Match Game: The Dallas Cowboys and who they’ll draft first
By Tyrone Starr
Da’Ron Payne – Alabama
In a dream scenario, Washington’s Vita Vea would slip to the Cowboys at 19. If (when) he doesn’t, Payne would not be a bad “consolation prize.”
Like Vea, his greatest asset would be what he would do for everyone else. With quick feet and devastating power, Payne would command double teams. That would leave guys like David Irving and Maliek Collins free to play one-on-one with the opposition. It would also free up Smith and Lee to make more plays in the run game.
The fact that he is best utilized as a two down player does not matter to Dallas as the Cowboys regularly shuffle their defensive linemen. He has the potential to be an interior pass rusher but even as just a run stuffer, he’s worth the draft pick.
Payne is one of those rare players that come into the league and is instantly ready for the size and pace of the NFL game. He may not fly down the line and make every tackle but Payne makes your run defense better immediately.
In a scenario in which all of these players are available when the Cowboys draft, how they move forward would be interesting. I would personally rank the options as such:
- Vander Esch
I think pick number nineteen is too soon for a tight end, simply because he won’t be a full-time contributor. While I believe the difference between Evans and Vander Esch is razor thin, the idea of Reid intrigues me enough to move him in between the two.
Next: Dallas Cowboys 2018 NFL Draft: 7-round mock 4.0
The reality of the situation is that I have the positions listed in order of need. Even though Payne is the best player, defensive tackle is the lowest need of the five. Also of note, the Dallas Cowboys have had private workouts with or had pre-draft visits with Payne, Hernandez and the two linebackers.
That could be another telling sign that we’re on the right path here. In just over two weeks, we’ll know for sure.