The Dallas Cowboys strutted into day 3 of the NFL Draft with an already impressive haul of WR CeeDee Lamb, CB Trevon Diggs, and DL Neville Gallimore. All were players that represented greater value than the draft capital invested in them. Dallas had employed a very successful strategy of being patient and letting the talent come to them on the first two days. Now, they had four more picks to use. Even if they got little of value in the final four rounds, it was still going to be seen as a successful haul.
As it turns out, they were far from done.
Round 4, pick 123: Reggie Robinson, CB, Tulsa
Among our staff, there was a lot of anticipation that the Cowboys would go with an EDGE rusher, given that they had not addressed that yet. But during the Dallas day two press conference, Mike McCarthy stressed the importance of sticking with the board. Given how they did that to take CeeDee Lamb in the first round, we should have known that looking at positional need could be misleading. It clearly was, as the Cowboys double-dipped at cornerback in the fourth round, taking Robinson to go along with Trevon Diggs.
From Connor Livesay’s draft guide:
Impressive physical traits at the boundary cornerback spot, with above average athletic traits to pair. Instincts in coverage, and ability to play both man and zone, makes him a top candidate to out-play his draft stock coming out of a smaller school. Robinson made strides as a run defender throughout his tenure at Tulsa, and the ball skills are going to translate nicely to the next level. With ideal size, athleticism, and ball skills it’s hard not to really love what Robinson brings outside of the top 100.
Not all evaluations are glowing, and while some see his selection as another case of getting a real value, others disagree. There may be more to this pick than just throwing him in the mix with the current CB room.
Reggie Robinson II played on every special teams unit at Tulsa and had four blocked kicks in addition to his CB duties. Could be a core contributor for John Fassel.— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) April 25, 2020
In addition to the work he can do on the defense, he is also a pick for John Fassel. Robinson’s special teams work was likely a part of his evaluation, and why he was seen as the player for the Cowboys to take at 123.
And then . . .
WE HAVE A TRADE!
The Cowboys engineered the deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, who are having themselves a most delightful draft, if you haven’t noticed. The Cowboys sent the Eagles pick 164 and a 2021 fifth-round pick to move up to Philly’s spot at 146.
Round 4 pick 146: Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
The Cowboys, of course, lost Travis Frederick to retirement following his struggles to overcome Guillain-Barre Syndrome. So they went back to the same source to take a player who could become his replacement.
Before injuries in 2019, he was considered a potential first-round pick and a surefire NFL starter. Now the question is whether he can fully recover and live up to that potential. Dane Brugler of the Athletic had this to say about him:
A three-year starter at Wisconsin, Biadasz was the starting center in head coach Paul Chryst’s pro-style scheme. He started every game with Jonathan Taylor the last three seasons, helping clear the way for one of most productive runners in college football history. A program kid, Biadasz hoped to play defensive line in Madison, but bought into the move to center as a freshman and developed into a technician, playing under his pads and timing his punch. However, his lack of toplevel athletic traits and recovery skills showed vs. better opponents (see 2019 Ohio State tape). Overall, Biadasz moves with stiffness and his balance issues will be highlighted vs. NFL-level competition, but he is fundamentally sound with the smarts and toughness to fight for a starting role in an NFL camp – if his medical situation doesn’t interfere.
This really looks like a future play by the Cowboys. With Joe Looney, Connor McGovern, and Adam Redmond, they are not going to depend on Biadasz to start, but he could well grow into that job.
Meanwhile, there is another trait he shares with Frederick, although it also needs some development.
Up to this point, the Cowboys had not only gotten great value with almost all their picks, but they had addressed significant needs at CB, WR, DL, and C. Now, however, they had to wait from the last spot in round four to the last spot in round five before they got to pick again, with a couple of significant pre-draft needs unaddressed, safety and edge rusher. Surely just sitting and waiting would leave them with bare cupboards.
Round 5 pick 179: Bradlee Anae, EDGE, Utah
At least four of the Cowboys’ picks are cases of “How in the world did that guy fall to us?” And, as Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports says, “Has a reasonable chance to be the steal of Day 3.” He was a near-consensus top-100 pick among the usual sources, and the Cowboys got him at the tail end of the fifth. It seems that a poor combine showing, with no way to make up for it as Pro Days were cancelled, hurt Anae. He was a force on the field and at the Senior Bowl. After making a move to get a potential starter at center, Dallas just sat patiently and let a potential starter at the right end just come on down.
Here’s Connor’s summary of the player.
Bradlee Anea is one of the most productive edge defenders to ever play the game, with eye-popping sack and tackle for loss numbers. Anae will struggle with his athleticism at the next level, but his technique, arsenal of pass rushes moves will likely have him drafted on day two on teams looking for rotational pass rushers. If Anae is able to develop his explosiveness, and continue to improve his hand-work as a pass rusher, he’ll have a successful career getting after quarterback
One thing is indisputable, he had serious production in college.
Cowboys new DE Bradlee Anae had...— Cowboys Nation (@CowboysNation) April 25, 2020
13 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2019.
7.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2018.
7.0 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2017. https://t.co/oQrHJSVJnH
Round 7 pick 231: Ben DiNucci, QB, James Madison
And the Cowboys finally take a flyer, as McCarthy continues his trend of drafting a QB. A small-school player who isn’t even on most radars, he did have some nice stats.
Ben DiNucci (6-3, 210) threw for 3,441 yards (268 of 378), 29 TDs and 6 INTs in 16 games last season https://t.co/htIOJdnyA0— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) April 25, 2020
As our own OCC noted in our group chat, someone must have had a nice UDFA offer ready for him, so he was taken with a pick that seldom has any effect on the roster. Or McCarthy just got a pick to play with.
While you can take issue with that one, especially with players like TE Hunter Bryant and S J.R. Reed still available, it is hard to argue with the overall quality of this group. Now the UDFA frenzy will start, with both tight end and safety likely to be high priorities.
But it has been a fun and wild ride for the Cowboys and their fans. Now the long wait for football to return begins. We’ll have lots to say until then, and we have our UDFA tracker up, so stay tuned!