The Dallas Cowboys had a very successful season in 2018, nearly making it to the NFC Championship game. With solid bones moving forward, the Cowboys look to add key contributors for a playoff push.
The Dallas Cowboys traded this year’s first round pick for Amari Cooper which seems to have been a smart decision. In Cooper’s nine games with the Cowboys, he posted 53 receptions for 725 receiving yard and six touchdowns. He quickly became Dak Prescott’s favorite target,seemingly his only target at the time. Where should the Cowboys focus be during the draft?
Dak Prescott is in for a large raise from Dallas soon. He is the quarterback of the future. Although many people still doubt him, if you look at his stats after the team finally gave him a receiver, he played great. Ezekiel Elliott is a true bell-cow running back with great power, vision and hands in the receiving game.
The offensive line was stellar in the run game ranking 8th in run blocking but allowed far too many sacks ranking 28th in pass protection. This is still a strong squad and it may have been due to receivers not getting open leading to Dak holding the ball too long. I still have faith in this line.
At wide receiver they finally found their wide receiver one in Amari Cooper but after that very little is known. Michael Gallup showed flashes in his rookie season, mainly the playoffs, but was very inconsistent. The team went and signed Randall Cobb this off-season in hopes of rejuvenating his career but his best years may be behind him. Allen Hurns was a bust of a free agent signing last off-season and is now buried on a depth-chart of lackluster receivers. It should be a key area of focus to provide Dak Prescott with more weapons.
The tight end group is made up of safety blanket Jason Witten who is coming out of retirement in 2019 after a failed broadcasting career. He was one of Dak’s favorite targets, when on the team, but has not gotten younger. Blake Jarwin showed signs of being a pass catching tight end but he should be used more for depth. Finding the new tight end of the future should be a priority for the Cowboys.
Randy Gregory was suspended once again and David Irving has essentially retired from football. Even still, the line is still pretty strong in Dallas. Demarcus Lawrence was just given a much deserved, hefty pay raise. Taco Charlton was highly inconsistent but looks to be a full-time starter for next season and I am interested to see how he does. Tyrone Crawford is a very good tackle and should continue to make noise. Outside of Crawford, though, there is not much to like from the tackle position.
The team has a group of stud linebackers. Leighton Vander Esch made a case for Defensive Rookie of the Year last year and recorded 140 total tackles while not even being a full-time starter. Jaylon Smith tacked on 121 total tackles himself while adding four sacks. Sean Lee re-signed with the team and they should dabble with all three on the field moving Lee to the strongside position. If he can stay healthy this will be the best linebacker group in the NFL.
Everybody will remember seeing Jeff Heath lost on one of the final plays in last year’s playoff loss to the Rams. As well as he has played in moments, he needs to be replaced. Xavier Woods came on strong showing improvement from his rookie season and they have something to work with there. Byron Jones has transformed into a lockdown corner and was excellent last season. Chidobie Awuzie is also a solid number two option. Where do the Cowboys go from here?
Trade: The Cowboys receive Round 2 Pick #53
The Eagles receive Round 2 Pick #58, Round 4 Pick #129 and Round 4 Pick #137
Round 2, Pick #53 Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver- South Carolina
This seems like a lot to trade just to move up five spots in the draft but Samuel could really help out the Cowboys. Samuel is a great red zone target as he is a great route runner with terrific hands. His body control is amazing and has great fakes in his routes getting his defender’s hips turned the wrong direction. Samuel is very strong, tough and competitive, hence the nickname Deebo which he received after bullying kids like the character in the movie “Friday”.
Deebo Samuel could slide into the slot and beat out Cobb with his route running to go with Cobb’s matched speed. Samuel ran a 4.48 second 40 yard dash at the combine. He could easily become Prescott’s second favorite target behind Amari Cooper and a strong chain mover on third downs.
Round 3, Pick #91 Kaden Smith, Tight End- Stanford
Kaden Smith is somebody that Dak could get very familiar with. Though not as refined as a route runner, Smith could provide some of the same qualities that Jason Witten has. Neither have breakaway speed but are good with the ball in their hands. Both provide strong hands and can catch away from their bodies very well. Smith is very good a high pointing the football and winning contested throws.
He does have experience in a pro style offense as well and runs in-line seam routes well. Smith needs to work on his routes a little and his technique while run-blocking. With a year or two of tutelage from Jason Witten, Smith can become an every down tight end.
Round 5, Pick #166 Lil’ Jordan Humphrey- Wide Receiver, Texas
Here is the Cowboys overcompensating for their lack of receivers for the first part of last season. Humphrey ran slow at both his pro day and the combine but does not project to be a down field burner. He is a large target at 6’4 who is a former running back with great footwork and solid hip movement. He has the strength to beat press coverage every time at the line and is an incredibly hard worker with great character, something the Cowboys should value based off recent history.
Humphrey could prove to be a great red zone target and work four receiver sets for the team being a possession receiver with his great box out ability. His Senior season he totaled 86 receptions for 1,176 yards and nine touchdowns. I do not see a huge impact being made his rookie season but will definitely make the team as a wide receiver 4-5 and likely make either Cobb or Hurns a veteran cut before the season starts.
Round 7, Pick #243 Michael Dogbe, Defensive Tackle- Temple
Michael Dogbe was more of a pedestrian player until it all came together for him during his Senior season. At defensive tackle he totaled an amazing 72 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, and three forced fumbles in 2018. Dogbe has an explosive first step and a great interior swim move in his pass rush repertoire.
He showcased his strength at his pro day putting up 34 reps on the bench press which would fall second only to Christian Wilkins of Clemson. With how thin the Cowboys are at defensive tackle and the sudden need for an interior rusher, Dogbe now has an opportunity to make noise his rookie season.
The Cowboys show a little desperation but get their guy in the second round drafting Deebo Samuel to be the team’s wide receiver two. With Amari Cooper and Samuel the team has a great pair of route runners. In the third round I have them attacking the tight end position drafting safety blanket Kaden Smith out of Stanford. He is a Jason Witten type player and one that Dak can get familiar with quickly.
In the fifth round I have them grabbing large red zone target Lil’ Jordan Humphrey out of Texas. Ezekiel Elliott has too much on his shoulders in the red zone and alleviating some of that burden will keep teams guessing. With the teams final selection they take athletic and powerful freak Michael Dogbe from Temple. After showcasing a very impressive Senior season the Cowboys hope that transitions straight to the NFL and can become their interior pass rusher.
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