The Dallas Cowboys nearly hit the draft lottery when Florida State safety Derwin James continued to slide into the teens. However, rather than use draft capital to move up and secure the versatile secondary player, Dallas remained at pick #19.
James went to the Chargers and the Cowboys were left with a player they have been linked to since late February. That player was Boise State linebacker, Leighton Vander Esch. The 6’4″ 246 lb. athletic freak has drawn comparisons to former All-Pro Brian Urlacher. If anyone knows what an Urlacher clone may look like it’s Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached him in Chicago.
A junior last season, Vander Esch put his athleticism on display by posting an eye-popping stat line for the Broncos. He amassed 141 total tackles, four interceptions, and two interceptions on his way to winning the Mountain West Defensive Player Of The Year award.
Vander Esch will presumably take over the Mike role in the Dallas defense with Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith flanking him on either side. If healthy, and that is a big if, this linebacking core could be one of the most athletic and versatile in the league.
Unless the Cowboys trade back into the first round, they will next pick at #50 and #81 tomorrow night. Until then, enjoy some highlights of the newest Dallas Cowboy.
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