Over here at Blogging The Boys, we work to keep you in the know. Last year, we used our follow the money strategy (thanks KD) to help identify draft targets Leighton Vander Esch and Connor Williams. As it turned out, they just so happened to be the Cowboys first two picks of the draft. And so far when it comes to free agency, we have things dialed in real well in terms of which of the team’s own free agents will return.
Update on in-house free agent signings. Got 10/11 correct so far. I really want to make Tank green, because let's face it - that's happening. pic.twitter.com/FZTpvT2lHa— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) March 15, 2019
Getting a feel for what the organization does means listening to the right people. And there aren’t any people more knowledgeable as to the inner-happenings of the Cowboys than the crack-staff over at the Mothership. Recently, the Draft Show trio of Bryan Broaddus, David Helman, and Dane Brugler made an early prediction for who they believe the Cowboys will take with their second-round pick. If you followed them last year, then you know where the Vander Esch hype train began because Broaddus boldly stated he would be the Cowboys pick at 19. These are three guys you want to pay close attention to, so let’s get down to brass tacks and see who they selected...
DT Rennel Wren, Arizona State (Brugler)
The Cowboys signed free Christian Covington to help strengthen the defensive tackle position, but he’s only here on a one-year deal. When you combine that with the fact that both Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods are entering the last year of their deals, the Cowboys have a lot of question marks in the interior of their defensive line. Getting a young, reliable defensive tackle on a cheap four-year deal would give them a little breathing room for the future. With the pool of talent available on Day 2 of the draft, going after a DT is certainly a good possibility.
Rennel Wren is a little raw, but he has all the attributes to be a disruptive player in the NFL. He has excellent upper body strength to overpower his blockers, shoving them into the backfield. He explodes off the snap and can blow up the play immediately. Wren doesn’t posses an arsenal of moves as he’ll need plenty of work to become an elite player, but the upside is there. Once he can learn to fully utilize all of his strengths, he can be a force in the trenches.
DE Zack Allen, Boston College (Broaddus)
With DeMarcus Lawrence not yet signed long-term and Randy Gregory suspended indefinitely, the Cowboys edge rushing situation is a little hazy. They do have a couple recent draft resources - Taco Charlton and Dorance Armstrong - waiting to make a bigger impact. Based on how things play out, defensive end may not be a position of need, but if a talented edge rusher is at the top of their board when pick 58 rolls around, the team should be ready to pounce. You can never have enough quality pass rushers.
Zack Allen has a great first step and doesn’t waste his movement. He’s not a dancer as he keeps blockers on their heels with great burst off the line of scrimmage. Allen has a repertoire of pass rushing move, which helps him offset his limited athletic ability. He doesn’t have much bend to get around the edge, but he can get into the holes in a hurry. Allen has violent hands and is quick to disengage from blockers. He plays with good awareness and is a physical player against the run. His lack of sheer athleticism will cause him to slide a bit, but he’s just a real impressive football player that could be a good piece to the Cowboys defensive line.
S Taylor Rapp, Washington (Helman)
The Cowboys were not able to sign Earl Thomas as his price demands were just too high for what the front office was willing to pay. The team has been holding up okay with undrafted free agent Jeff Heath and sixth-round pick Xavier Woods, but they could use an upgrade at the position. There are a couple that could fall to the Cowboys if the stars aligned just right.
Taylor Rapp just fits the type of football player the Cowboys are looking for. The Huskies defensive back is extremely smart and does a great job anticipating where the ball is going. He’s an outstanding tackler and takes good angles, seldom whiffing at ball carriers. He diagnoses plays quickly and doesn’t get juked easily. He’s plays with a lot of toughness and is always around the action. Rapp isn’t an exceptional athlete and doesn’t project as an elite safety, but his savvy play will make him a solid fixture at the safety position for some team.