After waiting for 57 picks, the Dallas Cowboys finally got their chance on day two of the draft. They took defensive tackle Trysten Hill of UCF at 58, then interior OL Connor McGovern from Penn State.
There will be a lot of debate about the merits of the two players, and whether the Cowboys could have done something else (like take one of the three safeties that went in the next five picks after Hill), but the decisions have been made. The team has its newest members. And that means that they will be finding a place for them on the roster.
The second and third rounds are considered premium picks, and the Cowboys are going to keep these two. That means they will take the place of someone already on the roster. With that in mind, here is a look at just who could be impacted.
Hill is projected to be a 3-tech, which would put him up against Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford, and probably free agent acquisition Kerry Hyder. Crawford and Hyder both have the ability to kick out and play DE as well. Given the suspension of Randy Gregory, that may be how they fit Hill in on the depth chart, but they still need to open up a spot somewhere. They also have three 1-techs currently in Antwaun Woods, Christian Covington, and Daniel Ross. That looks a bit deep, so it would also be possible that one of them could be expendable. The defensive line could see anywhere from eight to ten players carried on the roster, and the mix can certainly be varied. That is why the flexibility of Crawford and Hyder can be valuable, although it can also be misused.
If you had to point to one player whose job is directly threatened by Hill’s selection, it would most likely be Ross. That is not meant as any disrespect to him, but he would not represent any dead money, making him vulnerable from a financial standpoint as well.
McGovern is a more intriguing pick, given some of the lingering questions on the offensive line. He may represent an insurance policy in case Travis Frederick is not really as ready to go as we all are hoping. He also might be seen as a possible way to move Connor Williams out to tackle in a year if the team moves on from La’el Collins. Or he could be the plan for replacing Joe Looney in 2020, since that deal expires after this season.
What is obvious is that he is a direct threat to Xavier S’ua-Filo. The Cowboys could well go with only eight O linemen on the 53-man roster for the season. Cameron Fleming is not affected and is going to be the swing tackle, so they would almost certainly have to use the spot S’ua-Filo currently occupies. And McGovern does not face the prospect of coming in as an immediate starer, giving him a chance to learn and develop both mentally and physically. After this year, he then gives the team some real flexibility to sort out what to do when La’el Collins’ contract expires. And according to his call in to the Draft Show at DallasCowboys.com, he is able to play all five positions, so that coveted position flex is there with him as well. S’ua-Filo’s only chance to stick around would be if they carried nine O line, it seems.
Getting new pieces for the roster is always fun, but it usually means some veterans have to leave. Both Hill and McGovern will make the roster if they are healthy. So some, sadly, have to go.