After a long wait, the Cowboys made two picks on Friday, addressing both sides of the offensive line.
While there was a thought safety would be taken, the Cowboys passed twice on that position, and some others, to take a pass-rushing tackle in the second round in UCF’s Trysten Hill and then guard/center Connor McGovern from Penn State in the third.
So which pick was the most intriguing? The writers were split with their opinions.
Rob Phillips:Why does an all-conference player like Trysten Hill start only one game in 2018 under a new coaching staff? The Cowboys wondered the same thing you did. The answers they got satisfied them. “We felt very good about the kind of young man he is,” head coach Jason Garrett said. It does appear that reports of a possible attitude issue last year at UCF were a bit overblown. Hill sounds fully committed to maximizing his potential under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. That’s good, because defensive tackles that big, who can move like he does, are rare.
Bryan Broaddus: This McGovern selection gave me hope that there are some days where a team will just select the best player on their board over need. With guys like me screaming for them to draft a running back or safety they went a total different direction with Connor McGovern. Offensive guard/center was not a position that I would have addressed with that third round pick but they don’t care what I think. McGovern is more about a selection for the future than it was for today. This front office is going to have to make a decision about La’el Collins at right tackle and McGovern protects them if at the end of the 2019 season they want to move on from Collins and shift their other Connor…Williams to right tackle and plug McGovern in a guard after a year of growth. It is a smart plan that I never saw.
Nick Eatman: I could’ve gone with either selection here, but I’ll address the Trysten Hill selection. My mock draft from start to finish was Juan Thornhill at No. 58. It sounded like with only two minutes left on the clock, Thornhill was still in the mix. But at the end of the day, Jerry Jones said that good pass rushers can make better safeties. They value an inside rusher who can be disruptive. As for Hill’s character, I was able to speak to a current UCF coach Friday night and he assured me Hill was not a problem at all and gave the staff no issues last season, despite only starting one game. Hill certainly played in a rotation and will do the same with the Cowboys.
David Helman: If you’ve been following along with our draft coverage these last few weeks, you shouldn’t be surprised the Cowboys drafted Trysten Hill. On the flip side, I don’t think anyone saw the Connor McGovern pick except the Cowboys themselves. That’s because this was a step-ahead draft pick. The Cowboys are paying tons of money to their left tackle, their center and their right guard. Their right tackle, La’el Collins, is entering a contract year and is likely to be worth a boatload of money next spring. This front office can’t afford to pay Collins on top of all their other contracts. So what did they do? They drafted a plug-and-play starter in McGovern, knowing that Connor Williams has the flexibility to play right tackle in the future. That’s smart drafting. McGovern may not even make an impact in 2019, but the Cowboys will be happy to have him in 2020.
Mickey Spagnola: That’s what I’ve been talking about: Find you a disruptive defensive lineman, somebody to potentially help you forget about the career David Irving flushed down the toilet this past season. And Cowboys second-round pick Trysten Hill fits the bill, the highest the Cowboys have selected a defensive tackle since Russell Maryland with the first pick in the 1991 draft. Hill is disruptive. Like, why do you think there were 13 defensive linemen selected in the first round and just two safeties? Why do you think three of the first picks in this year’s draft were defensive linemen, and two defensive tackles in the top 12? And seven defensive tackles in the first round? Funny thing, most criticized the Cowboys previously for not using high draft capital on defensive tackles. Well, here’s your guy, second-rounder Trysten Hill.
Lindsay Draper: The Connor McGovern choice intrigued me, because this pick - at this spot - tells me the Cowboys hope he could contribute in the near future. McGovern, who has played all five spots on the line, told the media he’d never had contact with the Cowboys before tonight, as he was celebrating at hometown in in his family-owned bar. McGovern is no stranger to star power: he spent time making lanes for star running back Saquon Barkely, and blocked for quarterback Trace McSorley. With last year’s scare with Travis Frederick, and knowing he hasn’t played in a game in over a year, this only makes sense for the Cowboys.