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2018 NFL draft second-day grades: Lots of “A's” for the Cowboys

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

2018 NFL Draft Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Grading draft picks before they have even done a thing is a yearly tradition. Our own Tom Ryle has been grading the Cowboys draft picks: Leighton Vander Esch grade here, Connor Williams grade here, Michael Gallup grade here, and an overall draft grade (so far) here.

From your reactions so far in our grading polls, you seem to be pretty happy with the picks, especially snagging Connor Williams in the second round. In our latest overall poll, the “A” grade is winning out with close to seventy percent of the vote. We’ll have to see if that holds once more votes come in. Then we’ll have to see where we stand once today’s action is over. The Cowboys have seven draft picks today, so they may be inclined to make some trades along the way, and possibly pick up some value-players in these later rounds. Remember, Xavier Woods was a sixth-round pick last year, and he definitely looks like a keeper.

So we’ve looked within our community for draft grades, let’s get outside the bubble a bit. We’re taking a quick look at some of the media grades that have come in so far for the Cowboys' day two picks of Connor Williams and Michael Gallup. The reviews are pretty good.

Second-Day Draft Grades
Dan Kadar, SB Nation:

A

After the better tight ends were taken off the board by the time Dallas picked at No. 50, the Cowboys got good value in offensive lineman Connor Williams. He was announced as a guard, but he played left tackle at Texas. He could fit either in the NFL, particularly if the Cowboys want to move La’el Collins to guard. It could be a situation where the Cowboys see where they fit best in training camp. Williams was a good, smart value pick.

With the 81st pick, the Cowboys got Dez Bryant lite in Michael Gallup of Colorado State. He plays with a lot of strength and doesn’t mind getting hit in the open field. He could become one of the better value picks of the third round.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com:

A

Vander Esch is a talented off-the-ball linebacker who can move on the outside and slip tackles inside to find the ball. The Cowboys needed to bolster the position, but should they have found a pass-catcher here instead given their dire need at the position and having their pick of the best? It's a good pick -- if his neck truly is not a problem. Williams will likely play guard for the Cowboys. He'll join a nasty group up front and has the talent to make Pro Bowls. They found a future starter at receiver with Gallup. His progress as a rookie will have a large effect on how the passing offense performs in 2018.
Longball, Drafttek

A

Once again, the Beagles out-think themselves by jumping the Cowboys to take TE Dallas Goedert. Little did they know that Ol' Long Ball and Cuzzin Jerruh had a sit-down with Mr. Witten this afternoon and reminded him of the 3/24/18 bonus he received when renegotiating his contract . . . he'll think retirement over a little more seriously this weekend! But on to Mr. Williams . . . he'll start at LOG, but also be insurance for Tyron Smith's back problems. This versatile, athletic OL prospect was bullied as a child, but not any more!

B-

Dez Bryant is no longer a Cowboy . . . and FA acquisitions Allen Hurns (2 years) and Deonte Thompson (1 year) were signed to "Prove-It" contracts. Gallup is a natural athlete with good size who finds ways to get open through burst and athletic ability. He joins a crowded Dallas WR room where the strategy will be to provide Dak Prescott multiple options on RPO plays. Have to add a footnote though: Ronnie Harrison is still on the board and would be a lot cheaper than Earl Thomas!
Arthur Arkush & Eric Edholm, Pro Football Weekly

A-

Did Dallas get jumped by its rival in Philadelphia for Goedert the same day Jason Witten's retirement was announced? It certainly feels that way. Is Connor Williams an awesome consolation prize to plug immediately into the Cowboys' suddenly vulnerable LG spot? No doubt. Whether they got punked by Howie Roseman or not, it's tough to argue with the value here. We dig it.

B

There’s a new horse at receiver in the Lone Star State. Gallup had some impressive performances (check out his work vs. Isaiah Oliver and Colorado) and can go up and get the ball even though he’s not a big receiver. He can be a solid No. 2 WR who should help Dak Prescott move the chains and operate in the red zone.
SB Nation

Good

He’s a Cowboys fan. That’s pretty good for draft day!

Good!

Dallas needs receiver help, and Gallup was insanely productive at CSU. If he runs a 4.46 40 instead of a 4.51, he’s probably a second-rounder.
Andy Benoit, SI.com

B

The Cowboys announced Williams as a guard, but considering that 2015 would-be first-rounder La’el Collins flashed there a few years ago and has since struggled at right tackle, don’t be surprised if Williams winds up playing outside. Either way, the Cowboys now have a fifth super-high-pedigreed offensive lineman. If Williams fulfills the first-round potential that many believe he has, this front five, which was already far and away the NFL’s best, has a chance to be impenetrable in pass protection and unstoppable in the ground game. With no immediate major needs on defense (save for maybe pass rusher), the Cowboys could afford to re-invest in an area of strength.

B-

Are we looking at a cheaper, younger 2017 Dez Bryant? For Dallas’s sake, let’s hope Gallup is more explosive. This scheme features a lot of spread formations and basic route combinations, and receivers must be able to win one-on-one.
Luke Easterling, Draftwire

B

Two picks in and still no pass-catcher for the Cowboys, but it’s hard to argue with the balance of need and value at this selection. Williams ranked fairly close to Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey on my board, and he ended up being a top-10 pick, which makes this look like a huge steal. Whether Williams plays tackle or slides inside at the next level, he’s a well-rounded prospect with plenty of upside who could have gone in the first round.

A

- -
Pete Prisco, CBS

C

I don't think he's a as good as many others do. Where does he play? Is Collins going back to guard?

A

This kid is a playmaker with good size and has great ball skills. He will push for a starting job right away.
Todd Archer, ESPN

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The Cowboys made a strength stronger by taking Williams. They have first-round picks on the offensive line in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. In 2015, La'el Collins was considered a first-round talent until he fell out of the draft. The Cowboys didn’t have a receiver they liked at No. 50 with Courtland Sutton gone. They weren’t excited about the tight ends, like Dallas Goedert, whom the Philadelphia Eagles picked after trading ahead of the Cowboys. Williams grew up in Coppell, Texas, not far from the Cowboys' former training facility, and he was a pre-draft visitor to The Star.

--

The Cowboys downplayed their need for a wide receiver entering the draft even though they parted ways with Dez Bryant. They didn't go receiver in the first round with Calvin Ridley staring at them. They didn't make a play for Courtland Sutton in the second round, and he went to the Denver Broncos. Gallup was highly productive, with two 1,000-yard seasons at Colorado State. He also caught 21 touchdown passes. Bryant's production fell in his final three seasons with the Cowboys, but he still managed to find the end zone, scoring 17 touchdowns in 38 games. He was not among the Cowboys' top-30 visits, but the team did put him through a private workout. He might not time the fastest, but he plays fast and is productive with the ball in his hands.
Mike Mayock, NFL.com

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It's an interesting conversation because they were talking about keeping La'el Collins inside if they drafted a tackle. They announced him as a guard so the intention is to have him compete for the starting guard position.

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I really like him. He's a little bit of a poor man's D.J. Moore. Built like a running back. He had a good game against Alabama, he's quick, he's fast, strong hands and high-point ability. I think this young man's got some upside.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

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Williams will be a developmental backup at first with La’el Collins still figuring out his best position, left guard or right tackle, and Cameron Fleming as a free-agent fallback for the latter position. The in-state product has first-round upside.

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Gallup isn’t exactly a direct Dez Bryant replacement, but he’s a scrappy receiver who can make big plays after the catch in the open field. Dak Prescott will be thinking more short-to-intermediate and getting the ball out of his hands quicker.