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Cowboys Day Three Recap: Value Meets Need

Days One and Two of the 2020 Draft worked out in the Cowboys’ favor. They found an explosive offensive playmaker, and two defensive players looking to make a big impact in their first year. However, some of the Cowboys’ best recent picks came on day three of previous drafts, including QB Dak Prescott and Safety Xavier Woods. How did they make out this year? Several players fell to the Cowboys who will help positions of need in 2020. Let’s recap the Cowboys’ Day Three selections in the 2020 draft.

Want to know more about the Cowboys’ Day Two picks? Read here and here.

Round 4, pick 123: Reggie Robinson II, Cornerback (Tulsa)

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Reggie Robinson II is a polarizing prospect in the draft community. Some had him graded as low as the sixth round, while others graded him as high as the third round. Whatever you think of him, there’s no denying one thing: Robinson is always around the ball. The cornerback managed to get his hands on the ball 34 times over his college career, including four interceptions for Tulsa in 2019. This could turn into a great addition for a Cowboys’ defense which has struggled to create turnovers for years.

Robinson is similar in body size and athletic profile to the Cowboys’ second round selection this year, Trevon Diggs. He measures in at 6’1″ 205 pounds, with 4.44 speed. These numbers help Robinson make an impact on special teams as well as a corner. He had four blocked kicks for Tulsa in his four years starting for their program. He played on every special team unit, which will provide tremendous value to the Cowboys’ squad regardless of his impact at corner.

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Where He Fits:

Robinson joins a promising, yet young and developing corps of cornerbacks in Dallas. He should expect to slide in as the fourth or fifth cornerback on this team, competing for rotational snaps as a backup in the hopes of becoming a starter at some point in the future. He will be able to immediately help improve what was one of the worst special teams units in the league last year. This pick provides a great deal of value in the fourth round.

Pick Grade: B+

Round Four, Pick 146: Tyler Biadasz, Center (Wisconsin)

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The retirement of Travis Frederick (also out of Wisconsin) left a big gap at Center in the 2020 season for Dallas. Mike McCarthy told the media that they felt confident in the players they already had on the roster to fill that hole, and I believe him. However, Biadasz’s slide to the end of the fourth provided too much value to pass up. The Cowboys traded pick number 164 and a 2020 5th rounder to their rival Eagles to move up and snag the Wisconsin center to replace their freshly retired Wisconsin center.

Biadasz was a first round talent at the end of the 2018 season. He showed skill in both pass protection and run blocking, and anchored an offensive line that was one of the best in all of college football. Then, he hurt his shoulder, had surgery, and failed to live up to his 2018 standards in 2019. However, the shoulder is clean, and he still recorded PFF’s highest ever graded run-blocking season for a center in 2019.

The worst part of losing Frederick for the Cowboys was losing his intelligence pre-snap. Often, Frederick was able to identify key defenders or formations which allowed Prescott to change the play accordingly. Biadasz brings the same level of intelligence and football IQ to the Cowboys. On film, you can constantly see him point out reads which help the offense run more smoothly. Adding this alongside his excellent run-blocking should provide a boost to the Cowboys’ offense.

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Where He Fits:

Center was the biggest question mark for the Cowboys’ offense heading into 2020, and this pick effectively erases that. Biadasz’s talent allows him to come into camp and immediately compete as a starter for the team in 2020. This move also allows the Cowboys to go into the season with more offensive line depth, which is a key part of any deep playoff run. The Cowboys find both amazing talent and value in this pick.

Pick Grade: A

Round 5, Pick 179: Bradlee Anae, EDGE (Utah)

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The EDGE position was the biggest position of need yet to be addressed by the Cowboys’ front office by round five. There are still question marks surrounding newly-acquired Aldon Smith and the currently suspended Randy Gregory. Although both are expected to play this year, the Cowboys desperately needed to add some depth to the position to bolster their pass rush. Luckily for them, Utah’s Bradlee Anae was available for them all the way at pick 179.

Anae lacks the athleticism that most coaches like to see and played at a relatively small program. These factors account for his slide to the bottom of the fifth round. But Anae checks all of the other boxes for a high-end pass-rush prospect. He was insanely productive at Utah, recording 34 sacks in three full seasons as a starter, recording 24 in his last two years. He received All-PAC 12 first-team honors for each season as a result of his productivity.

What Anae lacks in physical traits, he makes up for in technique and motor. He uses his hands to great effect, as he can chop the tackle’s arms to get to the edge as well as stab at the opposing tackle to throw him off balance. He also has a quick first step despite his lack of speed and knows how to manipulate space to create pass-rushing opportunities for himself. Anae is consistently the hardest worker on the field, never giving up on a play.

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Where He Fits:

Anae should expect to see limited action this year, rotating in to help keep the starters fresh during the game. However, if his traits translate well to the NFL, expect to see him making some noise from a backup role this year. He has the technique and intelligence to make an impact at the next level, it’s just a matter of whether he can take that next step or not.

Pick Grade: B+

Round Seven, Pick 231: Ben DiNucci, Quarterback (JMU)

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Ben DiNucci is a familiar name for our readers! We did an interview with the JMU product during the draft process, talking about what he could bring to an NFL team. Now, he gets a chance after being drafted by the Cowboys!

DiNucci transferred from Pitt to JMU, where he put up 29 touchdowns and 3,441 yards in his 2019 season while posting a completion percentage above 71%. DiNucci was granted the honor of CAA Offensive Player of the Year for his performance. He led his team to the FCS championship game before losing to North Dakota State. Despite the loss in the championship game, DiNucci’s season was impressive and he brings upside to the Cowboys’ team.

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Where He Fits:

DiNucci will almost certainly be granted the back-up role on the Cowboys 2020 roster. Current back-up Cooper Rush has shown promise in the preseason but hasn’t shown any success in the regular season when called upon. The Cowboys are hoping DiNucci will give them a competent back-up in case of emergency, and a possible trade piece in the future if McCarthy and his staff can develop his traits.

Pick Grade: B

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