If you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in the Cowboys war room, then The Cool One’s breaking news of the team’s leaked draft board was right up your alley. Even though the handwriting on the wall appeared to be written by someone that had way too much coffee, the forensic team of BTB led by a determined OCC was able to put together the pieces to provide some good information. As mentioned in the original story – these are just words on a marker board so how closely it represents the Cowboys actual rankings isn’t truly known. But if it’s the real deal or a very close representation, then it paints a nice picture and answers a lot of answers that Cowboys fans have been debating over the last couple months. Here are my observations from the leaked board.
1. It’s Always Been Zeke
You don’t always have to hold the number one overall pick to acquire the top player in college. And the Cowboys were able to do just that. Whether he warrants being ranked at the top or not remains to be seen, but from the team’s perspective, they got the best player in the draft. If you thought Dallas was interested in one of the top two quarterbacks - think again. If you thought Joey Bosa would have been the pick if San Diego hadn’t grabbed him - not so fast. So don’t think by the time pick four came around that the Cowboys had to settle for whatever was left over. They didn’t go BPA, the went BP. Unless someone had managed to jump ahead and grab him, this pick was always going to be Ezekiel Elliott.
2. Didn’t Reach For Jaylon
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the criticism of selecting injured linebacker, Jaylon Smith. First, some love the player, but felt he could have been selected in later rounds. Second, he’s a player that won’t help the team win this year. While there is nothing the team can do about the latter, the Cowboys front office certainly didn’t feel that optimistic about his availability in later rounds.
He was ranked fifth on their board. Granted, Smith’s injury (as well as Myles Jack) had him falling down the draft boards so it gets tricky trying to guess where they could end up being drafted. The Cowboys didn’t want to wait around to find out. If you get the number five player on your board in the second round, you got to take him and never look back.
3. It Made Sense To Make A Play For Lynch
The Cowboys pushed hard to work a deal with the Seattle Seahawks in order to move to the 26th spot so they could draft Paxton Lynch. They eventually lost out to the Denver Broncos who were able to provide the Seahawks with a pick that came with a fifth year option. Many fans expressed relief that Jerry Jones wasn’t able to get that deal done as it would have costed the team additional draft picks. That might have seem costly for the 26th overall player, but if you consider that Lynch was 12th on the Cowboys board, that seems like a much better deal.
It’s also worth noting that the Cowboys didn’t see a lot of difference between the quarterbacks. Their top QB, Carson Wentz was ranked 7th and Jared Goff was ranked 9th.
4. The Cowboys Went Need In Rounds Three And Four
The Cowboys selected Maliek Collins with the 67 pick. He was giving a third-round grade and ranked 40th on their board. The Cowboys had Kendall Fuller ranked 23rd on their board, but decided to pass on him. Why did they do that? Was it because Fuller was coming off an injury and the concern was more prevalent than what their board projected? Or did the team feel that they shouldn’t wait any longer to take a defensive linemen?
The also could have taken Conner Cook who had a second-round grade and was ranked 37th on their board, but must’ve decided it wasn’t the right time to take a quarterback.
The Cowboys again deviated from their board in round four. Charles Tapper wasn’t their top ranked player. In fact, he wasn’t even their top ranked defensive end as Ronald Blair from Appalachian State was ranked considerable higher. Blair was ranked 54th on their board vs. 72nd for Tapper. Going one position over another could be a reason to go away from your board, but that wasn’t the case here. This is just one of those conundrums that we will never understand.
5. The Steals
The Cowboys were able to select two defensive backs in the sixth round that had fourth round grades. Both cornerback Anthony Brown and safety Kavon Frazier were great value picks for the team. As Jim Scott said in our virtual meeting when we were hashing this out, "they had to be doing backflips to get Brown and Frazier in the 6th." While there are no reports to indicate such a celebration, this is a possibility…
After looking at the leaked board, is there anything about the order that makes more sense now? Or does it raise additional questions?