The Cowboys have done a very strong job of finding, identifying, and drafting talent. The 2016 draft class is probably the biggest example of this, as the team selected franchise quarterback Dak Prescott, star running back Ezekiel Elliott, and linebacker Jaylon Smith. That does not even include solid starters such as Maliek Collins and Anthony Brown or special teams contributor Kavon Frazier.
For as good as the Cowboys front office is, there has also been some misses; the obvious one is drafting Taco Charlton — who was cut and is now apart of the Miami Dolphins organization — instead of first team All-Pro selection T.J. Watt in the first-round of the 2017 draft.
The 2019 draft class had a lot more duds than studs. In fact, there was really only one legitimate contributor from the class: fourth-round running back and return man, Tony Pollard. Pollard flashed in some games out of the backfield, but his role week-to-week varied. The Memphis product broke out against the Los Angeles Rams in a game in which it appeared as if the Cowboys were going to roll to a postseason berth; however, the rookie only touched the ball twice the very next week against the Eagles, fumbling once. He also put up a big performance earlier in the year versus Miami.
For the season, Tony Pollard finished with 455 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while adding 107 yards and another score as a pass catcher. Pollard totaled 562 yards from scrimmage and provided some fun highlights in the process.
RT to see more of this from @Tp__5 #DALvsDET | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/YEw4gkueBQ— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) November 17, 2019
Tony Pollard to the @TP__5 | #LARvsDAL pic.twitter.com/F50dgjlYYq— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 16, 2019
Tony Pollard's balance is ridiculous @Tp__5 pic.twitter.com/EkR6rbAIjT— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) October 21, 2019
The rest of the class didn’t do much.
The Amari Cooper trade left Dallas without a first-rounder, so that automatically made things more difficult. Still, there were still some good players available on the board when Dallas came on the clock in the second round. The team passed on safeties such as Juan Thornhill and Tayor Rapp, as well as wide receivers such as Mecole Hardman and D.K. Metcalf, in favor of defensive tackle Trysten Hill. Hill had some questions regarding his motor entering the draft, and he was a healthy scratch for much of his rookie campaign in Dallas.
Third-round pick Connor McGovern never had the chance to play during his rookie season, as the former Penn State offensive lineman was shut down prior to the regular season because of a pectoral injury. There is hope that when he is healthy he might provide another “hit” from this particular draft class.
Fifth-round selection Michael Jackson was placed on the practice squad before the Detroit Lions came and signed the former Miami Hurricanes defensive back. Fellow fifth-rounder and Miami product Joe Jackson made the 53-man squad and saw some snaps throughout the year along the defensive line. Perhaps the highlight of his season was when Jerry Jones gave him a shout out during training camp.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke pretty glowingly of rookie defensive end Joe Jackson (Miami) following the blue and white scrimmage on Sunday. (via @dallascowboys) pic.twitter.com/6X8R74eQkA— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 6, 2019
Sixth-rounder Donovan Wilson never contributed much of anything during his first year in the league despite making the roster, while both Mike Weber and Jalen Jelks were inked to the practice squad.
The Cowboys have made a name for themselves with their success in the draft, but 2019 was certainly not great. With players like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Amari Cooper demanding hefty contracts, it is important now more than ever for Dallas to get back to the success that it has had during the last weekend in February.
Mike McCarthy, who will be the next head coach of America’s Team, has the 17th overall selection, and picks all throughout the draft to work with. It is crucial that the Cowboys hit more than they miss this time around.