We used Dan Brugler’s scouting reports a lot here at BTB in the run up to the 2018 NFL draft. He’s worked for NFLDraftScout.com for many years as well as contributing to the Draft Show on the Mothership. Though his roots are in Cleveland, he’s taken his love for the NFL Draft public on many platforms. He also puts together the largest scouting book each year with over 400 prospects detailed. Many other favorites such as Bryan Broaddus believe that it’s only a matter of time before Brugler is paid to scout for an NFL team.
Brugler doesn’t do grades after the draft. but he does post his Top-5 draft classes that encompasses value in the pick, the fit, and of course his opinions on the prospects. In his Top-5 this year was none other than the Dallas Cowboys, ranking fourth:
4 -- Dallas Cowboys
1 (19) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
2 (50) - Connor Williams, T/G, Texas
3 (81) - Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
4 (116) - Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas
4 (137) - Dalton Schultz, TE, Stanford
5 (171) - Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
6 (193) - Chris Covington, LB, Indiana
6 (208) - Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
7 (236) - Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
The new MIKE linebacker for the Cowboys, Vander Esch is an ascending player who is an ideal fit for the Cowboys’ defense and should start from Day 1. Williams had a streaky 2017 season, but he was tremendous value at No. 50 and is the exact medicine needed for the Cowboys’ offensive line with his tackle/guard versatility. He is probably the starting left guard in the season opener, but can also kick out to tackle if needed. Gallup is part of the new-look Dallas receiving depth chart and could emerge as the team’s best wideout at some point during the 2018 season. At only 21 years old, Schultz could take over the starting tight end duties as a rookie if Jason Witten retires. White, who was my No. 6 rated quarterback ahead of Mason Rudolph and Kyle Lauletta, could easily beat out Cooper Rush for the backup role and strengthens the most important position on the depth chart.
The only perceived need that the Cowboys didn’t address was at safety but they feel pretty confident in the guys they have right now. You could argue that the three biggest holes on the roster were at linebacker, offensive guard, and wide receiver.
Having lost starting MIKE, Anthony Hitchens and core special teamer Kyle Wilber, depth was rather thin. No matter how confident they would like to be in Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee, both have concerns. Jaylon Smith could become a playmaker but he’s still recovering from a devastating injury. In terms of Sean Lee, he’s 31, and has an extensive history of missing games due to injury. Though some couldn’t see the value in a linebacker at 19, realize that Leighton Vander Esch is not here to be a backup.
The offensive line is the lifeblood of the Dallas Cowboys offense and they addressed that hole, and got extremely good value in Connor Williams, who’s going to join an elite group that is synonymous with the term All-Pro. Moving along, losing Dez Bryant has been termed addition by subtraction. Well, despite their additions in free agency, they were in need of some young talent. They got just that in RAC specialist Michael Gallup in the third and doubled up with Cedrick Wilson much later.
Besides those selections, Brugler was a big fan of the Cowboys taking tight end Dalton Schultz and quarterback Mike White. Schultz may be thrust onto the field much sooner if Jason Witten hangs up the cleats but he fits the prototype Dallas looks for. With Mike White, it’s always a good idea to keep looking for NFL passers, he’s not a threat to start but he will compete at the backup position.
Overall, Brugler really liked where the Cowboys head was at in this process and even praised their work on the Draft Show telecast:
Cowboys add a pass rusher in Kansas DE Dorance Armstrong.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) April 28, 2018
"They've drafted 4 players in my top 100." -- @dpbrugler
Time will tell if this class will earn the high praise it’s received but it’s nice to see one of the best in the business giving the Cowboys some love.