The Dallas Cowboys decided they could wait to speak to their defense in the NFL draft when a catcher they thought was unavailable was there for the first round.
These increased needs were at the center of Day 2.
The Cowboys took Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs with a 51st overall pick in the second round and Oklahoma forward Neville Gallimore 82nd in the third round Friday night.
The Cowboys had moved away from the defense a night earlier because their Gallimore teammate, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, was surprisingly available with 17th overall. Dallas had Lamb tied up at No. 6.
Executive Vice President of Staff Stephen Jones said the Cowboys actually had a tough call between Diggs and Gallimore in the second round, so they were delighted that Gallimore was still there 32 choices later.
“It really worked in our favor,” said Jones. “If you stay patient, you stay loyal to your board, I think things work for you. “
Dallas lost its best free agency cornerback when Byron Jones signed with Miami. Diggs, the younger brother of Buffalo wide receiver Stefon Diggs, had three interceptions and tied for the Alabama team with eight assists.
Young Diggs made 95 choices earlier than his brother five years ago. Stefon Diggs was drafted by Minnesota in the fifth round, but ended up being traded to the Bills for several choices, including a first round this year.
“I counted on him a lot because he went through it all,” said Trevon Diggs. “He is my father, so it’s a blessing to have him, to ask him questions. I will share this moment with him. “
The Cowboys tied for last place in the NFL last year and have been among the worst in the league in this category in the past five seasons. They have young cornerbacks they love at Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis, but the job was always a need.
“This is something I try to work on in practice: catching the ball, getting interceptions, creating turnovers,” said Diggs. “This is something they really like in Alabama, so I made it important to me. “
Diggs will have a good chance at starting, most likely alongside Awuzie, a second-round pick three years ago. Brown and Lewis were promising, and the Cowboys recruited four-year veteran Maurice Canady in free agency. Among these players, Brown is the oldest at 26 years old.
The inside of the defensive line was not considered a need as much as the end of the pass due to the addition of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe as free will.
The Cowboys still settled on the 6-foot-2, 304-pound Gallimore, which had four bags and 7 1/2 tackled for defeat as the Sooners reached the college football playoff semi-finals last season.
Shortly after being selected, Gallimore exchanged texts with McCoy, a former Oklahoma standout player who was Tampa Bay’s third overall choice 10 years ago. McCoy made six Pro Bowls in nine seasons with the Buccaneers before spending last season with Carolina.
“As a fan of his game, I knew very quickly if I wanted this opportunity to play to the next level, he was one of the guys I really had to watch and see how his approach was and everything,” said Gallimore, now one of two native Canadians on the Dallas defensive line with Tyrone Crawford, who also competed in the third round eight years ago.
The Cowboys also hope to spur a passing race led by DeMarcus Lawrence with the reinstatement of suspended defensive ends Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory. The two are sidelined by violations of the NFL’s drug policy.
The Cowboys have hired an attacking spirit at Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett, whose contract has not been renewed after a season of high expectations ending with an 8-8 record and no playoff trips.
Dallas gave McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers and developed several star receivers in Green Bay, another weapon in Lamb. The breakaway threat joins pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott, double floor race champion Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, who signed a $ 100 million contract last month.
The Cowboys also have two perennial Pro Bowlers in the offensive line from left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin, so the question now is that a rearranged defense can complement what looks like a high-powered attack.
Dallas has four choices remaining before the final day of the draft: a fourth round choice, two fifths and a seventh.
“Being halfway through the draft and being here with these three players feels great,” said McCarthy. “Trevon is someone we spent a lot of time on. I think he’s going to be a great choice for how we want to play in defense. “