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Cowboys hope they’ve found pass rush partner for Lawrence with Utah’s Anae

With the final pick of the fifth round, the Dallas Cowboys finally found their defensive end prospect with Bradlee Anae out of Utah
Credit: AP
Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae walks on the field before the team's NCAA college football game against Colorado on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

DALLAS —

The Dallas Cowboys continue to make great decisions in the 2020 NFL Draft. After making high value selections at nearly every turn, the question becomes: Can the Cowboys continue to hold their drafts with Jerry Jones on his yacht? Seems like a good plan at this point. 

What the Cowboys have been able to do through five rounds of the draft is select a player with each pick that is later than initially projected by almost every media outlet and draft analyst. Though we don’t know how the players will pan out until they’ve played, the Cowboys are getting maximum value for their selections. 

And while all evidence suggests that the Cowboys are sticking to their board, rather than reaching for players at positions of need, Dallas is still finding players at positions where they need help without having to extend themselves. 

The latest success came at the tail end of the fifth round as the Cowboys were able to land Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae. 

After Dallas lost out on bringing back Robert Quinn when the team’s 2019 sack leader left to join the Chicago Bears in free agency, the Cowboys desired more pass rush options and they needed to find that elusive long term player to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence on the opposite side of the line. The hope now is that Anae can eventually join the mix as a contender for that honor. 

Anae is considered to be one of the most technically sound pass rushers in this NFL Draft. During his time playing for the Utes, Anae set a school record with 30 sacks in four seasons. While the team could have DEs Aldon Smith and Randy Gregory back if the league is willing to reinstate them, having more depth is never a bad thing.

Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula gets yet another toy to set loose on quarterbacks. Anae is not a speed guy but he has a good first step to get into the backfield. The 6' 3", 257 lbs Hawaii native goes into every rep with a plan. 

Anae finished his collegiate career in 2019 as a consensus All-American. He was also named to the All-Pac 12 team during each of his last two seasons. The senior was also awarded the Morris Trophy in 2019, given to the best defensive lineman in the conference. 

Anae, a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award given to college football’s top defensive end, now heads to Dallas. Anae joins cornerbacks Trevon Diggs, Reggie Robinson II, and defensive tackle Neville Gallimore as the newest defensive players to help fill holes on that side of the ball. 

Mike Nolan and company will be itching to deploy this youth movement with the ambition of bringing Dallas back to the top of the division. 

Do you think Bradlee Anae can be the answer to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence as bookends along the defensive line? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.

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