The waves of free agency have died down and with the draft not even a month away, fans have a good idea of what direction their team may go. After a silent entrance in the midst of chaos, the Cowboys did what they normally do in free agency, but in a slightly different approach.
Instead of barely throwing out money to washed players, the likes of DE Kerry Hyder, DT Christian Covington, WR Randall Cobb, and S George Iloka signed one-year deals, while trading away their 2020 6th-round pick for DE Robert Quinn. A standoff who’s white flags have finally been raised, Demarcus Lawrence is locked up for the next five years and Dallas addressed every need, putting themselves in a position where they don’t have to reach in the draft.
2nd Round – Darnell Savage (S)
If one attribute was to be picked for the biggest push in modern NFL, versatility would be crowned. Mobile QBs, DEs that can play DT, inside/outside WRs, hybrid safeties, the game wants you to be able to do more – quicker and stronger. With a safety class that has been labeled to be top-heavy, one name that has created steam and could be the missing link to the Cowboys defense is Maryland’s, Darnell Savage.
Versatility is his game. Though only 5’11, weighing 198 pounds, Savage has a range of abilities that can be productive in-the-box or on the back-end. Rightfully, the Earl Thomas to Cowboys saga was fun at first then became disheartening to watch it fade away, but if a rendition of what Earl can do, did take place –
— jordan newman (@JordanMNewman) January 22, 2019
Again, this play is absurd, and having two safeties that can be playmakers across the whole field instead of “bubble-role” players, will make this defense exponentially better:
— jordan newman (@JordanMNewman) January 22, 2019
If you want him to also work from the slot, Savage can do that for you:
Maryland's Darnell Savage (@darnellsavage_) brings a TON of positional versatility to the table, but his play in the slot is special.
His two-year passer rating allowed at SCB ranks second in the class. Here, he runs this slant for the Indiana WR and nabs an INT.
Yes, please. pic.twitter.com/2Hvn1tBGmr
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) April 1, 2019
His size might make some teams weary, even Dallas. As for 26 of the 30 pre-draft visits, six have been safeties not including Darnell Savage. Furthermore, it has been known that Kris Richard prefers long, athletic DBs, but Savage could give him and this defense a list of options with the addition of Woods. The combination of speed, pursuit, and IQ that can play off each other, could make a high-level duo for years to come.
Other notable names: DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, WR Deebo Samuel, DE/OLB Christian Miller
3rd Round – Mecole Hardman (WR)
It’s hard to imagine, even with the possible amount of projected talent in later rounds, that Dallas doesn’t target a WR early. Yes, the Randall Cobb signing and the return of Tavon Austin are things to celebrate, but their injury history brings certainty that they won’t be available for all 16 games. Plus, currently WR3 & 4 on the roster & with Beasley finding his new home up north with the Buffalo Bills, it’s become a necessity. Helping in the availability of Cobb & Austin by limiting them, its a blessing that it’s a WR class that offers so much.
In a time where nickel is the new base defense due to the transformation of offenses across the league, a threat in the slot is nearly becoming required. From the craftiness of Cole Beasley, Dallas may have a chance in selecting a talent out of the University of Georgia, Mecole Hardman, to where speed kills. An official 4.33 runner, the tape lacks no evidence in showing that, plus some.
Amongst a crowded room of skill players at UGA, the 5’10, 187 lb, Hardman finished second on the team in 579 total yards from scrimmage and tied third for 7 touchdowns in 2018. Averaging 15.5 yards per catch, Hardman serves well as an explosive playmaker from the slot.
I really like the vertical element MeCole Hardman could add to the Cowboys offense, something Beasley didn't provide for DAL. pic.twitter.com/WExwN7QtIs
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) April 4, 2019
Being able to create and replace the loss of Cole, while having the ability to do what Tavon can do in case of an injury, is a two for one that will be hard to pass on.
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 30, 2019
While not much is to be expected from Hardman in the “contested catch” field, just send him deep and get the ball in his hands.
— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) January 9, 2018
A lack of awareness occasionally causes mistakes for Hardman, but the good outweighs the bad heavily in his game, and Dallas has already taken notice.
Notable names: CB Joejuan Williams, TE Jace Sternberger, DT Khalen Saunders
4th Round – Trysten Hill (DT)
As early as Jaylon Ferguson or Christian Miller to Anthony Nelson, the mocks have gone into depth with all, but perhaps the Cowboys have been telling us the exact opposite. Though you can never have too many pass rushers, the war daddy of Demarcus Lawrence returns, belief still remains in Taco Charlton, a quiet extension in Randy Gregory’s contract (YES), the trade for Robert Quinn and signing of Kerry Hyder, plus Dorance Armstrong makes for the DE group to be filled out. With all DTs (Collins, Covington, Ross, Woods) either on a one-year deal or contract year for Dallas and injuries handicapping a promising career in Collins, the need is bigger than people may think.
Finally, and now a solid rotation at 1 tech, the depth starts to cloud itself behind Crawford at 3 tech. Already a pre-draft visitor and receiving coaching from Rod Marinelli, the 6’3, 308 lb UCF Knight, Trysten Hill, continues the wave of explosive picks.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 3, 2019
While Hill has been questioned on the field for the decrease in his playing time, a coaching change limited an individual with tremendous upside.
Aggressive and highly active, a motor such as his isn’t coachable. If a player wants to, he will.
UCF DT Trysten Hill plays insanely hard pic.twitter.com/EXP56Bf4GE
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 20, 2019
Though it’s something to praise, it has become his biggest weakness at well. At times it leaves him “lost” on the play, but don’t dwell on that. Focus on what the player can do, and hope to maximize his strengths through coaching & scheme.
DL Trysten Hill (UCF, 6’2”, 308lbs) is an official #draftcrush.
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Crazy burst (and snap anticipation?), and plays with a ton of energy. He’s a little wild at times, but skill + athleticism are evident.
Teams that rotate a lot @ DL (*cough Colts cough*) should be all over Hill. pic.twitter.com/g8O1nDzajs
— Jeremy Stevenson (@MyColtsAccount) March 19, 2019
It comes down to consistency and leverage with Hill. If he can become a technician in addition to his power, a steal may be waiting for Dallas in the fourth round.
Notable names: DT Gerald Willlis, CB Isaiah Johnson, WR Terry Godwin
4th Round Comp – Bobby Evans (OT)
One name that does not get listed among the Dak Prescott and Amari Coopers of the Cowboys contract world, is La’El Collins. Entering the final year of his rookie deal and set to become a UFA, anyone would be lying to themselves if they felt a market isn’t waiting for Collins. The OL of the NFL isn’t great, if even good, as a whole and to have one of the better ones available at RT, a bag is likely in La’El’s future. It’s not to declare Dallas will not try or that Collins won’t return, but taking it into consideration along with Tyron Smith’s recent health struggles, a rookie OT isn’t the worst idea.
Among the group that was awarded the University of Oklahoma’s first Jim Moore Award, NCAA’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line was OT Bobby Evans. Making the transition to LT from RT in 2018 after the departure of Baltimore Raven, Orlando Brown may have swayed opinions more than it should.
Switching between the tackle position is an area of the game many don’t realize how difficult it exactly is to do. Couple that with an athlete that may not be the standard for quickness and size of the position, is what you get in Bobby Evans 2018 tape. Transitioning back to when he was at RT, it’s easy to recognize the more natural feel in his game as opposed to being a LT.
Strong hands and able to eliminate a defender whenever in front of him, Evans has learned how to play well in spite of his deficiencies, as the caption notes:
Getting into Bobby Evans of OU (RT 71). Prototypical size for an OT in a spread system (6-5 300lbs). I don't think he will test that great, but he knows how to play within himself. Here's a nice rep against OSU's Nick Bosa. pic.twitter.com/7n557BQeSF
— Michael Peterson (@ZoneTracks) June 1, 2018
Though he doesn’t normally have much drive after contact, if he can get inside, Evans can dominate:
Bobby Evans believes in finishing what you start pic.twitter.com/YRoHY6FfY9
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) December 8, 2018
Perhaps the biggest critique would be Bobby as a pass blocker, for the reason that he can be late at times with his hands and not being the most agile, but he can mirror nicely and has a good punch:
#Sooner RT Bobby Evans (#71, 6-5 300) is a smooth athlete in his kick-slide. Excels at running edge rushers around the hoop and keep them at arm's length with a well-synced anchor/punch. Needs to learn to counter inside moves better but has a handful of those "cant coach" traits. pic.twitter.com/ETkuynKDh4
— Michael Peterson (@ZoneTracks) August 23, 2018
With the top 8 OL signed through the 2019 season and return of Cameron Fleming as the swing tackle, Evans could serve as an insurance policy to the insurance policy. Having a year off motioning him back to a full-time RT could be the best thing for his development and pay off dividends in the future.
Notable names: RB Darwin Thompson, WR Stanley Morgan Jr, OT Chuma Edoga
5th Round – Justice Hill (RB)
Now, let’s return to speed, explosion, and versatility. The backbone of these picks, and of Bobby Evans own rival in Stillwater, Oklahoma, RB Justice Hill. Even if someone was a Sooners fan, it’s hard to not respect what the three-year Oklahoma State Cowboy offers out of the backfield.
If Cowboys fans desire a compliment to Ezekiel Elliot, the 4.40 runner has a jump cut that led to nearly 1500 yards & 15 touchdowns on the ground as a sophomore and will change the pace for this unit. His size, being only 5’10 & 190 lbs, may be deceptive in determining his durability and strength, but a playmaker with great contract balance & averaging 5.5 YPC on 268 attempts should say something about that.
Here is Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill
➕95th percentile Burst Score
➕One of the best jump-cuts in the class
➕1,142 Rush Yards as True Freshman
➕31 rec in 2017
➕16 TDs in 2017
➖Lacks Size of a Typical 3-Down NFL RB
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) April 2, 2019
Coming from a high-paced, Gundy offense, he runs with really good vision and is a bonus in the passing game, totaling a career-high 31 receptions in 2017.
Oklahoma State RB Justice Hill is an electrifying shifty back who should have a big impact in the next level. He’s can catch and break the big play, so he might work in a rotation better, but honestly, the dude can change a game. #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/D62PIWVPnM
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 3, 2019
If rookie OC, Kellen Moore, were to incorporate college-oriented type of styles to the offense, Hill has the intangibles to be even more impactful than a backup role.
Notable names: RB Damien Harris, TE Dax Raymond, CB Jimmy Moreland
7th Round – Davante Davis
#NFLCombine key measurements thread…
286. #Texas CB Davante Davis
Height: 6-2 1/8
Hand: 9 6/8
Arm: 31 3/8
Wingspan: 76 4/8
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 2, 2019
The perfect, prototypical size for a coveted Dallas CB, Davante Davis is a name in the charts that could be more than where it is. Running a 4.58, Davis made up for it posting the 4th best 3-cone drill time for CBs at the combine at 6.76.
Fitting well in the running game, Davis is a physical CB that will find more success as a zone corner.
The second one:
Senior corner Davante Davis does a great job of reading 2 to 1. Reads the qbs eyes. Able to get a jump on the seam route. Knocks the ball away. Forces a field goal. TCU kicker missed.
Great job Texas CB’s pic.twitter.com/db4PI9DJh7
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) September 22, 2018
Though he may not be the best on the deep end of the field due to his lack of speed, his IQ and hips, that are better than one would expect, helps him in shorter areas.
— Hookem Football (@hornsfootball) November 25, 2017
A contract debacle to soon take place within the Cowboys CB group, Davis would be a pick that fits the mold and shows a bit of promise that could aid in depth.
Davante Davis rallied to the ball and led the Big 12 this season in coverage stops from the cornerback position. pic.twitter.com/SRFkuF6nFD
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 20, 2019
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