With the 2018 NFL draft in the books, the Dallas Cowboys added nine players via the draft and two via trade. I will break down each pick and discuss their possible role this season. First I will break down the trades.
Cowboys traded the 192nd pick to the Los Angeles Rams for wide receiver Tavon Austin
This is a great trade for the Cowboys. The Rams gave up on the former first-round pick and it might be the Cowboys gain. Austin possesses the speed and playmaking ability that the Cowboys are missing. They plan to move Austin from wide receiver to running back forming a nice duo with Ezikel Eliott.
The Cowboys traded wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the Oakland Raiders for defensive tackle Jihad Ward
In a surprising move, the Cowboys flipped promising wideout Switzer for a defensive tackle coming off of a rough season. Ward had a solid rookie season for the Raiders playing in all 16 games making 13 starts notching 30 tackles. Last season was a different story. Ward appeared in just five games with one start finishing with two tackles and one sack. At 6’5 295lbs Ward has the size to come in and make an impact along the front. Could work out for both teams.
Round 1, pick 19- Leighton Vander Esch, linebacker, Boise State.
A solid pick that makes many Cowboys fans happy. While not a big name, Vander Esch is in line to replace the often injured 32-year-old Sean Lee. At 6’3 240lbs he has ideal size for an inside linebacker. He has good speed for a man his size and has solid cover skills. Notched 141 tackles and four sacks last season. Not a big hitter but a solid tackler who will make Cowboys fans happy when his opportunity comes.
Round 2, pick 50- Connor Williams, offensive tackle, University of Texas.
Another great pick. Williams is a first-round talent but injury concerns caused him to fall into the second round. Although he is listed as a tackle I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cowboys moved him inside and keep La’el Collins at tackle. At 6’5 315lbs Williams is effective in both run and pass blocking and displays great balance. Has a nasty streak that fits great with the offensive line. If he can stay healthy Williams will be a steady presence on the line for years to come.
Round 3, pick 81- Michael Gallup, wide receiver, Colorado State.
Gallup was one of the best receivers in college football the past two years racking up 21 touchdowns. Last season the 6’0 200lbs Gallup hauled in 100 catches for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns. He is a great route runner and has strong hands. While he doesn’t possess the size of a Dez Bryant, Gallup will have every opportunity to come in and make an impact from day one.
Round 4 pick 116- Dorance Armstrong Jr., defensive end, University of Kansas.
I am a huge fan of Armstrong. At 6’4 245lbs he has great quickness off the snap and can even stand up at times. While he didn’t post great numbers last year registering just 1.5 sacks, his sophomore year tells the story registering 10 sacks. A bit undersized he may have some problems getting off blocks and has to work on consistency. Armstrong should be a part of the defensive line rotation from day 1.
Round 4 pick 137- Dalton Schultz, tight end, Stanford
With the sudden news of Jason Witten possibly retiring and back up James Hanna retiring it was imperative the Cowboys find a tight end. The one I liked the most, Dallas Goedert, was snatched up by the Philidelphia Eagles who traded up one pick ahead of the Cowboys to get him. That being said Schultz is solid in his own right. At 6’6 240lbs he is an underrated receiver mainly being used as a blocker. He possesses great athleticism and is tough to bring down. While not yet the receiving threat Witten is, Schultz can make an early impact in the run game while developing his receiving skills. Solid pick at a position of sudden need.