"I have no doubt in my mind, this is where I was supposed to end up", Vander Esch said late Thursday night.
The Dallas Cowboys are feeling more confident that they might have replaced Dez Bryant in free agency, so another day of the National Football League draft could come and go without them taking a receiver. Jerry Jones insisted Morris Claiborne was the highest-rated defensive player the Cowboys had graded since Deion. Wyoming's Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills), Boise State's Leighton Vander Esch (Dallas Cowboys) and San Diego State's Rashaad Penny (Seattle Seahawks) all heard their names called in the first round while Nevada's Austin Corbett (Cleveland Browns) was the first pick of the second round. The 2017 Mountain West Player of the Year is from Riggins, Idaho. The Boise State linebacker was one of the top players at his position in this draft class.
After going undrafted, former Wildcat receiver Byron Pringle was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs. With 10 picks - now nine - available this year, they could've easily moved up a couple of spots to get James without decimating their draft.
How does Vander Esch fit in Dallas?
Lawyer at Trump Tower meeting reportedly worked with Russian government
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The Cowboys need a safety. 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. He's a big, bruising running back who could give starter Ezekiel Elliott a breather and could give the Cowboys another goal-line option. 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.
Where do we go from here?"I think he will keep getting better".
After passing on James, it's a distinct possibility that the Cowboys could leverage one or more of four picks in rounds 2-4 to acquire Seattle free safety Earl Thomas.