Even though the Dallas Cowboys selected a pass rusher in the second round in Demarcus Lawrence, drafting a lte-round prospect like Ben Gardner was too hard to pass up on. Coming out of the best pass rushing team in the nation, Gardner is an NFL-ready prospect who has a ton of potential. A pectoral injury hurt his chances into blossoming as a stud at Stanford, but Gardner is a smart football player who should have an easy transition to the NFL. After watching tape on him, Gardner shows the potential to develop into a double-digit sack type of guy. If he doesn’t pan out, Gardner, at worst, will be a solid rotational player in Rod Marinelli’s defense.
Judging by how they drafted and what they did in free agency, it looks like the Cowboys will use a rotational defensive line. Instead of using the same four players over and over again, the Cowboys have a ton of players who can come in and produce. This is a smart idea because it keeps everyone healthy and it gets the most out of every player too. Although he has short arms, which is becoming a good indicator of success for college pass rushers, Gardner has a great football-IQ and he is an explosive player with a 39 1/2 vertical jump.
The Cowboys had five seventh-round picks to work with and Gardner was, in my opinion, the best of them. As I said earlier, Gardner’s ceiling is a guy who can develop into a double-digit sack type of guy, but his is floor is a guy who will be a nice rotational player for an NFL defense. Coach Marinelli gets the most out of his players and it will be fun to see what he could with Gardner. Getting a guy who was a defensive end for Stanford this late in the draft never hurts. Gardner will be a fun player to monitor as training camp nears.
Final Grade: A+
Stay tuned for our grade on seventh-round pick Will Smith.