It has been almost a week since the NFL Draft officially came to a close. Of the 256 players chosen, seven went to the Dallas Cowboys. These seven players could each play a critical role in the outcome of the upcoming season. We’ll go over each pick of the Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 Draft and give out grades and projections for how each player fits into the team’s plans, and how they could help push Dallas over the top.
Round One, Pick 17: CeeDee Lamb, Wide Receiver (Oklahoma)
Cowboys fans were thrilled watching CeeDee Lamb fall closer and closer to them on draft day. It was the kind of scenario that seemed impossible: yet, come pick 17, the Cowboys found themselves with the opportunity to select one of the best Wide Receivers in the entire draft.
Lamb is absolutely electric with the football in his hands. He can make defenders miss with his quickness, or get past them on the edge with speed. He has an almost supernatural ability to read the field and understand where the gaps in the defense are. These traits allowed Lamb to average 21.4 yards per catch in 2019, which led all of CFB by far. People know Lamb for his explosive playmaking ability, but it doesn’t define him. He is a complete receiver at all levels of the field. His route running and his hands are among the best in the class. He has an insane catch radius, and he will make acrobatic catches routinely in the NFL.
How He Fits: Joining Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup should allow Lamb to work in the slot, where he can use his agility and route running to exploit safeties, linebackers and nickel cornerbacks in coverage. He projects to be the third wide receiver for the Cowboys coming into the season, but with so many weapons on their offense, it almost doesn’t matter who lines up where. Lamb will see plenty of opportunities early and often, despite the depth of the offense. He will wear number 88, continuing the tradition of the Cowboys’ greatest receivers. Lamb will have some expectations this season, but he also has sky-high potential.
Round 2, Pick 51: Trevon Diggs, Cornerback (Alabama)
The Cowboys were extremely happy to have one of their top-rated cornerbacks fall to them in the second round. Trevon Diggs was an impactful player for the Alabama defense in 2019, having three interceptions during the season. In coverage, he shows his past experience as a wide receiver through his understanding of route concepts and his ability to anticipate routes in man coverage. He has the size (6’1 205 lbs) and speed to contend with almost any receiver in the NFL. Diggs did have trouble against some of the best college competition, such as LSU, and has some deficiencies in his game that kept him from being a clear round one talent. However, a good coach will be able to take someone of Diggs’ size and skills and make him into a quality starter in the NFL.
How He Fits: The Cowboys lost starting cornerback Byron Jones to the Dolphins in Free Agency, and the depth at the position has looked worrisome the entire offseason. This combined with a new coaching staff could mean some serious changes for the Cowboys’ secondary in 2020. Diggs will certainly see a decent amount of playing time at cornerback this year, although who will line up on the other side remains to be seen.
Round Three, Pick 82: Neville Gallimore, Defensive Tackle (Oklahoma)
Neville Gallimore is an inhuman blend of size and speed. Not many people weigh 305 lbs and can run a 40 yard dash in 4.79 seconds. Even fewer people can take those gifts and use them to cause mayhem in the backfield of opposing offenses. When Gallimore is at his best, he is using his speed to get through the gaps of an offensive line to disrupt plays and make tackles. Gallimore fell to the third round because he still has a ways to go before he is a starter in the NFL. Gallimore’s tape shows that he plays unbalanced sometimes, which allows offensive lineman to generate push against him. He also needs to work on understanding and using leverage when taking on blockers. Despite these drawbacks, Gallimore’s potential and constant effort make him a welcome addition to the Cowboys.
Where He Fits: Gallimore figures to be either the third or fourth defensive tackle on the team, behind Gerald Mccoy and Dontari Poe. Ideally, Gallimore will rotate in during games to keep the guys ahead of him refreshed while also getting valuable in-game experience. However, an injury along the defensive line would potentially vault him into a more prominent role in his rookie season. He projects to be a potential starter for the 2021 season and beyond.
Round 4, Pick 123: Reggie Robinson II, Cornerback (Tulsa)
With cornerback being such a big need for the Cowboys, the selection of another one in this draft was hardly surprising. Reggie Robinson II does not come from a prestigious program like second-rounder Trevon Diggs, nor does his name carry the same notoriety. But he is remarkably similar to the second round pick in various ways. They are very similar in size, with Robinson listed at the exact same height and weight (6’1 205 lbs). Like Diggs, Robinson was very productive in 2019. He posted four interceptions in 2019, one more than Diggs, and added 13 pass break-ups along the way.
His blend of size and production is rare for someone in the fourth round. However, Robinson does have notable weaknesses. He plays sloppy at times, and when he loses on routes he has a tendency to grab onto the receiver. This will get him quickly penalized in the NFL. Robinson can also be inconsistent in coverage. Despite the flaws, his positive traits are inspiring enough to be a value in the fourth round.
Where He Fits: The selection of two big, fast corners with long arms heavily suggests that Dallas will incorporate a lot of press man coverage into their defensive scheme. Robinson will need some time before he is ready to play cornerback in the NFL consistently. But he will be an immediate starter for special teams, an area in which he particularly excelled. Robinson will certainly have the opportunity to contribute to the team right away despite his developmental status.
Round 4, Pick 146: Tyler Biadasz, Center (Wisconsin)
It’s not easy to replace a Hall-of-Fame center. That is the dilemma the Cowboys were faced with coming into the draft. McCarthy expressed confidence in the guys on the roster, but it’s doubtful the team expected Tyler Biadasz to be available this late. The Cowboys traded pick 164 and a 5th rounder next year to move up to pick 146 to select their potential center of the future.
Biadasz was an outstanding player for Wisconsin in 2019, winning the Rimington Award for best center in the entire nation. Biadasz opens up holes with ease in the run game with perfect technique. He can get to the second level and find linebackers to block, which helps generate big plays. He is good, but not excellent in pass protection. One of his best traits is his intelligence. You will see him consistently make reads, coordinate blocks, and communicate to his QB during the game. How did the top-rated center fall the bottom of the fourth round? Positional value plays a part, but Biadasz does have a problem with lunging too much. This puts him off balance and at a huge disadvantage against defensive linemen. He also does not have great athleticism, which could limit his upside.
How He Fits: Biadasz might be a sleeper pick for biggest steal in the Cowboys’ draft. He has traits similar to recently departed center Travis Frederick, especially his intelligence and run-blocking prowess. Even athletic concerns are the same. With Conner McGovern and Connor Williams on the roster, expect fierce competition for the starting Center position in training camp. Biadasz has the potential to win the spot by the end of the year.
Round 5, Pick 179: Bradlee Anae, EDGE (Utah)
Bradlee Anae recorded 30 sacks in his four year career at Utah. Even though that is slightly short of the 34 sacks I incorrectly attributed him within my previous article, it’s not every day that a 30 sack player is laying around at the end of the fifth round. Anae is a fierce competitor with some of the most refined rushing ability in the entire class. He is an expert at using his hands and arms to create leverage and get around his blocker. He comes at the quarterback with a plan and is usually able to execute that plan decently well.
The biggest concern with Anae is his athleticism. He only ran a 4.93 40 at the combine, which isn’t horrible but definitely below average. That time doesn’t seem to matter on tape, but it might against NFL linemen. He has enough quickness to generate a good first step but doesn’t have the bend to get around corners as quickly as other edge rushers. Overall, he is the quintessential small-school product with amazing production and questionable athleticism.
Where He Fits: Anae joins a defensive line with a lot of questions at the right defensive end position. Although Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith are both expected to play, they are still awaiting reinstatement. Tyrone Crawford is coming back from an injury that kept him out most of the year. Training camp will be very important for determining who starts opposite Demarcus Lawrence in 2020. Although Anae will almost certainly not earn the starting role, he has a real chance to play meaningful snaps for the Cowboys as soon as this year.
Round 7, Pick 231: Ben DiNucci, Quarterback (James Madison)
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With their final pick in the draft, the Cowboys decided to take a chance on a small school prospect in Ben DiNucci. DiNucci has promising traits to develop. He led his team to the FCS Championship game against North Dakota State. DiNucci recorded 29 touchdowns in 2019, and his 70.6 completion percentage led the nation. He could be a good and cheap option for the back-up quarterback spot.
How He Fits: DiNucci will compete with Cooper Rush for the right to back up starting quarterback Dak Prescott. He would provide McCarthy with a developmental project to tinker with in the background. If he reaches his potential upside, he could become a high-end back up fo the Cowboys or make a nice trade piece.
The Dallas Cowboys’ 2020 Draft started off strong with an explosive receiver in CeeDee Lamb falling right into their lap. After taking their offense to another level, the Cowboys continued their success by finding valuable additions to their roster in each of the next four rounds. They added two high-ceiling cornerbacks, a potential starting center, and a defensive end who could play a meaningful role in the first year. They capped it off with a developmental QB prospect, which are a specialty of Mike McCarthy’s. Overall, the Cowboys had one of the best drafts in the entire league. If this class lives up to its potential, the Cowboys could look to make a serious run in the 2020 playoffs.