In this series, we’re going to go through all the needs the Cowboys currently have and find the candidates in the 2018 NFL Draft that fit the bill. As we move through the offensive side of the ball, let’s take a look at some tackles.
The Cowboys really need to find a swing tackle but unfortunately, this draft class is not very appealing in the tackle department. It’s going to take some developing of guys to make it work but there are always a player or two to be found when you least expect it.
Brian O’Neill, 6’7, 298 lbs, Pittsburgh (Brugler: 73rd, 7th OT)
He’s got the NFL-ready athleticism that you want in a tackle and great length but he’s very raw. He has good balance and quickness that shows up in his ability to recover quickly from mistakes. He does a great job of running edge rushers wide of the pocket area and keeping the quarterback clean. There are still questions about his play-strength and he needs to continuously work on his technique. O’Neill is quick with his initial punch to stun the pass rusher. There is a ton of ability but he needs someone to get it out of him.
Where you get him: Late second, early third round
Alex Kappa, 6’6, 305 lbs, Humboldt State (Brugler: 116th, 10th OT)
Here’s another pet cat of mine as Kappa was impressive at the Senior Bowl. He didn’t come without his struggles but he was more than adequate in run and pass protection. On a couple of instances, he knocked Marcus Davenport (first round EDGE) on his rear end and was quite dominant. He’s got a long frame, built well with broad shoulders and good arm length as well. He’s a tough-nosed guy that plays with surprisingly solid technique. He doesn’t have the elite foot speed you would want and there are questions about the competition level he faced but Kappa has put some of those to rest.
Kappa, to me, is like former WWE Legend, Iron Shiek, when he goes up against good competition: “I’ll break your back and humble you, Bubba!”
Where you get him: Anywhere from late third to middle of the fourth round is a good spot for Kappa.
Zachary Crabtree, 6’6, 318 lbs, Oklahoma State (Brugler: 182nd, 15th OT)
Crabtree is another long and strong athlete that works his tail off to improve in every area he can. He’s got the initial quickness and lateral agility you need in a tackle but he’s also supremely accurate with his punch. He’s got a lot of the fundamentals down though he’s still improving his footwork. He is one of those players that fights through injuries, rarely missing time on the field. He does need to get better in second-level blocking as he can seem a bit sloppy but he’s a darn good pass blocker. He can come into this league and get work as a swing tackle.
Where you get him: Fifth round
Toby Weathersby, 6’5, 308 lbs, LSU (Brugler: 196th, 16th OT)
Toby is a solid big man that can move and mirror well with edge rushers of today. He’s quick to set up and get into the wide base you’re looking for. Weathersby already has a solid knowledge of stunts and blitzes and how to block them. He’s a large man with the skill set that could end up making him a starter one day. He should have spent one more year getting the polish that he needs because his technique really needs a lot of cleanup. Once he hones those skills and you add that to his natural traits, he could be a solid player in the NFL.
Where you get him: Sixth round
Brett Toth, 6’6, 306 lbs, Army (Brugler: 246th, 19th OT)
Now here’s a guy I’m falling in love with as a selection even though he’s got a couple of years commitment to our armed forces before he can play. He’s built very well for the position and is extremely strong. Toth has done quite well for himself, making the AP’s All-Bowl squad this past season. He’s someone the Cowboys will love as he’s the epitome of that Jason Garrett-ism “lunch pail guy”. Toth is an extremely hard worker and it showed up in the Senior Bowl. He latches on to his man and finishes him with ease while looking so fluid in his movement. Toth loves to compete but he’ll have to show teams he’s committed to keeping his NFL frame, two years is a long time to be away from football.
Where to get him: 7th round or UDFA