The Dallas Cowboys 2016 NFL Draft was initially given an average of a C+ across the various media platforms. That was when Tony Romo was “healthy” before reinjuring his left collarbone three plays into their preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Looking back on what we know, you can justifiably raise their grade significantly.
Ezekiel Elliott was a top-five pick, and no matter how you feel about selecting running backs in the first round, everyone knew Zeke would be a star. He came into the league with power, vision, and an accomplished pass-protector. Earning two-rushing titles and having the second-most rushing yards since entering the league, Elliott has lived up to the hype and then some.
The Cowboys received a mixed bag with Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper, and Anthony Brown. Jaylon Smith was a top-five talent before his injury. It showed flashes after his recovery, but he never could obtain his old form, and Collins couldn’t avoid injuries to fulfill his full potential. As mentioned before, Tapper was a straight bust for the Cowboys but appears to be succeeding in Houston. Anthony Brown is the only time-proven pick of these four, and he is still more of an average starter than a top-half cornerback in the league. But, at pick number 189, Brown has done more than many thought he would.
As stated before, rounds six and seven are dart throws and are usually reserved for developmental guys and camp bodies. That only leaves the Cowboys’ fourth-round selection, Dak Prescott. Prescott alone brings the value of this draft up into the B range. It’s not often that you find a franchise quarterback who bests a Cowboys’ all-time great in the fourth round, supplanting Romo as the Cowboys’ new starting quarterback.
The 2016 Draft for the Cowboys wasn’t an instant success, but with seven years’ worth of data, it’s safe to say that this draft changed the franchise’s trajectory and ushered them into a new era.
Final Re-Grade: A