By Adam Collins
With the 18th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select...
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State!
Many Cowboys fans on twitter were hating on this pick, but I thought it was a great selection. Many people wanted to see a WR picked here, such as Calvin Ridley or D.J. Moore. I never hopped on the WR in Round 1 train, though. Good WR's are still around in the 2nd or 3rd round so that is always where I thought we'd end up picking a WR. I've seen a lot of teams over the past 5 years waste first round selections on WR's. As for this pick, I thought the Cowboys needed to pick the best S/LB/OG/DL available, and I believe they accomplished that.
So I don't have to type his long name every time, lets call our newest Cowboy LVE. LVE is a name that many fans weren't aware of so they hate on the pick right away without ever watching any film. I've had my eye on the Boise State product for a few months now, and I have a feeling that our LB core is gong to be pretty good this upcoming season. Yes, we have 3 guys that can play MLB (Lee, Smith, LVE), but we saw Lee play some OLB last year and LVE said tonight that he can and will play anywhere the team needs him.
I just love the attitude on this kid. In his first interview, LVE said, "From day one this is where I wanted to play... We've got Super Bowl's to win." How can you not love that attitude?
He's also caught the attention of many draft analysts, as well. Todd McShay said, "Leighton Vander Esch is an ascending player who has playmaking ability." Another analyst, Matt Miller, said that LVE is, "One of the best players in this class."
So enough with opinions, let's look at the numbers. In the 2017 college football season, LVE totaled 141 tackles (team high), 8.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. Oh yeah, he was also named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
Say what you want about Vander Esch, but I believe this was a very solid selection. Most of the fans complaining about this pick are the same one's who complain about how bad the defense plays when Sean Lee is hurt. Well, here's your solution. More depth at LB and one heck of a defensive core that Dallas is building.
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