When Day 1 of the draft concludes, there will be 31 players selected in the first round (thanks Miami) but I don’t believe that there are actually 31 players with first round grades. In a lot of mock drafts we’ve seen players like Bijan Robinson slated to the cowboys at 26, and although if he is there, I would have take him, I hope someone does us a favor and drafts him before 26 so the Cowboys may be more inclined to make the move that I think can really set this team up for the now AND the future, trading back.
As I’ve evaluated the players in this years class, I’m not blown away by the top end of the class but I believe there is a lot of depth in some areas of need, particularly in the trenches. A trade back into the early second round, picking up more draft capital, would increase the likelihood that we could leave the 2nd rd with 2 players that they’ve coveted and additional day 3 picks to address another position like RB/WR/DB. Mazi Smith NT (Michigan) and Steve Avila G/C (TCU) are two players I have my eye on. The cowboys have notoriously been adverse to spending premium draft capital on 1 techniques, and have spent a few day 2/3 picks on DTs with pass rush skill sets (Neville Gallimore, Osa Odigizua), or converted power DE like Chauncey Gholston to add depth to the interior DL. The run defense is still a problem, Mazi Smith is a plug and play NT who can anchor the DL and help keep offensive lineman off of LVE and Damone Clarke to maximize their abilities to run and hit. Although he lacks pass rush ability today, with his athletic profile and the matchups he will likely see playing alongside Tank and Micah, I believe he can develop some pass rush ability down the line. Better run defense = more 3rd & longs, and we all know how those end up with this pass rush/secondary, count me in.
2 words, say it with me "Position Flex". If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve heard that phrase thrown around by the front office, I’d be able to purchase a stake in the franchise. Avila, 6’3 330lbs has played snaps at guard, center, and RT for TCU. He’s stout in the run game as well as pass pro, and could be a day 1 starter at LG allowing Tyler Smith to stay at LT. Although I’m thankful to see that the boys’ were able to get Tyron to come back for another year, it’s vital that they continue to rebuild this unit with Steele coming off an ACL injury and Zack Martin growing more grey hairs by the day. Mike McCarthy said he wanted to run the ball more and a starting OL of Tyler Smith, Avila, Biadasz, Martin, Steele would make that an easy proposition no matter who is in the back field.
Bijan Robinson is a flat out stud, but are we sure his value is higher than the combo of Tony Pollard and one of the backs you could likely get on Day 3 (Tyjae Spears, Kendre Miller, Devon Achane, Roschon Johnson)? The cowboys should lean on Will McClay and their scouts to find them a good back later in the draft and continue building this roster from the inside out.
Overall the cowboys have done such a good job filling holes pre-draft that I believe this draft should be focused on getting tougher in the trenches. To win big you’ve got to be able to run when you want to, and stop other people from running when you need to.