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3 early targets for Cowboys in Round 3 of NFL Draft

Joey Ickes



Dec 30, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (5) scores a touchdown against Washington Huskies defensive back Byron Murphy (1) in the first quarter of the 2017 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have been extremely successful in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last nine years, selecting All-Pros — Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Ezekiel Elliott — who have been the core of the current iteration of the team. However, through the rest of the draft, they have been much more hit and miss.

In the current collective bargaining agreement with the rookie pay scale, the most valuable resources a team has each off-season are Day 2 draft picks. Those picks are where the equation of available talent and the cost to acquire that talent is the most favorable for the team. Hitting on those picks means four years of inexpensive labor from a key contributor. This is especially true in the third round. The Cowboys have had some decent third-round picks: Tyrone Crawford, Terrance Williams, Maliek Collins, and most recently Jourdan Lewis. If they want to continue to build the depth of their team with the goal of winning a championship, they’ll need to do well in the third round once again in 2018.

Let’s look at three players the Cowboys should target with their third-round pick.

Daeshon Hamilton, Wide Receiver – Penn State

At just under 6-1 and 203 pounds, Hamilton is the perfect size to fill the Cowboys’ Z receiver position. In the Nittany Lions’ offense in 2017, Hamilton secured 53 receptions for 857 yards and nine touchdowns. He played mostly out of the slot at Penn State but was able to create separation on the outside at the Senior Bowl with ease. The route running he showed on tape should translate to the NFL level.

If the Cowboys can draft Hamilton in the third round this year, they can combine him with Ryan Switzer to give them two-thirds of the next group of receivers to play with Dak Prescott.

Fred Warner, Linebacker – BYU

Warner, a 6-4, 235-pound linebacker from BYU, brings the size and athleticism the Cowboys look for in their linebackers, giving him the ability to play both the Mike and the Will. He played a lot as an overhang defender at BYU, splitting the difference between the offensive line and the slot receiver while serving as the contain player against the run. He also had significant run responsibilities and recorded 87 total tackles, including nine for loss, showing his ability to diagnose, chase and finish between the tackles and in space.

With Warner on board, the Cowboys would have a group of three linebackers who can play sideline to sideline as well as in the backfield.

Wyatt Teller, Guard – Virginia Tech

The biggest need on the Cowboys’ roster is probably the left guard spot, where they don’t have a capable starter under contract for 2018. That said, it’s extremely likely that they’ll look to the first two rounds of the draft to fill that spot. But if they go another route, signing a band-aid in free agency, they could look to the third round as a spot to add Teller — who was extremely physical in the run game in college and showed ability in pass protection as well — to be their future at the left guard spot.

If they can get Teller for offensive line coach Paul Alexander to develop over the next year, they could have a longtime starter at left guard.

Joey Ickes has been writing about the NFL, primarily the Dallas Cowboys since early in 2012. He specializes in understanding and teaching the mechanics of the schemes on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball as well as the salary cap. He is an MBA graduate of Texas A&M University. His work has been featured on Blogging the Boys (SB Nation), Bleacher Report, and CowboysHQ (Scout.com), he makes regular appearances on several regional radio shows in various areas of the country, and co-hosts the BTB Podcast. Follow him on twitter @JoeyIckes.