Did the Cowboys have the best 2020 draft class?
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Whilst a lot of draft picks don’t always pan out the way teams hope and a potential great draft class can become an average one in hindsight, I believe on paper the Cowboys 2020 draft class could produce them five good long-term starters.
Round 1 Pick 17 – Ceedee Lamb, WR
Ceedee Lamb was viewed as a top 2 wide receiver in the draft alongside Jerry Jeudy. Hence, the Cowboys did not expect him to still be on the board at 17, so they diverted from their original draft plan to take the best player available.
Although Lamb was the 3rd receiver off the board he is in my opinion the best receiver in the class. Whilst Ruggs and Jeudy have holes in their games albeit in Jeudy’s case very few, Lamb has none. Despite being incredibly athletic and elusive with the ball in his hands, Lamb’s game isn’t just about his athletic ability. At 6ft 2 his great route-running, elite hands and ability to win contested catches makes him a number one receiver from the get-go.
At Oklahoma, Lamb performed all three years but in 2019 he was especially explosive. He finished the season with 62 catches for 1,327 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 21.4 yards per reception. Placing him 6th in the NCAA for receiving yards and 5th for receiving touchdowns as well as 3rd for yards per reception. All of which led to Lamb being named Consensus All-American in 2019.
Round 2 Pick 51 – Trevon Diggs, CB
Many draft analysts had Diggs going in the first-round so for Dallas to grab him in the middle of the 2nd is a great pick up. The Cowboys had a glaring need at corner after losing Byron Jones in free agency and many analysts had them in fact taking Diggs at 17th.
Despite having a few issues as an open field tacker and long-distance speed when covering fast receivers, his athletic ability and measurables make him a potential number one cornerback. It’s rare to find a cornerback at 6ft 1 with a huge wingspan who possesses both speed and strength at the level Diggs does. As a former wide receiver his ball skills and instincts are impeccable for a defensive back, which is something Dallas missed from their secondary in 2019.
Round 3 Pick 82 – Neville Gallimore, DT
Similar to Diggs some analysts believe Gallimore could’ve gone in the first-round so for the Cowboys to pick him up all the way at 82nd marks their third straight steal.
Gallimore possesses pure athletic ability for a defensive tackle, at 304 pounds he ran a 4.79 40-yard dash which is the third-fastest at the combine by a 300-pound defensive lineman since 2000. In college he was often the quickest lineman to react off the ball. While Gallimore has an array of pass rushing and run stuffing moves he has untapped ability and potential which the Cowboys will try to develop.
According to scouts his lone flaw apart from being underdeveloped is his lateral movement. When in the pocket Gallimore has rigid movement, which makes it hard for him to finish sacks ultimately limiting his production. However, if the Cowboys can develop him he will be a real force in the interior defensive line in Dallas for years to come.
Round 4 Pick 146 – Tyler Biadasz, C
I was shocked when I saw Tyler Biadasz still on the board in the third-round, but he continued to fall, until eventually he was picked up in the fourth round by Dallas.
With 5-time Pro Bowler Travis Frederick retiring it left a hole at centre for the Cowboys.
Biadasz who like Frederick played his college football at Wisconsin had a first-round grade coming into the 2019 college season but due to a hip and shoulder injury in back-to-back seasons his draft stock collapsed. If Biadasz is able to stay healthy he can be a Pro Bowl level centre for many years in Dallas.
Although Biadasz doesn’t have the ceiling of Cesar Ruiz and Lloyd Cushenberry due to lacking the athletic ability those two possess, he is an incredibly safe pick with almost no bust potential. Coming out of Wisconsin he will be ready to start right away in the Cowboys O-line due to his incredible technique which led him to being named Consensus All-America in 2019 and could propel him to be a dependable starter for 10 years.
Round 5 Pick 179 – Bradlee Anae, DE
Given the value of an edge rusher, to pick up one of the best in the draft class in the fifth-round is a great pick. Over the past 3 seasons Anae has amassed 38 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks, accruing 13 sacks in 2019. Whilst you could argue Anae was only able to put up the production he did due to playing in the Pac-12 he was unanimous Consensus All-America in 2019 validating his ability off the edge.
Anae is renowned for his very quick first step, however as highlighted at the 2020 NFL Combine at his lean 6ft 3, 257-pound frame he only clocked a 4.93 40-yard dash. Scouts have questioned whether due to his lack of athleticism his development and production could be limited in the pros, especially when playing against quality experienced offensive lineman.
Whilst a lot of the Cowboys ‘steals’ have great upside it does rely on Dallas developing them. Although the Cowboys have proven to build through the draft well, just look at their roster, this great draft class on paper doesn’t guarantee them success. With a lot of their stars signed on to big contracts the Cowboys will have to continue to draft very well to make sure their first Super Bowl window since 1996 does not close prematurely.