Peter King: Dallas Cowboys Won The Draft, Not Even Close

Just eleven games into the Dallas Cowboys regular season and one longtime sportswriter has already declared the Cowboys as the winner of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Following the 2016 NFL Draft, no one knew which team made the best selections. In fact, many say you need to wait three or four years before judging the ultimate outcome of a draft. But the Dallas Cowboys certainly made the event exciting.

With the fourth overall selection in the first round, the defensive-needy Cowboys shocked the sporting world with their selection of Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas followed the Elliott pick in the second round with a selection that blew the roof off the Auditorium Theatre at Chicago’s Roosevelt University.

With the 34th overall pick, the Cowboys chose injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. The 21-year old defender was speculated to be a top five selection before he suffered a devastating knee injury in January. It was feared Smith may never play football again because of the nerve damage he suffered.

The Cowboys followed up Smith’s selection with two more defensive players: Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins and Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper.

With their second selection in the fourth round, a compensatory pick, the Cowboys drafted Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. The “running quarterback” was initially seen as more of a consultation prize as Dallas unsuccessfully attempted to trade up in the draft several times to find another young quarterback to groom.

Finally, the Cowboys used their remaining four draft selections, all of which were in the sixth round, to select cornerback Anthony Brown, safety Kavon Frazier, running back Darius Jackson and tight end Rico Gathers.

Looking back, Elliott could be the best player in the draft and is a potential league MVP. He’s posted 1,199 rushing yards through 11 games and leads the league in rushing.

The bigger surprise is Prescott, who was forced into the starting role after injuries suffered by veteran quarterbacks Tony Romo and Kellen Moore. Prescott, with the help of Zeke and an outstanding offensive line, has lead the Cowboys to a 10-1 start, throwing for 2,838 yards 18 touchdowns and only two interceptions. The so-called “running quarterback” also has five scores on the ground.

Elliott and Prescott’s stellar play alone has one longtime NFL writer already proclaiming the Cowboys as the winners of this year’s draft.

“Talk about hitting two home runs,” Peter King wrote on the MMQB. “We knew [Ezekiel] Elliott had immediate star power in him. But [Dak] Prescott? Even if the Cowboys backed into him, history is written by the winners. And the winning team of this draft—it’s not even close—is the Dallas Cowboys.”

But the gems of this draft class don’t potentially stop with Dak and Zeke. If Smith’s nerve in his knee refires, the Cowboys could have a top five-level player at middle linebacker next season. Collins has proven to be a promising defender in his first year. Brown was a steal in the sixth round and has been starting following a groin injury suffered by cornerback Morris Claiborne.

Tapper is an amazing athlete at defensive end but has yet to play due to a back issue. Frazier has finally seen some playing time as of late due to the numerous injuries suffered in the secondary. Jackson is on the active roster but has been a healthy scratch due to the stacked depth chart ahead of him. Finally, Gathers is a former basketball player who is still learning what it takes to be a NFL tight end.

All-in-all, the Dallas Cowboys 2016 Draft Class appears to be one of the best in franchise history. Producing three starters already, with potentially more to come, the Cowboys could be reaping the benefits from this draft for many years to come.

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