If I had known then what I know now.
My reviews and defenses of the Ezekiel Elliott pick in the Cowboys 2016 draft may have confused you into thinking I was an Elliott guy all along. I would remind you all that I was and am, first and foremost, a QB truther. With that in mind and the knowledge of how both the NFL draft turned out and the newly-leaked Cowboys draft board information, I now re-draft 2016 in true Frank Sinatra fashion: My Way.
Pick 4: Trade
The top two guys are gone and I want my QB like Bart Simpson wants his elephant. I’m probably going to have to take it in the shorts a little bit on this trade, so instead of Harvard plus 20% like I prefer, I’m going to take a little less. The Atlanta Falcons at 17 look about right for obtaining Paxton Lynch and their 17 and 52 picks are a near match for the Harvard value of pick 4. My net gain on the trade value is less than ten percent, but I get my quarterback and another second-rounder.
Pick 17: Paxton Lynch
Well, I kinda gave that one away in the whole article so far, didn’t I? He’s not my favorite quarterback of the future, but he’s got a solid first-round grade and so has a real shot with this offensive line and a strong running game to support him. Plus I ought to be able to get him some help at tight end with that extra second-round pick, right?
Pick 34: Jaylon Smith
Even with the injury the guy is #5 on your draft board. Yes, you take that guy at 34. Other factors that come in to play here are that there is an actual need at Mike LB with Rolando McClain’s inconsistency and, the big thing is, you draft the guy who gives your team the most value for the future. Drafting for this year is a bad strategy because most rookies struggle to contribute their first year anyhow.
Pick 52: Kendall Fuller
In the actual draft, Dallas passed on the opportunity to get this guy, even though he was there at pick 67 with a second-round grade. I’m not sure why they did, but he’s the unquestioned highest-rated guy on their draft board at this stage and there’s no such thing as "too many good cornerbacks".
Pick 67: Maliek Collins
I loved this pick at the time and I love it more now. Penetrating interior lineman is something this defense needs and Collins is a great fit here. Get healthy soon, amigo.
Pick 104: Paul Perkins
I was stumping for this guy long before the draft. He’s my favorite pure runner in this class, though other parts of his game (blocking) need work. He’s also a legacy player, with an uncle in the ring of honor. Watching him run behind this line would’ve been a real treat.
Pick 135: Charles Tapper
I am not saying that Dallas necessarily should have waited to take Tapper, but I’m letting myself have this bonus because no one Drafted a defensive end between 101 and 135. Sue me. I think Tapper’s upside makes him a great project pick here in the fourth.
Pick 189 and 212: Anthony Brown and Kavon Frazier
It’s hard to imagine what must have been going on in that draft room as things were closing down and there were two fourth-round graded players sitting there in the 6th. "We’ll get one of these two guys at 189! that’s awesome!"
"Holy. Crap. We got both of them?"
Pick 216: Daniel Lasco
The Cal back has good wiggle and was a workout warrior, showing incredible athleticism in his combine workout. I think he had a good shot to come in and compete to be the next Lance Dunbar or Dwayne Harris.
Pick 217: Rico Gathers
Why not? A 6’ 8", 275 lb man with Div I level college basketball athleticism has got to be able to do something on a football team if he really wants to. find a spot and give him a shot.
It probably surprises no one that I didn’t vary significantly from the Cowboys picks given it was their board I was (mostly) working from. But that’s how I would’ve done it were I the one pulling the strings. What would you have gone for had you been in the War Room?