The Dallas Cowboys are just a couple weeks away from beginning the 2019 season, and the big three of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper all remain unsigned. Owner Jerry Jones seems unfazed by this ordeal and has complete confidence that they will get their young stars signed eventually. And we should too because there are a few things working in the Cowboys favor for this to all work out, and a few of them were on full display Saturday night in their 34-0 win over the Houston Texans.
Reason #1 - First-Round Excellence
It’s no secret that the Cowboys are really good at drafting All-Pro players in the first round of the draft. You might even be getting tired of hearing about it. I’m not, as it’s fun to keep adding names to the list each year.
This is a ridiculously great first-round track record. In the Jason Garrett era, they’ve hit on 77% of their first-round picks, with their first one being no. 77 himself, Tyron Smith (that’s for you, RJ). Technically, Amari Cooper wasn’t officially drafted by the Cowboys, but he still counts as a good pick as it cost the team their 2019 first-round pick to get him. All he’s done is made the Pro Bowl in three of the four seasons he’s been in the league.
And after last night’s game, it might be a little premature to throw dirt on the idea that Taco Charlton is a bust. Sure, he’s struggled his first couple years, but if a light switch goes on and he can put more of those type of plays together, things become interesting.
Reason #2 - Late Round Excellence
The Cowboys aren’t just an organization that only lands their Day 1 picks. They are nailing it later as well.
Players the Dallas Cowboys have drafted in the sixth-round...— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 25, 2019
2016 Anthony Brown
2017 Xavier Woods
2018 Cedrick Wilson
2019 Donovan Wilson
Is that good?
Anthony Brown and Xavier Woods are talked about quite a bit as great steals in the sixth-round, but after last night’s game - there might be a couple Wilson’s joining in on the fun.
Cedrick, the entertainer
The Cowboys special teams not only showed up with a blocked punt by Joe Thomas, but again in the second quarter to help the team score their third touchdown of the night, thanks to a 35-yard punt return by Cedrick Wilson. On the very next play, Wilson got open for a 17-yard completion, setting the offense up first-and-goal inside the five yard line.
Wilson doesn’t have blazing speed at just 4.55, but he’s sees the field very well and had a nice number of yards after the catch at Boise State. He also is a skilled route-runner who always seems to find separation with his defender. And as dangerous as Tavon Austin is as punt returner, Wilson’s not too shabby himself.
There is nothing flashy about how Cedrick Wilson plays, but his explosive open-field moves was one of the reasons he was a star at Boise State. pic.twitter.com/t3kKmlbvro— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 25, 2019
Cedrick continues to impress and get’s my vote as the Cowboys no. 5 wide receiver over both Noah Brown and Devin Smith.
Another young safety star on the rise
Much to the chagrin of some fans, the Cowboys front office passed on paying out a big chunk of cash to Earl Thomas. Why? Maybe it’s because they wanted that money for their younger star players. So, on to plan B which was the NFL Draft to find one of those great collegiate safeties. But with the passing of each round, the Cowboys kept looking off the position until they called Donovan Wilson’s name with the 213th pick of the draft. It brought about much disappointment to Cowboys Nation.
But here we are four months later, and suddenly things seem okay. The Texas A&M safety has been making all kinds of plays this summer. Not only is he showing up in training camp, but the young safety already has two interceptions this preseason. And it could’ve been three if C.J. Goodwin hadn’t gotten there first on his pick.
Our own RJ Ochoa talked about how Wilson could be the next great find at safety. For all you Jeff Heath-doubters out there (that should essentially be most everybody), you have to like what you see from Wilson as the Cowboys future for starting safeties may include a couple of sixth-round picks.
Reason #3 - Great Free Agent Buys
The Jets ($124 M), Lions ($98 M), Raiders ($85 M), and Bills ($83 M) have given the most guaranteed money to free agents this year. That’s what you end up having to resort to when you’re terrible at drafting. The team with the lowest amount - the Dallas Cowboys ($8.2 M)
It’s no secret that the Cowboys are super thrifty when it comes to their free agent spending, and that comes in handy when they are saving up the funds to pay the big three. But what’s even more enjoyable about their approach is that what little money they are spending, they are putting it to great use.
Hyder is a beast
To say that this Cowboys defensive line is a deep group is an understatement as you can come up with close to a dozen players that belong on an NFL roster. One guy who continues to climb the ranks is free agent Kerry Hyder.
The Cowboys signed Hyder to a one-year, $1 million deal, and that could end up being the best free agent bargain in the league this year. The 28-year-old veteran is beating his opponents regularly. It doesn’t matter if he lines up on the outside or on the inside, he’s trouble for the offensive line.
I lost count how many times Kerry Hyder flat out blew up the play, but I'll tell you this - I had to use two hands. pic.twitter.com/RNYbcrx6cP— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 25, 2019
Hyder has gone from a “will he make the team” to arguably the fourth-best pass rusher on this team behind DeMarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, and Robert Quinn. It wouldn’t shock at all if he ended up in the top five in snap counts for defensive linemen this season as Rod Marinelli will find a way to keep him in the game.
But the hits just keep on coming...
The Cowboys have been rumored to not give much weight to the 1-tech position, but the 305-pound Covington has been a great addition to the defensive line. The Cowboys demand pass-rush ability from their defensive tackles, even the nose position, and that’s exactly what Covington brings to the table.
While he hasn't been quite as splashy as his free agent counterpart Kerry Hyder, DT Christian Covington has been an underrated addition to this defense. pic.twitter.com/hgWqkcep8J— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) August 25, 2019
The Cowboys have some great rising stars along the defensive line, but they also have some young guys that are still developing. Bringing in these veteran bridge players who can contribute at the level Hyder and Covington are, just seems unfair.
When you draft that well, and do your homework on cheap free agents, you can afford to pay your superstars.