NFL Draft 2018: Dallas Cowboys select Leighton Vander Esch 19th overall

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 16: Quarterback Brett Rypien /

The Dallas Cowboys selected their next superstar in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by picking Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch!

As it is every year, it’s been a wild offseason for America’s Team. And months of speculation finally came to an end Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys made their first round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Prior to making the pick, wide receiver, offensive guard, defensive tackle, pass rusher, free safety and linebacker all appeared to be obvious positional needs for the Cowboys. So who did Dallas ultimately choose to draft 19th overall? Here’s the answer …

With the 19th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select … 

NAME: Leighton Vander Esch
SCHOOL: Boise State
HT/WT: 6-4, 256 pounds
AGE: 22
2017 STATS: 141 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 ints
PROS: Size, plays with range, sideline-to-sideline
CONS: Can struggle to break free from blockers, needs to improve in coverage

ANALYSIS: The Cowboys had a need at linebacker following the exodus of Anthony Hitchens in free agency this offseason and with injury concerns with both projected starters Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith. Vander Esch becomes an instant starter for Dallas at the MIKE, likely shifting Smith to SAM.

Here are the Dallas Cowboys’ first round picks since 2000 …

2000 – No Pick
2001 – No Pick
2002 – Roy Williams, S, Oklahoma
2003 – Terence Newman, CB, Kansas State
2004 – No Pick
2005 – DeMarcus Ware, LB, Troy State
2005 – Marcus Spears, DE, LSU
2006 – Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State
2007 – Anthony Spencer, LB, Purdue
2008 – Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas
2008 – Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
2009 – No Pick
2010 – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
2011 – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
2012 – Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
2013 – Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin
2014 – Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
2015 – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
2016 – Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
2017 – Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Next: Detroit Lions: 15 best first-round draft picks of all-time

After all the hype, did the Dallas Cowboys first round selection live up to all the speculation? Did the Cowboys land their next Pro Bowler or just the latest draft bust? Let us know what you think about Dallas’ top pick in the comment section below. And stay tuned to for more Cowboys’ draft coverage.