Gut Feeling: Biggest Storyline of the 1st Round

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FRISCO, Texas – As most expected, night one of the NFL Draft ended with no movement by the Cowboys.

The club stood pat without the first-round pick they sent to Oakland last October for Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper. (The Raiders selected Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram in that spot, No. 27 overall.) Activity will pick up Friday with Cowboys scheduled to make their first picks of the weekend: No. 58 overall (second round) and No. 90 overall (third round).

What were the biggest takeaways from a quiet opening night? The DallasCowboys.com staff discusses below:

Nick Eatman: This might not be the biggest story among the league, but all day and night we’ve been talking about the 27th overall pick that the Raiders received from the Cowboys. While I firmly believe Dallas would’ve had a better pick if they didn’t make the trade for Amari Cooper, it was still interesting to see what Oakland did with this selection. As it turned out, the Raiders picked a player that has been on the Cowboys’ radar most of the offseason. Abram was one of the 30 visits to The Star, and is a dynamic safety that could be a difference-maker. There never seemed to be a realistic chance to land Abrams at No. 58 but if he somehow fell in the second round, the Cowboys would’ve possibly considered a trade to land him. Instead, he goes to Oakland at the Cowboys’ original spot.

Lindsay Draper: Well, I now know I have something in common with the owner of this team: I do not like not having a first-round pick! Instead, my attention shifted to what the rest of the NFC East did on night one. For the foreseeable future, youth is the trend for these offenses: The Giants will have Daniel Jones as their quarterback, and the Redskins will have Dwayne Haskins. Philadelphia went with a promising offensive tackle in Andre Dillard to protect Carson Wentz. Dak Prescott could quietly take hold of this division. The more we study this draft and roster over the weekend, the more I think this team is positioned to be in a championship window.

Rob Phillips: When the Cowboys made the Cooper trade, they clearly felt he was: A) better than any receiver in the 2019 draft; and B) an ascending player at just 24 years old himself. Six months later, we finally know how the first round shaped up with respect to this year’s receiver class. Only two were selected in the first round: Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown to the Ravens at No. 25 and Arizona State’s N’keal Harry to the Patriots at No. 32. Both players have a lot of promise, but will they develop into clear No. 1 options like Cooper has in Oakland and now Dallas? Once he gets his eventual contract extension, Cooper surely will make a lot more than the average first-round draft pick. But the Cowboys got a young, three-time Pro Bowler in the deal – and most importantly, they got an accelerated evaluation of quarterback Dak Prescott when he has an elite receiver in the lineup. The results were outstanding.

Mickey Spagnola: The NFC East suddenly is the land of young quarterbacks. The Giants select Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in the draft. The Redskins grab Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick, able to just sit there and take the third quarterback in the first round. And suddenly Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott are the salty veterans going into their fourth seasons. Now this is not to assume the Giants will make Jones a Day One starter. They have the luxury of grooming Jones behind veteran Eli Manning for at least another season. But in Washington, if head coach Jay Gruden is a man of his word during the NFL meetings, he said first-round quarterbacks aren’t drafted to sit. So, figure Haskins, with all of one full season starting for the Buckeyes, will compete with Colt McCoy and Case Keenum for the starting job, since Alex Smith’s future is in jeopardy. The defenses of the Eagles and Cowboys should be salivating if the rookie quarterbacks become starters. If you’re scoring QBs in the NFC East, that then is three first-round quarterbacks, and a fourth if counting Eli, and then one fourth in Dak.

David Helman: Nearing the end of the first round, the NFC East dropped its biggest bomb at all. A team rocketed up the board, coming from the second round, and traded for Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat – widely regarded as one of the best players in this draft. The most shocking development of all? It wasn’t the Cowboys that did it, but the Washington Redskins. To make it even more shocking, the price wasn’t even that steep. Washington gave Indianapolis the 46th overall pick, as well as a second-round pick in next year’s draft. That’s an incredibly affordable price for a 20-spot jump. Sweat will join the likes of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Anderson and Matt Ioannidis on a loaded Washington front. As he waited patiently for the second round, it was a move that had to irk Jerry Jones – especially coming from a division rival.

Bryan Broaddus: In a league that loves to throw the ball, it surprised me that only one cornerback went off the board in the first round. I have three first-round corners on my board going into Day 2 of the draft — Byron Murphy, Greedy Williams and Rock Ya-Sin. I would have never believed that any of these guys would have been there, which makes this even more puzzling. Get ready for a run on these guys early to start the round on Friday.

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