[In this series, we’re going to give you options for each Cowboys draft pick through round four to see who you believe is the best option.
We’re just going to assume that the Cowboys stay pat and pick so no trade options here. Using Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings at NFLDraftScout.com or hints from their pre-Draft visits, we’ll give you options of guys with a chance to be on the board. After we have gathered all answers to the polls, we’ll publish the perfect BTB Draft.]
BTB has spoken and so far here are the picks in rounds one and two:
DT Vita Vea slides down to pick 19 by 44% of the vote.
WR Courtland Sutton wins the pick 50 poll with 27% of the vote.
DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest (Brugler: 73rd)
Where he fits: The Cowboys still have an underrated need for a right defensive end, where Tyrone Crawford is currently playing, unless Taco Charlton steps up. Duke was a three-year starter at Wake Forest at both left and right end. He’s not the most explosive athlete but his initial quickness is elite. He fires off the snap with violent hands that stun would-be blockers. He’s also got a keen sense of his rush area, making himself thin with great balance around the edge.
He needs to bulk up just a tad but he’s a player that understands his strengths and weaknesses. Ejiofor is a quick thinker that can find ways to win in the NFL due his polished technical skills for the position.
FS Rashaan Gaulden, Tennessee (Brugler: 81st)
Where he fits: Gaulden is going to give it a try at cornerback but his athletic profile is a better fit for the free safety position. The Cowboys really need a rangy player like Gaulden on the back side of their defense. He’s a twitchy defender that plays with great instincts and awareness for what the offense is trying to accomplish.
He’s got the play speed you want in the position but he does need to watch his emotions at times. Gaulden is a very outspoken leader on the field that serves as the energy for a defense. He’s competitive and a reliable tackler plus he has position flexibility, all things that the Cowboys like.
G Braden Smith, Auburn (Brugler: 84th)
Where he fits: Braden Smith is one of the more athletic guard prospects in this draft with a SPARQ z-score of 0.9 which puts him in the 82.7 percentile for the NFL. The Cowboys are setting their sites on finding a starting left guard and if they don’t snag one in the first two rounds, Smith makes the most sense. He’s a three-year starter that showed improvement in each season but really blossomed over the last two seasons for the Tigers.
He’s one of those guys that Nick Eatman calls your “first guy off the bus” due to his physically menacing frame. He moves incredibly smoothly for a guy of his size at 6’6, 315 lbs. Smith is very powerful at the point of attack to hold pass rushers at bay but he’s equally impressive out in space clearing the path for the runner. Braden Smith doesn’t get enough love but he’s an instant steal of the draft candidate in the third round.
LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF (Brugler: 85th)
Where he fits: Everyone focuses on the great story the kid has from playing football at every level without a left hand that was taken from him at four-years old. There’s a better part to this story and it’s the fact that he’s one impressive player despite his handicap. Griffin’s brother was drafted by the Seahawks but the competition runs deep within these Griffin brothers. The Cowboys need an athletic linebacker that can cover from sideline-to-sideline and serve as an insurance policy to Sean Lee but also an eventual replacement.
Griffin is explosive linebacker that has so many gears to his game, he can cover guys he has no business trying to because he’s so fast. Linebackers just don’t run in the 4.3 range but Griffin posted a 4.38 at the Combine. His acceleration is second-to-none but he also adds burst to the defense. He learned early that he had to fight scouts trepidation with learning how to master his craft. He’ll get his start as a backup and special teams standout but it will not be long before he’s found a bigger role on Sundays.
LB Josey Jewell, Iowa (Brugler: 93rd)
Where he fits: Jewell is not the athletic specimen that Shaquem Griffin is but he’s got instincts for the position that few in this draft class could match. He’s just got excellent vision to read what is happening in the backfield, keeping his eyes where they need to be. The Cowboys will fall in love with his ability to read a diagnose the offense. He’s almost never out of position and always the first to the ball.
Sure, he’s not the fastest guy and can struggle with those shifty players but he’s a nonstop hustler. Jewell plays with high intensity and has the every-play-must-be-made attitude. Jewell is quite frankly a finisher that tackles everything in his sights.
WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State (Brugler: 99th)
Where he fits: Hamilton isn’t very flashy and often times you can simply forget about him in this deep receiving class. Where he sets himself high on the Cowboys list is with his creativity as a route runner. Hamilton isn’t the fastest receiver but he consistently finds himself open and has a very sharp understanding of the route tree.
He’s going to get knocked for his lack of explosion and still has some consistency aspects to learn at high pointing the ball. Still, not too many guys are more friendly to their quarterbacks than Hamilton.
Of these six prospects, who do you like at pick 81 for the Cowboys?
This poll is closed
DE Duke Ejiofor
FS Rashaan Gaulden
G Braden Smith
LB Shaquem Griffin
LB Josey Jewell
WR DaeSean Hamilton