How the Cowboys' Draft Picks Project in 2018

Cowboys insider Jean-Jacques Taylor looks at each of the Cowboys’s draft picks and how they fit onto the 2018 roster

The Cowboys’ rookie minicamp starts Friday. Here’s a look at the Cowboys’ draft picks and how they might fit into the Cowboys’ 2018 season.

PLAYER: Leighton Vander Esch
HT., Wt. 6-5, 256
PICK: 19th overall
PROJECTED 2018 ROLE: Starting middle linebacker
TAYLOR’S TAKE: The best thing about this pick is the Cowboys have a clear vision of what he can do, what they want him to do and what they expect him to do. That gives him the best chance to succeed.
QUOTE: “That’s why we pictured him as a unique fit for our philosophy on defense,” owner Jerry Jones on Vander Esch’s size

PLAYER: Connor Williams
HT., Wt. 6-5, 315
PICK: 50th overall
PROJECTED 2018 ROLE: Starting left guard
TAYLOR’S TAKE: When the Cowboys saw the first-round talent on the board in the second round, they couldn’t pass him up. He allows La’el Collins to stay to right tackle instead of moving to left guard, and it gives the Cowboys a strong backup in Cameron Fleming, who can play both spots. Williams’ addition gives the Cowboys an opportunity to re-claim their status as the NFL’s best offensive line.
QUOTE: “What reminded me the most to go the way we went was the Atlanta game. That’s influenced this coaching staff, and that has influenced really this selection. We don’t want to have that happen (again). That took a lot of air out of us.” - Jerry Jones on why the Cowboys took Williams.

PLAYER: Michael Gallup
HT., Wt. 6-1, 200
PICK: 81st overall
2018 ROLE: Wide receiver rotation
TAYLOR’S TAKE: The Cowboys had several receivers such as Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, Oklahoma State’s James Washington and Memphis’ Anthony Miller lumped together. Gallup was among that group, and he was the only one left, when the Cowboys grabbed him. I don’t know if he’s going to start, but he should play about 700 snaps this season and the Cowboys expect him to be a significant contributor to their revamped passing game.
QUOTE: “He's a physical type of receiver just like Dez (Bryant) was. He's a guy who's very deceptive off the line of scrimmage, good route runner. He makes a lot of contested 50-50 catches.” - ESPN’s Todd McShay

PLAYER: Dorance Armstrong
HT., Wt. 6-4, 257
PICK: 116th overall
2018 ROLE: Rotational defensive end
TAYLOR’S TAKE: Charles Tapper, a fourth-round pick at DE a couple of years ago, plagued by injuries is officially on the clock. Armstrong had 10 sacks as a junior and will get a chance to be a rotational player on the Cowboys’ defensive line. His ability to bend, a key trait for defensive ends, is supposed to be unique. If so, he could be an unexpected difference-maker.
QUOTE: "I'm a dominant pass rusher. I can play end and outside LB, whatever I need to do to help the team win.” - Armstrong

PLAYER: Dalton Schultz
HT., Wt. 6-6, 242
PICK: 137th overall
2018 ROLE: Key member of tight end rotation
TAYLOR’S TAKE: He’s a little lighter by 15-20 pounds than the Cowboys’ usual tight ends, but Jason Witten’s impending retirement meant they needed to take a tight end and they did. They’ll try to replace Witten with a committee of Schultz, Geoff Swaim and enigmatic Rico Gathers.
QUOTE: "He has played in a pro-style offense there at Stanford. It is a tight end oriented offense. If you know the history of that offensive system, a lot of guys have come out and had some success transitioning to the NFL.” - Jason Garrett

PLAYER: Mike White
HT., Wt. 6-4, 225
PICK: 171st overall
2018 ROLE: Third quarterback
TAYLOR’S TAKE: This was a good pick because quarterback is the game’s most important position and you should always be trying to develop one whether he eventually plays for you or becomes a trade chip. White will have every opportunity to beat out Cooper Rush, which won’t be easy, but he should earn a role as a developmental quarterback and a roster spot because quarterbacks are such valuable commodities.
QUOTE: “We want competition there. I think we’ve said it's been historically what we’ve done. I don’t necessarily know if that’s right, but to have good competition at the quarterback position with Cooper (Rush) is a good thing.” - Stephen Jones

PLAYER: Chris Covington
HT., Wt. 6-2, 228
PICK: 193rd overall
2018 ROLE: Core special teams
TAYLOR’S TAKE: Jerry Jones said the Cowboys need their draft picks to play, in part, to balance out the money and salary-cap space they must allot to their highest-paid players., If Covington’s going to make the team, he’ll do it by making tackles on special teams.
QUOTE: “I don’t know a whole lot about the Dallas Cowboys scheme and defense, but I know they like big linebackers that like to run and hit. I think I can do a whole bunch of that for the Dallas Cowboys.” - Covington

PLAYER: Cedrick Wilson
HT., Wt. 6-2, 188
PICK: 208th overall
2018 ROLE: Practice squad
TAYLOR’S TAKE: He has speed, and the Cowboys need a lot more big plays out of the passing game than they had last season. But the easiest way for Wilson to get on the field is by being a terror on special teams. He’s also a good candidate for the practice squad, if he can’t beat out Noah Brown.
QUOTE: “He can run by you.” - Jerry Jones

PLAYER: Bo Scarbrough
HT., Wt. 6-1, 228
PICK: 236th overall
2018 ROLE: Special teams
TAYLOR’S TAKE: Scarbrough will have a tough time unseating versatile Rod Smith for playing time, and with Tavon Austin being used more as a running back the opportunities for him to touch the ball are going to be slim. His best chance to make the team is be being a baller on special teams.
QUOTE: “I’m a physical, downhill, one cut, trying to run the guy over. I'm a bruiser. I can last the whole game and I can play all three downs." - Scarbrough

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