Cowboys Draft Day 3 Wrap-Up: Time To 'Take Shots' At Projects

Cowboys Draft Day 3: Time For Projects - Or, As Jason Garrett Said, Time To 'Take Some Shots.'

Cowboys Draft Day 3 Summary 

The Cowboys entered Day 3 of the NFL Draft needing help at some key positions. But as much as anything, because as Fish says, "Need is a four-letter word,'' the non-philosophy philosophy (a concept we explain here in the Day 2 Review), they simply needed to weigh risk/reward.

And that's where some "shots'' come in.

Among the positions of need: defensive end, where the 'Boys wanted to add a pass rusher to the fold. On Saturday, to start the final day, with the 101st pick of the Draft, the Cowboys selected defensive end Charles Tapper out of Oklahoma. 

Tapper is a bit of a raw prospect, but has loads of potential. He possesses 4.5-40 type speed, and is as strong as an ox. He has even been known to run down wide receivers in the open field, like he did to Amari Cooper in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.

Tapper struggles to control his hands at the point of attack, and his pad-level also needs work, but if he can get those things straightened out, he has the ability to make an impact in the defensive line rotation. (Get more Tapper scouting stuff here.)

Said Tapper, self-scouting: “High motor, raw, passionate player. Every play I am going to go out there like it’s my last. Whatever Coach tells me to do I am going to go out there and do it 110 miles per hour.”

Late in Round 4 with pick 135, the Cowboys got their young, developmental quarterback when they selected Dak Prescott out of Mississippi State. While he’s not going to make an immediate impact for Dallas, Prescott has a chance to be one of those guys that will solidify the backup quarterback spot, although patience in his development will be a key factor. 

Dak is a strong, durable, athletic quarterback, with a strong arm. He has the ability to fit the ball into tight windows, and also gets the ball out of his hands fairly quickly, despite his over-the-top throwing motion. Prescott is also a very mobile guy, and Mississippi State used his running ability to the fullest during his time in Starkville. While some might want to compare him to Tim Tebow, that seems to be a lazy comparison based on offensive system and jersey number. Dak is a far more polished and superior passing talent to Tebow, and comes without any of the ESPN generated hoopla him.

Prescott does need to work on his poise in the pocket under pressure. He tends to rush his progressions when under duress, and it can lead to poor decision-making.  He also could use some work on his deep ball accuracy, which is where he tends to struggle the most in the passing game. (Read more Dak Details here.)

With patience and the right development, Prescott has a chance to at the very least be a solid career backup. That's not as good as what Dallas projected Paxton Lynch to be (Fish has the Premium scoop on the Cowboys chase of Lynch) and Connor Cook was higher on Dallas' board than Dal, too, which is why the Cowboys tried to trade for the chance at Cook.

Said Dak: “Romo wins and I win and I think that’s the biggest thing you can take from the quarterback’s position, the biggest takeaway. He goes out there and he wins a lot of games and always has the Cowboys in position to win a game and I felt like I did the same thing in college. To come to the Cowboys and learn under him will be exciting. ...  “It’ll be awesome. I’m going to go in there I’m going to work and I’m going to compete. I’m going to do the best I can and work as hard as I can and try to outwork everyone there. Pushing Tony Romo, pushing the other guys, Kellen Moore, and just know while I’m doing that I’m making myself better and making my whole team better.”  

Armed without any picks in Round 5, the Cowboys had four selections in Round 6. With Pick 189, Dallas picked defensive back Anthony Brown out of Purdue, a guy who could potentially fill in some depth in a shaky secondary. Brown thrives in zone coverage, and has nice footwork for a defensive back. Brown is also an intelligent player with good hands and closing speed in the open field. At 5’11 192 pounds, Brown also has good enough size for the NFL level. He’ll need to work on his technique if he wants to see the field early, but he’s talented enough to find his way in the NFL with the right coaching. 

Read more Brown details here.

Not only did our buddies Broaddus, KT and Cavanaugh have a high grade on Brown, but so did the Cowboys, who consider him a Round 4 talent.

Said Brown on what he brings to Dallas and what he knows about the Cowboys: “A smart, tough football player that has mental toughness that’s going to be on the field everyday bringing all he has. No distractions. Just coming ready to work. ... “I know everything about the (Dallas) secondary. I know everything about the defense. My mom’s a diehard Cowboys fan, so I already have to watch all the games on Sunday.”

With their second pick in the sixth round, the Cowboys added yet another body to the secondary with safety Kavon Frazier out of Central Michigan. At 6-0 and 217 pounds, Frazier is a big, physical safety who excels in run support. He’s also a tremendous special-teams player, which is most likely where he will get his start for the Cowboys in the coming season. 

Frazier does tend to over-commit to run support at times, which forces him out of position on play action, and he also takes bad angles from time to time in pursuit. Frazier will be a project for the Cowboys, but his athleticism and special-teams ability make him worth a sixth-rounder in the Cowboys’ eyes. If given the time, he could develop in to a Barry Church type player in the Cowboys system. 

And again, our experts and Dallas' scouting department think they got a steal here in another guy considered fourth-round-worthy. (Read more Frazier details here.)

Said Frazier on what he brings to Dallas: “My passion for the game is definitely something I bring. Not just my passion, but for it to be my passion to be able to lift everybody up on defense causing that spark. If it’s playing safety or it’s linebacker in nickel or on punt, kickoff, kick return, whatever. It’s just causing that spark when I get in the game.''

In their first of two straight picks at the end of Round 6, the Cowboys selected running back Darius Jackson out of Eastern Michigan. Jackson is a speedster with sub-4.4 speed, but also has good size at 6-0, 222 pounds. He can also catch passes out of the backfield, and can be implemented into the special-teams game as well.  (Read more Darius Details here.)

Why do this when you've already taken Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 overall pick? Because you don't concern yourself with need; you concern yourself with SPARQ -- or at least Dallas does.

Said Jackson, who grew up in Garland until moving in the seventh grade: “I feel like I look at myself as a three-down running back. I know that we have Ezekiel and depth at the running back position, but we’re all teammates and we’re all there to compete for sure. And no doubt I played special teams all four years in college, even my senior year when I was a starter, so I don’t think that would be a problem, either.”

With their final pick in the Draft, the Cowboys selected Rico Gathers out of Baylor, who projects at tight end at the NFL level. (Read the details on Gathers to Dallas here.) Gathers actually played basketball at Baylor, and hopes to follow in the foot steps of Tony Gonzales, Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates as college hoops stars who translated their game to the NFL. Gathers stands 6-8 and is 275 pounds and his athleticism is obviously a plus, but he will be a project for the Cowboys, albeit one with a lot of upside if handled correctly. ... or if they're lucky.

And that's the theme of Day 3. (Not to mention Day 1's controversial selection of the gifted-but-injured Jaylon Smith.) Not a place to "take fliers'' or "waste picks'' or "be gimmicky'' -- you hope Dallas did not of those things -- but rather a place to "take shots.''


Said Garrett: "At the bottom of our draft, we felt this was a worthwhile opportunity for us to take a shot at somebody."


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