Christmas has come and gone. The Dallas Cowboys have nine new toys to add to the toy box and for us to debate over for the next three months until the season kicks off. As many of you are aware, I was at Draft Town for this entirety of the NFL Draft and not only saw the reactions from fellow Cowboys' fans but many other fanbases. I even got to hang out with a fellow BTB'er Marquise00, who is a resident Chicagoan and die-hard Cowboys' fan. We discussed each pick as if we were live on the Draft Show, so I must give him a quick shout out and thank him for his hospitality. I really came away with the impression that Chicago is the perfect home for this event as it's a city of rich sports history and high sports intelligence and significance.
Now, onto what is going to be a very late reaction piece to what we have already been discussing at BTB since Thursday night. Let's start with the first round...
Taking The Running Back At Fourth Overall
In many ways it seems like though we discussed hundreds of times, some folks were just not prepared to pull the trigger. It's almost like getting cold feet on your wedding day but this pick makes a load of sense. It hurts to see my overall favorite player, Jalen Ramsey, playing for someone else. You know what would hurt more? Seeing Ezekiel Elliott running behind another team's offensive line and quite possibly a division rival. Whether or not Baltimore was going to take that plunge or not, he could have likely fallen right into John Mara's lap had no trades been executed.
Running the football is the identity that Jason Garrett is embracing. He's seen it first-hand as a player and as a head coach of one of the most prestigious sports organizations in the entire world. He has seen what that type of offensive attack effects his entire football team most notably his quarterback. There is not one player on the draft board that you could have convinced me would have more of an impact on their wins than Zeke. He helps the Cowboys win football games, period. He's not just another running back that can be devalued. When you play the Minnesota Vikings, you have to deal with Adrian Peterson. When you play the Dallas Cowboys, you will have to be aware of Ezekiel Elliott. I'm not saying that he's AP, I'm saying that he's Zeke. He's a special player nonetheless.
An Injured Risk In Round Two With Huge Ramifications
It has been said multiple times since this pick was made that only two general managers have the job security to make that decision, Bill Belichick, and Jerry Jones. What we know is that the Cowboys' really had their eyes set on a pass rusher like Kevin Dodd or Emmanuel Ogbah but both were gone. Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack will be the narrative that is born out of this. Sure, Jack can play right now but there is a significant chance that microfracture surgery is in his future. That potential procedure is a very scary thought for his future because those players typically lose some ability. Anthony Spencer is still on the free agent market and the Texans are also holding out hope that Jadeveon Clowney can return to a glimpse of what he one was. It's a delicate situation.
The Cowboys need so much help on defense, so it is a head-scratcher that they would take Jaylon Smith with the 34th pick. However, there has got to be some intel that we are missing here or this pick wouldn't have been made. Smith is clearly the best linebacker prospect if not for this injury and has the higher possibility of finding longevity if things go right. That is still a huge if because the Cowboys didn't add a significant defender until round three. Most pundits don't believe that Smith will have the chance to play in 2016, but this is something we need to pay close attention to. We could all be surprised in due time. Dr. Cooper played a huge role in this pick, here's to hoping he's right. The entire draft will be looked back upon with this pick in the forefront of people's minds.
The Dallas Cowboys Starred In The Fourth Round
About a month ago, I wrote about how important it would be for the Cowboys to make the most of their late round opportunities, given their track record of not being so good. Well, they get an A+ effort from me for what they did in the fourth round. In fact, I put it up against what any team did in that round and say they have a legitimately won.
Charles Tapper- The Cowboys want athletic defensive linemen and with Tapper it's exactly what they will get. He's got the measurables at 6'4 and 260 lbs. He uses his length well and has a very good knowledge of the perfect ratio of speed and power for the position. He's got a very high motor and quick first step that gets him through the door immediately. I like his awareness and he was productive even if the seven sacks in 2015 would say otherwise. He had 50 tackles last season and was a two-time All-Big 12 selection. As OCC pointed out, he had the highest SPARQ scores of any defensive end. The athleticism is off the charts. If you want more gushing over Tapper, Jim Scott has you covered here.
Dak Prescott- I've been high on him for quite some time as many of you know. Where some folks may just see a backup quarterback in the NFL, I see a lot more. Despite the DUI, he's a very smart player and made a dumb mistake. It's not likely to carry over to his NFL career and he's absolutely beloved by everyone around Mississippi State. The more you read about him or watch his tape, you see a guy who has got better with every coming year. He shattered SEC records and showed that he's not just a mobile quarterback but one capable of making all the throws. He gives you everything he has and his potential is through the roof. He is an accurate thrower with 63% over his career at Mississippi State with 70 touchdowns to 22 interceptions. He also had 41 rushing scores. I could be wrong but I feel good about this prospect.
Though as previously stated, this draft has a mixed bag feel to it, the hope is that the Cowboys have made some sound decisions. What it certainly looks like is that this is a team that views themselves a contender by the way they drafted. A lot of us could be looking at their situation at pass rusher and others and still be worried. However, the Cowboys' brass seem to have cool heads and cooler heads usually prevail.