What an amazing and unpredictable first day at the NFL Draft, there were so many trades and unbelievable picks made by teams. The most shocking pick of the day was the 19th selection from the Dallas Cowboys when they chose Boise State Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

There were mixed feelings when the pick was made because of better talent left on the board such as Defensive end Harold Landry, Offensive guards Isaiah Wynn and Will Hernandez. Those players were rated much higher on other teams boards than Vander Esch, but The Cowboys liked him from the very start.

I personally would have preferred one of the guards in Isaiah Wynn or Will Hernandez to get the running game back in place, but the front office has a plan for the player they chose. Linebacker is a major need on defense because of the health concerns of Linebackers Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, so getting a guy like Vander Esch made a lot of sense for the team.

How does Vander Esch fit?

Vander Esch played the Will linebacker position at Boise State, which is the same position Sean Lee plays for the Cowboys. He played that position very well as he was the Mountain West Defensive Player Of The Year, but his best position would be a Middle Linebacker.

The Cowboys currently do not have a true Middle linebacker as Anthony Hitchens left in free agency to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.

So in the Cowboys eyes, they looked at the linebacker position and didn’t want to take the risk of betting on Sean Lee to be available for all sixteen games.

I can agree with that point to some degree because when Sean Lee was out for five games last season, our defense gave up double the yardage. We cannot continue to lose games when one man goes down, so the Cowboys felt they needed to protect themselves at linebacker.

David Helman of Dallascowboys.com tweeted Leighton Vander Esch is now an insurance policy for both Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee in case of injury.

The problems that I have with the pick are that you had a better player in Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans who could step in as your starter day one. He was on the board when the Cowboys were selecting their pick, in my opinion, he is a natural middle linebacker who plays with more power and physicality.

Dallas liked Vander Esch more for our scheme, so he is our new Mike linebacker.

Where do we go from here?

Since the first round of the draft is over, we now look forward to rounds two and three which will be held tomorrow on April 27th. We still have nine total picks to get some good quality players to help improve our team.

We still have needs at Wide receiver, Offensive guard, and we could address Safety. Tight end could be another possibility as Jason Witten is getting a lot older and with the retirement of James Hanna last week.

Even though everyone is critical about Vander Esch, let’s at least give these players a chance to showcase their skills and what they can bring to the table. These coaches and scouts on the Cowboys have studied the player and know more than we do, we will see how this process will play out this season.