Round 5, Pick 172: J.D. Bertrand, LB
In this scenario (detailed on the opening page) the Cowboys invested most of their free agency dollars on the defense, hence why the draft is so focused on offense. But much like RBs, free agent LBs usually are on the decline and not worth the money they command on the open market. That’s why Dallas invested in a veteran DT and waited to address most of the LB holes until the draft.
J.D. Bertrand is a smart and instinctual player. The Cowboys desperately need to add smart players who don’t hesitate to their defense and Bertrand should provide just what they’re lacking. He’s not a physically imposing player, but at 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, he’s strong enough, agile enough, and explosive enough to execute in both phases of the game.
Scouts believe Bertrand also possesses the skills needed to play a MIKE role in a Tampa-2 scheme (which asks a lot from their man in the middle). His film shows he knows where to be in zone coverage and has a natural feel for the game when dropping back.
An underrated quality of his is rushing the passer as a blitzer. He can come from the EDGE or an inside gap with explosiveness and decisiveness. If the Cowboys hire a blitz-friendly coordinator to replace Dan Quinn, that could be a very valuable trait.