Dallas Cowboys: We’re about to see how good the 2020 NFL Draft really was

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

If you’re curious as to how well the Dallas Cowboys drafted in 2020, look no further than training camp 2021. You read that correctly:

The time for the Dallas Cowboys 2020 Draft class to shine is now.

The Dallas Cowboys 2020 draft class was regarded as one of the best in franchise history. Bargain after bargain fell into their laps. Dallas haters and lovers alike, praised the Cowboys’ efforts as they picked up three, possibly four (Neville Gallimore) key starters from it.

Some may say it’s the 2021 Draft class we should be excited to see this year but the fact is, rookie classes rarely make a big impact on the field. Even historically good classes like Dallas’ last year.

As you can see in the chart below, young players start making big impacts in Year 2 of their professional careers. Those gains usually continue at a high rate in Year 3, so whatever these second year players show us this season, will help set their trajectory going forward.

CeeDee Lamb was a player we were absolutely thrilled to see fall in the draft. Widely regarded as the best WR prospect in the draft, Lamb did not disappoint, pulling in 74 balls for 935 yards all while playing with four different QBs.

In games with Dak, Lamb pulled in over 86 yards per game, on pace for a 1,385 yard season.

Lamb snagged 877 yards from the slot position which is second only to a guy named Cole Beasley. His 72.5% success rate vs man coverage is virtually unheard of by rookies, and before Dak Prescott was hurt, Lamb was on pace for 1,385 yard receiving season.

To think, he’ll see even bigger gains this year is exciting, to say the least.

Trevon Diggs suffered the traditional rookie cornerback growing pains early in the season when he ranked as one of the worst starting CBs in the entire league (which is why you DON’T START ROOKIE CORNERBACKS), but he rebounded and actually produced elite coverage scores down the stretch.

Simply repeating the second half of 2020 would make him a Pro Bowler, if he improves on that? Get outta hea (said in exaggerated New Jersey accent)!!!!

Tyler Biadasz wasn’t great, ranking in the bottom quarter of PFFs position ratings. But knowing that all rookie centers struggle with pass-protection and in the running game he actually did quite well, there’s reason to believe Dallas found their next great offensive lineman

Note: Travis Frederick had almost identical struggles in pass protection as a rookie and in Year 2 made an enormous leap.

Neville Gallimore flashed as a rookie and is in position to compete for a starting job in 2021. If he makes the typical second year jump, he’ll be the favorite to claim the starting under tackle spot.

These four players don’t just look like starters, they look like potential stars. In CeeDee Lamb’s case, he already is a bona fide star. We’re talking top of the food chain for him.

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Rounding out the class is CB Reggie Robinson and DE Bradlee Anae. Neither did much of anything as rookies (which is fairly standard for late fourth and fifth round picks) so we’re not sure how big of a jump to expect in 2021.

The competition at CB and DE will be deep so both players will have to fight (and show marked improvement) just to make the roster again. But with a new coaching staff on hand and a blank slate to work with, the table has been set for players like them to feast in training camp.

The biggest leap for a professional football player is known to be Year 2. Dallas Cowboys fans should be drooling over that factoid because they are about to see the best draft class of 2020 take that massive step in training camp.

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Get excited about Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox next season. This year it’s all about the Dallas Cowboys draft class of 2020.

  • Published on 07/20/2021 at 16:01 PM
  • Last updated at 07/20/2021 at 14:32 PM