ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Cowboys did it all in this year’s NFL Draft. From taking one of the biggest gambles in the first round to wheeling and dealing to strengthen their roster, the Cowboys looked to make some noise heading into the new season.
Round 1, pick #19 – LB Leighton Vander Esch
In what could be seen as one of the biggest gambles in the first round, the Cowboys selected linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first pick. Fans scratched their heads, thinking the team would try to fill the wide receiver void left by the departure of Dez Bryant. Dallas thought otherwise. The linebacker from Boise State was fifth in the country in tackles and had three interceptions and four sacks in the 22nd-ranked defense last season. Vander Esch has a chance to make the starting lineup to play alongside linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith.
Round 2, pick #50 – OL Connor Williams
The Cowboys took a hometown player in the second round by drafting offensive lineman Connor Williams from the University of Texas at Austin. Williams played left tackle for the Longhorns where he was named a first-team, All-America pick in his sophomore year. Williams is expected to shift to the left guard position for the Cowboys. The Coppell-native started only five games last year due to a left knee injury and missed the bowl game to prepare for the draft.
Round 3, pick #81 – WR Michael Gallup
Looking to find a replacement for Dez Bryant, the Cowboys chose Michael Gallup from Colorado State with their third pick. In his senior season, Gallup caught a school-record 100 passes for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns. Gallup joins a receiver lineup that includes Terrence Williams, Allen Hurns and newly-acquired Tavon Austin.
Round 4, pick #116 – DE Dorance Armstrong
Dorance Armstrong was the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year coming into last season. The Cowboys drafted a player with long arms who can get to the quarterback. He never expected to fall to the fourth round when he decided to skip his senior season at Kansas. Owner Jerry Jones said he has a chance to be one heck of a pass rusher.
Round 4, pick #137 – TE Dalton Schultz
Did the Cowboys find Jason Witten’s potential replacement? That’s what they’re hoping for by choosing tight end Dalton Schultz from Stanford. He is thought to be one of the most complete tight ends coming into the NFL, especially with his blocking skills. Witten is reportedly set to retire to join ESPN’s Monday Night Football lineup.
Round 5, pick #171 – QB Mike White
The Cowboys found competition for backup quarterback Cooper Rush with their selection of quarterback Mike White out of Western Kentucky. The 6-4 quarterback started 27 games over the last two seasons with the Hilltoppers. He isn’t a scrambler but has an amazing quick release.
Round 6, pick #193 – LB Chris Covington
Going into last season for Indiana University, linebacker Chris Covington had one career college start, but he quickly made a name for himself. He’s seen as a guy with an extremely high ceiling. If he makes the team, it will give the Cowboys depth at the linebacker position and a player they can count on for special teams.
Round 6, pick #208 – WR Cedrick Wilson
Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson is the second Boise State player selected by the Cowboys in this year’s draft. The 6-2 receiver is known to be a big playmaker as over a quarter of his catches last season went for 25 yards or more. He’s also a tremendous kick returner, averaging almost 24 yards per kick return.
Round 7, pick #236 – RB Bo Scarbrough
By selecting Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough, the Cowboys look to bring some championship experience to the team. He’s a big, bruising running back who could give starter Ezekiel Elliott a breather and could give the Cowboys another goal-line option. Scarbrough describes his style of running as physical, downhill and a guy who likes to run defenders over.