“Never judge a player until they have been in the league for three years”, is the saying, correct? Everyone knows it and has used it, whether in its general use or as a defense mechanism to reduce slander in hopes that the breakout will eventually occur. In reality, though, it remains true and for the Dallas Cowboys, they boast a draft class that speaks volumes to this.
Not one that many will brag about, even its owns fans and one that many will stressfully shout “why didn’t they…?!” for the reason of their belief of supposed needs for the team. The Dallas Cowboys 2019 draft class is still talented, and in addition to their UDFAs, Will McClay & Co. possibly pulled in a 13 man group that will spark the competition and could improve the depth tremendously.
The Front 7
DT Trysten Hill – 2nd Round, Pick 58
To say excitement was the emotion exhibited when Trysten Hill’s name was called, would be just as big as a David Irving IG story lie. However, Hill was their guy in a position of need that causes more of an impact than people realize. In a previous mock we detailed the explosiveness that comes with Hill’s game, and if anyone could check the attitude issues plus bring out his talent best, it’s DC Rod Marinelli.
Though the general population may loathe at the choice of pick, the expectancy for Hill is that he’s the team’s starting 3T in the opening game, and the very reason Maliek Collins could find himself on the bubble.
OG Connor McGovern – 3rd Round, Pick 90
Continuing into the third round, Dallas slightly exposed an argument that many go back and forth on as to why their team picked a certain player. OL Connor McGovern, who actually was graded higher than Hill on the Cowboys draft board, shows why teams will always choose the guy they feel like they can maximize in their scheme in relation to the talent they do have. McGovern is an athlete who said he had the ability and knowledge to play all 5 positions at Penn State, likely helping to replace the transition of the OL from the possible loss of La’El Collins in 2020. A pick now filled with politics, this thread by Dallas Morning News, John Owning, carefully explains the good & bad of McGovern’s game:
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) April 27, 2019
DE Joe Jackson – 5th Round, Pick 165
Similarly to Trysten Hill, the U’s own Joe Jackson found himself in our mock 2.0, detailing how power overtakes his product on the field in spite of his athleticism. In fact, not to downplay but to shed light on it, Jackson was one of the least athletic defensive linemen in this draft.
#Cowboys DE Joe Jackson tested in the 2.3 percentile, according to SPARQ.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 27, 2019
However, this barely meant anything as Jackson finished the 2018 season with 8.5 sacks and 14.5 TFLs (22.5 sacks & 35.5 TFLs over 3 seasons). Furthermore, PFF provides even more context to his achievements over the past year.
Joe Jackson is No. 141 on PFF's Big Board
Jackson’s 85.5 pass-rush grade in 2018 ranked tied for 14th in the class. He totaled 54 pressures across 286 pass-rush snaps and ranked eighth in pass-rush win percentage (21.7%) among qualifiers.
— PFF DAL Cowboys (@PFF_Cowboys) April 27, 2019
Foreshadowing the immediate future, the clip below perfectly displays Jackson as a player. The first step isn’t great and the bend needs work, but his motor rarely stops and his power allows him to drive through OL.
Cowboys DE Joe Jackson
Giants QB Daniel Jones
This is a nice video 😊pic.twitter.com/Y3ydXoNPKy
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) April 27, 2019
In a definite fighting position to add to such a deep DE group, Jackson has traits that could also kick him down inside on passing downs.
DE Jalen Jelks – Round 7, Pick 241
Former Oregon Duck, Jalen Jelks, is an interesting prospect that Dallas claims they got great value in the 7th round. Measuring at 6’8 and roughly 250 pounds, Jelks has the build that screams Rod Marinelli. From his junior to senior year, Jelks took a step down in production going from 7 sacks & 15.5 TFL to 3.5 sacks, 7.5 TFL, but a scheme change would be the response as to why the dip happened. Having to play DT at times as well, Jelks was still able to lead the Pac-12 defensive linemen in tackles (56). What’s going to be an uphill battle to make the roster with raw hands & very limited counter moves, he still can set the edge really well and is consistently able to find where the ball is.
DT Daniel Wise – UDFA
The headline to this UDFA group for the Dallas Cowboys and one who will have one of the better chances to make it on the 53, is Daniel Wise. The former Kansas Jayhawk was thought by many to be a great day 3 pick, if not sneak into day 2. Thus, a head-scratcher as to why he wasn’t, with no credited off-the-field troubles or health issues, Marinelli adds a viable option.
Finding himself playing mainly the 5T role in Lawrence, KS, Wise becomes a 3T in the Cowboys scheme that should only benefit to his skill set. The 3x All-Big 12 First Team DT, is a player that should surprise some come camp time. Finishing top ten in two of the combine drills for the DL, with a 7.53 three-cone (9th) & 4.37 20-yard shuttle (8th), it speaks to how agile and quick Wise is.
OT Yodny Cajuste is a very solid player but notice how Wise attempts to dip his shoulder and sort of throw his body to rush past Cajuste. While it works sometimes, this usually takes Wise out of making an impact on a play.
Strong match up between Cajuste and Wise, which I would argue Cajuste wins. Grier holds the ball way too long, which results in Wise getting the sack pic.twitter.com/AG2Nc0E2IR
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 17, 2019
But now working from the 3T, when Wise uses his hands, the usually mirror his feet, quickly off the ball and with a good pad level.
Strong run stop by Wise to work laterally down the line and use his strong hands to disengage pic.twitter.com/OnkEdHjA99
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 17, 2019
OT Mitch Hyatt – UDFA
While Wise boasted the conference accolades, Dabo Sweeney’s anchor to his Clemson Tiger OL was 2018’s unanimous All-American OT Mitch Hyatt. The “steal of the draft” some are claiming, Hyatt allowed only 5 sacks in 4 seasons starting in 57 of his 58 games. A ridiculous stat and difficult to argue against, Hyatt surely had his fair share of naysayers that declare him to be overrated as well. No player is perfect, and there are instances that suggest could be a problem on the next level for Hyatt, but they come as a rarity.
For example, one of the five sacks that Hyatt gave up, he attempts to mirror but leans his body, killing any momentum on his pass set.
mitch hyatt (LT de Clemson) tinha hype de first round
hype de offensive tackle em setembro são só nomes aleatórios pq n faz sentido nenhum mais da metade deles pic.twitter.com/ztDAZa8UUW
— Felipe Vieira (@lipevieira) October 31, 2018
Once again, he leans his body towards the initial move and hurts himself trying to defend the counter-rush.
Hyatt gets beat inside here, but does a good job recovering on the counter. Even without the RB help Burns wasn't getting to Lawrence. Lawrence does a good job getting this ball out fast pic.twitter.com/v5CKwzDL93
— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) January 28, 2019
But now look what happens when Hyatt stays square in his base, and simply moves his feet. This is the player Hyatt is and is the reason for what Hyatt has become.
Mitch Hyatt, 6'5"/295lb, Sophomore tape. He's kind of B+ at everything. Vs Ryan Anderson here. pic.twitter.com/evx1P8Dwj4
— Jared Stanger (@JaredStanger) August 22, 2017
From being a mere swing tackle to a starter for years to come, Hyatt’s projections all over the place, but Dallas may have locked up a gem.
OLB Andrew Dowell – UDFA
One group of the Cowboys that will receive more attention towards the next offseason, or if an injury takes place in-season, is the LB corps. Flying high off the wings of Leighton Vander-Esch & Jaylon Smith, the depth is slightly alarming behind them. Sean Lee is the third option is great for any team, but his extensive health problems have handicapped one of the best, and with Damien Wilson leaving to the Chiefs, that leaves Joe Thomas alongside a pending Chris Covington as to what he can exactly bring to the table.
A very productive individual for a respected defense, Michigan State alumni OLB Andrew Dowell finished his senior season for the Spartans with 97 tackles, 9 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, & 9 deflections. The combination of size, speed, and IQ makes him intriguing that if not making the roster, could be a lock for the practice squad. Instinctive and someone who tackles well, for the most part, the questions for Dowell lies in his ability to take down defenders in the open field, how he executes his pass rush, and what he does when a blocker engages with him. However, he did have one of the better INTs you will see from an LB.
The Fast 6
RB Tony Pollard – Round 4, Pick 128
Not to speak against Pollard in any derogatory way, but if the reach of the draft was to be voted upon for the Cowboys, this would be it. Regardless what the consensus board might say though, this was a pick Dallas wanted.
I asked Stephen Jones if there was a debate abt taking Tony Pollard at 128, thinking maybe they liked Isaiah Johnson
He gave me more than I bargained for, outlining why they like Pollard, what they think he can do, and how they might use their RBs in 2019
They. Love. This. Guy. pic.twitter.com/qTp35QkNRr
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) April 28, 2019
From the high praise of the Kamara comparison to the reassurance that “obviously, he’s got to come in here and show it…” the statements were not factually incorrect. Pollard was a do-it-all guy behind a great RB at Memphis and can be that in Dallas while threatening a certain player’s job. Averaging 7.1 yards per rush and 11.7 yards per reception, while totaling 1010 yards from scrimmage with 9 touchdowns on 117 touches, Pollard affected the game in just about every offensive way.
The Cowboys' fourth-round draft pick Tony Pollard scored 25 career touchdowns on runs (9), receptions (9) and kickoff returns (7), The average length of his touchdowns was 45.8 yards. Ten of his TDs were 50+ yards.
— Rick Gosselin (@RickGosselin9) April 27, 2019
Home-run ability in his bag, Pollard is a shifty athlete that will immediately help a struggling special teams.
Look at Tony Pollard go. pic.twitter.com/IRqv5zTkIU
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) April 27, 2019
Now, Pollard won’t be the backup running back, but what seems to be the Tavon Austin replacement after 2019 or the reason he doesn’t make the team, Kellen Moore has his gadget for the future.
CB Michael Jackson – Round 5, Pick 158
Officially the first of the DB picks under the Kris Richard era, Michael Jackson from THE Miami University has some promising traits, but a ton of room for improvement. However, he’s nearly a lab built equation to Richard’s desires.
With pick 158 in the 2019 NFL Draft, the #Cowboys select Michael Jackson, CB, Miami.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 27, 2019
A major credit to being apart of the nation’s #1 ranked passing defense in 2018, Jackson is a physical CB that can eliminate a WR if he wins early. Meaning, if his hands can disrupt the receivers press release, his athleticism can keep up with the best of them and it benefits the rawness of his feet & hip movement.
Another PD, which comes as a result of his press slowing down the WR. Jackson does a nice job of staying on the inside hip pic.twitter.com/TDEUW3fWju
— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) March 24, 2019
S Donovan Wilson – Round 6, Pick 213
Is it possible that the Cowboys hit on two safeties drafted in the sixth round? Given the rise of Xavier Woods, all Cowboys fans want to know who’s the replacement for Jeff Heath. The acquisition of George Iloka should bode well, but more in the sense of a rotational piece. If you don’t know, well now you know; Donovan Wilson should be a favorite among this class.
As Jimbo Fisher transitioned from his time leading the Seminoles in Florida to east Texas, so did DC Mike Elko of Notre Dame. Vaguely similar to former Texas A&M’s DC John Chavis, Elko implemented a scheme that involved more movement with his personnel. While benefiting some, this took away from Donovan Wilson’s game, sticking him into more of an FS, single-high role, than the “Honey Badger” like one with Chavis, where his best football took place. Not to say he was bad or anything, but as a sophomore Wilson ended that year with 36 tackles (on par), 8.5 TFLs (+3), 2 sacks (on par), & 5 INTs (+3). Slotted more in the box & as nickel back, the headhunter for the Aggies defense has a knack for the ball with great pursuit. While this could lead his eyes low sometimes into tackles, his coverage skills are a little better than people may credit him for. A story to watch for this offseason, Wilson could be a great compliment to Woods.
DONOVAN WILSON HYPE pic.twitter.com/L2lV0r4XGW
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) April 27, 2019
RB Mike Weber – Round 7, 218
As opposed to Pollard, great value was found in an RB for Dallas in the 7th round with Mike Weber. Destiny took the reigns, reuniting Weber with former teammate Ezekiel Elliott that should make a nasty duo. Throughout the draft process, the Cowboys expressed their interests in retaining Zeke but also finding a more “complete” back so they can “quit hangin’ out” behind Elliott. Weber is exactly that and barring any unexpected signings, he should enter the season as RB2.
Adding more speed to the offense (4.47 – 40-yard dash), Weber is a solid back with great pass protection skills, that you would have hoped to do more through the passing game, but that speaks more so to Ohio State’s offensive game plan. A running style that is quite similar to Elliott’s, Weber has some shift with good contact balance and will run through a defender if he needs too. He’s not a breakaway back, and a slight improvement to his feet could pay dividends, but there’s little to complain with Weber. In retrospect, Dallas may have very much solidified their RB depth in a matter of a day.
Mike Weber leeeeeeggo pic.twitter.com/RLO3fpIOhv
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) April 27, 2019
WR Jalen Guyton – UDFA
The story continues for Jalen Guyton in North Texas. Once the star wide receiver at Allen High School for QB Kyler Murray, and then transferring to the University of North Texas after a suspension occurred with his committed school, Notre Dame, he now has a chance to be the darkhorse for this WR group. Averaging nearly 15 yards per catch in both seasons at UNT (14.9 & 15.8), Guyton is a ridiculous athlete that has all the tools to be successful.
So new Cowboys WR Jalen Guyton is the only player in the entire 2019 pre-draft process to run a sub-4.4 40 yard dash and sub-7 3-cone at 200 pounds or more.
That's combine or pro days.
— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) April 28, 2019
Just to see what he can bring to the table, this was partly the reason Guyton was named the Conference-USA “Newcomer of the Year”, back in 2017.
— beIN COLLEGE SPORTS (@beINCOLLEGE) September 23, 2017
The level of competition and likely lack of great talent on the opposite of the ball could require the minor details to be refined to help him out professionally. However, once developed the mix of intangibles and technicalities could cost a roster spot. Just don’t think that’ll take long to do so.
CB Chris Westry – UDFA
The speed continues for the skill players that were brought in by the Cowboys during draft week. Chris Westry of Kentucky is even bigger and faster than CB Michael Jackson but simply looks like an athlete on the field.
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 23, 2019
It’s nearly absurd to be responsible for such measurables and while this may excite some, it becomes real situational for Westry. If anyone could perfectly model the saying, his greatest strength is his biggest weakness, it’s Westry. His size is enticing, but it creates struggles whenever trying to guard smaller receivers, or really anyone with route ability.
A CB that will find more success in the zone, and have to pay amends on special teams to make any impact early, it’s a pickup the Cowboys organization will love more than the fans.
Chris Westry is the first name Will McClay said when asked about day 3 or UDFA guys who are darkhorses to make the roster.
— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) May 1, 2019