 GBN Rank: 97 Ourlads Rank: 43
DAK PRESCOTT/QB/MISSISSIPPI STATE 6’2/226 4.78/40 10″Hands/32 1/4″Arms
COWBOYS stated they wanted to find themselves a developmental QB and they did so in DAK. He’s not a finished product, but progressed steadily under DAN MULLINS hands as a Bulldog. He’s a good athlete who can extend plays with his legs and even call his own number to carry the ball. I suspect right now he could be deceived by NFL level defenses with their multiple sub-packages, but at the pace he learned in college he could be ready in 2-3 seasons to take over the reigns. Well worth the chance as a developmental project here in Round 4. Most figured him to be gone by this Pick.
Pick # 135 GBN Rank: 61 Ourlads Rank: 40
ANTHONY BROWN/CB/PURDUE 5’11/192 4.34/40 9 1/4″Hands/31 3/4″Arms
A very good cover corner from a poor football program right now. Decent size and excellent speed as you can see above. Is a willing tackler, but can use some fundamentals work. Plays hard and smart. Should be able to handle sub-package roles right away as well as some Special Teams work. A nice infusion of fresh young blood to a mediocre secondary.
Pick # 189 GBN Rank: 315 Ourlads: 173
KAVON FRAZIER/S/CENTRAL MICHIGAN 6’0/217 4.60/40 10″Hands/32 1/2″Arms
Solid athlete who became a tackling machine with heavy hitting, decent cover skills by the end of his career. Has very good S size and athleticism. Not a big play guy, but indeed a big hitter. He should step in right away on Special Teams units. He upgrades their secondary depth immediately and has starting potential. Not totally dissimilar to BARRY CHUCRH, another MAC player who starts for the Cowboys after being an URFA. Very good value pick here IMO.
Pick # 212 GBN Rank: 293 Ourlads: Undraftable/253+
DARIUS JACKSON/RB/EASTERN MICHIGAN 6’0/220 4.45/40 8 1/2″Hands/32 1/8″Arms
This young man made a strong case for himself at the NFLPA Game and his school’s Pro Day running faster than his listed 40-time. I would make the case for him being a very good player in a very bad football program. He showed flashes of ability at the NFLPA game. Runs with authority and has a good burst. If he makes a strong enough case for himself in Training Camp the COWBOYS could go into 2016 season with an entirely new RB group of ELLIOTT/MORRIS/JACKSON. Wouldn’t that be interesting?!
Pick # 216 GBN Rank: 216 Ourlads: Undraftable 300+
RICO GATHERS/TE/BAYLOR 6’8/275
Lets just say that at Pick 217 anything is possible. This is a basketball player who is just now turning back to football. Clearly the team will have to find an “injury” situation in order to keep him and develop him. He might make their Practice Squad, but they will have competition in that regard. The ceiling is the next ANTONIO GATES, the floor is a wasted pick that will take up a lot of time and coaching. Only time will tell. I will label his as a GIL BRANDT Legacy Pick.
Pick # 217 GBN Rank: Not Ranked Ourlads: Not Ranked
Overall a nice haul for the Cowboys. Even though SMITH & GATHERS won’t contribute this season they still have 7 other guys who should upgrade roster quality and contribute right away.