Re-grading the Dallas Cowboys 2016 draft, seven years later

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Round Six, Pick #189 – Anthony Brown

Anthony Brown has been with the Dallas Cowboys since he was drafted and has started 69 of a possible 94 games (73%).

If you ask those that analyze football, they aren’t going to tell you that Brown is a top-tier cornerback. Instead, they will say that Brown is an average starter and a solid depth/rotational piece, as he will not blow you away with his boxscore stats.

Coming out of college, Brown picked up steam with his combine scores as he posted a 4.35 40-yard dash and 19 reps in the bench press; this was one of the top performances among those testing. However, scouts pegged Brown as a backup-caliber player due to his issues with penalties in college and his giving up five touchdowns his senior year.

It’s safe to say that Anthony Brown has exceeded expectations as he has been a starter for 74% of his career. But, setting that aside, you can still safely say Brown has left fans and coaches wanting more. He has struggled with missed tackles and has been exposed in the passing game the last two years, giving up nine passing touchdowns and a rating of 83.85 when targeted. He’s gotten better as the years have passed, but it will not be enough to keep his job alongside Trevon Diggs heading into the near future.

Individual Grade: C+

Round 6, Pick #212 – Kavon Frazier

Once you start getting into rounds 6-7, it’s hard to expect too much from most of these players. A few will go on to become starters or superstars, but most are camp bodies, backups, or practice squad/developmental guys.

Kevon Frazier was no exception to the above statement, as he only started two games in his six-year career. Both of those starts came in 2018 with the Dallas Cowboys. During his four-year stint with the Cowboys’ Frazier was primarily a special teams contributor, playing 53.5% of the snaps. After being released from Dallas in 2019, he would go on to play one year for the Miami Dolphins in 2020 and 1 game for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022, where he was purely a special teams guy as well. He was last released from the Raiders in March of 2022.

Individual Grade: D

Round 6, Pick #216 – Darius Jackson

If there were ever a player that embodies the phrase “camp body” or “practice squad warrior,” Darius Jackson would be that guy. Drafted in 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys, Jackson only played four total games, running the ball six times for sixteen yards in 2018. He spent two games active with the Cowboys and two games with the Green Bay Packers. Outside of those two games, Jackson has been signed in training camp or assigned to the practice squad for seven different teams, including Dallas, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, Green Bay, and Houston. It’s safe to say that Darius had some appealing potential but never panned out in the big leagues.

Individual Grade: D-

Round Six, Pick #217 – Rico Gathers

With their last pick of the 2016 draft, the Cowboys took former Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers. He was drafted without having any formal football training. He hadn’t played football since middle school but opted to try football professionally instead of basketball.

At 6’7″, 290 pounds, the Dallas Cowboys figured they would give Rico a chance to transition to football and play tight end. It wasn’t completely unheard of as players before him had shown they could successfully transition from basketball to football (Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham).

Unfortunately for Rico and the Cowboys, it didn’t work out as planned. Not for lack of trying, as the Cowboys let Gathers start four games and play in fifteen during the 2018 season. Dallas also kept Rico around as a backup or practice squad player until August 2019, just before he was suspended and reinstated shortly after. After that, the Cowboys decided not to pursue any further future with him, and he spent 2019 trying to make the Cleveland Browns, only to be released a few days later.
Rico Gathers had a ton of athleticism, but his lack of formal football training was too much to overcome.

Individual Grade: D+