The Dallas Cowboys have only seen the tip of the iceberg of talent emerge from their 2018 draft class. Who will make the next big jump in their development?
When talking about the Dallas Cowboys 2018 draft class, all the attention naturally goes towards former first rounder Leighton Vander Esch. The Boise State linebacker played amazingly well in his first season, racking up 140 tackles and two interceptions thus earning himself a Pro Bowl nod.
Under Vander Esch’s long shadow are some talented second-year players who had a major impact during their rookie campaigns as well. And they should continue to do so as sophomores.
Second-round selection Connor Williams was a 10-game starter along the Cowboys’ talent-rich offensive line. Third-round selection Michael Gallup established himself as the team’s second wide receiver and posted a solid stat line of 33 receptions for 507 yards and two touchdowns.
In the fourth round, the Cowboys drafted defensive end Dorance Armstrong and tight end Dalton Schultz. Armstrong was stuck behind more talented veterans on the depth chart and found limited opportunities to shine. While Schultz started to come into his own as the season progressed after a surprising slow start.
Fifth-round selection Mike White made the active roster last season as a backup quarterback. He’ll likely have to beat out Cooper Rush to do it again this year. In the sixth round, Dallas added linebacker Chris Covington and wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. Covington, not to be confused with defensive lineman Christian Covington, was another victim of a deep depth chart. While a shoulder injury sidelined Wilson for the entire season.
The one sophomore the Dallas’ brass seem to believe can make the biggest leap in his development this year is their former second-round selection. Here’s what Cowboys’ executive vice president Stephen Jones had to say via the team’s official website about Williams’ work this offseason.
"“Football is very important to [Williams]. He loves the game, and my understanding he’s put on some really good weight and added some really good strength. I think he can make a big jump.”"
Connor Williams struggled last season due to a lack of strength. As a result, he lost his starting role at left guard to veteran Xavier Su’a-Filo following an injury. This offseason, Williams worked out with All-Pro right guard Zack Martin and added 15 pounds onto his frame. Rebuilding his entire body, the second-year offensive line surely hopes to regain his starting status. During early OTAs, Williams has been working at left tackle, allowing veteran Tyron Smith to rest. Tackle could be a position the Cowboys hope to play Connor in the near future.