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Cowboys 2015 Draft: Team Gets First-Round Talent Randy Gregory In Second Round

Dallas takes a risk on character issues to get a solid first-round talent with the 60th pick of the draft.

Dallas takes a risk to get their man in the second.
Dallas takes a risk to get their man in the second.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have now addressed two of their top three needs in the 2015 NFL Draft. They took Nebraska DE Randy Gregory to shore up the pass rush. With the secondary already bolstered by Byron Jones, the Cowboys now only need a running back to have the major issues for the team handled. But Gregory is a player who slipped from a solid first-round pick to 60 because of serious red flags about his drug use and some reports of doubts about his ability to mentally handle the stress of the NFL.

But just on talent, he is unquestionably the steal of the draft so far. In three seasons at Nebraska, he had 17.5 sacks. Although he is somewhat light, he has a proven ability to get to the quarterback, and also has demonstrated some good abilities against the run. As Bryan Broaddus of put it:

No question a first round talent, but some off the field questions of failed tests and if you are willing to work around that could provide some juice off the edge.

Dallas clearly thinks they can handle his issues and get another effective pass rusher. With pieces like Greg Hardy (once he comes off suspension), DeMarcus Lawrence, and Tyrone Crawford, the Cowboys now look to have seriously upgraded the anemic pass rush that was so much a part of their downfall in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The second round had other attractive options Dallas was interested in when they went on the clock, including DE Frank Clark and running backs Duke Johnson, Tevin Coleman, and Jay Ajayi. But based on performance alone, Gregory was head and shoulders above any of them. And Dallas had flirted with the idea of taking him in the first round before backing off. One round later, he was such a value, the team could not pass on him. And now the Cowboys can try to find a way to get a running back in the third round, as no real run on them materialized in the second.

Clearly the Cowboys are hoping Gregory can have a career like that of Charles Haley, another player who had more than his share of issues. This is not to say he can be a Hall of Fame caliber player, but if he can get even close, this will pay off very well indeed.

So far, the plan in Dallas has not been a surprise at all. Who the team has been able to get has been just short of amazing. They got good value in the first, and an incredible one in the second. If Gregory is able to keep his head straight and stay out of trouble, this will likely prove to be a very successful draft for them just on the basis of the first two picks. So far, this draft is playing out better than most of us could have dreamed.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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