The Dallas Cowboys arguably orchestrated the best 2020 NFL Draft of any team in the league in large part to value picks such as defensive end Bradlee Anae.
It’s hard to find any negatives about the Dallas Cowboys 2020 NFL Draft class. And fans should be tipping their cap to the team’s front office, primarily vice president of player personnel, Will McClay.
Dallas started the draft off with landing star wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th pick overall and began to find great value as each round went on. Such as cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore in the third round. And both cornerback Reggie Robinson and center Tyler Biadasz in the fourth.
However, one of the Cowboys’ best pickups may have been in the fifth round when they drafted defensive end Bradlee Anae, who had 13.0 sacks last season. He’s also the all-time career sack leader for the University of Utah.
The 2019 consensus All-American and 2019 Morris Trophy winner (best defensive lineman in the PAC-12) primarily slid in the draft due to a poor combine performance and not having a pro day at Utah. This is one reason why I personally don’t fall in love with combine numbers. The film doesn’t lie.
Do yourself a favor and put on the tape of Anae, who shined in the Senior Bowl with 3.0 sacks and at his career at Utah with a career record of 29.5 sacks. I bet you’ll start to second guess on why teams chose to pass on him. But let’s not complain because it worked out in the Cowboys favor.
Anae has an attitude that you like to see on the defensive side of the football. Combining that with his physical ability, he will be a problem for tackles in the league. He shows promise with a variety of pass-rushing moves, shows great bend to hit the corner with speed, he can set the edge in run defense and has promising explosion off of his first step.
Ironically, Anae has been improving his game by studying film of a familiar defensive end. Here’s what the rookie told Jon Machota of the Athletic via Twitter recently …
"“Ironically enough, one of the players I’ve watched for a long time is DeMarcus Lawrence. Getting the chance to come to Dallas is such a dream come true, very surreal. I can’t wait to work with DeMarcus and excel from there.”"
The Boys interior defensive front has seen additions of defensive tackles Dontari Poe, Gerald McCoy, and Neville Gallimore. While adding edge help in defensive ends Randy Gregory and Aldon Smith (suspension TBD), plus Anae.
The Dallas Cowboys did a great job of addressing the defensive both in the draft and free agency. Not to mention drafting two more cornerbacks as well in Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson II. This defense has promise now upfront and hopefully players such as Bradlee Anae can contribute now.