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NFL’s top 100 rookies list has four Cowboys, supporting their draft strategy

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It’s all a projection at this point, of course, but it does make the front office look pretty smart.

NFL: NFL Draft Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

A while back, NFL.com did a projection naming who they thought would be the top 100 draft picks this year. It popped up again in my timeline, and it seemed to verify some things that a lot of us are thinking about the Dallas Cowboys draft class this year: It represents really good value and also confirms that they pulled off a nice maneuver with their first two selections.

Here are all the Cowboys who made the list, along with where they were picked.

22. Connor Williams (pick 50 overall)

30. Leighton Vander Esch (pick 19)

47. Michael Gallup (pick 81)

79. Dorance Armstrong Jr. (pick 116)

Now, this is all the opinion of Chase Goodbread, the writer. No games have been played, but it certainly does look like he really likes what the Cowboys did.

Excluding Vander Esch, all the players are very good values for the draft capital expended. And even LVE is not a bad value, showing as a low first-round return. But the others are pretty outstanding.

Williams is seen as a mid-first round talent. When taken in tandem with Vander Esch, it shows how Dallas successfully gamed the draft to fill two crucial needs, get a couple of players they really wanted, and perhaps got two first-round-level talents for the price. During the draft, there were a lot of us (raises hand) who were very concerned as the stock of potential left guard candidates was depleted while the Cowboys waited on day two. But they stayed patient, and Williams slid just enough. Meanwhile, the evaluation of Vander Esch here showed that it was very unlikely the Cowboys could have gotten him if they had taken Williams or another lineman in the first. It was certainly a gamble, but it looks here like it paid off handsomely. That is especially true in the difference of 28 spots between where Williams was taken and where Dallas actually got him.

Gallup is an even better value in that respect. Goodbread has him a full 34 spots better than the 81st pick that he cost. With the current uncertainty in the wide receiver group (just made worse by the recent news of Terrance Williams being arrested for public intoxication), that is a welcome thing.

Armstrong is the biggest steal in that regard, with a positive differential of 37 spots.

If this ranking is anywhere near close, the Cowboys effectively turned their first four picks into two last-half-of-the-first-round players, a solid mid-second rounder, and a mid-third round talent. That is pretty impressive, and reinforces the idea that Dallas’ front office has gotten pretty good at this draft thing.

Of course, it all depends on how everything goes. But for those who are feeling pretty optimistic about what the team has done this offseason, here is another reason why those feeling might not be in error.