Favorable view of Cowboys’ draft picks
Favorable view of Cowboys’ draft picks
The 2015 NFL season wrapped up in February and the start of the 2016 season is more than four months away, but football fans had plenty to keep up with last week during the three day NFL draft.
Sunday evening at church our music director, Nathan, asked what I thought about the Dallas Cowboys’ draft. After spending the next five or so minutes bending his ear, he knew how much I liked their selections.
Summing it up in a sentence the Dallas Cowboys’ draft was spot on. The Dallas front office seemed to have an eye on the future as well as addressing current needs with this draft.
Ezekiel Elliott. This was the guy I wanted Dallas to select at No. 4. For all of those clamoring for the Cowboys to pick a defensive player in the first round, consider Elliott your 12th man on defense. With Elliott’s talent running behind the Cowboys’ offensive line, Dallas should win the time of possession in every game. Keeping the ball away from your opponent limits their opportunities to attack your weakness.
Having a running back the caliber of the former Buckeye in the backfield will also be a major advantage when the team does transition to a new starting quarterback in two or three years. With Elliott back there, the weight of the entire offense will not be resting on the shoulders of the new QB. Elliott will be his security blanket.
Jaylon Smith. I was not happy with this pick when it was made, but after looking at all the angles. I’ve changed my mind. Smith was a top 5 selection until his knee injury. If he is able to return to the field and play close to pre injury form, he will be considered the steal of the draft. Smith’s skill set is similar to that of Rolando McClain, but Smith brings better leadership and character qualities to the table. McClain is signed for 2016 and if Smith is ready to go in 2017, the Cowboys will not have to worry about who is going to fill that linebacker position. And they will be filling it with a young man who could be a perennial All Pro.
Maliek Collins. The Nebraska defensive tackle brings the size, strength and quickness the Cowboys like in their interior defensive linemen. Dallas may struggle to rush the passer from the outside, but Collins can help put pressure on the opposing QB up the middle. If the defensive ends can just contain the quarterback, Collins can collapse the pocket and leave him with no place to hide.
Charles Tapper. This is where the Cowboys addressed a need and got their defensive end, and they could have very well gotten a good one. The Sooner is a raw talent who will probably be used in pass situations only this season, but he has the potential to be a run stuffer as well. If he listens to coach Leon Lett and gains some experience, Tapper could be a mainstay in the defensive line rotation for a long time.
Dak Prescott. I’ll be honest. I’ve been hoping this kid would end up in a Cowboys jersey since his sophomore season. Yes, the quarterback has a lot of rough edges to smooth out to operate out of a prostyle offense, but I love his intangibles. He brings leadership, grit, play making ability and intelligence to the huddle. I truly believe Prescott is going to surprise a lot of people.
Anthony Brown, Kavon Frazier and Darius Jackson. With Brown and Frazier, the Cowboys addressed their defensive secondary. Unless one of them turns out to be a sleeper and draft surprise, I doubt either one will make the roster. Their best chance will be to make an impact on special teams. Jackson gives the Cowboys another change of pace option at running back.
Rico Gathers. During the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I was watching a Baylor game and the announcers mentioned how Gathers didn’t have a future in the NBA, but might find one in the NFL. I immediately hoped the Cowboys would take a look at him. He is definitely a project and has a lot to learn, but he brings size, speed and great hands to the tight end position. Gathers might very well be a bust, but he has a lot of potential, a huge upside and could very well be the next Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez.
We won’t really know how good this draft is until after the 2017 season, but the first four picks could very well be starters by then and Prescott could be entrenched as Tony Romo’s heir apparent.