Despite the Jerry Jones propaganda machine, the Cowboys have a lot of holes to fill if they are to pose a serious threat to the Eagles for the NFC East crown in 2018. The cutting of Dez Bryant creates one more hole near the top of their roster, but his contract became untenable against the Salary Cap.
Round 1, Pick 19 CALVIN RIDLEY WR ALABAMA 6’004/189 No time to play games with the overhaul of the receiving corps. RIDLEY is the most savvy, big time receiver of a deep but not exceptional WR group in 2018. RIDLEY is a great route runner with better hands than his ‘Bama predecessor AMARI COOPER. He’s not a home run threat but his 4.45/40 is acceptable at any level of play. His 67 receptions in 2017 were not overwhelming, but neither was the QB throwing to him. He and recent additions HURNS and THOMPSON may just share equally in DAK’s throws. This is a good value pick at a last minute position of need.
Round 2, Pick 50 MARK ANDREWS TE OKLAHOMA 6’051/256 This time around the team needs to fill an impending roster hole, with JASON WITTEN likely to be winding up a HOF career this season. ANDREWS reminds me quite a bit of the way Hunter Henry plays the TE position. He’s a sure handed receiver, who lines up in the slot almost as much as he does inline. He’s sure handed, with decent speed for his size, at 4.67 in his Combine 40. He had 62 catches for just under 1,000 yards last season for the Sooners. He has some work to do to ever measure up to Witten and his career achievements, but he’ll be better than any other TE currently on their roster. Another value pick at a position of need.
Round 3, Pick 81 MAURICE HURST DT MICHIGAN 6’012/292 A high energy player who flashes some Warren Sapp in his game, and will fit in well in the Rod Marinelli DL scheme. Should be able to use his quickness off the snap to play much of the game on the opponents side of the line of scrimmage. Was one of the emotional leaders on the Michigan defense last season. Should be able to evolve into that role in the Cowboys locker room with time. Had an irregular heart beat scare at the Combine, but has been cleared for football by a team of cardiologists in Ann Arbor. Should be an immediate contributor on their DL.
Round 4, Pick 116 OREN BURKS OB VANDERBILT 6’031/233 Burks really came on as a prospect during his senior campaign for Vandy. He was a two time team captain. He played IB last season and finished with 81 tackles, including 7 TFL. He also proved able to effectively drop into pass coverage with 3PBU and an INT. Expect him to play OLB in the Cowboys base 4-3 scheme. Should be a solid Special Teams contributor and eventually a starting LB for them. Ran an impressive 4.61/40 at the Combine. Came late to the Senior Bowl but made a very solid impression there.
Round 4, Pick 137 JOSH ADAMS RB NOTRE DAME 6’015/213 Before you exclaim,’why another RB?’ please remember that the team parted ways with ALFRED MORRIS in another salary cap move this winter. The long legged strider from South Bend should make a solid back-up who might get 10 touches a game spelling ZEKE. ADAMS had 1430 rushing yards in 2017 at 6.9 ypc. He excels as a north/south runner who does a nice job running to and thru holes in the line. He’s a good fit behind the Cowboys superior OL group. His 4.55/40-time belies his speed once he gets into the open field and eats up yardage with those long legs. Not stout enough to be a No. 1 RB option, but well suited to back-up in their system. Good hands and will catch a few balls as needed.
Round 5, Pick 171 JAMRCO JONES OT/G OHIO STATE 6’4/299 JONES is an interesting prospect who evolved into a very effective starting LT for the Buckeyes over the past two seasons. But he doesn’t check all of the boxes for an NFL OT. He sports highly desirable 35 1/8″ long arms, but lumbered to a 5.47/40-time at the Combine. He is also only 6’4″ tall at 299 lbs. Basically he is a good athlete and shows good foot movement in any direction, but can get pushed around and once beaten he struggles to recover. He uses his hands well and shows good knee bend most of the time. In essence he may end up moving inside to OG, which isn’t what the Cowboys are looking for with this pick. But it is Round 5 and he might make the grade inside at OG or be a solid backup at OG and OT.
Round 6, Pick 192 JEFF HOLLAND OB/ER AUBURN 6’013/249 Holland is a bit short and lacking in straight line speed, with a 4.81/40 time. But he is quick off the snap and can really bend low around the corner. He had 45 tackles last season on the plains. He had 13 TFL, which included 10 sacks. So, if he can win spots on Special Teams coverage units he may also secure a job as a situational pass rusher. His 10 1/2″ hands and 33 1/2″arms also belie his just a tad over 6’1 height. He could end up being a very good value at the Pick if he emerges as a situational pass rusher.
Round 6, Pick 193 GERON CHRISTIAN OT LOUISVILLE 6’5/298 Christian is a bit more athletic than JONES, and still has the 35″ arms and 10 3/4″long hands. With Tyron Smith having back and shoulder issues and missing time each of the last two seasons it is clear that the backups currently on their roster were not adequate last season. The retirement of Doug Free before last season was a bigger deal than many expected. So trying to find better OT depth is a good idea for Dallas.
Round 6, Pick 208 CHARVARIUS WARD CB MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE 6’1/195 A late bloomer who had a solid Pro Day to top off a good senior season. He looks like a sure thing for Special Teams work, which will buy him time to find a role or two in sub-package formations. He might also help out at a S slot if not fast enough for the NFL on the Corner.
Round 7, Pick 236 CHASE LITTON QB MARSHALL 6’5/230 Meet the poor man’s Josh Allen who completed 60% of his throws without a standout supporting cast last season. Had solid ball velocity of 55 mph throwing at the Combine. He’s a lot bigger and has a stronger arm than current, surprise back-up Cooper Rush who was an URFA last year. Has some traits that make you think he has a shot to develop if handled with patience. Nice roll of the dice, IMO.
Sometimes the players you want or need just fall into your lap on your Big Board when your Pick is coming up. Other times it seems like your guys were taken just before you got your turn. As I did this one it just felt like the Cowboys were often in the right place, at the right time. Lots of potential roster help in this Draft group.