Despite the Dallas Cowboys having a questionable draft haul in 2019, they may have stumbled upon a hidden gem in the fifth round.
The Dallas Cowboys 2019 draft class was certainly not an exciting one. With no first round selection and their Day Two picks consisting of a defensive tackle and an offensive lineman, this is a hard class for fans to be thrilled about.
Yet, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. And that being the selection of Miami defensive end Joe Jackson late in the fifth round. More than any other draft that I can remember the current regime in Dallas having, this group seemed to often take the best player available (BPA) approach when their number was called.
They were able to do so in large part because their front office did such a great job filling their needs in free agency. This resulted in the selection of Joe Jackson, despite the fact Dallas already had a pretty full depth chart at the position. Especially when you consider the team went on to also draft Oregon defensive end Jalen Jelks at the end of the seventh round.
For the Cowboys, it’s all about creating competition across their roster. But going the BPA route so often may have also landed the team a hidden gem. Here’s what the analytics website Pro Football Focus had to say about the Day Three selection of Jackson.
"“Miami (Fla.) edge defender Joe Jackson was the team’s best pick of Day 3. Jackson’s 85.5 pass-rush grade in 2018 ranked tied for 14th in the class. He totaled 54 pressures across 286 pass-rush snaps and ranked eighth in pass-rush win percentage (21.7%) among qualifiers.”"
Joe Jackson posted one heck of a stat line following his final season in Miami. He racked up 47 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, one interception, forced two fumbles and recorded a defensive touchdown for the Hurricanes in 2018.
Head coach Jason Garrett sees Jackson as a left defensive end candidate in the Cowboys’ defense, slotting him behind All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence and former first rounder Taco Charlton on the depth chart. It isn’t hard to imagine Jackson leapfrogging a disappointing Charlton this summer who was a healthy scratch at one point last season.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.