On Thursday night, the cowboys selected the linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with the # 19 pick in the NFL Draft.
It is not a surprising choice. Vander Esch's talent would have made him fit for any defense in the world so that no landing site could cause a great shock.
Why did the cowboys choose Vander Esch?
He is versatile and can fill a few different defense roles. Vander Esch profiles himself as a middle linebacker, but he has the frame and the athleticism to tackle any linebacker position and do the job well.
He also gets a pretty good comparison:
Leighton Vander Esch worked on the star and spent a lot of time with Sean Lee when he was here. They thought he was a Brian Urlacher 2.0 and DC Rod Marinelli coached Urlacher in Chicago #Cowboys
̵1; Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) April 27, 2018
He has page-to-page speed needed an insider, but at Boise State his primary position was on the weak side, away from the opposite narrow end. Vander Esch was often responsible for setting the edge like a full-back, and he spent a lot of time covering both man-to-person and zone diversity.
Vander Esch's versatility is no coincidence. Idaho does not have many people, and many of its high school teams play eight-man football, which necessarily requires everyone on the field to fill more roles and cover more space. Vander Esch says it makes him better.
"You have to have a special talent to play eight-man football," he told SB Nation in the NFL Combine in March. "You have to be a well-rounded player." I mean, you're playing both sides of the ball Not that 11-man player does not play both sides of the ball, but I think it's definitely capable of the speed of the game and able is to play open-tackle, these are important aspects of the game, and you need to be able to do it all, you have to have dynamic players that can play anywhere. "
Can he start right away?
Yes. The versatility of Vander Esch makes him a plug-and-play type, but he has the talent to hold his own in any number of positions across the board.
What is the risk?
He was reportedly injured by some teams. At 6 & 4 and 256 pounds it's a bit hard for a classic edge rusher and a bit long and slender for a classic Mike backer, so maybe it'll be what scouts call a "Tweener". But there are also advantages in that, that is that Vander Esch can help in various facets of the linebacker game.
Could you tell me something different about Vander Esch?
Oh, yes. Vander Esch hails from Riggins, Idaho, a city of 420 inhabitants, where he grew up with eight men before earning a favored walk-on place at BSU. His family fitted out an old party bus with sofas and brought Riggins people to all Vander Esch Boise State home games, a three-hour Vander Esch Express ride:
I wish I had such a bus.