The words of Bob Sturm still resonate with me loudly - diversify your portfolio. It’s not business advice, but rather a message to the Dallas Cowboys to spread some of those premium draft resources to the defensive side of the ball. The team has done a great job finding stars on the offensive side of the ball in the first round, but the same is not true when it comes to the defense.
Here are the team’s last seven first-round picks:
Now, let me hit the refresh button, only this time put my All-Pro filter on to highlight those star players:
All the offensive players are All Pros. All the defensive players are not.
You may also notice that where the Cowboys pick in the draft doesn’t have any correlation in how good the player turns out to be. They’ve drafted great players early in the round and they’ve drafted the great players late in the round. Similarly, whether it’s early or late in the round - the defensive players just haven’t been nearly as good. The only legit correlation is which side of the ball they play on.
So, as we ponder different draft prospects who would be great players to take with the 19th overall pick, many of us are screaming for a defensive player. Why wouldn’t we? The team needs an impact defender far more than they need an offensive star. But what if this team is just remarkably better at finding offensive gems than they are at defensive players? If there was any truth to such a commonality, wouldn’t you be more adept to saying, “let it ride” and just keep going after offensive stars? If it came down to drafting an All Pro or a JAG, we would all take the All Pro every time until we have 11 of them.
While some of this is just coincidence and I’m certainly not implying the team can’t improve in their ability to select quality defenders, for this little exercise - let’s roll with the idea that drafting an offensive player equates to another star joining the roster. If that was the only way to land a great player (which it’s clearly not), which players would have the best chance to be the next All Pro offensive star?
The Falling Star
Everyone ponders over whether or not the Cowboys should take Calvin Ridley if he falls to 19. While he could be a great receiver in the NFL, the upside of D.J. Moore could propel him into a star. Like Ridley, Moore has great speed and can explode out of his cuts. If you closed your eyes and imagined one guy who could be the next best thing at wide receiver, it’s hard not to think that Moore could be that guy.
Both receivers could be great players, but the Maryland receiver is more athletic and has the potential to be something special. And if we’re judging by helmet coolness, it’s not even close.
Not Sexy, But Super Safe
This just in: the Dallas Cowboys are remarkable at drafting offensive linemen in the first round! Oh wait, you already knew that? Every single time the Cowboys have drafted an OL with their first pick, it’s been met with an insincere golf clap, only to be followed up by a standing ovation by season’s end. Even Jerry Jones himself will tell you how much he regretted the pick for the first few months after the draft.
Whether it seems like a good idea or not, it’s always worked out for them. Will Hernandez is the fan favorite this year and he’s already been getting cozy with the other Cowboys offensive linemen as he was watching a movie with Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.
Dallas Cowboy Nation, how about Will Hernandez at 19? He would be another monster added to our offensive line. Extremely strong!— Tacomania (@ZekielVirus) April 1, 2018
W: 304 lbs.
40: 5.15 sec.
Bench: 37 reps
Hernandez has a great combination of balance, power, and athletic ability and could be just as forceful in the trenches as his All Pro teammates on each side of him. Plus, he’s got a lot of nasty in him which would fit great with all the other mean-spirited gentle giants.
With last year’s retirement of Tony Romo and the release of Orlando Scandrick, you can now count on one hand how many players are still on the team prior to Jason Garrett becoming the head coach. Of course, no player has been on the Cowboys longer than 15-year veteran, Jason Witten. But eventually, the future Hall of Fame tight end will call it quits, right? He has to. No one plays forever.
If the Cowboys traded back late in the first round, could they surprise everyone by taking a tight end?
While many will squabble over which tight end is the best in the draft, Hurst has been the front runner prior to the combine. And after his performance in Indianapolis, he looks like the clear-cut top tight end in the draft.
The Cowboys are trying to make this offense more Dak-friendly. Most people look at the receiver position to make that happen, but if they did a youth movement with another receiving target for Dak, that could set them up with a potential offensive start for a long time.