The Dallas Cowboys have become one of the youngest teams in the NFL due to their recent success in their draft classes. This is a big credit towards Will McClay, whom is director of player personnel. This year was no different as the Cowboys have managed to snag some key players yet again. Lets go through the top 3 players from the draft that look to become cornerstones in this organization.
1st round pick: Leighton Vander Esch (LB)
Although we haven’t seen much of LVE during the preseason, he’s made the most of the few opportunities given to him. The groin injury has kept him out of 3 preseasons games. While LVE may not be showcasing his skills just yet, the Cowboys believe he’ll be a great fit along side Jaylon Smith. Leighton has been praised highly by coach Rod Marinelli for his high intelligence and incredible athleticism. Even during his time being injured, LVE has made sure to shadow Sean Lee to get a better understanding of the defense. To start the regular season Leighton will not be in the starting lineup. However, he’ll be a solid role player to come in on special packages to maximize his abilities. The potential is truly remarkable with LVE which makes the future that much brighter.
2nd round pick: Connor William (OL)
Dallas prides themselves on having a top tier offensive line made up of multiple pro bowlers. This didn’t stop them from drafting Williams out of The University of Texas to bolster their offensive line. Williams had a phenomenal campaign in 2016, but a down year in 2017. He played through some injuries his last year at UT which led to him falling to the 2nd round for the Cowboys. The Texas native was a steal at pick 50 overall, and at a much needed position. This past season the Cowboys missed Ronald Leary (LG) to free agency. Their ground game wasn’t the same without Leary, but with the addition of Williams things are trending in the right direction. Williams will step in as the starting left guard for many years to come. Connor will benefit greatly from working next to a top 3 left tackle named Tyron Smith. The entire offensive line unit are under the age of 30 and are ready for action this season.
3rd round pick: Michael Gallup (WR)
After parting ways with Dez Bryant, the Cowboys were left without their top wide receiver. Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson both showed up via free agency this past March. Although these are 2 veterans, Michael Gallup has been the one showing out during training camp and the preseason. Gallup at pick 81 was unbelievable for a player of his caliber and is easily the steal of the draft. He brings a very physical presence to the offense which is much needed. His size and catch radius make him a favorable target for Dak Prescott. Replacing Dez won’t be easy, but Gallup makes it a much easier transition. His rookie year will be fun to watch as he develops into this team’s future #1 wide receiver. Its time for this team to move forward with their new wave of pass catchers, where Gallup looks to excel in.
The team made other great picks such as Dorance Armstrong (DE) and Dalton Schultz (TE) whom look to have a roll for the upcoming season. Having solid draft classes like this help teams not overpay players in free agency, but also be key in resigning impactful players like Demarcus Lawrence. Fans should be excited to see this team grow and become successful for many years to come!
Photo credit: Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News