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Cowboys Redshirt Rookies Give Dallas 2017 NFL Draft A Kickstart

Jaylon Smith Rehab

The 2017 NFL Draft kicks off in a few very short weeks. With draft picks representing the ultimate NFL currency the Dallas Cowboys have managed to already bank three draft selections before the actual event even begins. Think about that for a moment. Jason Garrett already has three draft picks he can count on to increase his talent base for the upcoming season. And that’s with the NFL Draft not even on the clock yet. If you’re a member of Cowboys Nation, that’s a big time plus in the good-thing column.

It’s no secret the Cowboys have needs on the defensive side of the ball and tight end Jason Witten though seemingly ageless isn’t getting any younger. Guess what? Possible answers to all of the above are already on the team.

Below I’ve put the Cowboys red-shirt rookies along with a decisive quote from their NFL Draft profile from

LB Jaylon Smith – “Without the injury issues, he’s one of the top player’s in this draft.”

DE Charles Tapper – “Raw with room to develop. It will take more than one off-season for him to learn his position in the NFL.”

TE Rico Gathers – “Gathers is a prospect with an upside that is worth waiting for.”

Are you kidding me?

Some may want to focus on Jaylon Smith learning to play with a brace while dealing with his recovering nerve injury and lament his place on the list. A valid thought that could easily blind one to the rewards that are there for the taking. Is Jaylon going to be the player he was before the injury? No. Will he be worth a high second round pick? Ahhh, that remains to be seen and in reality matters very little. The pick has been made. It’s done. Jerry Jones is all hung up on draft value and the ego-centric stroking that brings. All Garrett cares about is the talent at his disposal and in truth, Jaylon Smith is an instinctive football player who will make the Cowboys a better team when he is on the field. Was he worth the pick? That conversation is for another piece on a different day.

Ed note: Spoiler alert, unless he makes the Hall of Fame red-shirting a second round pick is NOT good draft value. Sorry Jerry, you blew it again.

Defensive end Charles Tapper has “get-up-and-go” in his makeup. A bull-rush maven who looks for “Quarterback” on the menu whenever he’s dining out Cowboys Nation is going to enjoy this offseason’s mini-camp reports. Tapper is in shape and hungry to earn his star. That works for Rod Marinelli.

Rico Gathers is a big man who has some serious love for the play style of a full-featured NFL tight end. You will undoubtedly hear about how deep this draft is in “dynamic” tight ends. Dynamic tight end is a code word in the NFL for a tight end that can’t block. Former Saints and current Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is a perfect example of a dynamic TE. Ask him to block and he gets a puzzled look on his face. Throw him the rock up the seam and watch the lights come on. Looked at another way, which would you rather have on your team, Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski? Exactly. Gathers has the mental makeup to excel on the line mauling defenders OR ripping the seam for a 40 yard gain. It was a 50/50 shot if Gathers was going to be activated for the playoff run last year as he was a handful while on the scout team late in the season. Let everyone draft the dynamic TE’s this year. Dallas already has it’s TE of the future signed, sealed and delivered.

So there you are …… The Dallas Cowboys have made selections at LB, DE and TE in the 2017 NFL Draft ….. the first round starts in two weeks.

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

Steven Van Over

Steven Van Over

Analyst, Editor, Photographer, Writer at SportsTalkLine
Editor, Writer, Podcaster & Photographer for @SportsTalkLine Network. I watch sports, I talk about sports then I write about sports. Catch me on Twitter @StevenVanOver
Steven Van Over

  • Michael

    These picks underscore the need for a developmental league like NFL Europe. Too many kids come out of college without experience with pro style schemes today and the current CBA just doesn’t allow the kind of contact it takes to train a player. Good luck to the Cowboys and their projects because they are going to need all the luck they can muster.

  • Taylor

    Smith is undersized, his explosion and speed made him a player. If the nerve does not regenerate, he will be an undersized, slow lb, albeit with great recognition and awareness. Tapper has some pedigree, so we’ll see if his skills have improved, or if he’s going to be yet another LDE. Gathers transformation will be the equivalent of a smart high school kid being dropped into post-doc research. He’s a big fine athlete, but knows nothing. I’m not counting on any of these guys being transformative in any way.