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Grading The 2015 Dallas Cowboys Draft Class

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As we gear up for an interesting next few months, a look at the 2015 draft class and see what their futures are with the Dallas Cowboys.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

While Jerry Jones continues to receive ridicule for the way he handles things with the Dallas Cowboys, the reality is that management has formed a pretty talented roster over the past few years. Dallas has made themselves into a contender and part of the credit goes to Jones for the moves he has made. Granted, Will McClay and Stephen Jones should be given a ton of acclaim as well, but when it comes to the final say of things, Jerry is the guy that answers the call.

In recent years, the Cowboys have added some nice pieces. Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory are just a few guys that should have long careers in Dallas. But how did Dallas do in the 2015 draft? .

Disclaimer: Because these players are just one year through their rookie season, this analysis is just off a small sample size.

First round, 27th overall selection: Byron Jones

When the Cowboys drafted Jones there was a question about which position he would play, but there was no question about his talent. In his rookie campaign, Jones showed just that. Despite a few growing pains, he was extremely impressive overall given that he was thrown into action right away because of the season-ending injury to Orlando Scandrick. It's going to be interesting to see what Jones can do with a better cast around him in the secondary.

Grade: A, foundational player (Will be given at least a second contract)

Second round, 60th overall selection: Randy Gregory

Gregory is a player that had top-ten talent. However, because of character concerns, he slipped to the second rounds. At the time, I didn't see Gregory as the best fit, mainly because of his frame and how it would've favored the 3-4 defense. But in training camp, Gregory was battling Tyron Smith. An injury put an asterisk on his rookie season, but the talent is there for him to have productive career in Dallas.

Grade: B, foundational player (Will be given at least a second contract)

Third round, 91st overall selection: Chaz Green

Spending most of the season the NFI List, Chaz Green was never given the chance to prove his worth in Dallas. Adding to the offensive line was extremely interesting, given that the Cowboys already had the best line in football. Nevertheless, Green looks to be the guy that will take over Doug Free's right tackle position when his contract expires after the 2017 season. Green is a technician. He can play the guard position, giving him flexibility across the offensive line. Despite this, until Green starts, it's hard to make the assumption that he'll be in Dallas longer than his rookie contract.

Grade: Incomplete, depth player

Fourth round, 127th overall selection: Damien Wilson

Wilson was sprinkled in here and there in his rookie season. He needs to add on weight, as he showed that he couldn't consistently get off blockers in his first NFL season. Wilson played a key role on special teams, but the Cowboys will get a better chance to judge him this upcoming season with their questions at the linebacker position. Wilson will have the opportunity to compete for a starting gig when training camp rolls around. Wilson will likely never be a superstar, but he might get extended past his rookie contract if he came cheap. However, because the Cowboys have drafted a linebacker in every draft since 2009, I don't have much faith in him.

Grade: C, marginal player (Won't be extended past his rookie contract)

Fifth round, 163rd overall selection: Ryan Russell

The Cowboys value athleticism and explosiveness in their defensive lineman. Russell was a combine warrior finishing with one of the better 40 times. He also finished at the top in the vertical jump, the broad jump, and in the 3-cone drill. Russell is a player that has the makings of a nice situational piece in Dallas. He has the ability to play inside and he's a guy that can stretch an offensive line on passing situations. Russell played in just one game for the Cowboys, but I'm expecting big things out of him in his second season.

Grade: Incomplete, depth player (Will be extended past his rookie contract)

Seventh round, 236th overall selection: Mark Nzeocha

Lately the Cowboys have failed to have success in the later rounds of the draft. Nzeocha is another guy that will likely fall in that category. He's an athletic freak, but he's a tweener. I fail to see him making an impact on defense. He seems to be nothing more than a special teams player. Plus, he's already 26 years old.

Grade: Incomplete, marginal player (Could be cut by the end of training camp)

Seventh round, 243rd overall selection: Laurence Gibson

Gibson was a nice pick for the Cowboys. He's an athletic guy that can play multiple positions across the offensive line, which is again something that is valued in Frank Pollack's scheme. The Cowboys needed to fill the swing tackle role when Jermey Parnell left for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gibson and Green have the ability to do just that. However, a guy like Gibson can be found in many drafts.

Grade: Incomplete, marginal player (Won't be extended past his rookie contract)

Seventh round, 246th overall selection: Geoff Swaim

With James Hanna set to hit the open market, an NFL team will eat up his athletic ability to stretch defenses. The Cowboys needed to find someone to fill his run-blocking abilities. Knowing that, Dallas drafted Swaim with their last pick in the draft. Swaim has a ton of athletic ability and if he can develop, maybe he can become more of just a run-blocking guy. However, it wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys feel uncomfortable about the future of the tight end position and they look to address the position in this year's draft, regardless of Gavin Escobar and Swaim already on the roster.

Grade: Incomplete, marginal player (Could be cut by the end of training camp)

As a whole, the Cowboys added some top-end talent. However, they need to do a better job at drafting in the later rounds. Look at a guy like Richard Sherman. He went in the fifth round and has developed into one of the best cornerbacks in football. In that draft, the Cowboys took Josh Thomas before Sherman. What stings most is that Thomas is a cornerback. He's not even on the Cowboys now and he's had just one career interception, compared to Sherman's total of 26 interceptions.

For Dallas to sustain a bright future, they will need to start drafting well in the latter rounds. If they don't, they will be relying heavily on their first few rounds. In the past few years, the Cowboys have managed just fine, but teams like the Seattle Seahawks and the Carolina Panthers have drafted superstars in the later rounds. It will be interesting to see what the Cowboys do in this year's draft.

What do you think about the Cowboys' 2015 draft class?

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