After trading away their third-round pick to move up and draft Demarcus Lawrence, the Dallas Cowboys needed to make a splash with their fourth-round pick. With the need at outside linebacker, many thought the Cowboys were going to draft Florida State’s Telvin Smith to be an immediate contributor at the weakside or strongside linebacker position. Instead, the Cowboys elected to draft Iowa’s Anthony Hitchens. While he could go on a great player for Dallas, this pick was a curious one because the Cowboys could’ve easily drafted him in the later rounds.
While Hitchens was definitely a reach, he will be immediately in the mix for a starting linebacker position. Last year, the Cowboys transitioned to the 4-3 defense and many thought Bruce Carter would flourish at the all-so-important weakside linebacker position. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and head coach Jason Garrett said how they wanted a player like Bradie James on their defense and that’s the type of player Hitchens is.
Iowa football is well-known for having one of the best 4-3 defenses in college football. Hitchens and Christian Kirksey were prime reasons why Iowa’s defense was top-notch last year. In the past two seasons at Iowa, Hitchens compiled over 130 tackles. Although he lacks elite measureables, Hitchens’ best trait is that he is a smart football player. He has a nose for the ball and he has the makings of a solid linebacker in the NFL. Matt Eberflus will have a solid group of linebackers, especially with the additions of Hitchens and seventh-round pick Will Smith. Time will tell if Hitchens was worth the fourth-round pick, but for now, this was a questionable one.
Final Grade: C
Click here to see our grade on the Zack Martin pick.
Click here to see our grade on the Demarcus Lawrence pick.
Stay tuned for our grade on fifth-round Devin Street.