The Dallas Cowboys had a tremendous draft back in April. The amount of quality Will McClay and the scouts got from their collection of draft resources will do wonders in back-filling the roster with cheap rookie deals that will help keep this team competitive. It was such a great draft that it’s hard to pick a favorite. The team got “steal” after “steal” so there are so many great options to choose from when trying to predict which player will end up having the greatest value. And that is what we’re going to do today.
Recently on Twitter, Dan Turner pondered this exact question...
If I was to tell you one Cowboys rookie significantly outperforms where they were drafted:— Dan Turner (@dtsturner) July 29, 2020
A) Who would you want it to be?
B) Who do you think it realistically would be?
In these type of situations, most people typically look at the difference in draft position and see which player deserves to be moved up the most spots. However, that doesn’t properly represent the greatest value. For example, if CeeDee Lamb turns out to be the best player in the draft, he would end up being drafted no. 1 overall in a re-draft, yet he would only move up 16 spots from his original draft position. Using a +16 to evaluate Lamb’s value is a little cagey, so we’re not going to roll that way. Instead, we are going to use the NFL Trade Value Chart to get the full value of the difference in positioning.
We have our measuring system defined, but now comes the tricky part - predicting where players really should’ve been drafted. Sure, this is such a feeble task without these players setting foot on the field yet, but hey, we like to splash around in forecasting things. To kick things off, let’s just roll with the ESPN 2020 Draft rankings of the top 100 prospects and see how the Cowboys fared compared to when they were actually drafted. Dallas had five players within their top 100, producing a trade chart differential listed below (sea foam green):
Based on their rankings, the best values are:
- CeeDee Lamb
- Tyler Biadasz
- Bradlee Anae
- Trevon Diggs
- Neville Gallimore
This seems like a reasonable list. Most people would agree that Lamb was such a tremendous gift that fell in the Cowboys lap, and if Biadasz ends up with the starting center job, he will end up being one of the biggest steals in the draft. Not only that, but many fans couldn’t believe edge rusher Bradlee Anae was still available at pick 179.
That’s a good list, but it’s time to come up with our own. If you read my stuff before the draft or follow me on Twitter, you may know that Day 2 of the draft played out perfectly for me as the Cowboys drafted both the players I loved for those rounds.
My one and only 2020 Cowboys mock draft. pic.twitter.com/RB9SOgErnq— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) April 20, 2020
Interjecting my love for these two players into the rankings, comes up with some new values:
Trevon Diggs +390
From a value perspective, he’s my clear favorite from this draft. Even when there was buzz about him being considered at 17, it wasn’t the worst idea in the world to me, although I was hoping someone else better would be there (and he was). With Diggs, the team may have found the cornerback of their future who can step in immediately and replace the departed Byron Jones. Love the player, and at 51 - he’s an absolute steal.
Neville Gallimore +230
Similar to Diggs, the team found themselves a playmaking defender who many call the “Canadian Bulldozer.” His college tape is impressive, and he has all the traits to be a reliable fixture within the interior defensive line. Gallimore doesn’t have to be a star in this league to turn into a great value pick. If he can provide similar results to that of Maliek Collins, then that’s outstanding third-round drafting by the Cowboys, and that seems like a reasonable thing to expect.
CeeDee Lamb +200*
I didn’t mess with Lamb’s rankings because I’m sticking to my guns with my scaredy-cat apprehensions about taking a wide receiver in the first round. I’m a numbers guy, and the numbers don’t paint a very good picture for teams who have made first-round investments in wide receivers in recent years. Of course, trends are made to change, and I am as hopeful as the next guy when it comes to what Lamb can bring to this offense. I have my Team40Burger t-shirt (and you can too), but it would be insincere to suddenly change my stripes in thinking he’s a sure-fire star.
It should be noted however, that if he turns into a star and ends up in the top five in a future re-draft, then he’s +750 value, which would lock him down as the player to outperform his draft position the most, which is why we’ll throw a little asterisk on there.
Tyler Biadasz +124
I feel slightly pleased that I projected the Cowboys to take an interior offensive lineman in this area of the draft as the team loves to capitalize on big uglies who slip through the cracks of the draft. They pounced on Connor McGovern last year, and Biadasz was their “blinking light” this draft, so much so that they even burned some extra draft capital to move up to take him. If Biadasz earns the starting center gig, he will indubitably (I seldom get a chance to use that word) outperform his draft position.
Bradlee Anae +122
The Utah edge rusher was the name I saw most frequently to Turner’s question, and it makes sense why. He was selected 179th overall when many draft pundits had him inside the top 100. Any time you can get a high-upside quarterback chaser with the last pick of the fifth round, you go for it. It’s nice to be excited, but this is the third year in a row the Cowboys have selected a Day 3 edge rusher where the team felt like they got a flat out steal. Dorance Armstrong (fourth round, 2018) and Joe Jackson (fifth round, 2019) had fans excited at one point, and while they are still young, nothing has yet to materialize for these players yet. Eventually, one’s gotta stick, right?
Which Cowboys rookie do you think will outperform their draft position the most?
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