Philadelphia Eagles: Analyzing 2020 NFL Draft results across NFC East
Draft selections: CeeDee Lamb; WR (Round 1, 17th overall); Trevon Diggs, CB (Round 2, 51st overall); Neville Gallimore, DT (Round 3, 82nd overall); Reggie Robinson III, CB (Round 4, 123rd overall); Tyler Biadasz, C (Round 4, 146th overall); Bradley Anae, Edge (Round 5, 179 overall); Ben DiNucci, QB (Round 7, 233rd overall)
Prior to the first round, the primary concerns surrounding the Cowboys seemed to largely be on the defensive side of the ball, namely the team’s defensive secondary and pass-rush.
As the team’s 17th overall pick drew closer, presumptive targets like LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson and Alabama safety Xavier McKinney were still available.
Team owner Jerry Jones, quarantine lounging on his $250 million super-yacht, seemingly went off script with the selection of wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.
Few expected the former Oklahoma star to fall as far as he did in the first round, including former collegiate scout and NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who ranked Lamb as the top wide receiver in this year’s class.
While he doesn’t exactly fit the precise “needs” of the Dallas roster, Lamb’s talent was too hard to pass up for the Cowboys’ brain trust. He joins what was already a fairly top-heavy wide receiver room, featuring Michael Gallup and the recently extended Amari Cooper.
If nothing else, it potentially gives Dak Prescott, who is still hoping for an extension, what could be the strongest receiver group in the league.
The remainder of the draft picks for the Cowboys centered around more direct needs. Cornerback Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson III were the newest additions to the team’s defensive secondary, hoping to fill the void left by the departure of Bryon Jones.
The selections of defensive tackle Neville Gallimore in the third round and edge rusher Bradley Anae, who fell to the final pick of the fifth round, potentially bolster the team’s modest pass-rush.
The four additions can potentially help a defense which ranked in the bottom half of the league in sacks in 2019, and tied for the least amount of interceptions.
Former Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz, however, presents what may be the most important selection Dallas made outside of Lamb.
Biadasz, taken 146th overall after trading with Philadelphia, may not immediately replace the recently retired Travis Frederick as the full-time starter.
However, he potentially fills a massive void in what has consistently been one of the league’s more formative offensive lines.
In 2019, Biadasz’s draft stock put him in first round consideration, but a slew of injuries led to what was ultimately a disappointing redshirt junior season. Returning to pre-injury form is never a certainty, but for a team like Dallas, that may need a competent center in the near future, the upside is notable.
In all, the consensus for the Cowboys’ 2020 draft haul seems to be unanimously positive, with ‘A’ and ‘A+’ grades from NFL.com, Bleacher Report, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo.
Whether the team’s new additions can improve what was a modestly underwhelming defense in 2019 is uncertain, but the potential value added by high-value selections like Lamb, Diggs, and Gallimore gives Dallas can be significant on both sides of the ball.
The blueprint for the Dallas offense may be as transparent as ever, which is having an overpowering offense.
With the trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb, plus star running back Ezekiel Elliot, Prescott’s wealth of options is certainly enviable.
While the Dallas offense was already prolific, ranked first in the NFL in total yards in 2019, Lamb also offers the franchise potential top-tier insurance in case one of Cooper or Gallup gets injured. Opposing defenses may have their hands full trying to cover all three.
On defense, adding more pass-rush talent next to former Pro Bowl edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence was potentially addressed with the additions of Gallimore and Anae, joining a group that recently brought in free agent veterans Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe.
If the selections of Gallimore, Anae, plus the aforementioned cornerbacks Diggs and Reggie Robinson III, help create some turnovers for a defense the desperately needed it in 2019, it may be a win for Dallas in and of itself.
What Didn’t Improve?
Safety was often rumored as a potential target for Dallas throughout the pre-draft process. However, with Lamb sliding to 17th overall, and a bevy of safety prospects getting snagged before Dallas selected at No. 51, the Cowboys went home without addressing the position.
Days after the draft, rumors are already swirling that current cornerback Chidobe Awuzie may move to safety, potentially adding some talent to a group that currently features starters Xavier Woods and recent free agent signing HaHa Clinton-Dix.
Take a look at what the folks at the Dallas Morning News had to say about the situation.
"The team is seriously exploring a position switch that would move the 2017 second-round pick [Awuzie] from cornerback to safety, two people familiar with the situation said this week. One person indicated that any determination won’t be formalized until the Cowboys’ coaching staff can share a field with players and properly evaluate a young cornerback group. Jaylon Smith also could change linebacker spots, but that is still to be determined."
Awuzie played both cornerback and safety while at the University of Colorado, so the move may not be too out of the box, but the Cowboys are at least playing with ideas to help improve what may be the team’s weakest position.