The cowboys entered into the 2019 draft with no real need to improve any given position group, and boy did they draft like it. The only reason this grade is not an D- is because we are generously counting Amari Cooper as their first round pick. That, along with the relative trust this staff has earned over the last 5 years worth of drafts saves this from being a worse grade.
Second Round: Trystan Hill, DT – UCF
Hill did not start for his college team. He is known to be a mouthy malcontent, which kept him in the doghouse. Still, there is the old adage of someone being “too good to keep off the field”, and Hill wasn’t. Not even in the AAC. Neither his combine metrics or his production suggest he is an elite athlete. DL Coach Marinelli is a DL guru and loves Hill, so we will give him the benefit of the doubt. However, even if Marinelli’s gut is correct on Hill, the Cowboys drafted him 20 picks higher than anyone else would have. This pick was poor on a purely value standpoint, since the Cowboys could have traded back, acquired picks and still had him.
Third Round: Connor McGovern, OG PSU
Assuming C Travis Frederick is on pace to recover from Gullienne-Barre syndrome and the Cowboys have not lost faith in last year’s 2nd round pick Connor Williams, there will be no snaps for McGovern. He has no dominant traits, but his list of “above average” traits had experts looking at him as an early 3rd rounder. From a value standpoint, he was a decent pick. The cowboys could be looking to 2020, where they will likely lose La’el Collins to Free Agency. McGovern would not be able to take over at T, but could allow Connor Williams to move to RT, where he is naturally suited. If this is the plan with McGovern, this was a good pick.
The rest of the draft doesn’t look great, and were mostly drafted higher than expected. In a week RB class, they took two RBs that could not start for their own college team in Memphis’ Tony Pollard (4th) and Ohio State’s Mike Weber (6th). CB Michael Jackson is intriguing only because he fits the size profile that DB Kris Richard has used to turn late picks into starts (like Richard Sherman). DE Jalek Jelks is an impressive combination of unproductive, small and slow. DE Joe Johnson fits Marinelli’s preference of strong but plodding DEs that are more like undertackles (think Crawford, Irving, Charleton), so he may outperform his draft slot. Safety Donovan Wilson is “just a guy” and does nothing to alleviate Dallas’ lack of ballhawking turnovers the last few years.
The cowboys should have had two goals during this draft: 1) get some more playmaking production out of their safety position; 2) get cheap replacements for positions where they are likely to lose someone to free agency or retirement (slot, TE, T). The only pick that looks to have done that is possibly McGovern. They needed to add depth to the DT position, but could have done that in the 5th round with Daylon Mack without having to use a 2nd rounder.
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