FRISCO, Texas – Somehow, it's draft season once again.
The offseason is flying by, and the 2019 NFL Draft is set to start in just a few short weeks.
This year is different from other ones, as the Cowboys' trade for Amari Cooper leaves them without a first-round pick this month. With their first selection coming at pick No. 58, it's a bit more challenging to identify their targets.
Still, by paying attention to their pre-draft movements, it's possible to get an idea for what the Cowboys are thinking this year. The goal of this series is to identify their targets at the back end of the second round.
The series continues with Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson.
- Name: Jaylon Ferguson
- Position: Defensive End
- College: Louisiana Tech
- Height/Weight: 6-4/256
- Honors: Ferguson made first-team All-Conference USA in each of his last three seasons and won the conference's Defensive Player of the Year award last year. Various media outlets named him a second- or third-team All-American.
Key Stat: In addition to his impressive sack totals, Ferguson produced an outstanding 67.5 tackles for loss (187 total tackles) over four seasons at Louisiana Tech (College Football Reference).
How's His Stock: Ferguson has been widely considered a potential second-round prospect throughout the pre-draft process even though he didn't participate in the NFL Combine due to a reported simple battery conviction during his freshman year at Louisiana Tech. He's one of the top edge rushers in the class, but some outside observers have questions about his agility after his March pro day yielded some modest test results, including an 8.08 three-cone drill time.
How He Could Help: Turn on the tape and you'll see Ferguson can find the quarterback. He led the nation in sacks with a conference-record 17.5 last season and broke Terrell Suggs' college record for career sacks with 45. The Cowboys made a big-time addition at defensive end by trading for veteran Robert Quinn a month ago. But Quinn is on a one-year deal, Randy Gregory is indefinitely suspended by the NFL, and DeMarcus Lawrence will spend the rest of the offseason working to return from shoulder surgery by the season opener. Ferguson would add insurance at the position and he projects as a potential starter long term.
Scouting Report: Physically an impressive player. Long with thickness in his lower body. Has the reach to push pass blockers. Gets his hands on blockers quickly. Can hold blockers off with one arm. Doesn't give them much of a chance to react. Doesn't always rush at the right level of the quarterback. Tends to get into personal battles with the blocker and loses sight of the ball. Has some pop/snap to him. Powerful man. Has to deal with his share of double- and triple-teams. Can close from the backside as a pass rusher. For a tall player, has some redirection to his game. – Bryan Broaddus