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Which Cowboys third-day draft selection will impress the most in 2018?

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Late-round picks could see some opportunities to contribute for the Cowboys this season, but which one has the best chance of making a real impact?

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

We have recently seen third-day draft selections make an impact for the Cowboys early in their professional career. Dak Prescott, the 135th selection in 2016, immediately comes to mind, but he isn’t the only late-round contributor the Cowboys staff has found lately: Xavier Woods is set to start at free safety after falling to the sixth-round in 2017, Anthony Brown had a strong rookie campaign in 2016 and 20 starts in two seasons, and Noah Brown made the active roster for 13 of the team’s 16 games last year.

The Cowboys spent six picks on the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft. So, who will be the next late-round prospect to step up for America’s Team?

Dallas spent a fifth-round selection on quarterback Mike White, a prospect that was expected to be off the board well before the 171st pick came on the clock; however, unless something happens to Dak, White’s only time to shine will be the preseason. The Cowboys also grabbed linebacker Chris Covington on day-three, though the sixth-round linebacker is not expected to make the 53-man squad at this point.

With that said, let’s take a look at the realistic challengers.

Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Kansas v TCU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dorance Armstrong is probably the most talented guy the Cowboys selected on the third day of the draft, which is why he was their first pick on day three. The 6-foot-4, 257-pound EDGE was once seen as a first-round prospect after a huge sophomore campaign in which he made 56 total tackles, 20 tackles-for-loss, and an eye-popping 10 sacks on his way to earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Though Armstrong struggled in a new scheme last season, Stephen Jones is excited to have him in his organization, believing that Armstrong will be a “heck of a football player.”

“Big discussion in the room,” Stephen Jones said. “They had injuries there at Kansas and converted to a 3-4 early in the season because of injuries. I think he put on some weight and kept that weight on and really felt like that was in the best interest of the team. He’s an ultimate team guy who is just what we’re looking for and matches up with what Rod [Marinelli] is all about.

“We did watch quite a bit of the 2016 tape, and it’s impressive. We just think he really brings some unique pass rushing skills. ... He’s an A-plus guy in terms of his football character. I think we’re going to have a heck of a football player here.”

Armstrong certainly has the upside to become a big time player if his development goes well, but we have seen that transitioning from the college game to the professional level on the defensive line is easier said than done as a rookie. Combine that with the former Kansas star competing with the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Kony Ealy, Taco Charlton, and, potentially, Randy Gregory, there just might not be enough snaps for him to make that big of an impact in year one.

Dalton Schultz

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The second of the Cowboys’ two fourth-round selections was used to pick Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz. Prior to the second day of the draft, news broke that Jason Witten would be hanging it up to join the Monday Night Football crew — therefore, the Cowboys immediately had another hole to address.

Dallas opted to wait until the 137th pick to grab a potential Witten successor.

Dalton Schultz’s offensive line background already makes him an ideal target for the Cowboys, given the team’s love for strong blockers at wide receiver and tight end, but Schultz’s familiarity playing in a run-heavy scheme has to have helped him too. Playing in Stanford’s run-oriented offense that saw Bryce Love emerge as one of college football’s brightest stars, Schultz grabbed 55 passes for 555 yards and five scores for the Cardinal.

Stanford’s offense did not feature Schultz much, but the tight end made the most of his opportunities. Draft guru Dane Brugler wrote a scouting report on the Cowboys’ newest tight end, noting he “can be an asset for a NFL offense”.

A two-year starter at Stanford, Schultz lined up inline, wing and in the slot and was groomed in David Shaw’s pro-style offense - since Shaw took over as head coach, Stanford has produced four tight ends drafted in the first four rounds (Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz, Levine Toilolo, Austin Hooper). Before moving to tight end in high school, Schultz was raised as an offensive lineman and that competitive mentality is evident, but his limited inline power and hip snap hurt his sustain skills. Although he was underutilized as a pass-catcher in the Cardinal run-first attack (never finished better than fifth on the team in catches in a season), he has dependable ball skills to finish in a crowd. In the mold of several Stanford tight ends before him, Schultz lacks a true distinguishing trait with ordinary athleticism and strength, but he is assignment sound, tough and can be an asset for a NFL offense.

Given that there is a big mystery at the tight end spot — can Blake Jarwin be the guy that both Dallas and Philly wanted? What does the future hold for Rico Gathers? — Schultz should be given the opportunities needed to show the staff why he deserves a role in the offense.

Cedrick Wilson

NCAA Football: Boise State at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Similarly to Schultz, Cedrick Wilson is spending the offseason battling for a spot at a position that has some question marks.

We all know about the moves Dallas made with Dez Bryant, Allen Hurns, and Michael Gallup, but there are not many discussing the former Boise State Broncos star. After starring at Coffeyville Community College, the quarterback-turned-receiver hauled in 139 passes for 2,640 yards and 18 scores in two seasons with the Broncos. Wilson was the go-to threat for Bryan Harsin’s offense, and he constantly found ways to beat opponents.

Brugler wrote on Wilson, calling the sixth-round pick “one of the best vertical threats in this draft class”.

A two-year starter at Boise State, Wilson was the starting “X” receiver in the Broncos’ offense and lined up on both sides of the formation, running mostly verticals, underneath crossers and outs/digs. He became just the third Boise State receiver to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and is a quick study, especially considering he didn’t start playing the position until his first year at the JUCO level. Wilson has natural pass-catching skills and is very efficient from catcher to runner, but he isn’t physically impressive or much of a YAC threat. Overall, Wilson isn’t going to fool anyone with his current route tree, but is one of the best vertical threats in this draft class with his ability to stack-and-track downfield.

With Brice Butler gone, can the son of a former NFL wideout grab one of the final roster spots come September?

Bo Scarbrough

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-OTA Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps one of the more intriguing picks the Cowboys made was in the seventh round, when they decided to grab former Alabama Crimson Tide tailback Bo Scarbrough. The blue-chip recruit burst onto the scene with a strong sophomore campaign when he rushed for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns as Derrick Henry’s successor.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound back ran over defenders during his three seasons under Nick Saban, totaling 20 career rushing scores in his time in Tuscaloosa. Injuries hampered his third and final seasons with the Tide, but Scarbrough still managed to rush for 596 yards and find the end zone eight times while splitting time with potential 2019 first-rounder Damien Harris.

Scarbrough has not been in Dallas very long, but the tough, hard-nosed back said back in May that he sees similarities between Jason Garrett and Nick Saban, which is pretty interesting.

“He’s kind of like coach Saban,” Scarbrough said. “Just from being around the building and seeing some of the signs up -- the team, the team, the team, the ball, the ball, being disciplined. It’s kind of the same thing that we do at Alabama, so I kind of feel at home.

”I kind of feel like the system is exactly the same -- the play-calling, the footwork, the techniques, don’t walk on the field. Everything we did at Alabama kind of transitioned to Dallas.”

While Scarbrough is not the type of back to carry an offense, adding him to a backfield that already includes Ezekiel Elliott, Tavon Austin, and Dak Prescott makes a potentially scary component for opposing defenses to deal with. I mean, who would want to tackle Scarbrough after having Zeke run down their throat all game? That could be fun to watch.

Poll

Which of these four late-round picks do you see contributing the most this season?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    DE Dorance Armstrong Jr.
    (480 votes)
  • 39%
    TE Dalton Schultz
    (757 votes)
  • 23%
    WR Cedrick Wilson
    (457 votes)
  • 12%
    RB Bo Scarbrough
    (245 votes)
1939 votes total Vote Now