Cowboys Pre-Draft Visit Tracker

The Dallas Cowboys hosted 29 national draft prospects earlier this week. They will fill up their quota of 30 allowed visits by hosting Prince Amukamara next week. In recent years, these visits have been a pretty good indicator of which players and which positions the Cowboys were going to select in the ensuing draft. The Cowboys' last five top picks — Bobby Carpenter, Anthony Spencer, Felix Jones, Jason Williams and Dez Bryant — all visited Valley Ranch as part of the Cowboys' pre-draft visits.

Today, the Cowboys are hosting "Dallas Days" for draft-eligible players with local roots. Rainer Sabin from the DMN explains that "local" appears to be defined by a map of the Dallas-Fort Worth region in the 2011 Rand McNally Road Atlas. Be that as it may, the player visits today will be headlined by Texas A&M's Von Miller and TCU's Andy Dalton leading a septet of prospects from TCU.

After the break we look at an updated list of which players visited the Cowboys this week.

The last top pick the Cowboys did not invite for a visit prior to the draft was DeMarcus Ware in 2005. Perhaps the Cowboys brass thought they knew all there was to know about Ware, perhaps it was all part of an elaborate plot to throw other teams off the Cowboys' scent. Who knows?

2011 could be the 6th consecutive year the Cowboys bring their top draft pick in for a pre-draft visit. If so, his name is on the table below that summarizes the known visitors to Valley Ranch this year by position. The numbers in front of the player names indicate their ranking on the CBS Sports big board.

The table contains all 30 invitees [Thanks to BTB member sgitr for providing the last two]. Additionally, the Cowboys have a private workout scheduled with Alabama QB Greg McElroy next week which doesn't count against the 30 names. Also, the names of the local players invited for Dallas Days are still trickling in, so the list is not complete yet for those players. 

At the bottom of this post I've summarized all the players (that I could find) invited for pre-draft visits to Valley Ranch over the last three years. And with the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to say that the invite list is a good indicator of whom the Cowboys will draft. But can you tell which players the Cowboys will pick in three weeks from the table below?

Offensive Line Corner Receiver Linebacker Safety Running Back Defensive Line
14 Tyron Smith, OT, USC 8 Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska 55 Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh 38 Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois 60 Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA 58
DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
15 J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
16 Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College 33 Aaron Williams, CB, Texas 84 Edmund Gates, WR, Abilene Christian 61 Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina 67
Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma
173 Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville 53 Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa
20 (Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin**) 65 Brandon Burton, CB, Utah 171 Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union 134 Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU 122 Da'Norris Searcy, SS, North Carolina 183 Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU  64 Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
21 Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida 88 Shareece Wright, CB, USC
407 Andre Holmes, WR, Hillsdale 144
Nate Irving, ILB, North Carolina
Eric Hagg, FS, Nebraska
22 Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State 99 Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville                
24 Nate Solder, OT, Colorado 259
Korey Lindsey, CB, Southern Illinois                    
78 Will Rackley, OG, Lehigh                        
Local prospects invited for "Dallas Day" Other Positions
Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU*
 247 Josh Thomas, CB, Buffalo  162 Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU*
Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M*  473 Jonathan Nelson, FS, Oklahoma*  - -
Phillip Tanner, RB, Middle Tennessee*  63 Andy Dalton, QB, TCU*
133 DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas* 396 Jason Teague, CB, TCU*  287 Jimmy Young, WR, TCU*      - -
Collin Zych, FS, Harvard*      169 Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama*
228 Jake Kirkpatrick, C, TCU*   - -  Antareis Bryan, CB, Baylor* 656
Raymond Radway, WR, ACU
Zack Eskridge, QB, MWSU*
    - - Jessie Poku, WR EnMex*             594
 Evan Frosch, TE, TCU*

[**It appears Carimi wasn't at Valley Ranch after all]

In previous years, a good indicator of what the Cowboys were going to do on draft weekend was the amount of invites per position. The Cowboys were looking for a corner and a running back in 2008 and brought in eight corners and five backs. In 2009 they went looking for linebackers and found one. In 2010, the priorities appeared to be corner, receiver and a whole shopping list worth of offensive linemen. After only inviting three linemen in the two previous year, the Cowboys suddenly wanted to talk to eight of the big guys at once. The Cowboys did end up picking a lineman with the 179th pick in Sam Young, but that was perhaps not as high as their shopping list would have indicated.

Going simply by number of invites in 2011, the Cowboys will be going after offensive linemen, corners and receivers. That is, if the past three years are any indication of what they could be doing this year.

Pre-draft visitors to Valley Ranch, 2008-2010

Pick WR Pick OL Pick CB Pick S Pick DE Pick LB Pick FB - - - -
24 Dez Bryant 17 OG Mike Iupati 29 Kyle Wilson 37 Nate Allen 10 Tyson Alualu 55 Sean Lee 125 Clay Harbor - - - -
39 Arrelious Benn 18 C/G Maurkice Pouncey 27 Devin McCourty 49 Taylor Mays 28 Jared Odrick 91 Navorro Bowman 139 John Conner

78 Brandon LaFell 61 OT Vlad Ducasse 76 Chad Jones 71 Morgan Burnett     190 Travis Goethel    

82 Emmanuel Sanders* 73 OG John Jerry 96 Brandon Ghee                

90 Taylor Price 80 OC J.D. Walton* 126 Akwasi Owusu-Ansah                

191 Dezmon Briscoe* 106 OT Bruce Campbell                    

    194 OT Ramon Harewood                    

    228 OG Reggie Stephens                  

Pick WR Pick OL Pick CB Pick S Pick DE Pick LB Pick QB Pick TE
36 Brian Robiskie 58 OT Sebastian Vollmer 42 Jairus Byrd 33 Louis Delmas 68 Jarron Gilbert 16 Larry English 101 Stephen McGee; 122 Anthony Hill
50 Mohamed Massaquoi     66 Bradley Fletcher 48 Darcel McBath     69 Jason Williams 174 Tom Brandstater 152 James Casey
83 Brandon Tate         166 Michael Hamlin     125 Lawrence Sidbury - - Chase Daniel    
87 Patrick Turner                 150 Jasper Brinkley        
                    154 Marcus Freeman      
Pick WR Pick OL Pick CB Pick S Pick DE Pick LB Pick RB Pick TE
41 James Hardy 15 G Branden Albert 11 Leodis McKelvin - -
 - -
- -
- -
9 Keith Rivers 13 Jonathan Stewart 61 Martellus Bennett
51 Malcolm Kelly 26 OT Duane Brown 16 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

10 Jerod Mayo 22 Felix Jones

53 Limas Sweed     20 Aqib Talib*         104 Beau Bell  23  Rashard Mendenhall

105 Will Franklin     27 Antoine Cason              24  Chris Johnson

128 Keenan Burton     35 Brandon Flowers              73  Jamaal Charles

        40 Tracy Porter                    
        62 Terrence Wheatley*                    
        67 Charles Godfrey                  

* denotes players who count as a local prospects

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