Dallas Cowboys: A late rounder who may surprise you
One Dallas Cowboys insider believes that this 2018 late round selection could help the team in an area of historical need and crack the 53-man roster.
The Dallas Cowboys carried a whopping 10 selections into the 2018 NFL Draft back in late April. That abundance of picks was due to the fact they received the maximum amount of four compensatory selections by the league because of their heavy free agency losses taken in 2017.
As a result, the Cowboys exited the draft with several new prospects to develop and a couple of talented veterans obtained via trades. Of those nine rookie players drafted by Dallas in April, six of them were picked up in the fourth round or later.
Those late rounders included Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Stanford tight end Dalton Schultz taken in the fourth, Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White in the fifth, Indiana linebacker Chris Covington and Boise State wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. in the sixth and finally, Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough in the seventh round.
Out of this group, one Cowboys insider believes it’s Covington who may surprise fans during the upcoming training camp sessions and into the preseason.
"“Chris Covington plays a position where they have a history of depth problems,” wrote football analyst Bryan Broaddus for the team’s official website. “He’ll make the 53 as a backup linebacker with the potential to be a core special teamer, as well. He’s a big guy that can run and finish. I expect him to show up well in training camp and the preseason games.”"
Covington enters a good situation in Dallas, as it’s a positional group that is in need of quality depth. The Cowboys lost talented linebacker Anthony Hitchens via free agency this offseason.
In response, Dallas used their first round pick in April to draft Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. The highly-touted rookie is expected to compete with third-year Jaylon Smith for the starting role at middle linebacker this upcoming season.
Beyond starters Sean Lee, Vander Esch and Smith, the Cowboys bolster little in the way of quality depth. Former fourth round selection Damien Wilson has shown flashes of potential but has been far too inconsistent. Dallas did sign Joe Thomas as a free agent this offseason. Both Thomas and fourth-year Justin March-Lillard have been earning positive reviews through OTA’s and minicamp.
Still, Covington has the potential to be a quality backup for the Cowboys as a rookie. As a one-year starter at Indiana, the 22-year old linebacker posted a solid senior season for the Hoosiers recording 85 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for a loss, five pass defends and 3.0 sacks.
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The 6-2, 245 pound Covington is a volume tackler who possess decent speed (4.78 – forty) and a high-motor. But he lacks experience and can find his way out of plays due to overpursuing his targets. The rookie linebacker should make an impact on special teams and that is likely the best way for him to secure a coveted spot on the Cowboys’ final 53-man roster this season.