A fun thing to do when you know a little bit about a situation but you know someone who knows a lot about a situation is to, in fact, ask said person more about said situation.
That applies to this pre-draft process and one team in particular that I myself know only a little about: the Dallas Cowboys. Given that, I enlisted the help of a dear friend, Cowboys staff writer David Helman, to take my through what he thinks Dallas could do come Thursday, which is today, by the way.
Helman brought the heat, just as I knew he would. So without delaying this any further, take a look at your expert on ‘America’s Team.’
1. No. 31 – Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M
I can already hear people cursing me out, so let’s just get it out of the way. No, in this very hypothetical scenario, I did not get great value trading back from No. 24 to Cincinnati’s pick at No. 31. But I do know two things: draft trades often don’t follow the trade charts we find on the Internet. The Cowboys also think highly of this draft class, as they estimate there could be as many as 230 draftable players going pro this year – up from their typical average of 150-160. It’s not the most wonderful value, but adding another Top 150 pick could be intriguing for a team with so many needs.
Now, as for this pick, if the Cowboys can trade back a few spots and still snag a Day 1 starter to fill their gaping hole at left guard, I think they’ll feel plenty happy. Green would be a good pick at No. 24, but I took a gamble and still found a player I liked later on.
2. No. 56 – George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Let’s just go ahead and fix the receiver corps in one easy swoop. Amari Cooper is off to Cleveland and Michael Gallup is recovering from an ACL tear, but that’s nothing a 6’3 badass out of Georgia can’t help fix. Pickens has the potential to go much higher than this, but if he hangs around the Cowboys shouldn’t question it. Pickens threatening defenses on the outside, while the duo of Gallup and CeeDee Lamb flexes in and out of the slot sounds like an awfully fun situation for Dak Prescott.
3. No. 88 – Sam Williams, DE, Ole Miss
The Draft Gods did me a wonderful favor by gifting me George Pickens, and now I’m getting greedy. If the Cowboys want Sam Williams, they just might have to draft him in the second round – but no one’s going to complain if he’s hanging around in the third. We know for a fact Dallas loves the Ole Miss record holder for sacks in a season, given that Dan Quinn worked him out personally and he has already had talks with Jerry Jones. The real beauty of the pick is that they don’t even need him to start right away. With DeMarcus Lawrence manning the left side, Williams can join Micah Parsons and Dante Fowler Jr. in using their freak athleticism to terrify tackles from the right.
4. No. 129 – Terrell Bernard, LB, Baylor
Purely from a numbers standpoint, Dallas doesn’t desperately need a linebacker. Micah Parsons is an All-Pro, Leighton Vander Esch is back for another go-round and Jabril Cox should be back from his rookie ACL injury. It’s also worth noting that Dan Quinn essentially uses Jayron Kearse as a subpackage linebacker. Even still, it would be fun to add a guy who can take duties off of Parsons’ plate – which would free him up to hunt quarterbacks. At roughly 6’1, 220 pounds, Bernard is a little undersized, but he’s capable in coverage and can play the part I want him to.
4. No. 136 – Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
Barring injury, there won’t be many touches for a rookie running back in Dallas this year. But that’s just fine. Drafts aren’t just about the coming season. Tony Pollard is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and it’s anyone guess what the future holds for Ezekiel Elliott and the massive number he’s carrying on the Cowboys’ salary cap. They need to prepare to be without one of those guys in 2023 – for that matter, maybe both. Enter White, who I think can do a little bit of everything. He’s big, with a sturdy frame that can handle a big workload, I love his vision and decisiveness, and he can catch. Stash this guy away with hopes of a big return in the future.
5. No. 155 - Cam Jurgens, C, Nebraska
We addressed the left guard spot back in Round 1. And while many Cowboys fans are (understandably) fixated on Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, I think Tyler Biadasz is good enough that the front office can afford to wait on this position. I’m not sure Jurgens falls all this way, perhaps it would require a fourth-round selection. Regardless of where he goes, his 31 college starts suggest he’s good enough to push Biadasz. And even if he’s not an early starter, this is a position that needs some depth, anyway.
5. No. 167 – Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Day 3 might feel a bit late to find a developmental tight end for the future, but that’s actually where the Cowboys found their new $11 Million Man, Dalton Schultz – the final pick of the fourth round, back in 2018. Kolar is hilariously big, checking in at 6’6, 252. He does a lot of the same stuff Schultz does – i.e., find the open spots and make the layup plays, though he could use some work as a blocker. The key point of emphasis here is that by drafting him now, you give him a year to work on those things, before you face the possibility of life without Schultz in the future.
5. No. 176 – Verone McKinley, S, Oregon
I want to be clear to any Cowboys enthusiasts who might be reading this: by this point in time, I would have absolutely addressed the kicker problem by drafting either Texas’ Cameron Dicker or LSU’s Cade York. But alas, my dear friends at TheDraftNetwork would not allow me that luxury, so I’m hunting defenders instead. McKinley is actually a Dallas-Fort Worth native, and I just kind of dig what he’s all about. He’s got cover skills, with 11 college interceptions, and he likes to hit. If we’re being honest, the safety spot is settled for the time being, but I’m willing to bet this guy can ball out on special teams while he waits for his shot.
5. No. 178 – Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
This is a Cowboys special if ever I’ve seen one. Ross looked like a surefire first-round pick back in 2018, when he finished with 1,000 yards and torched both Notre Dame and Alabama in the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, a scary spinal injury derailed his career and he hasn’t reached those highs again. If his medicals are clean, however, there’s no denying his ability – even if he’s not a freaky athlete. Even after drafting Pickens, the Cowboys could use some receiver depth, and Ross has crazy-high upside, if all the right breaks go his way. Doesn’t that sound like the exact sort of gamble the Cowboys would be thrilled to take?
6. No. 193 -- Zakoby McClain – LB, Auburn
Again, this pick would’ve been a kicker if only someone would’ve cooperated with me. If I can’t have my beloved specialist, I’ll settle for a guy who can add depth to my special teams units. Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch sure as hell aren’t going to cover kicks, and I’m not sure if I’d want Jabril Cox doing that, either. Drafting McClain with my final selection of this year provides me with a young, athletic linebacker who can do the dirty work.