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NFC East Review: Evaluating the Dallas Cowboys 2020 draft class

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Unfortunately for New York, the Cowboys had a successful draft

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Well, to the disappointment of New York Giants fans everywhere, the Dallas Cowboys had a very strong 2020 draft. As post-draft grades have been handed out to teams, the Cowboys seem to consistently receive A+ after A+. While the Giants would have wanted to see Jerry Jones disappointed from his yacht, that was not the case.

Let’s take a deeper look into the Cowboys 2020 NFL Draft class haul.

Round 1 (No. 17 overall): CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Many mocks did not indicate CeeDee Lamb would still be available with the No. 17 overall pick. If the Cowboys really wanted Lamb, I would have guessed that they would need to trade up to get him. But somehow Lamb was there waiting when the Cowboys’ turn rolled around. And though the Cowboys did not necessarily need a wide receiver (they did just sign Amari Cooper to a blockbuster contract this offseason and have 1,000-yard receiver Michael Gallup), they adjusted their draft plan and went with the best player available.

Lamb finished his career at Oklahoma second in school history in touchdown receptions (32) and third in receiving yards (3,292) and 100-yard receiving games (14). He has had success with three different quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts and he also set the school record for career catches of 40-plus yards with 24. He needs to work on his immediate speed and decision making on the field, but overall, he’s yet another dangerous weapon in the Cowboys’ arsenal.

Round 2 (No. 51 overall): Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama

Again, as Giants fans, this pick is frustrating because Trevon Diggs is a guy that many mock drafts predicted the Cowboys taking at No. 17 and Dallas was able to get him at No. 51. At 6-foot-2, 200-plus pounds, Diggs fills a crucial need for the Cowboys at the cornerback position. He entered Alabama as a two-way player and his offensive tendencies translate well to his defensive play. He was a two-year starter at Alabama and played mostly left cornerback under Nick Saban, gaining lots of experience in a press-man heavy scheme that will translate well to the NFL.

The biggest critique of Diggs is that he does not have the most refined technique as he can be lazy with his footwork and stance but his raw athleticism and quick reaction time mean that Diggs will be competing for starting roles with the Cowboys. He’s been better known as the younger brother of Stefon Diggs for most of his playing career, but it should be a surprise to no one when he makes a name all for himself.

Round 3 (No. 82 overall): Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

The Cowboys continued to focus on the defense with their third round pick, choosing Neville Gallimore out of Oklahoma. Gallimore has the range to sidestep and cross blockers. He also had speed that allows him to chase ball carriers down the field. Gallimore earned the respect of his college teammates from his work ethic on and off the field and he developed into a leader during his time with the Sooners.

Gallimore’s pass rush sequence is still a little unrefined and he has inconsistent snap anticipation. But his athleticism and willingness to work hard will help him make up for growing pains as he transitions to the NFL. Some fun facts: Gallimore received 30 scholarships offers after high school, including from Ohio State, Oregon and USC. Also, he is from Canada and will become the first Ottawa-born player to play in the NFL.

Round 4 (No. 123 overall): Reggie Robinson II, CB, Tulsa

The Cowboys continued to fill positions of need when they drafted Reggie Robinson II. The cornerback out of Tulsa finished the 2019 season ranked No. 5 in the FBS with 17 passes defended and he recorded four of the team’s five interceptions. He has a high football IQ and also logged four blocked kicks on special teams over the course of his career.

One main point of concern for Robinson are the flags. He has shown a tendency to be too hands on, drawing the notice of officials. In total, Robinson was charged with five pass interference penalties in 2019. Of course, at the NFL level, mistakes such as those can be extremely costly. Robinson is riding the momentum from his career-best senior season that could carry him through some early NFL jitters. He has the ability to play press and zone effectively and therefore will be competing for a starting spot on the Cowboys’ depleted cornerback corps.

Round 4 (No. 136 overall, trade): Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin

Tyler Biadasz fell as far as he did in the draft due to injuries. He played through a hip injury throughout the 2018 season that required offseason surgery and then missed spring practices. He also missed part of the draft process due to an AC scope of his right shoulder this past February.

His injuries make him a risk, but if can stay healthy, he should be able to compete alongside veteran Joe Looney and 2019 third-rounder Connor McGovern for a starting spot. The Cowboys lost long-time center Travis Frederick this past offseason and will be looking for someone who can fill his shoes. Biadasz started 41 straight games and played 94.1 percent of Wisconsin’s offensive snaps the past three years.

Round 5 (No. 174 overall): Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah

Having lost Robert Quinn in free agency, the Cowboys needed someone who could help replace the 11.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss that he provided last season. Enter Bradlee Anae out of Utah. He was a three-year starter in college and became the school’s all-time leader in sacks with 30 and set program records in career sack yardage (210) and tackles for loss yardage (244). He won the 2019 Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s best defensive lineman.

Yet, Anae has some trouble with anticipating the snap, drawing six offside penalties in 2019. He is a one-speed rusher and has a tendency to give up too much ground in the run game. But Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham called Anae’s leadership and work ethic “tremendous,” suggesting that he is willing to work hard to make up for his weaknesses.

Round 7 (No. 231 overall): Ben DiNucci, QB, James Madison

After a long break, the Cowboys capped off their draft with quarterback Ben DiNucci, who will serve as an understudy to Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton. DiNucci completed 268-of-378 passes for 3,441 yards with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2019, while also recording seven rushing touchdowns.

DiNucci actually met Mike McCarthy shortly after he was named the new head coach for the Cowboys. While staying at an Omni Hotel connected to the Cowboys’ practice facility before James Madison’s national title game against North Dakota State, DiNucci ran into McCarthy in the elevator.

“He was standing in the back and I recognized him immediately, so I went to the back, stood by him and introduced myself,” DiNucci said. “Just elevator talk: ‘Hey, Coach, your brother Joe was my eighth-grade basketball coach.’ He was familiar with the Pine-Richland area, being from Pittsburgh. He said good luck, and I wished him the best of luck in Dallas.”