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2019 NFL Draft: First-round analysis shows Cowboys still in the hunt for what they need

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The first round is over. How’d it go?

NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The first round of the 2019 NFL draft has officially concluded. After months of speculation over what exactly the Arizona Cardinals would do with the first overall pick, they did what everyone had been saying they would do for all those months and took Kyler Murray.

But what followed was little more chaotic.

Things were going according to plan at first, with the 49ers taking Nick Bosa and the Jets taking Quinnen Williams. Many draft analysts considered Bosa and Williams to be the consensus top two players in the class, so it wasn’t surprising to see them go off the board in the top three.

Then came the Oakland Raiders at the fourth overall pick. After trading away Khalil Mack, Jon Gruden needed to find his new star pass rusher and with Josh Allen of Kentucky still on the board, it seemed like he was about to do it. And while the Raiders did take an edge rusher, it wasn’t Allen. Instead, it was Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who many considered to be a late-first-round option. Instead, he ended up being a top five pick, and the Raiders were once again mocked around the Twitter-sphere.

The Raiders were just getting things started in a crazy first round that saw a lot of players taken far earlier than expected and a lot of players falling below their expected draft slot. The Giants took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones sixth overall with Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, as well as a lot of great pass rushers, still on the board. The Lions took tight end TJ Hockenson eighth overall instead of looking to build up their defense a bit more.

The Steelers traded up ten spots to steal Michigan linebacker Devin Bush Jr. from the division rival Bengals. Haskins fell all the way to the Redskins at 15; they resisted the urge to trade up for a quarterback despite a plethora of insider tweets indicating they wanted to do so throughout the day. Safety Darnell Savage and offensive tackle Tytus Howard heard their names called in the middle of the first round even though many draft experts expected both to be day two picks, that just added to the mayhem.

The Eagles traded up three spots to take offensive tackle Andre Dillard with all of the wide receivers in the class still on the board, and then both the Redskins and Giants traded back into the first round, causing quite the commotion in the NFC East. And just for good measure, the Raiders selected safety Johnathan Abram, one of the safeties the Cowboys were looking at, with the pick that they acquired from Dallas in the Amari Cooper trade. Depending on your opinion on Abram, that might sting.

But as surprising and hectic as this first round was, perhaps the most surprising thing was all the players that didn’t hear their names called. This whole draft process we’ve been told that Ole Miss wide receiver DK Metcalf was the best at his position group, but he’s still on the board. Similarly, the top two cornerbacks in the class, Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy, are still waiting. Tackle Jawaan Taylor, largely considered a top 15 prospect, is still available, as is quarterback Drew Lock.

The biggest takeaway from the first round, at least for Cowboys fans, was all the defensive backs that fell down draft boards. Safety is clearly a big priority for the Cowboys, and cornerback seems to be a point of emphasis for their draft plans, too. Only one cornerback and two safeties were taken, leaving a whole lot of players at those positions still on the board heading into round two. That increases the odds that Dallas will be able to get one of those players at 58.

Instead, the first round was surprisingly heavy on defensive linemen. In the first 32 picks, 12 defensive linemen or edge rushers were taken. That included a pair of Mississippi State players in Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons, both of whom were unsure if they’d be taken in the first round due to various issues not related to their on-field play. Sweat was taken by Washington at 26th overall and Simmons went to the Titans at 19th overall.

The first round was chock full of delirium, proving only that NFL teams are still virtually impossible to predict around this time of year. As we get ready for the second round to begin, there are still a lot of players left that could become impact players for the Cowboys, although don’t be surprised if the craziness from the first day continues on into Friday night.