Dallas Cowboys add to their defensive line depth in NFL Draft


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The Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East last year with a record of 10-6 and advanced to the divisional round before being eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas was 22nd in scoring and 6th in fewest points allowed. So which direction would they take in the NFL Draft? Let's examine their selections.

1st round: No pick

2nd round: 58th, Trysten Hill - DT (UCF)

Hill entered the NFL draft on bad terms with UCF having starting only one game his senior year and seeing very little playing time in the Fiesta Bowl. His career started on the right note at UCF under former coach Scott Frost. Hill started every game as sa freshman and was second-team All-AAC as a sophomore, combining for 35 tackles, nine for a loss and three sacks in two seasons. As a junior last season, despite not seeing the playing time, he had 36 tackles with three sacks and 10.5 for loss of yardage.

Hill is quick off the ball and has the speed to get upfield. Solid against the run, Hill should be able to provide significant inside pressure to help the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn on the ends. Hill will likely be part of the mix, seeing decent time in 2019 and possibly a starter in a year or two.

3rd round: 90th, {{playerID-1416|Connor McGovern}} - G (Penn State)

Considered one of the top offensive line prospects out of high school, McGovern had an immediate impact at Penn State, starting nine games at right guard as a freshman. Showing versatility, McGovern moved to center for the entire sophomore season. Coming into his own as a junior, McGovern earned recognition as Penn State's top offensive lineman and earned third-team Big Ten honors. Last season, McGovern spent most of his time at right guard, starting one game at center.

There's no question that Dallas has made their offensive line a priority in recent years, building up one of the best in the league. The versatile McGovern is now part of the mix. He has displayed ability, intelligence and durability. The addition should pay immediate dividends for the Cowboys and McGovern has a good chance to become a solid NFL starter.

4th round: 128th, Tony Pollard - RB (Memphis)

Pollard was one of the top kickoff returners in the country as a freshman and also gained 457 totals yards rushing and receiving. He was named by the AAC coaches as best special teams player both as a freshman and a sophomore. His production in the offense increased to a combined 767 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, Pollard racked up over 1000 yards from scrimmage and 667 return yards with ten touchdowns.

Pollard could be used as a change of pace back to take the load off Ezekiel Elliott, or more likely as a versatile player that can be used in many capacities. Most likely, Pollard will be used on kickoff duties and have a solid career in that capacity and as a back up running back.

5th round: 158th, Michael Jackson - CB (Miami)

Jackson was used in a back up role in 2015 and 2016, making 12 tackles in 25 games. He had a much more productive junior season, intercepting four passes with 43 tackles in ten starts. As a senior, Jackson was named ACC honorable mention after recording 42 tackles, 2.5 sacks and six passes knocked down.

The Cowboys wanted to address the cornerback situation sooner than later with several members of the defensive secondary nearing contract years. Jackson has good size for a corner at 6' 1" and over 200 pounds. Jackson has the tools to play in the NFL in some capacity, but one must wonder if he'll develop into a solid NFL starter that Dallas will need in the near future.

5th round: 165th, Joe Jackson - DE (Miami)

Jackson showed immediate promise, recording 8.5 sacks and a team high 11.5 tackles for loss as a freshman. In 2017, he had 59 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 13 games and increased his sack total to nine as a junior, earning All-ACC honors.
The Cowboys already had significant talent on the defensive line before Jackson entered the mix. There could be room for Jackson to get on the field this season due to the suspension to Randy Gregory. However, this pick is more for the long term and Jackson is likely to see more time developing and possibly some special teams play before a chance of becoming a significant contributor.

6th round: 213th, Donovan Wilson - S (Texas A & M)

Wilson sat out all of 2017 with a foot injury, but had significant production last season, recording two sacks, two interceptions and 4.5 tackles for loss of yardage. The Cowboys has a need for safety entering the draft and although addressing it late, Wilson could be a productive member of the secondary down the road. For the immediate future, a spot on the special teams is most likely.

7th round: 218th, Mike Weber - RB (Ohio State)

Weber was next in line at running back at Ohio State after Ezekiel Elliott went to the NFL and gained 1000 yards in 2016. Now he and Elliott are again teammates and while Weber isn't a highlight film type of back, he can get the tough yardage and has shown some ability as a receiver out of the back field.

7th round: 241st, Jalen Jelks - DE (Oregon)

Jelks played in a reserves role as a freshman and sophomore, registering 40 tackles and five sacks in 19 games. He was named second-team All-Pac-12 as a junior, recording 6.5 sacks, 59 tackles and seven passes deflected. Jelks was named first team ALL-Pac-12 as a senior with 57 tackles, 7.5 for loss of yardage and 3.5 sacks. He shows good size and some pass rushing abilities, but is on a roster loaded along the defensive line. A part of the practice squad this year is the most likely scenario for Jelks.

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