Star college players shine in first round action at NFL Draft
After choosing Boise State linebacker Leighton Van Esch 19th overall Thursday night, surely the Dallas Cowboys will focus on adding a receiver when the second and third rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft begin today at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
That would seem to be the plan unless the Cowboys do something big and pull off a much-anticipated trade for Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas.
Asked about Thomas on Thursday night, owner Jerry Jones had a little Freudian slip.
"I'm not going to get into that. That's part of the deal. I mean not deal, but ... we have no deal,” said a laughing Jones. “It’d be a mess up to go off that, I’ll tell you.”
Seattle doesn’t have a second-round pick. Its first choice Friday is No. 76 overall.
The Seahawks had been asking for a first and third-round pick for Thomas, a former Texas star who is in the last year of his contract and has expressed interest in finishing his career at home with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys, who have inquired about Thomas in a trade since the beginning of the off-season, had been holding out hope that the Seahawks would lower their asking price. If they do, the time is here. If not, then the team will likely turn to the receiver position.
The release of Dez Bryant, the team’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions, has created a need the Cowboys want to address even after adding Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in free agency.
But the Cowboys believe the draft is deep at receiver so there was no urgency to force one in the first round over the Vander Esch who was the highest-rated player left on their draft board.
SMU’s Courtland Sutton, Oklahoma State’s James Washington, Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk, Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman, Florida’s Antonio Callaway, Northern Iowa’s Daurice Fountain and Missouri State’s Malik Earl are all receivers still available and whom the Cowboys have hosted on a visit or worked out prior to the draft.
“We believe there are some receivers in this draft throughout, one through seven, that have some unique traits,” vice-president Stephen Jones said. “Obviously, the receivers that are in the first part of the draft - the first, second and third round – are going to be a little more seasoned and not as developmental. But, we really like a handful of these guys, so I still think there is an opportunity to bring some of those guys in here.
"We really like how the draft is laying out for us right now. As we said, these draft picks are just so precious when you think about what it takes, if you don’t hit on these guys, to replace them. We really like what’s there at receiver and just didn’t feel the urgency based on what we did in free agency to have to go out and reach and stretch for a receiver.”