That doesn’t mean it was perfect. No draft is.
With that ridiculously high bar in mind, let’s look at how last year’s draft could have rated higher or been even more productive.
Jordan Howard, RB — Indiana
Drafted 150th overall by the Chicago Bears
He’s no Ezekiel Elliott. But this fifth round pick has rushed for 2,435 yards and 15 touchdowns in his two seasons. He’s caught 52 passes for another 423 yards and a touchdown and received one Pro Bowl nod.
Again, he’s not a transcendent back like Elliott. But he’s pretty good.
Yannick Ngakoue, DE — Maryland
Drafted 69th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has had quite an impact for Jacksonville. Ngakoue started 15 games and set a franchise rookie record for sacks with eight, pushing him past Tony Brackens. He forced four fumbles, came up with an interception and was named to the Pro Football Writers All Rookie Team.
He played even better this past season. Ngakoue has 20 sacks and has forced 10 fumbles in his first two seasons in the league. He hasn’t missed a game and was named to the first of what should be many Pro Bowls along the way.
Ngakoue was taken two picks after the Cowboys selected defensive tackle Maliek Collins in the third round.
Michael Thomas, WR — Ohio State
Drafted 47th overall by the New Orleans Saints
Do you think Thomas would bring some vertical stretch to the Cowboys lackluster passing attack?
Thomas set the franchise rookie record for receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in his first year with the Saints. He’s caught 196 passes _ 104 of them came this season _ for 2,382 yards and 14 touchdowns to start his career. His Pro Bowl appearance this season will be followed by others.
Tyreek Hill, WR/return specialist — West Alabama
Drafted 165th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs
Receiver/return specialist Tyreek Hill has had a tremendous impact for Kansas City, scoring 20 touchdowns in his two seasons either by rush, reception or kickoff/punt return. He’s been named first team All-Pro for his return ability.
This past season he burst on the scene as a receiver, doubling his rookie output by catching 75 passes for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns. He has 1,180 combined return yards in his first two seasons with four touchdowns. He had a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown and an 86-yard kickoff return for a score as a rookie. In a win over Denver on Nov. 27 of that season, he became the first player since Gale Sayers in 1965 to score touchdowns on a kick return, a reception and a rush from scrimmage in the same game.
Hill was taken late in the fifth round. The Cowboys didn’t have a fifth-round pick.
Jalen Ramsey, CB — Florida State
Drafted 5th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Elliott is arguably the league’s best young running back. Ramsey is arguably the league’s best young cornerback. This spirited debate over who the Cowboys should have taken should go for years.
Ramsey went one pick after the Cowboys selected Elliott. He’s responded with six interceptions and one forced fumble in his two seasons. He’s defended 31 passes and discouraged quarterbacks from throwing in his direction countless times. He’s missed only one game, made the Pro Bowl and been named first team All-Pro.
Ramsey is the emotional leader of the Jaguars defense the way Elliott is the offense. Players on both sides of the ball feed off Ramsey’s confidence and energy the way the Cowboys do Elliott.
Cowboys’ 2016 draft class
First round, No. 4, Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Second round, No. 34, Jaylon Smith, LB
Third round, No. 67, Maliek Collins, DT
Fourth round, No. 101, Charles Tapper, DE
Fourth round, No. 135, Dak Prescott, QB
Sixth round, No. 189, Anthony Brown, CB
Sixth round, No. 212, Kavon Frazier, SS
Sixth round, No. 216, Darius Jackson, RB
Sixth round, No. 217, Rico Gathers, TE