This year’s NFL Draft is spread out over three days just like last year. The first round takes place Thursday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, April 27 at 12 p.m. ET.
Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view as members of the military are honored during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The first two days of the draft are being discussed and mocked to the point of bloodying them to a pulp. I don’t disregard the importance of drafting well in rounds one through three. Starters and franchise players are acquired in these rounds more often than in rounds four on. But you can’t bypass drafting well in all seven rounds.
Let’s look at the facts here. Dallas has starters. They have players all over the field that are one, if not one of the best at their respective positions. But we’ve seen what happens when one of these players goes down with an injury and isn’t able to get on the field for an extended period of time. Back-ups and role players are had in the later rounds, and just as the Cowboys have struggled in recent years drafting well in the early rounds, they have struggled filling in the back half of their roster in the later rounds.
On day three of the draft, the Cowboys have three picks total. They traded their seventh-round pick last year to the Miami Dolphins for center Ryan Cook. Here’s the pick breakdown:
- Round 4: pick 17, 114 overall
- Round 5: pick 18, 151 overall
- Round 6: pick 17, 185 overall
Considering the needs the Cowboys have, and who they may take in rounds one through three, here’s some players the Cowboys could use to help fortify a team that is top heavy on the depth chart. Keep in mind all kinds of things can change the outcome of the draft; from teams moving up and down, to teams like the Oakland Raiders, who are notorious for being unpredictable and drafting third-round talent in the first round.
Round 4: pick 17 – Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern State
Williams is a beast of a man at 6’1″, 335 lbs. and yet he moves quicker than most would think. He has the strength to cause chaos in the middle of defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense. He has long arms which are ideal for keeping pesky guards and centers off of him. He still needs to work on his lower-body strength, but with a full off-season in the Cowboys’ system, he could flourish at the next level. And for those of you who are hoping the Cowboys take a defensive lineman earlier than the fourth round I say to you why not get another one and have more pieces to work with in the defensive transition period Dallas is currently in?
Round 5: pick 18 – Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers
Jamison is compared to Baltimore Ravens, and former Rutgers running back Ray Rice. He’s a compact back, measuring in at 5′ 8″ 203 lbs. He is far from a blazer (4.62 40-yard dash) but Dallas has speed. What they are in need of is a runner like Jamison, who is scouted as a change-of-pace back. He is versatile and can run between the tackles or catch passes out of the backfield. Jamison would be a perfect compliment to starting running back DeMarco Murray. If they can get Jamison, Dallas can extend the impact Murray has and keep him healthy.
Round 6: pick 17 – Robert Lester, SS, Alabama
November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Robert Lester (37) against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat, Lester is no Mark Barron, who some predicted the Cowboys would draft last year. With that said, he’s a Garrett-type of player who has character and a strong work ethic. Dallas needs a play maker in the secondary, and if they don’t find what they are looking for in the early rounds, then Lester is projected to be there when they hit the podium in round six. Lester would even be a great pick if Dallas does take a safety in the early rounds, considering the problem they’ve had finding anything decent to play either safety spot since Darren Woodson stopped sporting the star.
Lester has long arms ideal for re-routing receivers off their routs or getting to a ball just out of reach for most. He is a fluid mover that can cover ground faster than his 4.60 second 40-yard time suggests. He’s not a bruiser by any means, but he will stick his head in there and make a hit when he needs to.