One of the lone highlights of the 2020 season for the Dallas Cowboys came very early on... it was during the NFL Draft. Hype around the Cowboys really started to build last season after they fully assembled their draft class. Landing CeeDee Lamb so late was unthinkable throughout the lead-up process, and hedging the pick with defensive pieces like Trevon Diggs and Neville Gallimore only added to the allure.
While last year was 2020, so is hindsight. If NFL teams were able to look back at the decisions they made during the draft some likely would have operated a bit differently.
ESPN’s 2020 NFL re-draft has CeeDee Lamb going top 10 and the Cowboys still landing Trevon Diggs
On Tuesday morning the worldwide leader put out a re-draft of last year’s top 64 selections. You will recall that the Cowboys walked away with the aforementioned Lamb and Diggs with their first two picks and there isn’t a fan of the team that would go back and change much about that. This isn’t exactly the case for other squads.
One of these units is the Arizona Cardinals. Originally the Cards took Clemson defender (he is too versatile to be limited to one position) Isaiah Simmons. With the eighth pick ESPN has them taking CeeDee Lamb, nine spots ahead of where the Cowboys ultimately got him.
For what it’s worth, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray joined The SB Nation NFL Show this week and talked about how he wanted to continue playing with Lamb (they were teammates together at Oklahoma). You can listen to that full interview here.
Moving on, the Cowboys would have likely been targeting K’Lavon Chaisson in this alternate reality as they were highly connected to him throughout the draft process. Considering what we now know about the 2020 season though (as in Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory both having legitimate spurts for the team) edge rusher still doesn’t feel like the most proper utilization of the pick.
There were plenty of mock drafts and lines of thought that had Dallas taking Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs at number 17 overall. That’s exactly what they did here.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Original pick: CeeDee Lamb, WR
New pick: Trevon Diggs, CB
The Cowboys took Diggs in the second round and believe he will be a cornerstone piece to their defense for years to come. Mike McCarthy said Diggs has the best ball skills of any young cornerback he has coached. K’Lavon Chaisson would have been the Cowboys’ pick last spring had Lamb not fallen to them, but here they still fill a major need with a player they already know well. — Todd Archer
It is certainly nice to see the Cowboys still land a cornerback we all think is going to be an important part of their future. Considering him worth a top 20 pick (both now and then) makes it all the more incredible that the team still walked away with him even after drafting CeeDee Lamb.
With Diggs already acquired, that leaves the Cowboys’ second-round pick still left to be spent. The idea of this exercise is to use the benefit of hindsight to effectively rank the top 64 players of the class which means there aren’t many people “falling” all too far.
51. Dallas Cowboys
Original pick: Trevon Diggs, CB
New pick: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE
The Cowboys need pass-rush help, and while Gross-Matos had just 2.5 sacks as a rookie, there is still plenty to work with after what he showed in his big year at Penn State. Ross Blacklock was a consideration, especially because of the move to the Dan Quinn scheme, but Aldon Smith might not be back and there’s always going to be concern with Randy Gregory. — Todd Archer
As Todd Archer notes, the future of the edge position should be a factor and there is some question surrounding depth there for the foreseeable future.