The Dallas Cowboys’ terrific draft continues as they find a highly-touted pass rusher falling to them at the end of the fifth round on Day Three.
One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2020 regular season is who will be starting opposite of war daddy DeMarcus Lawrence at defensive end. Last year’s sack leader in Dallas, Robert Quinn, exited the team via free agency last month, leaving a massive void to fill.
In response, the Cowboys inked former All-Pro pass rusher, Aldon Smith, to a one-year deal. But Smith is currently suspended and awaiting word about possible reinstatement. Former second-rounder Randy Gregory falls in that suspended same boat. Beyond both Smith and Gregory, defensive ends Tyrone Crawford, Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, and Jalen Jelks currently populate the depth chart in Dallas.
Still, edge rusher figured to be a pressing need for the Cowboys. But after making their first five draft selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, the need had yet to be addressed. That changed with the final selection in the fifth round.
With their compensatory pick at No. 179, the Cowboys selected Utah edge rusher, Bradlee Anae. At 6-foot-3, 257 pounds, Anae showed the world why he averaged nearly 10.0 sacks per season the past three years for the Utes, with an amazing Senior Bowl performance. He dominated in the showcase racking up 3.0 sacks and multiple pressures.
In 12 games as a senior, Anae recorded 41 total tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks, and a forced fumble in 2019. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projected him as the 89th best player in this draft class, highlighting his tremendous value at 179.
The fifth-round has been a bit of a wasteland for the Dallas Cowboys over the past few years. Since 2015, the Cowboys have sat out this round completely for two straight years (2016-2017).
And of the four players selected in the fifth-round over the last five years, only one remains on the Cowboys’ current roster. Those previous picks are Miami (FL) cornerback Michael Jackson (2019), Miami (FL) defensive end Joe Jackson (2019), Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White (2018), and Purdue defensive end Ryan Russell (2015).