Cowboys gift Dak Prescott game-changing TE in 2018 re-draft

This tight end would've done wonders for the Cowboys' anemic 2018 offense.
Oct 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) celebrates
Oct 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) celebrates / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys' batting average in the first round of the NFL Draft is among the best in the league. Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb and Travis Frederick -- arguably the team's biggest building blocks of the last decade sans Dak Prescott -- were all first round picks by Dallas.

While those were all home run picks, some recent Cowboys first round selections either haven't panned out or simply returned mediocre value.

2017 first-rounder Taco Charlton is an extreme example of the former, while 2018 first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch falls under the latter.

Vander Esch has turned in some good seasons in Dallas. His Pro Bowl rookie year and last season stick out more than the others, and fans celebrated when he re-signed in free agency. That said, there's no hiding from the fact that his career arc has been slowed by injuries.

While Dallas likely doesn't regret taking Vander Esch, a recent 2018 redraft crafted by Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport has the Cowboys taking one of the best pass-catchers in the game today: Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.

Cowboys take Ravens star TE Mark Andrews in 2018 re-draft

If you can believe it, Vander Esch fell out of the first round entirely. That's not all that surprising, though, considering the wonky hit rate on taking off-ball linebackers in round one and what we know about the player's injury history.

Andrews, meanwhile, would've been a game changer for Dak Prescott.

While the Cowboys drafted Dalton Schultz in the fourth round that year, Andrews is arguably the second-best tight end in the NFL behind Travis Kelce.

Since taking over the starting role in 2019, Andrews ranks second at the position in targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, culminating in a 107-1,361-9 line All-Pro season two years ago. His 1,361 yards were the third-most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in league history.

2018 was a familiarly disappointing year in Dallas. They won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and crashed out in the Divisional Round against the Rams.

Remember how thin the Cowboys were at receiver that season? They ultimately traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper but before that Dak Prescott was in the midst of his worst season as a pro, and understandably so given he was throwing to a rookie Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim.

For context, Ezekiel Elliott finished with the most catches on the team. Cooper admittedly made a seismic impact, but Andrews would have been a perfect addition for 2018 and beyond. He didn't break out until year two, but still managed 34 catches for 552 yards and three scores as a rookie with the Ravens.

Drafting Andrews would've given the Cowboys another mouth to feed in terms of a big contract extension, but that's a worthwhile headache to navigate in order to give Prescott one of the game's premier security blankets and red zone threats.

Just a shame it would've come at the cost of Vander Esch.

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