Jump to content

Join Our Community

Do you bleed Burnt Orange? Come talk about the Longhorns! Registration is FREE and EASY!
Sign Up for FREE
Sign in to follow this  

Review of Dallas' Draft

Recommended Posts

Quick over view of Dallas 2018 draft.   

1st round LVE, uber athletic LB who'll play 3 downs and be the MLB of the future. B+A- pick only because he's not a day 1 starter

2nd round, Conner Williams, A pick, day 1 starter, great fit for Dallas

3rd round, Michael Gallup, B+A- pick, VERY Dak Friendly. only question is how fast does he adjust to the NFL

So 1st 2 days of the draft are very high B+/A-, addressed 3 key needs and landed some serious talent.

Day 3 begins and we see Dallas reach a bit for Dorance Armstrong with their 1st 4th rounder. Solid player, rotation guy on the edge then Dallas takes an excellent TE prospect in the 4th who may well be a Day 1 starter if Jason Witten retires. So give the 4th round a solid B+

5th round sees the Cowboys take a QB. Not a big need but they wanted a developmental guy. Mike White, likely the best QB on the board but he is the opposite of mobile and this offense should be built around a QB who can move around/buy time in the pocket. C grade.

6th round we see a great pick and a serious ?????. Getting Cedric Wilson at this point (3rd/4th round quality) is an A pick. But taking a 1 year starter not overly productive guy (his teammate a better pick) at LB when you still having addressed S or DT. . .sorry, better quality there. Averages out to be B-/C

7th round, wheels come off, they take a RB who's frankly not very good and really has no role on this team unless you think he's a STs demon. Only way he makes the roster. D

Now Dallas did execute 2 trades, 1 giving up a 6th (they had 3) for Tavon Austin to play 3rd down back. Excellent value, he's far better than anyone available.

And Ryan Switzer to the Ray Duhs for their 2nd round bust DT from 2016. While we needed to clear out our WR room, would much rather take a chance on a high motor guy in Poona Ford than a bad attitude player who's one step out of the league.

Hoping Da Boys land some quality with UDFA, they have done well there over the years.


For the record, 2-3 years from now I see 5 starters from this draft and 3 "contributors".  . .LVE, Williams, Gallup, Shultz and Wilson are starters, Armstrong and Ward as rotation guys and TA as a 3rd down/change of pace back.


That's a pretty salty draft

Player breakdowns below

Leighton Vander Esch A-:

Vander Esch is a loose-hipped, instinctive linebacker who played in 2017 like he had a GPS tracker on the football. His production totals against both the run and pass are rare for being a first-year starter and with a frame that is primed for more muscle, his NFL ceiling is high. Vander Esch might benefit from a reduced role his rookie season while he improves his play strength and becomes more skilled at taking on blocks. He's an every-down linebacker with very good starting potential and the talent to fill up a stat sheet.

  • Big, long and athletic
  • Has history of achievement with dominant performances and state titles in two sports in high school
  • Former basketball standout with fluid hips and smooth movement around the field
  • Almost no delay in his change of direction
  • Has agility and quick-twitch for sudden lateral bursts in his slides to close out slashers
  • Triggers with compact burst to the ball
  • Works under climbing blockers to stay clean
  • Easy sideline-to-sideline range as tackler
  • Has athletic ability to recover and tackle despite over pursuit
  • Widens frame and opens arms to welcome his prey as a tackler
  • Generally wraps up
  • Very talented in coverage
  • Quick but smooth in his drops
  • Mirrors quarterback's eyes with ability to redirect from side to side as he follows
  • Uses active, catch-ready hands to breakup the pass or take it away
  • Shows real rush talent and instincts as a blitzer
  • May have enough ability to beat a tackle as edge rusher from time to time


  • Has just one year of starting experience
  • Still filling out his frame
  • Play strength has room for improvement
  • Has some struggles in taking on blocks and will get washed away by down blocks
  • Hasn't learned to use hands effectively to punch and separate
  • Takes himself out of tackle opportunities by attacking iso-blocks and lead blocks with a shoulder
  • At times, will over pursue or run himself out of position in attempt to play fast and avoid having to deal with blockers


Conner Williams A
Williams has been a personal favorite since studying his freshman season, but his 2017 tape didn't match his previous body of work. Williams seemed to lose some lateral quickness and had troubles holding up at a high level in protection. A move to guard or center is a possibility depending on how his arm length measures out. Williams is a plus run blocker with plug-and-play technique across the board. If he regains his 2016 form, he will be a good NFL starter. If not, he'll be an average NFL starter.

  • Leader in locker room and voracious worker in weight room
  • Carries good lean muscle mass
  • Outstanding technician from before his first college snap
  • Works for centered blocks
  • Good redirect and is fluid in pre-strike movements
  • Snaps hips for additional anchor when base blocking
  • Generally smooth with lateral footwork and slide sets
  • Works his tail off to gain position and secure playside blocks
  • Efficient in space and capable of making adjustments to moving targets
  • Sticks to blocks with powerful hands for long engagements
  • Quality finisher with some mean
  • Outstanding hand placement
  • Understands target points on defender's frame and shoots hands into them like a marksman
  • Pass sets with plus mirror and body control
  • Footwork and eyeballs are seamless on E/T or T/E stunts
  • Sees and responds
  • Has a good feel for quarterback depth and rarely oversets pocket
  • Has late hip sink and anchor when rocked by initial contact


  • Lack of length could be a concern as NFL tackle
  • Doesn't have length to catch -- needs to punch
  • May need to carry hands higher in pass sets to expedite punch-timing
  • Gets too straight-legged and bounced back into pocket by initial bull move
  • Core strength appears to be average
  • Has a habit of defaulting to punch-and-lean against rushers with power
  • Opens himself up to push/pull moves
  • His 2017 tape was disappointing relative to previous seasons
  • Lower body looked tighter
  • Overall lateral quickness and mirror quickness looked a little off this year even before injury
  • Had trouble getting to cross-face blocks that he was making previously
  • Drive leverage was inconsistent this year
  • Edge rushers had more success than expected
  • Inside post was a little soft against counter moves


Michael Gallup A
Natural athlete with good size who finds ways to get open through burst and athletic ability. Gallup has posted outstanding production during his two years in the Mountain West at Colorado State, but his level of play took a dip in his matchup against Alabama early in the season. Gallup is still a little raw, but is quickly fine-tuning his game and may have the ability to become a good WR2 in the league.

  • Possesses good combination of height, weight, speed
  • Light-footed, bounding athlete
  • Sudden feet and quick hands are effective in ridding himself of press attempts
  • Drives off cornerback into an aggressive backpedal with hard vertical push up the field
  • Has 20-yard speed to climb over cornerbacks trying to squat on underneath stuff
  • Routes showed improved attention to detail this year
  • Can brake sharply to uncover on short routes or create separation from route stems and breaks on intermediates and posts
  • Very competitive after the catch
  • Has burst from a standstill
  • Offers unique open field instincts as a runner finding optimal space to run
  • Springy leaper who plucks it way out in front of his frame
  • Uses body control and timing to win contested catches downfield
  • Thrives on back shoulder throws


  • Pigeon-toed in his set up and has to adjust front foot to come off the line
  • Still shows a little additional upfield drift on out-breaking routes at times
  • Needs to get his head around earlier for improved ball tracking down the field
  • Adjustments to poorly thrown balls is just average
  • Needs to actively scramble along with his quarterback when the pass play goes off schedule
  • Aware of lurking safeties in the middle of the field which causes a drop in focus
  • Will coast on some routes when he doesn't expect the ball
  • Confidence and/or focus seemed to wain in second half against Alabama secondary
  • Need to see more effort as run blocker


Dallas lands a quality TE with their 2nd 4th round pick. Dalton Shultz TE A-Stanford.

6'6" 250 4.75 speed. Block 1st pass catch 2nd guy but he does have ability in the pattern.


NFL analysis:

Schultz is a Y-tight end with the ability as a run blocker to help bolster a team's rushing attack very quickly. While his frame could still use more mass, he plays with good technique and play strength at the point of attack and shows an ability to impose his will upon edge defenders if they half-step into the rep. Schultz is a capable and reliable target underneath, but his living will depend on how he impacts the running game. Schultz's limited catch production could drop him a round, but he should be a solid, early starter.

  • Very tenacious and tough as a blocker
  • Well-schooled in blocking fundamentals
  • Leaned on as vital part of the run blocking unit
  • Initial hand placement is good
  • Ability to sustain and finish
  • Improves positioning after contact and can generate some movement at point of attack without a double team
  • Gave it to USC's Rasheem Green on more than a couple of snaps when matched head to head
  • Sinks hips into breaks
  • Opens sharply on underneath routes to look for the throw
  • Has good feel for attacking the voids against zone coverage
  • Will shut routes down early to keep throwing window open for quarterback
  • Physical in creating space at top of his routes
  • Short area footwork is adequate
  • Has ability to become a reliable target over the middle and in traffic


  • Receiving production has been underwhelming throughout his career
  • Routes can be monotonous and predictable
  • Allows too much leeway for defenders to play the catch point
  • Needs to play bigger in space and use his frame
  • Lacks speed to attack over top
  • Struggles to separate against man coverage on intermediate routes
  • Could have somewhat limited workspace as NFL pass catcher
  • Not as physical after the catch
  • Slows feet into contact and won't always fall forward
  • Strikes first, but will lose initial hand placement when long defenders get into him
  • Can improve approach angles to help keep angle blocks centered

Had Dorance Armstrong B on my mock drafts but not in the 4th round.

So good player but he's a clear reach to me.

Having said that, he has good size and a great motor for a DE, he projects well to be an OLB in a 3-4 but dallas doesn't play that. And today I'm betting Kris Richard is Rod Marinelli's heir appearant so expect to see 4-3 for some time with Da Boys.

. Armstrong is an intriguing prospect with the build and fluid athleticism of a shooting guard. Armstrong’s drop in production can be attributed to a change in scheme that asked him to play run first and pass second. His game revolves around athletic ability over technique, but his poor forty times at both the Combine and his pro day could cause concerns. Armstrong has the tools and upside to become an eventual starter at outside linebacker in a 3-4. 

6'4"+ 257 4.9 40 guy not a strong SPRAq guy, I'd have taken Josh Sweat here.

Armstrong is an intriguing prospect with the build and fluid athleticism of a shooting guard. Armstrong's drop in production can be attributed to a change in scheme that asked him to play run first and pass second. His game revolves around athletic ability over technique, but his poor forty times at both the Combine and his pro day could cause concerns. Armstrong has the tools and upside to become an eventual starter at outside linebacker in a 3-4.


    • Angular with long arms and well-defined build
    • Plays with loose hips and plus agility
    • Can be both smooth and explosive in his movements
    • Features considerable acceleration from standstill and change of direction and pursues all over the field
    • Has rush experience standing and with hand in the ground
    • Able to hit accelerator once he gets to the embankment as rusher
    • Good inside spin counter
    • Bends and flattens to quarterback
    • Effort level is consistent
    • Active hands at point of attack
    • Jarring initial punch with upper body twitch to discard blockers quickly
    • Sees past blockers
    • Has sudden responsiveness in his chase
    • Shows ability to sink and battle back against wash-down blocks


    • Played as a 4-3 end, but may not have the frame for it moving forward
    • Will have to become comfortable standing and handling added duties as outside backer
    • Contact balance is slightly below average
    • Doesn't have base and play strength to withstand squared blocks at point of attack
    • Will opt for athleticism over technique at times
    • Saw significant drop in production with sacks going from 10 to two and tackles for losses falling from 20 to 10
    • Too often a one-note rusher
    • Can do better job of setting up blockers before countering
  • Needs more effective use of hands in his rush and a go-to move


Dallas uses their 5th rounder to take a QB. They had stated they wanted to take a QB in this draft and this is by far best QB left.

Originally projected as a 3rd 4th round guy.

Mike White C Western Kentucky


White saw major downturns in every important passing category this year, but evaluators will have to balance his inconsistent play against the porous protection he got. White has good size and a live arm which is enough to get him drafted, but if he doesn't do a better job of recognizing blitzes and making decisions faster, his arm talent won't matter. White has QB3 potential with a shot to move up the ladder as a backup.

  • Arm talent is the first thing you notice
  • Former high school pitcher with 90 MPH fastball who can crank up that heat when he needs to
  • Has good drive accuracy
  • Able to push the ball into tight windows
  • Has velocity and accuracy to attack the middle of the field
  • Can alternate between heat and touch
  • Throws catchable deep ball and has ability to drop it over a cornerback's head down the sideline
  • Can be dangerous from the pocket when he's protected
  • Completed 57 percent of his deep throws when protection was better in 2016
  • Resets feet before throwing when he leaves the pocket
  • Asked to make full-field reads at times


  • Heavy feet take time to set up in the pocket
  • Struggled to deal with poor protection
  • Lacks feel for pressure off the edges and drops his eyes when he sees pocket push
  • Pocket mobility is poor
  • Was responsible for his share of the 46 sacks
  • Sluggish processor when initial reads are covered
  • Stayed on covered targets rather than finding better options
  • Relies too heavily on arm over anticipation
  • Looks lethargic when trying to roll and throw
  • Fumbled 12 times this year and 17 times over two seasons


I'd have liked a QB closer to Dak in terms of play calling/style.

With Dallas' 1st pick in the 6th round. . .they picked a LB out of Indiana, Chris Covington. Who???? Not a pick I would have made but they like athletic guys (don't blame them). I'd have taken his teammate Tegray Scales if I'd wanted a LB but big need at 1 Tech and 2 very good ones on the board.

Here's hoping they nab one of them with their next 6th rounder.

Chris Covington C-/D
Covington is a better athlete than skilled linebacker at this point in his development, but he has intriguing length, speed and athleticism that could be moldable on the next level. He still needs to get stronger and improve his technique, but he could become a special teams factor on coverage teams if he makes the squad. His ability to play in the league may rest upon whether or not he can improve his instincts and feel for blocking schemes.
  • Long arms dangle from his long, athletic build
  • Former quarterback with room for more weight if needed
  • Plus play speed in pursuit of the ball
  • Flashes burst to close
  • Plays with good energy and a desire to make plays
  • Inexperienced but learning
  • Big spike in playmaking production including 12 TFLs in 2017
  • Physical field demeanor
  • Strikes with force against ball carriers and some pulling guards
  • Good finisher
  • Comes to balance and swallows prey when in position to tackle
  • Athletic dropping into space
  • Adequate man cover talent with athletic traits to challenge catch
  • One-year starter
  • Instincts and play diagnosis are well below the mark at this time
  • Gets out of position and loses leverage when trying to protect his gap
  • Still learning to recognize blocking schemes and read keys properly
  • Gets trapped in traffic
  • Will need to learn to sift from safety before shooting downhill
  • Below average playing off blocks to tackle
  • High-cut with issues maintaining contact balance against blocks
  • Pursuit can be undisciplined
  • Will outrace his run fits

Trying not to be pissed because this is actually a decent pick but Dallas didn't need another WR, they need a 1 and Poona was there, so was Derrick Nnadi. . . both are quality 1 Techs who would be instant upgrades to the DL. . ..which frankly needs help up the middle.

Well I will say this, wasn't just Dez getting a message. Would not be shocked to see none of the Top 5 WRs from 2017 on the roster in 2019.


Overview Cedric Wilson A

Excellent value, 3rd/4th round talent maybe higher in the 6th.

Wilson is a former high school quarterback with just four years of experience as a receiver including two on a major college level. He showed improvement from his junior to senior season and should continue to get better with more coaching and experience. Wilson has the potential to be a quality backup who might find time in three wideout sets. Teams may choose to use him as a big slot option with the potential to challenge on all three levels.

  • Comes from football bloodline
  • Possesses good height and exudes confidence game-in and game-out
  • Can work outside or from slot
  • Nuanced route runner
  • Changes speeds inside his route to open doors for separation
  • Disguises route intentions underneath and on deep outs with strong vertical push
  • Able to coax off-man corners to open hips early
  • Has build-up speed with an extra gear when tracking the deep ball
  • Saw 26 percent of his catches go for 25-plus yards
  • Athletic and competitive with ball in his hands
  • Used on all three levels
  • High school quarterback who completed all four career pass attempts on gadget plays
  • Can compete as kick and punt returner


  • Is a step slow into his routes off the snap
  • Had issues finding clean releases against aggressive press
  • Likely to see immediate, physical challenges off the snap as a pro
  • Won't always keep feet under him which caused occasional stumbles at the top of his routes
  • Ball skills and hand-eye coordination are average
  • Is a little tardy in making adjustments to off-target deep balls
  • Below average finishing challenging catches outside his frame
  • Won't have a highlight reel filled with circus catches

Interesting stats, Dallas got the top 2 yards per route WRs in college football though both coming from small schools.


Dallas continues head scratching moves and takes a weak RB prospect with their 7th round pick. Poona Ford and Kendrick Moore (Miami) still on the board.

No S, no DT for Dallas. I'll wager this guy doesn't even make the practice squad. Well on second thought, Special Teams guy???????.

Dallas did trade Ryan Switzer to the Ray-duhs for their 2nd round bust pick from 2016, DT Jihad Ward. Don't mind starting to clean out the WR room, maybe Dallas thinks they can make him a reclamation project. 

While we thought Wilson was great value in the 6th and Covington a WTF pick, we see this guy as a waste as well. 

Bo Scarbrough D/F

Scarbrough can be a runaway locomotive, but he needs a long track to get rolling or his effectiveness will drop sharply. Scarbrough won't make tacklers miss, but he is a brute force who can add yardage to the end of runs. Scarbrough is a one-cut runner who is best in an under-center rushing attack where he can get carries in bunches. He has the talent to be an effective NFL running back, but durability concerns and a lack of pass catching ability could cap where teams are willing to consider drafting him. His explosive testing at the Combine could intrigue teams who had written him off previously.

  • Tapered, powerful physique
  • Is a punisher behind his pads
  • Can absorb solid blows and keep runs alive
  • Will always fall forward once he gets a head of steam behind him
  • Plays with steady tempo
  • Has surprising ability to gather weight and cut sharply downhill as outside zone runner
  • Generally comfortable making reads and choosing track from I-formation
  • Tackling him high ends poorly for defenders
  • Able to create additional yardage through power and long speed
  • Able to batter defenses late in game and then hit the chunk play
  • Short yardage touchdown specialist who can leap up-and-over the pile
  • Had dominant stretch against Auburn, Florida, Washington and Clemson late last year
  • Can thump in blitz pick-up
  • Hasn't had to handle a heavy workload thanks in part to Alabama's committee approach


  • Plays with upright running style
  • Frame too accessible for big hitters looking for a slab of ribs
  • Durability is a major concern
  • Has suffered through multiple lower body injuries dating back to high school
  • Long strider who needs a long runway to get to top speed
  • Doesn't have bend and footwork to string moves together
  • Too big and leggy to counter sudden penetration in backfield and needs runs to stay on schedule
  • Impatient with a penchant for crowding lead blockers and eliminating his own escape routes
  • Burst and feel for running lanes is below average
  • Defenders got hands on him much earlier in the carry than his teammate Damien Harris
  • Missing second-level vision to play chess against linebackers


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Overviews above are from NFL.com


Below is the evaluation of Dallas' draft by PFF.




1 (19) Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State, 89.8
2 (50) Connor Williams, T/G, Texas, 85.7
3 (81) Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State, 92.1
4 (116) Dorance Armstrong Jr., Edge, Kansas, 78.5
4 (137) Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford, 82.1
5 (171) Mike White, QB, WKU, 84.2
6 (193) Chris Covington, LB, Indiana, 85.5
6 (208) Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State, 89.2
7 (236) Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama, 75.6

Day 1: Dallas made some interesting picks in the draft, and none more than their top pick of Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch. Despite being older than the other top linebackers in this class, Vander Esch is actually younger than all of them in terms of playing time experience, with just one season of significant playing time in college. That season though was spectacular, seeing him lead the nation with 76 defensive stops and showing the kind of flow to the football that teams love. His potential remains high because of that lack of experience, and if he can develop his coverage skills to match his run defense he could quickly become one of the game’s best linebackers.

Day 2: When the Cowboys were at their best, they had the league’s most dominant offensive line, and they’re trying to get back there with the offseason hire of offensive line coach Paul Alexander and now selecting Connor Williams in the second round. Williams was the No. 2 tackle on our draft board and allowed just one sack across three seasons of play for Texas. He has shown excellent pass-blocking and run-blocking skills and looked to have the ability to stay outside at tackle but was seen as a candidate to move in to guard by many. Dallas could use an upgrade at either right tackle or left guard, and they will need to decide how they are going to deploy Williams and La’el Collins to best improve those two positions.

The Cowboys also added a PFF favorite, Michael Gallup, the highest-graded wide receiver in the nation in 2017 and one of the most productive players in college football. Gallup faced press coverage on 64 of his targets in 2017, catching 30 of those passes for 568 yards, and showed well at the Senior Bowl against improved competition.

Day 3: Dallas grabbed QB Mike White in the fifth round to back up Dak Prescott. He posted the sixth-highest grade in the draft class on deep throws. Cedrick Wilson adds nice receiver depth to this group and at 6-foot-3, he gained 4.6 yards per route against Power-5 competition in 2017, leading the FBS. With their last pick, they grabbed Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough, who never quite lived up to his huge frame, breaking 62 tackles on 267 college carries.

Overall grade: Elite

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sky is the limit for Vander Esch.  Has uncommon size and length and is so comfortable in coverage.  Now that this his job 24/7, he should continue to get stronger.  I think there will be packages and situations where he will start year 1 as Dallas rolled out several 3 LB sets last season instead of the nickel back.

Connor Williams must prove that he is pre-injury productive; if so, he will move inside to OG and Collins can stay at OT with FA Cameron Flemming as the swing backup at both OT spots.

On the fence on Gallup.  He may flash year 1, but don't see consistent production of any kind.  I like his ability to separate quickly vs CB's, this should help his maturation greatly and unlike many other WR's taken ahead of him, has reliable strong hands.

Only time will tell, but hoping 4 or 5 of these kids stick.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Coal Harbour said:


Only time will tell, but hoping 4 or 5 of these kids stick.

 I can see 4-5 of them easily as starters in 2019.





With Wilson and Armstrong as contributors.   If Hurns is not re-signed, can see Wilson starting with Gallup in 2020

Keep in mind that Tevon Austin is effectively a 6th rounder for us so another contributor.


4 starters and 3 contributors out of 10 picks. . .that's quality drafting.


PS, Dallas will have $60-70 million in cap space next year so Martin is easily retained, locking up this OL for 5 years and if Lawrance repeats, money to sign him as well.   Plus they can "go shopping" for a key piece unlike years past in FA.







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

Franchise Quest