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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

A closer look at the Cowboys’ picks:

Round 1/19 — Leighton Vander Esch, LB, 6-4, 240, Boise State

Vander Esch started just one season at Boise State but what a season it was. He had 141 tackles, three interceptions and four sacks. He can run sideline to sideline and cover the pass. He is a middle linebacker and will replace the departed Anthony Hitchens.

Round 2/50 — Connor Williams, G/T, 6-5, 296, Texas

He played tackle at Texas, where he was a three-year starter. But he will be moved to guard with the Cowboys. He was a first-round talent who dropped to the second round. Cowboys got great value and added a premium player to an already stacked line.

Round 3/81 — Michael Gallup, WR, 6-1, 205, Colorado State

Gallup was highly productive in college with two 1,000-yard seasons at Colorado State and a total of 21 touchdowns. He is a big physical receiver who goes and gets the ball. Will be part of a committee in Dallas to replace Dez Bryant.

Round 4/116 – Dorrance Armstrong, DE, 6-4, 257, Kansas

Armstrong didn’t run fast at the Combine but he is an athletic tight end with excellent bend. Armstrong had 1.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss last season but had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2016. He has six forced fumbles and four pass deflections the past two seasons.

Round 4/137 — Jordan Schultz, TE, 6-5, 244, Stanford

Jason Witten is likely retiring so the Cowboys needed to address tight end. Schultz is a nice receiver, catching 55 passes for 555 yards and five TDs in three seasons. But he needs to develop as an in-line blocker.

Round 5/171 — Michael White, QB, 6-4, 224, Western Kentucky

White fits the QB prototype with his size and arm strength. Not very mobile and would certainly run the offense different than starter Dak Prescott. Developmental backup prospect.

Round 6/193 — Chris Covington, LB, 6-2, 245, Indiana

A former dual-threat quarterback who moved to linebacker his second year. He is a one-year starter but garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after posting 85 tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks, and five pass breakups in 2017. He is an athletic special teams target.

Round 6/208 — Cedrick Wilson, WR, 6-2, 188, Boise State

Wilson is a speedy receiver who runs disciplined routes and has a chance to give quarterback Dak Prescott another vertical threat in the passing game. He can make one-on-one plays down the field.

Round 7/236 — Bo Scarbrough, RB, 6-1, 228, Alabama

He is not a make-you-miss back. He is a powerful big back who runs behind his pads. Should look good behind the Cowboys’ offensive line. Has top-end speed. Could be a kickoff returner as a rookie.

PLUG AND PLAY

G Connor Williams: Picked 50th overall, Williams played tackle at Texas but projects to guard in the NFL where he will fill a huge need at left guard next to Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith and Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick. Jonathan Cooper played left guard in 2017, but the Cowboys made no attempt to re-sign him in free agency. He eventually joined the San Francisco 49ers. Williams is a huge upgrade and allows the Cowboys to make a strong offensive line even stronger to protect Dak Prescott and open holes for Ezekiel Elliott.

WILL SURPRISE

LB Leighton Vander Esch: He was not a popular pick among Cowboys fans who wanted a receiver or a linebacker with a long track record. Vander Esch had just one season as a starter and was flagged by five teams because of concerns about his neck. The Cowboys cleared him medically. But more important they see him as ideal zone linebacker for their Tampa 2 scheme. He has been compared to Rolando McClain and Bears Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher for his size, athleticism and ability to make plays sideline to sideline and cover the pass.

WHAT THE HELL?

WR Tavon Austin: Was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for a sixth-round pick. The Cowboys will switch him to running back and try to use him in space out of the backfield as a change-of-pace back to Ezekiel Elliott. Austin, however, can’t block. He is too small. And he has largely been a bust in the NFL since being taken eighth overall in 2013. Maybe the Cowboys can get something out of him that no one else has.

 

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