3rd Round, Pick 75
Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State
Teambuilding is tricky because building a team with talent at every position is easier said than done. The Cowboys created $15 million of cap space by re-signing Dak Prescott to extension and another $17 million by restructuring the contracts of Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins. Hopefully, this new cap space helps the team sign free agents at all defensive positions except linebacker perhaps edge.
Without free agency, the Cowboys currently have a hole at cornerback, free safety, and defensive tackle. Early in the mock, two holes were filled with the selections of Jaycee Horn and Richie Grant. At pick 75, we’re filling another hole at defensive tackle by grabbing Togiai from Ohio State.
The Cowboys have now needed a consistent 1-technique defensive tackle for quite some time. For so long under former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, there was greater importance on undersized tackles who could rush the passer while linebackers had greater responsibility to stop the run.
Early on in Sean Lee’s career, run-stopping was always an issue when he wasn’t on the field, and now with both starting linebackers, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, struggling to maintain run fits, it’s time the Cowboys front office fix the problem to some degree.
Enter Tommy Togiai. The Pocatello, Idaho native is a bit undersized compared to other 1-technique defensive tackles, but he makes up for it with great play strength and good competitive toughness. Togiai displays solid athletic ability to leverage gaps and with his good play strength, solid agility, and good use of hands that allow him to stay square with his blocker on power and zone runs. He displays good upfield burst that allows him to blow up gaps along with his good pad level.
For his proficiencies as a run defender, the Buckeye is quite limited as a pass rusher. He currently relies on his solid foot speed and agility to win with speed. With his solid pad level and good play, strength can work. However, his lack of power and counter moves don’t stress interior linemen out of their pass sets leaving him unable to work around them.
The team currently has Trysten Hill under contract as a piece that can hopefully develop as a pass rusher. Togiai displays the ability to take on double teams and would allow someone athletic like Hill or Neville Gallimore to use their explosiveness to penetrate into the backfield.
3rd Round, Pick 76 (From NYG)
Kelvin Joseph, CB, Kentucky
The mock has been the perfect strike because it has allowed the Cowboys to fill their defensive needs in order of value with each of their first three picks. With another pick in the third round as a result of the trade with the New York Giants, Joseph was available and was by far one of the best prospects available.
The former Wildcat and LSU transfer has had some off-field issue that essentially caused him to transfer from Baton Rouge to Lexington. In this draft cycle, he’ll likely see a harder fall as a result of those actions. Character issues aside, it is hard to dispute the talent that Joseph possesses. He has the build of the recently popular Kentucky cornerback but displays much better coverage ability than the likes of Lonnie Johnson and Chris Westry.
He displays good athletic ability to match up in press coverage against big receivers and displays good body control to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. He has good foot speed to mirror receivers in their stem and displays good instincts to read receiver’s hips to follow out of breaks.
Joseph displays a lot of similar traits to Horn with some more baggage. Dan Quinn would be dying at the opportunity to use all these draft picks on defensive players, but more importantly, on good press coverage cornerbacks with good athletic ability and good football IQ.
The idea of selecting an exciting prospect with character issues likely doesn’t excite Cowboys fans after seeing all Randy Gregory has dealt with at this point, but Joseph’s case is seemingly different and closer to being resolved than Gregory’s was at his time in Nebraska.