The Dallas Cowboys appeared to pull off the steal of the draft in nearly every round. Now we know exactly how the team ranked their top picks.
Despite already investing heavily in their offensive line over the years, the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t help doing so again during the 2019 NFL Draft. In a surprising move, the Cowboys selected center/guard Connor McGovern in the third round that year.
McGovern joined a positional group in Dallas that already possessed three perennial Pro Bowlers in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, and right guard Zack Martin. All of whom were former first-rounders. The Cowboys had just spent a 2018 second-round pick on Texas offensive tackle Connor Williams the year prior.
Yet, the Cowboys couldn’t help themselves when it came to selecting McGovern with the 90th overall pick last offseason. His value was just too high to pass up. Cowboys’ executive vice president, Stephen Jones, called it a blinking light. It was later revealed Dallas had a high second-round grade on McGovern.
While McGovern may have been the lone blinking light in the 2019 draft, this year’s class was apparently chock-full of them for Dallas. The most publicized being the Cowboys’ first-round selection, Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who fell to America’s Team, 17th overall.
Every round after Lamb seemed to have an equal or even brighter blinking light of incredible value. The Cowboys selected Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round (51st overall), Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore in the third (82), Tulsa defensive back Reggie Robinson II (123) and Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz (146) in the fourth round, plus Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae in the fifth (179).
Here’s what Todd Archer of ESPN.com revealed about some of the draft grades given to other selections outside of Lamb, who was the sixth-highest rated player on their board, by the Cowboys …
"“Cornerback Trevon Diggs had a high-second-round grade and the Cowboys selected him in the middle of the round (No. 51). Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore had a second-round grade from the Cowboys, but they got him in the third round (No. 82). Center Tyler Biadasz was graded at the top of the third round when the Cowboys traded up to the final pick of the fourth round to get him at No. 146 overall.”"
According to Archer, the Cowboys’ first four picks (Lamb, Diggs, Gallimore, and Biadasz) all represented blinking lights for the virtual war room. Dallas seemingly let the draft fall to them and simply selected the best player available player on their board with less focus on team need or scheme-fit.
Although Bradlee Anae wasn’t mentioned in the above quote, his selection at the end of the fifth-round represented a tremendous value based on several draft analyst projections. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projected Anae as a possible third-fourth round selection. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked the Utah pass rusher, who was selected with the 179th pick, the 89th best player available in the entire draft.