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2016 NFL Draft Second-Day Grades: Cowboys Gamble On Greatness With Jaylon Smith Pick

A review of the draft grades the Cowboys have received so far for their second-day picks.

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We quick look at some of the media grades that have come in so far for the Cowboys picks yesterday.

Second-Day Draft Grades
Chad Reuter,


Choosing Smith in the early second round was a gamble worth taking. Collins was pushed up boards more than his play indicated, but he does have the size and athleticism to be a factor inside. They could get a corner and quarterback on Day 3 that are similar in value to players available in the third round.
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus


Everyone is waiting for Myles Jack to come off the board, but the Cowboys go with the other injured linebacker in Smith. When healthy, he’s an explosive player capable of covering slot receivers and showing great range as a zone defender. He was our No. 25 player on the PFF draft board, and after grading positively as a run defender, pass rusher and in coverage, Smith has immense upside for the Cowboys. High risk, high reward.


The No. 11 overall graded interior defensive lineman a year ago, Collins is a gap-shooting interior disruptor. He struggles to shed blocks once offensive linemen lock on, but he gets into the backfield to pressure the quarterback (11th-best pass rush grade) and blow up running plays (10th-best grade against the run).
Dan Kadar, SB Nation


After getting running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round of the draft, Dallas got a first-round talent with linebacker Jaylon Smith with the 34th pick. It was one of the real stunners on Day 2 of the draft. Smith is expected to miss all of the 2016 season following knee surgery. If he comes back healthy, he can be a star. If he can't this is a risky pick. The issue with this pick is that he doesn't help Dallas in 2016.

In the third round, the Cowboys got better up front on defense by taking Nebraska's Maliek Collin at No. 67 overall. Had he been in a draft with less talent at defensive tackle, he would have been a second round pick. Collins specializes in getting through gaps and creating disruption.
Chris Burke,


If Smith comes all the way back from his knee injuries and nerve damage, this is an A grade with several pluses in front of it, as Smith looked like the best player in the draft before he got hurt. The Cowboys wanted Ogbah and Dodd, struck out, and went with a high medical risk. It's a bit odd to redshirt a guy this high in the draft, but then again, Jerry Jones didn't get where he is by not taking risks.​
Eric Edholm, Shutdown Corner


Giddy up! Smith is a clear top-10 talent whose questionable knee caused forced him off some teams’ boards. But the Cowboys were willing to gamble on potential greatness here, and their team doctor performed the surgery on Smith after his Fiesta Bowl injury, so there’s a level of comfort there. Smith could be a star in this defense, either as a weakside or a middle linebacker. Figure on 2016 being a wash. This risk is significant; the payoff could be huge.


We like this one a lot. Collins got a bit lost in the shuffle in a deep DT class, but he is super quick and could be a terrific fit in Rod Marinelli’s system. The Cowboys didn’t just need ends; the interior has been a bit overlooked, so this could work out nicely. He’ll turn 21 this year and could have been a first-rounder had he stayed in school, but Collins has high potential.
Pete Prisco, CBS


Could be a great player, but can they afford this risk? When will he be back? I hope it's soon, but you never know.


Love this pick for the Cowboys. He can push the pocket. They need more help on that line.

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If Jaylon's recuperative powers are anywhere close to his prowess on the field, Dallas has made an impressive investment in their defensive future. Once Tennessee took Kevin Dodd (the Cowboys' target), they were NOT going to draft a 3rd consecutive DE in RD2 with issues off the field. Dallas offered Ron Leary to Cleveland to swap 2nd round choices but were turned down. Grade: Incomplete


With the flyer on Smith in RD2, Dallas turns its attention toward the DL. There's no value at DE, but the large, quick Cornhusker can play both 1 and 3 technique on Rod Marinelli's 4-3. Interior pressure disrupts opposing QB passing lanes and with Marinelli's preference of running lines in and out (yep, hockey technique), Collins' versatility will come into play
Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

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He’s either a Pro Bowl linebacker who will need a year to repair his injuries or a Marcus Lattimore type who will spend two seasons running in a pool and always being just a few weeks away from returning to football activities. There is no in-between, and occasional assurances that Smith will be "fine, just fine" without any concrete particulars about his range of motion or recovery timeline ring depressingly hollow.

Let’s hope the Cowboys found a diamond in the rough, for Smith’s sake. He’s a heck of an athlete, competitor and individual. Grade: Incomplete.


Maliek Collins often wins the first-step battle. Once he’s through the line, he’s a load to block and flies to the ball. That’s about all there is to his game. If he doesn’t get the jump off the line, he’s blocked. On stretch plays and combo blocks, he can get knocked to the turf. His pass-rush move is to win off the jump.

Collins was a high school wrestling champion, so there should be more to his technical game than go straight fast, but he didn’t develop much after a stellar early college career. This was a reach selection for a team that needs to start thinking about the present. Did I just write that about the Cowboys?

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