The Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFL Draft class is now showing signs that they could have a positive impact on the team for the present and in the future.
The 2016 Dallas Cowboys draft class is off to a strong start, and considering that they still have several rookies yet to contribute, the sky is the limit.
What have we seen so far?
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has exceeded all expectations of a fourth round draft pick thus far through preseason and has made a very strong case to be Tony Romo’s primary backup for the 2016 season.
He has shown poise, confidence, arm strength, accuracy, and athleticism through his first three preseason games- completing 39 of 50 passes for 454 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. Prescott has added 7 rushing attempts for 53 yards and two touchdowns as well.
First round pick and number four overall selection, running back Ezekiel Elliott, has only been on the field for two offensive possessions in preseason. In those two possessions, he carried the ball seven times for 48 yards against one of the NFL’s toughest run defenses and showed his prowess as a pass blocker as well.
Cornerback Anthony Brown, a sixth rounder, has impressed coaches throughout training camp with his speed and willingness to compete. He was given the opportunity to play in the slot in the third preseason game against Seattle’s starting offense with Orlando Scandrick sitting out. He will likely start the year as the team’s fourth cornerback and will see plenty of playing time.
Third round pick Maliek Collins made his preseason debut as a defensive tackle against the Seahawks on Thursday night, starting in place of Tyrone Crawford who was held out due to concussion protocol.
Running back and sixth round pick Darius Jackson has definitely opened eyes in his opportunities in preseason. He has great size and his burst and top end speed jump out at you. He is going to make it a tough decision on the coaching staff and front office when it comes time to deciding who makes the final roster.
There are two rookie draft picks that Cowboys fans have yet to see in preseason- defensive end and fourth round pick Charles Tapper and linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Tapper has had a back injury that has held him out more for precautionary reasons and he should be ready to go for the regular season opener against the New York Giants. He has shown a coveted combination of quickness and strength that will garner him plenty of playing time once he is cleared to play.
Second round pick and All-American college linebacker Jaylon Smith is not expected to play at all this season after suffering a serious knee injury in his final college game which included nerve damage. If you look at Smith, he is clearly a monster of a man that checks every box from a physical standpoint for the linebacker position. When he returns, he is going to make a major impact on the Cowboys defense for years to come.
Yes, it is still early to crown this class as anything other than impressive to this point. That being said- it wouldn’t shock me if we look back at this 2016 class in five years and say that this was the best draft class for the Cowboys in the past 20 years.