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2015 NFL Draft Grades: Randy Gregory Is The Key To Cowboys Draft

A look at the first draft grades published over the last few hours, and how the NFC East teams graded out.

Eric Francis/Getty Images

Too often, when we as fans evaluate a draft, the reason why we like or hate a pick turns out to be what some "expert" said about a given pick, or where some otrher "expert" had a given prospect ranked before the draft.

Keep that in mind as the experts below try to do in a few hours what usually takes a few years: grade a draft class.


Cowboys Draft Grades 2015
Rainer Sabin, Dallas Morning News NYG PHI WAS


Rod Marinelli proved his worth last season when he turned the worst defense of 2013 into a competent unit. But he isn’t a miracle worker, and coaching can only do so much. The coordinator needs talent to get the job done. And this year, the Cowboys worked to stock Marinelli’s cupboard. B+ B- A-
Burke & Farrar, NYG PHI WAS


Dallas had a desperate need for better cornerback play, and it stepped up with the 27th pick to select Connecticut's Byron Jones, a workout warrior who did wonders at the combine but looks pretty good on tape, too. Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory fell out of the first round due to off-field concerns, but Jerry Jones was ready and willing to grab him with the 60th pick. Gregory has freakish speed, but at 6'5" and with a playing weight of around 225 pounds, he'll have to put on some bulk to deal with NFL blockers. Dallas signed right tackle Doug Free to a new deal this off-season, which gives third-rounder Chaz Green from Florida time to develop. He could wind up as Free's eventual replacement. B- B B
Pete Prisco, CBSSports NYG PHI WAS


This draft will be defined by how Gregory turns things around. If he can do that, it will be a great draft. If not, big miss. I do like Jones a lot. Gregory is the key. C+ B+ B-
Mark Maske, Washington Post NYG PHI WAS


The Cowboys ended Randy Gregory’s plummet by taking him late in the second round. He has been a highly productive pass rusher and he could be the steal of the draft if all works out, giving the Cowboys a potential replacement for suspended DE Greg Hardy. But other teams were wary of Gregory’s off-field issues after his admission of testing positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine. Could the Cowboys really afford to take such further risks after signing Hardy? Dallas didn’t trade for Adrian Peterson or use an early pick on a running back, as some had anticipated, to replace DeMarco Murray. That leaves the Cowboys open to criticism if the running game falters. CB Byron Jones was worth the 27th pick and T Chaz Green, taken in the third round, could be next in line behind starting tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free. B+ B- B-
Dan Kadar, SB Nation NYG PHI WAS


This draft rides on the effectiveness of Gregory. It seems like he'll either be developed into a star or could bust out. Jones is a great athlete and the type of cornerback the Cowboys needed to take to replace Morris Claiborne. Russell could be the late-round defensive end that really turns into something decent for Dallas. He has good speed off the edge and enough power. B- B B-
Bryan Fisher, NYG PHI WAS


Jerry Jones got off to a great start by filling a big need at corner and landing a top-10 talent in the second round. He made some questionable decisions after that, including passing on a number of potential quality DeMarco Murray replacements. C B- B-
Evan Silva, Rotoworld NYG PHI WAS


Only time, of course, can tell how these players will pan out. I think it's worth noting that the Cowboys' draft heavily emphasized athleticism. Every single player here can be described as an above-average athlete for their size, while Jones, Gregory, Wilson, Russell, Nzeocha, and Gibson are all legitimate top-shelf movers. I think Dallas stole Jones and Gregory at their draft slots, before reaching a bit on Green. Wilson and Russell have starting potential down the road. On day three, the Cowboys sent a 2016 sixth-round pick to the 49ers in exchange for the pick used on Swaim, a proficient college blocker with tools-based upside. Like most everyone else, I wanted to see the Cowboys draft a running back. They repeatedly passed on the opportunity to select Boise State RB Jay Ajayi. Without a quality back currently on the roster, I'm skeptical Dallas will be able to continue playing "keepaway" at the dominant clip they did last season. With that said, I definitely think their roster improved with this draft. C- B- B-


Randy Gregory is the big story. A gifted pass-rusher with top-5 ability, Dallas is rolling the dice at No. 60 and believing that Rod Marinelli can help a kid who has off-field issues that threaten to derail his career. If it works out, that's an impact player. Chaz Green was a pretty massive reach on my board, but I did like Damien Wilson in Round 4. If health issues again hurt them in the linebacking corps, Wilson is great insurance. As to the big question mark, which was not selecting a running back, my sense is the Cowboys know there are many backs who will run effectively behind their offensive line, and you can add one on the cheap pretty easily. The depth chart there just really isn't that bad. Jones is the safe bet, Gregory the potential home run. From there, we'll see. B- B+ A-
Terez Paylor, Kansas City Star NYG PHI WAS


Jones is an athletic marvel with length who has the look of a press-man corner, while Gregory is a top-seven talent whose off-field issues caused his significant fall down draft boards. Green needs to get stronger, but he has good feet for the position and has some upside. Wilson offers depth at linebacker while Russell has impressive physical skills he has yet to put together. B B B-
Vinny Iyer, Sporting News NYG PHI WAS


The Jones pick was great in the first round; the rest is a real mixed bag. Sure, Gregory could be a great edge pass rusher, but just as well could bust out for his off-field issues. They shied away, however, from a deep running back class, and that’s a glaring mistake to just simply trust in oft-injured veteran Darren McFadden as DeMarco Murray’s primary replacement. C- C+ C

Agree, disagree? Tell us in the poll and the comments below what you think of the Cowboys' 2015 draft.

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