Michael Irvin, Drew Pearson take Dallas stage as Cowboys pass on Dez Bryant's replacement

The scene was set in Dallas Thursday night.

Cowboys fans packed AT&T Stadium to watch their team make a first-round selection in the NFL draft. With the release of Dez Bryant, everyone knew Dallas was in need of a wide receiver.

[Yahoo Fantasy Football leagues are open: Sign up now for free]

The 19th pick of the first round arrived, and no receivers had been selected yet. The Cowboys had their choice. Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson took the stage to hype up the crowd. Troy Aikman talked up Maryland receiver D.J. Moore on Fox and NFL Network as his choice over Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, whom many had pegged here, Bryant included.

And with the 19th pick in the NFL draft, the Cowboys select … Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

Ok, didn’t see that coming. Not that it’s a bad pick. Vander Esch has the coveted combination of run-stopping, pass-rush and pass-coverage skills that could make him a staple in the Cowboys defense for years. With 31-year-old Sean Lee not getting any younger, Dallas fans shouldn’t be disappointed in this pick.

But it just didn’t fit the script. In the end, the re-write may work out better for the Cowboys.

More NFL draft coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Dan Wetzel: Browns bet on monster gamble in Mayfield
Giants take Barkley with No. 2 pick instead of Darnold
Did Cardinals get NFL draft’s best QB with 10th pick?
NFL draft grades 2018: The emoji edition

With their choice of all the wide receivers in the NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys passed on Dez Bryant’s replace to take a linebacker. (AP)